Immigration & Diversity news headlines – August 30, 2013


How many immigrants should Canada allow in 2014? (Andy Radia, Yahoo! News)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) wants your help in determining 2014 immigration levels. They really do! At least that’s what their website says: We are seeking your feedback on immigration to Canada, specifically on the total number of new permanent residents Canada should welcome and how this overall total should be distributed among immigration categories. The consultation will explore a number of issues related to three main questions: – What is the appropriate level of immigration for Canada, this year and beyond? – What is the best ratio – or mix – between the number of economic immigrants, family class immigrants and the refugee/humanitarian class? – Economic immigration is a key immigration goal for Canada’s long-term economic growth. What role can immigration play to support Canada’s economy? You can add your voice to the discussion, here. The online consultations end on August 31. Regardless of whether CIC is serious about canvassing public opinion, the debate about immigration seems to be heating up.

Opposition MPs say Fraser Institute off-base on immigration (Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Sun)
A study by the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute that calls for a “radical” overhaul of immigration was denounced Thursday by opposition MPs. Study author Herb Grubel, an economist and former colleague of Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a Reform MP after the 1993 election, argued recent immigrants represent a net cost to Canadians of $20 billion a year. The report published Thursday called on Ottawa to continue to allow immigrants already in Canada to sponsor parents and grandparents, but said new immigrants shouldn’t have that option. Grubel said parents and grandparents, who often pay few taxes but can be expensive for the health care system, are a big part of the “fiscal burden.” But MPs said Grubel is overlooking key issues.

Video: Immigrants a ‘fiscal burden’ (CBC)
Fraser Institute says sponsoring seniors is not cost-effective

Video: Immigrants a ‘fiscal burden’ (CBC)
Herbert Grubel wants to end sponsorship of parents, grandparents.

Video: Immigration lawyer reacts (CBC)
Zool Suleman says parents, grandparents improve workers’ lives

Audio: The economics of immigration (CBC)
A new Fraser Institute report says Canada’s immigration selection process costs taxpayers too much. We get reaction from people who provide immigrant services.

Online Discussion: The impact of social norms on female migration (Wikigender)
This online discussion will be a unique opportunity to discuss, exchange views and best practices on this issue. Participants are invited to share findings from their research or their own experiences of migration with other members of the discussion.

Immigration selection should be based on businesses’ needs: Report (Toronto Sun)
Immigrants to Canada have been costing taxpayers since 1986, and the solution is to base the immigration process on the needs of businesses, a new study from a right-wing think-tank suggests. Since 1986, the Fraser Institute study reports, immigrants have earned less money and pay less tax than they receive in benefits from government spending. That amounts to an annual cost of $20 billion.

Immigrants a ‘fiscal burden,’ Fraser Institute report suggests (CBC)
The report also advocates for a public inquiry about the number of immigrants that are admitted into Canada on economic and humanitarian grounds. Grubel said his research also indicated that immigrants who arrived in Canada after 1986 have been less successful economically than those who arrived before that time.

VIDEO: King’s words also changed Canada (Editorial, The Record)
For many Canadians, it became impossible to cheer King and the civil rights marchers without carrying the struggle against inequality into this country. And so within just a few years our immigration laws were overhauled to become colour-blind. Within a few more years, our federal government made multiculturalism — the notion that every culture is a respected piece of the Canadian mosaic — official policy. Nearly 20 years later the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was cemented into our Constitution. Women’s rights were advanced. The plight of aboriginal communities became a greater priority. True, the elimination of all discrimination and complete equality have not been achieved in either the U.S. or Canada. But the journey to the promised land takes many steps. King’s words 50 years ago gave us a necessary shove down the path. Let us keep walking.

Stopping prejudice in its tracks (Brian Lin, UBC)
A new campaign encourages students to challenge prejudice with one word: Really? Consider this scenario: your class breaks off into discussion groups and a classmate keeps saying “that’s so retarded!” whenever she disagrees with someone. Or this: A new classmate says he’s from Toronto. A friend, judging the newcomer by his appearance, asks him: Where are you really from? What would you do?

Neighbourhood Arts Network TD Arts Diversity Award (eighbourhood Arts Network)
The Neighbourhood Arts Network TD Arts Diversity Award is a $5000 cash prize sponsored by TD Bank Group. This award celebrates an arts organization that has made a significant contribution in Toronto by working collaboratively with culturally diverse communities, youth and community groups that create opportunities to access, and contribute to, arts and culture. The award will be administered by the Toronto Arts Foundation and the Neighbourhood Arts Network. A jury will select five (5) finalists for the award.

Operational Bulletin 528 – August 29, 2013 – Sponsorship undertakings submitted in support of Applications for Permanent Residence in Canada based on Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations (CIC)
While sponsorship undertakings have traditionally been accepted with in-Canada Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) applications, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) only provided specific authority to require and enforce sponsorship undertakings for Refugees and for the Family Class. The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (PCISA) introduced legislative amendments to IRPA allowing regulations to be drafted to enforce other undertakings. This Operational Bulletin (OB) describes the rationale for not implementing sponsorship regulations for H&C applications and explains modest changes to processing current H&C applications that include sponsorship undertakings.

Journey to Promote Mental Health (Settlement AtWork)
The Journey to Promote Mental Health project provides interactive workshops for settlement workers with the key objective of enhancing the capacity of settlement service workers in addressing the mental health issues presented by the individuals they serve and making timely referrals to appropriate services in the mental health and community health systems.

Quebec’s proposed head-gear ban speaks volumes about Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star)
Federal reaction to Quebec’s proposed ban on religious symbols speaks volumes. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is firmly but politely opposed. Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats hope the whole issue will miraculously go away. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are vigorously trying to say nothing. For Premier Pauline Marois’ Parti Quebecois government, the as-yet-undefined proposal to limit the use of religious headgear in publicly-funded settings appears to have the makings of a political winner.

High schools preparing newcomer students with NOW program (Joel Boyce, Windsor Star)
Arien Velasquez wants to pay it forward to new immigrant high school students because she’s been down that road before. The first day of school may be frightening and challenging for every student. But for newcomers from a different country who speak a different language, it’s downright terrifying, Velasquez says. “I know what they are going through because I was in their shoes two years ago,” she said.


Hinton Scouts introduce refugees to camping (Hinton Parklander)
The Second Hinton Scouts will be helping new immigrants and refugees enjoy the great Canadian wilderness this month. It’s the first time the local Scouts group is participating in Jasper National Park’s Learn to Camp program, which brings together a group of new immigrants to Canada, many with a refugee background, to enjoy a weekend of camping. The event is free of charge for the new Canadians, organized by Parks Canada and Alberta Parks. A similar event took place in William A. Switzer Provincial Park last month.


Alberta companies allowed to pay less to foreign workers (Matt McClure, Edmonton Journal)
Hundreds of Alberta employers are being allowed to bring temporary foreign workers into the province at minimum wage despite a federal government requirement they be paid at or near market rates. Internal documents reveal officials at Human Resources and Skill Development Canada are letting businesses like big restaurant chains and large nurseries pay imported employees as little as $9.75 an hour. The Alberta Federation of Labour — which obtained proof of the 243 approvals during a recent 10-month period through a federal access to information request — says the government is sanctioning the exploitation of temporary foreign workers. “They’re being used as pawns by employers who don’t want to respond to the market signals that are telling them they need to raise wages,” AFL president Gil McGowan said.

New federal rules put pressure on small venues (Suzy Thompson, FFWD Weekly)
Local performance venues are raising a stink over changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Following complaints that employers were using the program to obtain foreign labour at lower costs than hiring Canadians, the federal government issued a series of changes to the TFWP aimed at deterring abuses. Namely, employers are now required to pay $275 for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) — an application to bring someone into Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker program — for each member of the band. LMOs were previously free. While $275 may seem like a minimal charge for an employer who is gaining an employee for up to five years, small-scale music venues are saying they can’t afford to pay $275 per head to bring music acts to town for a single night of playing, especially when there is an additional $150 fee for individual work permits, or a $450 group fee.

Getting “Canadian Experience” Through MAPLE 2.0 (CFEE BC)
Professional newcomers to Canada face a Catch-22 situation: They can’t get a job in their profession without Canadian experience and they can’t get Canadian experience because they can’t get a job. MAPLE 2.0, a national project funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and offered in BC by the Immigrant Services Society, was designed to fill this recruitment gap.

Foreign nannies, caregivers shouldn’t necessarily get permanent residency in Canada (Martin Collacott, The Province)
The live-in caregiver program itself, however, also requires a thorough review and overhaul in view of the questionable premises on which it is based. Live-in caregivers are, in fact, the only temporary foreign workers who are virtually guaranteed permanent residence in Canada if they can stick it out for two years here in the jobs for which they are hired. In effect, the program ensures that the caregiver will be able to stay here permanently and bring in their family members without having to meet the usual requirements for those coming here as members of the economic class. Who benefits from this arrangement and who do not?


New report explores staffing trends in Canadian nonprofit sector (Charity Village)
In the edition of Imagine Canada’s Sector Monitor survey conducted between November, 2012 and January, 2013, the HR Council commissioned a number of questions that looked at various aspects of paid staff human resources. The resulting report, Staffing Trends in Canadian Charities, 2012, summarizes the survey findings, looking at four key areas: hiring activity; recruitment and retention challenges; human resources infrastructure and management capacities; change in staff levels over time.



Social policy is health policy (Patrica O’Campo, Vancouver Sun)
As health equity researchers, it’s part of our job to measure the relationship between social conditions and health outcomes. Often, we try to link one social condition, like income, to one health outcome, like diabetes, low birth weight or mental illness — the list goes on. Using this approach, we are able to demonstrate when low income is associated with a higher risk of having a specific problem. What we don’t generally measure, however, is the overall impact of low income on physical and mental health.

Health equity critical to transforming system, says outgoing CMA president (CMAJ)
In her final address as president of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Anna Reid made an impassioned plea for the importance of improving the social determinants of health, even as she acknowledged increasing political pressure to cut costs to make medicare sustainable. “We will be unable to sustain our health care system if we do not address these determinants,” Reid told about 300 doctors and other health care professionals attending the CMA’s General Council meeting in Calgary, Alberta today. “If governments want to bend the cost curve on health care spending as they say they do, one way to start is to look at the upstream factors in people’s lives that make them sick.”

Bob Dylan, Maggie’s Farm, Bringing it all back home (John Stapleton, Open Policy Toronto)
We don’t need a new poverty measure that grows more than half the rate of inflation. We don’t need a new measure of inflation that counts the increases in real costs that the poor must pay. We don’t need a new rate increase that provides a monthly benefit that is $37 below what Bob Rae increased it to when Kim Campbell was Prime Minister. We need new thinking that refuses to justify erosion and fails to think that nickels and dimes make a difference. Social assistance has no more money to give. But a completely transformed system of income security- that opens doors without penalty – just might.

Project to bust poverty myths kicks off (Sarah Frank, My Kawartha)
It’s a common misconception Tamara Mann heard while she was living in poverty, and accessing food banks herself. It’s myths like this one the Peterborough woman wants to help deconstruct with a group of other Peterborough residents through a digital storytelling project. The group, led by Seeds of Change and the Nourish project, gathered some ideas during their first meeting at George Street United Church on Thursday (Aug. 29). With help from Ms Mann, along with other residents who have lived the experience, the group plans to bust 10 myths about poverty through digital storytelling. The process will involve putting a narrative to images, sound, and possibly video clips.

Poverty lowers brain power, making it harder to figure out ways to escape: study (Sheryl Ubelacker, Maclean’s)
Dealing with poverty takes up so much mental energy that the poor have less brain power for making decisions and taking steps to overcome their financial difficulties, a study suggests. The research, published Thursday in the journal Science, concludes that a person’s cognitive abilities can be diminished by such nagging concerns as hanging on to a place to live and having enough money to feed their families. As a result, there is less “mental bandwidth” left over for education, training, time-management and other steps that could help break the cycle of poverty, the researchers contend.

September 2013 E-bulletin (CCLA)
CCLA: “Government focus should be on police de-escalation techniques, not expanded Taser use”
CCLA extremely concerned about Canadians arrested in Egypt
CCLA stands up for LGBTQ equality at home and abroad
Bible distribution in our schools
CCLA responds to Quebec’s religious symbols ban
In case you missed it: CCLA presents “Seeking Access to Information”
G20 play You Should Have Stayed Home hits the road

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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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