Immigration & Diversity news headlines – August 22, 2013


Quebec plan to ban religious symbols is shameful: Editorial (Toronto Star)
Quebecs Parti Québécois government is plumbing new depths in its cynical campaign to pump oxygen into the sputtering cause of sovereignty. Its latest manoeuvre, according to a trial balloon floated in a Montreal newspaper, is a plan to ban religious symbols such as Muslim head coverings, Jewish kippas and Sikh turbans (along with ostentatious personal crucifixes) from schools, hospitals, daycares and anywhere else in the broad public sector, all in the name of ensuring religious neutrality. In fact, such a move would be anything but neutral.

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Study Finds Corporate Board Diversity Stagnant: Are Nonprofits Similar? (Katie Bascuas, Associations Now)
The report, Missing Pieces: Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards [PDF], also found that women and minorities are underrepresented in board leadership positions. For example, 93 percent of board chairs last year were Caucasian men, while 4 percent were minority men, roughly 3 percent were Caucasian women, and minority women made up less than 1 percent. As in the corporate world, gains in minority representation on nonprofit boards have been small over the last couple of decades, said Vernetta Walker, vice president of consulting and training at BoardSource, a nonprofit organization that works with other nonprofits to develop governance strategies.

Canada joins race for global talent (Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald)
While the much-needed U.S. immigration reform bill remains stuck in Congress, Canada is not waiting it has launched a pilot program to attract global entrepreneurs by offering them permanent visas and a path to citizenship. And judging from what Canadas new Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander told me in an interview, his countrys program to give out 2,750 visas to young foreign entrepreneurs may soon be scaled up. If we have success in attracting the kind of people we want to attract, I am confident that the figure will grow, he says.

Scorecard ranks Ottawa No. 1 city in technology, talent, tolerance (Graham Lanktree, Metronews)
A new scorecard from the University of Toronto rates Ottawas talent ahead of New York, London and Copenhagen. Breaking down how 61 cities rank when it comes to economic development through talent, technology and tolerance, along with a measure of the quality of place, the scorecard picked out Ottawa for top spot overall. The score flies in the face of the inaugural Boring Awards vote for Ottawa as the most boring city in Canada this May.

McDonald’s customer alleges discrimination over bad English (CBC)
A B.C. woman is claiming she was refused service at a Richmond McDonald’s because staff said they couldn’t understand her English. Hai Xia Sun ordered a hot chocolate at the McDonald’s on Number 3 Road in Richmond last week, but said staff gave her a coffee by mistake. She said she asked that her order be fixed, but alleges the manager refused and told her to get out of the store instead. “She said, ‘You don’t know English,’ and then she returned my order. She said, ‘We are very busy, don’t stay here,'” Hai Xia Sun told CBC News. Sun called the incident discrimination.

Immigration consultants raise concerns about government crackdown on fake practitioners (Tobi Cohen,
Two years after the federal government overhauled the regulatory process for immigration consultants and stepped up efforts to eradicate so-called crooked practitioners, some are raising questions about the results. New figures released this month by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) which replaced the problem-plagued Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants indicate the self-regulating body received a total of 1,093 complaints from its inception in 2011 to the end of May. Of them, 372 involved unauthorized representatives suspected of illegally charging would-be newcomers for immigration advice an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act since March 2011 that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison or a $100,000 fine if convicted.

Cécile Rousseau: a Relational Story (Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre)
Cécile Rousseau, Director of the Transcultural Child Psychiatry Clinic at the Montreal Children’s Hospital purposes a widening of focus when we think of immigrants and mental health to include the majority population. How does a host population feel about immigrants? Is the host community welcoming to this group? Dr. Rousseau discusses inter-community tensions between immigrant groups and the majority population and the tendency, when either group is feeling threatened, to close inwards, exacerbating tensions. Integration and adaptation into a new community is an important factor in the mental health of new Canadians and Dr. Rousseau stresses that all Canadians, new and established, play a part in it.

Striking diplomats rally, tweet as contract dispute drags on (CBC)
Canada’s striking foreign service officers are holding a rally in downtown Ottawa today and are taking to Twitter around the world to raise awareness about their jobs and their contract dispute with the government. The officers’ union, the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, organized the demonstration outside the citizenship and immigration department. The lunchtime demonstration was held a day ahead of a hearing at the public service labour relations board that was triggered by a bad-faith bargaining complaint from the union.

CBA CLC2013 Plenary on Inclusion and Diversity (Shaunna Mireau, Slaw)
I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a law librarian. I am a leader. Except for the leader, and law librarian bits, I rarely think about what the other two “I am” statements have to do with my job. Attendance at the Monday morning Plenary session at the CBA Legal Conference 2013 where Arin Reeves of Nextions presented “The Next IQ: The Next Level of Diversity & Inclusion for the 21st Century” caused me to reflect on being a woman and a mother in the context of my career. I have rarely felt diminished, oppressed or that I have had limited opportunities because of being a woman or a mother with a (got to say it fantastic) career. I wish that I could say never rather than rarely. As a leader, I was appreciative of Dr. Reeves definitions of diversity and inclusion and her analogies for why those of us involved in the legal profession should care about diversity and inclusion.

Application for the Fall 2013 Fellowship Programme (UNAOC)
We are pleased to announce the Fall 2013 Fellowship programme in the MENA region for European and North American young professionals. Current events, the recent Baku Alumni Forum and the last cohort of MENA Fellows this past June underscore the need for accelerated dialogue and action in fostering peace, understanding, trust and cooperation. We are proud of all of our Fellows work in these areas and look forward to welcoming a new batch of exceptional young leaders to this group. The Fellowship programme has an open call for applications this fall for European and North American participants, that will close on September 3, 2013 for this session.

Visible minorities have a major impact in society (South Asian Generation Next)
Rajni Tekriwal, a Barrister and Solicitor, is the founder of Rajni Tekriwal Law Office in Toronto, Ontario. She practices in the fields of corporate law, real estate, family law, child-protection, and wills and estates. Currently, Rajni is the corporate secretary and director of Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (2013-14). In conversation with Generation Next, Rajni discusses her journey as an immigrant to Canada and the idea of multiculturalism in the legal field.

Regina mayor, officials duped by white supremacy group (CBC)
The mayor of Regina has cancelled a proclamation to declare a week in October “European Heritage Week” after he says he was fooled by a white supremacy group. The group called Nationalist Party of Canada put in a request in July. Mayor Michael Fougere said the letter was “very innocuous in the way it was written…it was supporting languages, culture, diversity of Europe and what happens in Europe here in Canada.” Fougere said the city has a screening process which the letter went through, but without knowing much more about it he signed off on the request. “I’m not hiding from this,” said Fougere. “We made a mistake. An honest mistake, we corrected it and its now time to move on.”

Scarborough Afro-Caribbean Festival “bigger and better” in second year (Yonge Street Media)
In 2012, when the staff at Scarborough’s Heritage Skills Development Centre (HSDC) decided to throw the region’s first Afro-Carribean arts and culture festival, they were pressed for both time and money. “We just had this idea and we had to put it together in three weeks,” says Madeline Nwokeji, program director at HSDC. “The only funding we had was a very small amount from the Canadian Heritage Department.”

Canada Needs More Immigrants and Skilled Workers, Says MoreVisas (SB Wire)
MoreVisas, one of the leaders in Indias immigration industry, is pleased to announce that Canada has just revised its immigration regulations and policies. Word has it that the lawmakers of Canada decided to change some of its immigration policies after a study concluded that the country has a shortage of skilled workers, particularly in the IT industry. According to sources, these recent revises will help skilled workers from India, Philippines, Malaysia and other countries in Asia get their immigration visas to Canada quickly and easily. This is by far good news for people seeking employment in Canada, as they now have an opportunity to fulfill their immigration aspirations in their desired country. After receiving the latest news about Canadas immigration regulations, MoreVisas has projected an increment of applicants for their Canada working visas.

A Multicultural Alphabet: Ground-Breaking New Children’s Book Celebrates Canadian Multiculturalism in the Classroom (SB Wire)
To inspire children to celebrate their international threads tightly-woven in the fabric of Canadian diversity, Aum Nicol is delighted to announce her new alphabet book. A Multicultural Alphabet is a microcosm of diversity in itself; with her family at age 3, the author moved to Canada from Trinidad, later marrying her husband of Scottish descent.

New resources on providing Access Without Fear to undocumented immigrants in Toronto (Solidarity City Network)
Scroll below to read a new report by Social Planning Toronto on obstacles and challenges to providing services to undocumented immigrants in Toronto as well as brand new resources for service providers and undocumented immigrants that can help overcome some of these challenges. More resources will be released soon, sign up to our email list to make sure you get them.

TORONTO WAS AWESOME: Korea Town and the History of Koreans in Toronto (Toronto Is Awesome)
This year is the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Korea. The immigration of Koreans to Canada began at about the same time as those diplomatic relation, and Toronto was a key landing point. The story of that migration, and its role in shaping this city, is a fascinating one. Ins Choi, the playwright of Kims Convenience, referred to Korean immigration in Toronto in a NOW magazine interview in 2011, saying that the story of Korean immigration in Toronto melds the church and the store […] theyre like the mother and father of the Korean community.

Clients needs shape programs at Rexdale Womens Centre (Tamara Shephard, Etobicoke Guardian)
We have a sense of vision. The work were doing now has really been coming from what the clients have been telling us, what the community has been saying. Some of the things weve added to our service delivery structure has really been based on our clients needs and what theyve told us theyd like to see happen. For example, we were doing settlement services for a very long time. But people were telling us, we need to connect. We need to find ways to connect better. Now we have the befriending host program connecting people with other people in the community, movie nights, a cooking club, conversation circles. People are building and fostering communities, which is really for me, one of our greatest achievements in the last five to 10 years.


New Issue of IJRL (Force Migration Review blog)
The latest issue of the International Journal of Refugee Law (IJRL) is now available. Contents for include:
Editorial: Interesting Times: 200213 [extract]
The Next Frontier: Expanding Protection in Europe for Victims of Armed Conflict and Indiscriminate Violence [abstract]
Protecting Recognized Geneva Convention Refugees outside their States of Asylum [abstract]
Reflections on Refoulement and Collective Expulsion in the Hirsi Case [abstract]
Do the Facts Speak for Themselves? Country of Origin Information in French and British Refugee Status Determination Procedures [abstract] [workshop paper]

Operational Bulletin 542 August 20, 2013 Process for referring a refused application for permanent residence on H&C grounds from a SIO to a C&I Officer when there is possibly an unreported inadmissibility or when the person may hold no legal status in Canada and has no removal order (CIC)
The purpose of this Operational Bulletin is to provide direction to the Backlog Reduction Office (BRO) network and their associated local Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) offices so that any refused Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) application at a BRO, when there is possibly an unreported inadmissibility or when the person may hold no legal status in Canada and has no removal order, are referred to a Citizenship and Immigration (C&I) Officer for further investigation.


May/June 2013 : Dreaming of Diversity (HR Professional)

Fire Services plans to hire more women and minorities because diversity is good (Robyn Urback, National Post)
The report reeks of influence from Toronto City Council, which generally enjoys wielding a supercilious hand over various arms-length city operations. Indeed, if Toronto Council can puff its chest at street vendors who brazenly try to sell fresh sandwiches, I suppose it has no problem gently nudging Toronto Fire to change the face of its force. But while diversity, in theory, can be a boon to many workplaces, a fire department is not a focus group. Or a city planning committee, or a law firm. While those groups may benefit from the varying perspectives that come from diverse personnel, racial background and gender should make virtually no difference to emergency fire situations, especially when firefighters appearances are cloaked under layers of Lion Flame Fighter gear.

You cant set diversity targets for patriotism (Matt Gurney, National Post)
According to reports from Postmedia, the Canadian Armed Forces are moving away from ambitious targets for the recruitment of minorities women, visible minorities and aboriginals into the military. Since 2010, the military had launched dozens of initiatives to achieve a force structure that was one-quarter women, 11.8% visible minorities and 3.4% aboriginal.

Immigration: The New Normal (Laurie J. Blake, HR Pro Mag)
HRP: Why arent employers helping the TFWs become permanent residents?
EA: Often, its simply that no one thinks about it, or plans for it. The process to become a permanent resident takes time and is expensive; it can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 to go through the process. And, once the worker becomes a permanent resident, there is nothing to keep them working for the original employer. One way to solve this type of problem is to discuss the idea of some kind of written retention agreement with the potential new Canadian, in which they agree to pay back some of the legal costs by remaining in the employ of the original employer for a certain amount of time. Employers need to start planning their workforce needs and take into consideration whether they want to get involved in helping valuable TFWs become permanent residents.

Edmonton Engineers! ERIEC needs your expertise as a Mentor! (ERIEC)
Are you an established engineer working and based here in Edmonton? ERIEC needs you as a Mentor for an afternoon! Speed Career Networking is an event which focuses on information sharing and time-efficient networking between local professionals and internationally-trained professionals who have recently settled in Edmonton and are job ready. This is not a recruitment event! The mentees or internationally trained professionals who attend these events recognize this and are expected only to expand their professional networks and learn more about pursuing an Engineering career in Canada from local professionals like you!

Fund to help skilled immigrants return to their professions (Chronicle Herald)
At the Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services (ISIS) in Halifax on Wednesday, Minister of State (Social Development) Candice Bergen, announced that the Government of Canada will give the agency over $1-million to provide 125 loans through the Foreign Credential Recognition Loan Pilot Project to help people like Nocon. Bergen made the announcement on behalf of Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism. The governments entire caucus is focused on jobs to ensure the economy remains strong, that Canadians have jobs that are available and that employers have the skilled workers that they need, Bergen said.

Government of Canada Supports Foreign Credential Recognition for Newcomers in Nova Scotia (ISIS)
ISIS received over $1 million to provide 125 loans through the Foreign Credential Recognition Loan Pilot Project. The pilot project provides loans to help newcomers and Canadians trained abroad cover the costs of having their credentials recognized so they can find jobs in their fields more quickly. For many, the cost of licensing, exams, training and skills upgrading presents a significant challenge to credential recognition.

Government of Canada supports foreign credential recognition for newcomers in Nova Scotia (Canada Newswire)
The Government of Canada is helping internationally trained workers overcome financial barriers to getting their credentials recognized so that they can find jobs at their skill level as quickly as possible. The announcement was made today in Halifax by the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), on behalf of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism.

When Does Racism Amount to a Poisoned Workplace? (Lisa Stam, Canadian Employment Human Rights Law)
Does racism necessarily lead to a poisoned workplace? At the end of last month, the Ontario Court of Appeal concluded in General Motors of Canada Limited v Yohann Johnson that while the former employee, Johnson, genuinely believed that he had been the victim of racism in his workplace and that his perception of events unfortunately led to stress and mental anguish, the evidence did not support Johnsons claim of a work environment poisoned by racism or constructive dismissal. In a fairly rare move, the Court of Appeal overturned the trial decision because it disagreed with the trial judges factual conclusions, rather than any significant concern with the application of law.

Nurses in High Demand throughout Canada (South Asian Generation Next)
There is currently a high demand for nurses throughout Canada. A recent immigration change has again made it possible for nurses to immigrate to Canada without a job offer. On August 1st 2013 Canadas Province of Quebec announced important changes to its popular Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program, which results in a Canadian Permanent Residency Visa. Under the revised QSW program, nurses will receive even more points than previously for their education/area of training.


Is Sector Confidence Rebounding? (Imagine Canada)
Imagine Canada established the Sector Monitor program in the aftermath of the economic downturn to provide ongoing answers to questions like the one posed above. Based on findings from the most recent edition of the survey, the best available answer seems to be probably.

Governor General of Canada to Help Carleton Launch Graduate Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Program (Daily Exchange)
Carleton University will launch a one-of-a-kind Graduate Diploma in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program on Aug. 22. His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will be in attendance and will give an address at the Celebrating Philanthropy panel discussion. In addition, Carleton President Roseann OReilly Runte, the inaugural students in the program and Susan Phillips, director of the School of Public Policy and Administration, will be available.

Nonprofits: Master medium data before tackling Big Data (Philanthropy Journal)
Every day, humanity adds approximately 2.5 quintillion bytes of data to our collective store of knowledge. Looking over this treasure trove, scientists, financiers, and business leaders are justifiably giddy about the potential of Big Data. For the nonprofit community, Big Data also offers immense potential. But with our mere billions of data points we’re not quite ready for it. Instead, we need to get “medium data” right first. Big Data is the search for meaning in the haystacks of massive databases of transactions, sensor readings, and records. For nonprofits, medium data is a humbler but essential prerequisite: structured information about who you are, what you’re trying to do, and what’s happening.


Raising low-wage workers out of poverty: What is the government doing? (Jenny Carson, rabble)
Governments at all levels have abdicated their responsibility to balance corporate and worker interests to maintain a healthy and balanced economy. The consequences for workers — in the form of shrinking wages, increased job insecurity and declining health — have been disastrous. It is with cautious optimism then that we should greet recent municipal, provincial and federal-level efforts to address worker poverty and income inequality. On July 19, Toronto City Council voted 28-3 to update the City’s Fair Wage Policy. First established in 1893, the Fair Wage Policy requires contractors and suppliers for the city to pay their workers the prevailing market wages and benefits in their field of employment or, for unionized fields, union rates. The policy was designed to protect workers from unscrupulous contractors trying to underbid their competitors by paying their workers less than the prevailing wage rates, and to enhance the city’s reputation as an ethical employer. However, because the rates had not been updated since 2003, until last month many of the city’s “fair wages” fell below the Ontario minimum wage of $10.25 an hour.

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Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

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