Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Sept 12, 2013


Ontario hospital seeks Quebec doctors affected by ban (CTV)
Lakeridge Health’s Kevin Empey says more staff and doctors are needed, so they saw the religious ban as an opportunity for recruitment.

US takes hit in perceptions among Canadians on human rights (Nanos-UB Nine Year Tracking Study) (Nik on the Numbers)
We are in year nine of our tracking study with the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY-UB). The Nanos-UB North American monitor looks at the views of Canadians and Americans on border and security issues and co-operation. Of note, the survey was completed at a time of focus on speculated intervention in Syria by the US. A review of the long term tracking of the perceptions of Canadians human rights alignment among Canadas major trading partners suggests that the US has taken a significant current image hit in Canada as a result of US speculation of an intervention in Syria. The percentage of Canadians who said that the US was the country most aligned with Canada on human rights issues has dropped from 49 percent to 27 percent over the past year.

The Opposite of Inclusive Is Incomplete (Slaw)
Lawyers work in one of the least diverse professions in any country, Dr. Arin Reeves told the Monday morning plenary session at the 2013 CBA Legal Conference in Saskatoon. It was something the women and minorities in the largely white, male audience had probably already guessed. And they no doubt nodded vigorously, or even silently applauded, when she said that diversity is not merely a matter of including a few people who dont look like you on a team its a matter of including them because you value their input, because you know theyll bring something important to the table.

Asian business leaders transforming Hamilton (Lisa Marr, Hamilton Spectator)
Leon Lee, a thirty-something computer whiz, decided four years ago he was going to launch a website for Hamilton’s Chinese-Canadian community. The Chinese-language news and information site has grown steadily as its advertising base expands alongside the growing Chinese business influence in the city. Lee still has a while to wait before he can give up his day job in IT, but the site seems to be on its way.

Immigrants lagging economically in Quebec: Statscan (Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette)
Quebec lags behind the rest of Canada when it comes to the economic integration of immigrants, new data from Statistics Canadas National Household Survey suggest. More newcomers live below the low-income threshold in Quebec than in any other province except Prince Edward Island (which has just 146,000 residents), an analysis of 2011 Census results by the Montreal-based Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration shows. The poverty gap between immigrants and non-immigrants is also greater in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada, with the exception of P.E.I., it reveals.

Immigrants Are Staggeringly Costly? Nice Try, Fraser Institute (The Tyee)
My best guess it that the Fraser Institute expects no one to read the report behind their newest sensationalist press release, in which they claim that the cost of immigrants to Canada is staggeringly high. Anyone who looked at the report more closely would find false claims, deliberately misleading arguments, a naive understanding of global migration trends, and evident ignorance of what informs Canada’s immigration priorities. The report is so poor and illogical that it cannot be taken seriously as contributing to public debates about policy reform in the domain of immigration.

Canada is a land of diversity, but not among the rich (Heather Scoffield, Metro News)
Already, the NHS shows that second-generation immigrants are making far more money than the national median. And ethnic groups that are well-established in Canada, such as Japanese immigrants, are also well above the median. As for the other end of the spectrum, the bottom 10 per cent of income earners tend to live in cities, especially Montreal. Low-income neighbourhoods are known for their high proportions of visible minorities and recent immigrants, and a preponderance of single parents. While the national median annual income for a full-time worker is $50,699, the median for a visible-minority worker is just $45,128. For a First Nations full-time worker, the median income is $41,684.

Ottawa commits $306K to fight violence against women (Roger Belgrave, South Asian Focus)
The federal government is providing more than $300,000 for a Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) project developed to address violence against Muslim women. Dr Kellie Leitch, Minister of Status of Women, and Brampton West MP Kyle Seeback, announced the funding at a news conference in Brampton. The Conservative government will provide the council with $306,040 for a national project conducting work to counter violence committed in the name of so-called honour and other such gender-based abuse facing all women in Canada.

National Household Survey: Immigrants, minorities struggle in Canada (Steve Rennie, Toronto Star)
Samer Elbanna left Egypt in search of a better life for his family. But leaving a job in procurement one that had him dealing with companies all over the world in order to sling burgers at an Ottawa fast food joint wasnt what he had in mind. Now the 29-year-old is casting a longing glance back at his homeland, wondering if he has a better shot there at the life he dreams about. Im now thinking a lot of that. Because my life is not easy here, Elbanna said. So Im thinking about going back to Egypt. I have everything there, or I have to fight here to be something.

Immigration board seen as culpable in young womans death (Ottawa Citizen)
Cartwright was an Alberta woman killed two years ago. Her family is outraged after learning her accused killer, a Somalian immigrant with a lengthy record, was ordered deported in 2009 but was released by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Immigrants are driving growth in Metro Vancouver (Jock Finlayson, The Province)
A final demographic development that warrants mention is immigration and its role in re-shaping the population. Globally, Canada ranks near the top in the number of immigrants admitted, measured relative to the size of the existing population. In an average year, Canada welcomes 240,000 to 260,000 permanent newcomers. On top of this are sizable inflows of foreign temporary workers and students. According to the 2011 census, foreign-born residents comprise 26 per cent of British Columbias population; in the Lower Mainland, the proportion is much higher 41 per cent. By the time of the 2021 census, half of all Greater Vancouver residents likely will have been born outside of Canada.

The Latest Wave of Irish Immigrants to Canada (Mark Brosens, TVO The Agenda)
While walking around Torontos streets, Ive been hearing a lot more Irish accents lately. Then news stories surfaced of 6,350 working visas Canada allocated to Irish citizens this year being scooped up in two and a half days, suggesting that this isnt just my imagination. Waves of Irish immigrants have come to Canada over the centuries and they helped shape this country. As Canadian immigrant demographics changed in recent decades, it seemed that large numbers of Irish immigrants coming to this country would be a thing of the past. However, Irelands prolonged economic problems after the 2008 financial crisis have resulted in a new wave of Irish immigrants.

Study finds racial and ethnic differences in outcomes following a stroke known as subarachnoid hemorrhage (Leslie Shepherd, St. Michael’s Hospital)
Race or ethnicity can be a significant clue in the United States as to who will survive a kind of stroke known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage and who will be discharged to institutional care, a new study has found. Compared to Caucasians, Asian/Pacific Islander patients were more likely and Hispanic patients less likely to die of a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or SAH, while in the hospital. African-American patients were more likely than Caucasians to require institutional care following discharge from the hospital, although their risk of death while in the hospital was similar.

Biometrics Now Required in Some Visa Applications (Settlement.Org)
Biometric data, such as fingerprints and photos, is now required for citizens from specific countries when applying for visitor visas, study permits or work permits. Right now, this information is required from citizens of Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica.

International students take their seats in Huron County classrooms (Heather Boa, Huron News Now)
Nearly 70 students from countries like Brazil, Spain and Mexico are taking seats in public schools throughout the Avon Maitland district this fall. In an international program that has grown rapidly since its beginnings two years ago, students with little or no English skills live with local families in Huron and Perth counties while attending classes. They range from youngsters in Grades 7 and 8 who have come from a cultural experience to high school students who want to polish their English the international language of commerce or hope to achieve an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, their ticket to many universities around the world.

One-percenters a throwback to the Canada of old, Statcan survey shows (680 News)
For all the growing diversity the 2011 census and related surveys have portrayed in Canada, Wednesdays final release reveals a contrasting constant: the richest of the rich in Canada are married, middle-aged white men.

#CdnImm Event #17 – Francophone Immigration to Ontario (OCASI)
Following up on the success of #CdnImm Event #15 held in French in May 2013 on the topic of Immigration and the Francophone Community in Ontario, this event in English has been organized to bring together Anglophone and Francophone communities to discuss issues specific to Francophone immigration in Ontario. The Francophone community in Ontario is growing. Numbered at 611,000 people in 2013, its internal diversity is a richness which can benefit the community. In terms of immigration, how can the Francophone community build a win-win partnership with the majority Anglophone community? What can Francophone agencies learn from Quebecs experience in terms of welcoming and integrating newcomers? For many observers of the Franco-Ontarian scene, the added value brought by Francophone newcomers has not been sufficiently taken into account by the mainstream Francophone community.

Rights, partners, action Ontario Human Rights Commission releases its 2012-2013 Annual Report (OHRC)
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released its 2012-2013 Annual Report. OHRC Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall commented, The year began with a dual celebration, as we marked the 50th anniversary of the Ontario Human Rights Code and the welcome addition of two new Code grounds, gender identity and gender expression. Yet, 50 years after Ontarios Human Rights Code (the Code) was enacted there are still many people who believe that human rights violations are a thing of the past; everyday I am reminded that is not the case.

Podcast – Canada: Still a Land of Opportunity? (TVO The Agenda)
For many immigrants to Canada, our country offered new hope and a new life. Does that still hold true for new Canadians? As part of the “Dude, Where’s My Future?” series, The Agenda examines if Canada is still a land of opportunity for immigrants.


Poll: Rest of Canada decries Quebecs charter, but opposes some religious symbols (Global News)
Canadians outside Quebec say they oppose that provinces proposed Charter of Values but that doesnt mean theyre comfortable with all religious symbols in the public sphere: More than two-thirds of respondents to an Angus-Reid poll released Wednesday would ban kirpans; almost as many would prohibit public servants from wearing burqas. The poll was taken this week while Quebec Premier Pauline Marois was unveiling a proposed Charter of Values that would, among other things, prohibit public employees from wearing a hijab, turban, kippa or large crosses.

Montreal-area municipalities say theyll opt out of controversial PQ plan (Allan Woods, Toronto Star)
The municipalities that make up the island of Montreal have united against the Quebec governments proposed charter of values and intend to opt out of the divisive program if the minority Parti Québécois government ever succeeds in passing it into law. The rebuke comes from a group of 15 suburban mayors and the main candidates currently running to become the next mayor of the City of Montreal. It pits the representatives of more than 1.8-million Quebecers more than one-fifth of the provinces population against a contentious proposal from Premier Pauline Marois party to ban the wearing of religious symbols like hijabs, turbans, kippas and large crucifixes by public-sector employees. Phillipe Roy, the mayor of town of Mount Royal and the representative of the Association of Suburban Municipalities, said their 15-city organization intends to opt out en masse.

Values charter: Maghreb francophones will be less likely to immigrate to Quebec, expert says (Aaron Derfel, Montreal Gazette)
Quebecs proposed charter of values will discourage many francophone migrants from the Maghreb region of northwest Africa from settling in the province, warns an expert on charters of rights and minorities. Indeed, that might already be happening since Quebecers started debating the hotly contested issue of reasonable accommodation in 2006, suggest the latest data on immigration by the Institut de la statistique du Québec. Quebec will not be seen as a land of opportunity for prospective migrants, said Emmanuelle Richez, a postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University.

Would Quebec be Able to Deliver True Multiculturalism? (Tahir Gora, South Asian Generation Next)
There is no conservative government or liberal government in Quebec that is seeking restrictions on Islamic radicalization in the province. Rather, it is the Parti Quebecois government which wants to introduce a new secular charter ASAP. If it had been a current Conservative Party seeking for such legislation at federal or provincial level there would have been such a hue and cry, and there would not be a shortage of Islamist-left alliances for calling them the puppets of American NeoCons, despite the fact that there is no NeoCon government in the U.S.

Charter of values: Old dogs, nous tricks (Paul Wells, Maclean’s)
Hé, si vous voulez, là, on va cesser de parler des francophones du Quebec, voulez-vous? Jacques Parizeau told the crowd at the Montreal convention centre on the night of the 1995 referendum. Hey, if you want, lets stop talking about Quebec francophones. On va parler de nous. À 60 per cent, on a voté pour! Lets talk about us. And 60 per cent of us voted in favour of sovereignty. Later in the speech, Quebecs premier made his remark about money and ethnic votes, much more widely remembered today. Parizeau announced his retirement from politics the next day. But its that noususthats worth examining now.

Far from certain Quebecers will side with PQ on values charter (Andrew Coyne, National Post)
It is the details that clarify. So long as the debate remained shrouded in generalities like reasonable accommodation or secularism or, to use the Parti Québécois preferred euphemism, Quebecs values it was possible for people of goodwill to persuade themselves that nothing unusual was going on. Earnest graduate students could still be found to explain how what might appear to be a crude swipe at religious minorities was in fact reflective of a different, distinctly French approach to secularism.

Quebec charter is an embarrassment to Canadian values and human dignity (Kelly McParland, National Post)
Should Quebecs proposed new Charter of Quebec values somehow become law, residents of the province will have to make a calculation: does the satisfaction they presumably obtain from keeping Sikhs out of public employment make up for image of oafishness and intolerance the charter gains them? The document would be hilarious if it werent so sad. Canadians outside Quebec should be insulted at being associated with a community that would produce, and seriously contemplate adopting, such a horrific assault on their own values. The perversity of the logic behind it makes one wonder about the quality of the schooling its originators received.

Religious Symbols (CBC Metro Morning)
Quebec’s proposed ban on public employees wearing religious symbols is drawing criticism from across Canada. Matt Galloway spoke with Gilary Massa. She is one of the co-founders of the Right 2 Wear campaign, and with Jarrod Grover. He is the senior Rabbi of Beth Tikvah Synagogue near Finch and Bayview.

Quebec religious symbols ban: CCLA responds (CCLA)
Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, director of CCLAs Equality Program spoke to the Canadian Press to provide our stance on the issue. If we want to have diversity and equality in our society, we need to have diverse leaders, we need to have diverse role models This proposal would essentially say thats not possible, a person has to hide aspects of their diversity and certain people wont be able to fill those roles at all, she said.

Making the face of the Quebec state ‘secular’: What’s the hurry? (Karl Nerenberg, rabble)
After Quebec’s Minister for Democratic Institutions and Citizen Participation, Bernard Drainville, unveiled (no play on words intended) the Marois government’s long-awaited “secularism charter,” the Harper government sent senior cabinet minister Jason Kenney to the microphones to respond. Kenney said that the right to freedom of religion does not include freedom from religion — which sounds good, but may be a bit beside the point.

How Politicians Are Using Quebec’s Charter to Their Advantage (Rachel Decoste, Huffington Post)
Hyperopia, commonly known as being farsighted, is a defect of vision caused by an imperfection in the eye making it difficult to focus on near objects. People with hyperopia can experience blurry near-vision, among other symptoms. It doesn’t take a doctor to render this diagnosis. Even a layman can see that farsightedness is afflicting a number of Canadian politicians these days. Whether it is Ontario MPP Monte Kwinter or Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, they’ve been using Quebec’s not-yet-debated, not-yet-modified, not-yet-voted, not-yet-implemented or enforced values charter to score political points at home.


Call for immigration measures to respond to the Syrian crisis (CCR)
The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) and the Syrian Canadian Council today called on the Canadian Government to introduce immigration measures to respond to the conflict in Syria. Two million Syrians have been forced to flee as refugees and many others are internally displaced.The countries neighbouring Syria are responding generously but the scale of displacement is overwhelming: Canada can do more to provide solutions to some of the displaced, especially those with connections to Canada and the most vulnerable, said Loly Rico, CCR President.

Memos to the Minister on resettlement of refugees (CCR)
The attached memos to the Minister were obtained by the CCR through Access to Information. The three memos are:
Follow-up to Portfolio Briefing on Improving Government Assisted Refugee Outcomes, 12 October 2012 (for information)
Resettled Refugee Populations: Multi-Year Commitments for 2013 and Beyond, 30 October 2012 (for decision)
Options for managing Resettled Refugees with High Needs, 11 December 2012 (for decision)

Canada needs to do its part now for Syrian refugees, advocates tell feds (Metro News)
The Canadian Council for Refugees and the Syrian Canadian Council are asking Ottawa to introduce new measures to help Syrians escape the conflict in their homeland. The current measures arent responding at all to the needs of those in the region, said Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees. United Nations data shows more than 4.25 million Syrians are internally displaced. Two million refugees from Syria have fled to neighboring countries, which are hard-pressed to care for them.

Canada needs to accept more Syrian refugees: Liberals (Annie Bergeron-Oliver, iPolitics)
As the international community cautiously seeks a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria, the Liberals are calling on the government to expedite visas for Syrian refugees. Earlier this summer, the Harper government announced a plan to resettle 1,300 Syrians. Since then, only about one hundred privately-sponsored refugees have been accepted, leaving one thousand potential claimants waiting in overcrowded refugee camps.

New Issue of JRS (Force Migration Current Awareness)
A new issue of the Journal of Refugee Studies (JRS) is now available.

E-Publication of Refugee Review: Social Movement (Refugee Research Net)
We are delighted to share with you the inaugural issue of Refugee Review: Social Movement, an open-access and peer reviewed e-journal of the New Scholars Network. You will find numerous works from researchers, practitioners, and advocates in the form of working papers, practitioner reports, discussion series, and interviews. Many of those involved in contributing to this project are in the early years of their careers, or they have participated in the review or production of material from established scholars. We welcome these new contributions and hope to continue to encourage new conversations and publications as part of this international network.

Behind the propaganda (Jim Creskey, Embassy)
It was an unfortunate time to set sail for Canada. The 72 passengers and four crew aboard the MV Ocean Lady, a rust-bucket of a vessel barely equipped for ocean travel, met their share of violent storms on their voyage across the Pacific Ocean. But they were unprepared for the political storm that struck them when they sailed into Canadian waters on Oct. 17, 2009. According to United States diplomatic cables unearthed by WikiLeaks and released in Canada by the CBC, the US was worried about the security implications of having Tamil Sri Lankan asylum claimants arriving in British Columbia just before the Vancouver Olympics. The American government was concerned that Canadas Immigration and Refugee Board would have a hard time telling the difference between genuine victims and those loyal supporters of the LTTE [Tamil Tigers] looking to reorganize outside of Sri Lanka.


Train immigrants and build social capital (Ratna Omidvar, Maytree)
On August 20, 2013, Ratna Omidvar spoke at the Queens International Institute on Social Policy conference on the topic, Immigration and Skills. This is the first in a series of excerpts from her remarks.

Connecting Immigrants to Employment: Canadian Ideas at Work (Ratna Omidvar, Maytree)
In this conversation about the skills and training agenda, it bears repeating that Canada needs a talented, educated and entrepreneurial workforce to secure its future. We know that our population is aging; we know that the projected shortfall of workers will grow as society ages. We also know that along with these changes, the nature and requirements of our labour market will also change. So it will become a question of Canadas ability to provide the right training and education to the right people at the right time. Otherwise we could well become as Rick Miner has put it, a society of People without jobs, jobs without people (PDF). But there is another factor that needs to be put on the table our domestic birth rate. Canadas domestic birth rate stands at 1.61. With annual intake at 250,000, immigration is an important factor in stabilizing our population. And if we are to trust the projections, by 2031, immigration will account for more than 80% of Canadas population growth. Without a sustained level of immigration or a substantial increase in fertility, Canadas population growth could, within 20 years, be close to zero.

Improving Your Assessment and Hiring of Candidates (
Requiring Canadian experience could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code according to the new Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) policy. Basing hiring and accreditation decisions on whether a person has Canadian experience is not a reliable way to assess a persons skills or abilities. Employers and regulatory bodies should ask about all of the candidates relevant trade, professional or other qualifications and prior experience regardless of where they obtained it from.

Etip: How to Make Your Hiring Practices Bias-Free: Removing the Canadian Experience Barrier (
On Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM EST, join us for a free webinar to learn how you can improve your hiring practices by making them bias-free. Learn about the new Ontario Human Rights Commission policy on removing Canadian experience barrier and hear from two employers on how they assess the qualifications and competencies of new employees.

EI premium freeze doesn’t help the unemployed (Povnet)
Yesterday the Conservative government announced a three year freeze on Employment Insurance premiums for employees and employers by saying that less people are unemployed and collecting EI. Advocates are saying that the reduced number of EI claimants is due to the government making it increasingly harder for applicants to be eligible for EI. They say a freeze on premiums will adversely affect the unemployed.

Migrant workers accused of sexual harassment in Leamington, Ont (CBC)
Several councillors in Leamington, Ont., are standing behind their mayor’s claims that some migrant workers living in the farming community are making unwanted sexual advances toward women. At the same time, a group of activists who fight for the rights of migrant workers is criticizing the mayor of the Tomato Capital of Canada, accusing him of “racialized stereotypes.”



National Household Survey 2011: Ontario making progress fighting poverty (Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star)
Dawn Marie Harriott was on welfare and living in a downtown Toronto rooming house during Statistics Canadas 2006 Census. Today, the 42-year-year single mother of two is earning $45,000 a year and living in a spacious apartment on the lower level of a house in Richmond Hill. Stories like Harriotts may be one reason Ontarios 13.9 per cent low-income rate was the second lowest in the country in 2010, as reported in Statistics Canadas 2011 National Household Survey, released Wednesday.

Household stats give jolt to great Canadian dream (Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star)
The great Canadian dream of a sprawling middle class, awash in home ownership and healthy incomes, has been hit with a jolt of reality in the form of StatsCans National Household Survey. The newly released numbers from the 2011 census reveal a wide, demographic chasm between the nations poor those whose annual income falls well below the $27,000 median figure for an individual and the richest in Canada. The numbers also give Canadians a better picture of the famed 1 per cent, whose wealth turned into a protest chant during the widespread Occupy demonstrations a couple of years ago.

Paycheque To Paycheque (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Michael Hlinka. He is our business commentator on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Party Membership 101 (Jennifer Phillips, Samara Canada)
This post continues a series Samara started on the ins and outs of political parties. We set out to explore several aspects of federal Canadian political parties, including their functions, regulations, finances and memberships. Today, Margaret Radon gives us a rundown of party membership and touches on what it means to her.

Anti-poverty groups to picket Liberal ‘poverty reduction’ consultation (Marketwire)
Refusing to participate in another fruitless round of consultations, anti-poverty groups will picket the Wynne government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy meeting in Toronto on Thursday. “The Liberals have had more than a decade to show they are serious about dealing with the sub-poverty social assistance system,” says Liisa Schofield, spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). “We heard no end of talk and have been asked time and again to participate in their consultation process. Despite this, people are poorer under the present ‘Social Justice Premier’ than they were under Mike Harris.”

Challenges just beginning for Canada’s most populous have-not province (Maria Babbage, Winnipeg Free Press)
These days, in hard-hit Ontario, a job is a job. “It’s hard for us,” Coombes, 23, said of the challenges she and her fellow graduates face in their search for work in their chosen field. Older applicants, some laid off after 25 years in the business, offer life and work experience that make them formidable rivals. “We’re competing with people who have been trying to find work and have three times the amount of experience as we do.” Coombes is among the casualties of Ontario’s precipitous decline from the country’s economic engine to its most populous have-not province. National Household Survey data released Wednesday by Statistics Canada shows that Ontario had two of the three urban centres with the lowest share of employment income as a percentage of total income Peterborough and St. Catharines, at 67 per cent and 66.6 per cent, respectively.–223280141.html

Vital Signs 2013 to launch Oct. 1; national report focuses on food (Community Foundations of Canada)
Community foundations in 26 communities across Canada are releasing their Vital Signs 2013 reports on Tuesday, October 1. “Vital Signs builds and shares knowledge so our communities are better prepared to mobilize around the issues that matter to them,” said Ian Bird, President, Community Foundations of Canada. More than 35 community foundations are involved in the Vital Signs program either producing a report or acting on the findings of previous reports.


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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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