Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Sept 18, 2013


The Most Discriminatory Laws in Canadian History (Rachel Decoste, Huffington Post)
Political columnist John Ivison reacted to the proposed Quebec Charter of Values with an edifying question, or perhaps it was a rhetorical comment on the severity of the uneven bill. Perhaps this is an opportunity for the historically illiterate to delve into the Canadian folklore, lead by Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney who, this week, inaugurated a similarly-themed exhibit in Banff. The exhibit entitled “Enemy Aliens, Prisoners of War: Canada’s First World War Internment Operations 1914-1920” commemorates the thousands of Canadians who were taken prisoner by their own country during the First World War.

Outrage at UBC renewed as racist chant alleged (David P. Ball,
As the University of B.C. is set to reveal its findings Wednesday about the use of an infamous rape chant, new allegations have surfaced that students also shouted a chant that mocked aboriginals during FROSH week activities. Computer science graduate and orientation squad manager Benjamin Israel said he witnessed a chant of white man, steal our land as part of a Commerce Undergraduate Students team called Pocahontas. “While they were doing the chant, they were sitting in a circle and banging on the ground rhythmically, Israel said. They were imitating a Native circle with drums … My entire squad saw this. Israel said many people witnessed the chant, but no one intervened.

My Ottawa Morning Interview (Andrew Griffith, Multicultural Meanderings)
My interview on Ottawa Morning on CBC, the main morning show. I was lucky to get the prime time morning commuter slot (8:15) and able to reach many public servants and others. Just under 9 minutes.

Video: Diverse-City 09.17.13 (Edmonton Breakfast Television)

Reciprocity proposal threatens Canadas visa-free access to Europe (Tobi Cohen,
Mexico isnt the only country growing increasingly irate over Canadas decision to impose travel visas on its citizens. Last week, the European Parliament voted in favour of a reciprocity clause that would slap visas on countries that saddle citizens of member nations with the same. Canada requires visas for European Union citizens from Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. The clause, which has yet to become law, means Canadians travelling to those countries could eventually face visa hurdles.

A message from CERIS Director (CERIS)
My appointment as Director is part of CERISs transformation into Ontarios knowledge exchange hub in immigration and settlement. In its 17 years of existence as one of the regional centres of excellence under the federally funded Metropolis project, CERIS has built a strong community of interest among researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. Whereas federal funding for the national network came to an end in March 2012, the need for knowledge sharing continues to be felt by policymakers and practitioners, as well as by researchers. With the involvement of all three parties, CERIS has thus taken upon itself to meet this need, at least in Ontario, as an independent entity.

What happens at a Canadian immigration detention review? (Maria Campos Prior)
Many people face immigration detention hearings every day. The most common cause people are detained by the Canadian immigration authorities is because they have overstayed their visas. The enforcement officers of Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) are in charge of detaining immigrants who will be granted a detention review hearing at a later stage. Another common cause for facing a detention review is permanent residents of Canada who are inadmissible based on criminality. In either case the procedure at a detention review hearing is very similar and the intention of the detention review hearing is to convince the Member of the Immigration and Refugee Board to release the immigrant.

Listen up! Chansa’s anthem, “Immigrant” (Video) (Canadian Immigrant)
If you havent heard it yet, here it is! We present Zambian-born rapper Chansas single, Immigrant an homage to the struggles faced by newcomers in Canada using his Zambian name was a way to reclaim his African roots and show the world hes proud of his heritage. Whenever I meet people the first thing that happens when I introduce myself is they say huh? and then I have to spell it out. Its so ingrained in me now that usually I spell it before I say it and then the next question is where are you from? laughs Chansa. So, I thought what better way to proclaim my Zambian-ness that going by my name; a name, Chansa says would be easily recognized by any of his countrymen as clearly Zambian.

Canada to introduce new immigration laws for Sri Lankans (The Republic Square)
Canada is to introduce new immigration requirements for several countries, including Sri Lanka, in December this year, according to Colombo Gazette. Under the new system, any travellers, including visitors, will have to submit fingerprints and photos before being allowed to enter the country.

A nice place to be (Lise Diebel, Hamilton Spectator)
Hadaya Ahmed dreams of someday working as a journalist because she loves meeting new people and learning their stories. Her welcoming personality is what makes the 16-year-old Hamilton teen the ideal choice for chairperson of the newly formed youth advisory committee for the YMCA’s Newcomer Youth Centre.–a-nice-place-to-be-/

Montreal bus video appears to show anti-Muslim altercation (CBC)
A video that appears to show a man and a Muslim woman arguing on a Montreal city bus is the latest indication of racial tensions boiling over in Quebec. The exclusive video was obtained byHuffington Post Quebec and is said to have happened on the afternoon of Aug. 28 on the 69 Gouin bus. In it, the man tells the woman, who is wearing a hijab, to go back to her country. The person who filmed it said the altercation lasted between five and 10 minutes, until the man got off the bus.

Francophones still dominate Quebec’s public service (CBC)
As Quebec debates a charter that would bar certain religious symbols from the public service, a CBC study has found that Quebecs most important public institutions are already lagging far behind Ontarios in openness to linguistic and ethnic minorities. Bernard Drainville, the Parti Québécois minister responsible for the proposed charter of Quebec values, appeared this weekend on Radio-Canadas Les Coulisses du Pouvoir to respond to criticisms of Quebecs record. We really have no lessons to learn from the rest of Canada about welcoming or integrating people, he said.

Canada’s ‘Honor’ Crime Funding Decried as Biased (Sadiya Ansari, WeNews)
Critics say the government’s targeting of anti-violence funds on specific groups of women–such as those from Muslim and South Asian communities–worsens victims’ isolation and undermines a wider push for women’s safety.

Quebec: Calling all religious organizations that welcome LGBTQ people (Montreal Gazette)
A letter to the editor today (posted on the Gazette site and in Wednesdays print edition) from an Ottawa Muslim organization sought to remind me that there are many spiritual LGBTQ people. I was heartened to see a link to a Muslim organization that welcomes LGBTQ people in Ottawa, and it inspired me to write this post.


Competing Values (TVO The Agenda)
Quebec says its “Charter of Values” ensures the religious neutrality of the state and the secular nature of public institutions. The Agenda examines what the proposals mean for religious minorities, and where the charter sits in the vision of Canadian values.

Quebec government softens stance on values charter (Allan Woods, Toronto Star)
After more than a month of religious tension and political deadlock, the Parti Québécois government has raised the spectre of a compromise solution to deal with its controversial charter of values. The call to Quebecers for advice on how to attain the goal of state secularism comes after a fractious week that has seen an internecine war break out among Quebec sovereigntists; a wave of municipal and institutional refuseniks; and a reported spike in Muslims being singled out for abuse and heckling.

Quebec values charter support down, poll shows (CBC)
A new Léger Marketing poll suggests support is dropping for the Parti Québécois governments proposed charter of Quebec values. Support for the charter is diminishing, said Christian Bourque, the vice president of Léger Marketing. The poll, conducted for the Journal de Montréal and which surveyed 2,000 people, indicates that while 43 per cent of Quebecers are in favour of the charter, 42 per cent are opposed. He said 49 per cent of the provinces francophones supported the idea of the charter. Those numbers were very different three weeks ago, when the marketing company conducted a similar poll.

Quebec minister calls for calm discussion over religious freedom (Bertrand Marotte, Globe and Mail)
Quebecs international relations minister says hes disappointed but not surprised by the backlash in English Canada to the provinces proposed charter of values. Im a bit disappointed to see that there are voices being raised that are trying to tell Quebec that it doesnt have the right to hold this debate, that it shouldnt be asking this question, that it shouldnt be taking action, that its contrary in general to individual rights, Jean-François Lisée said at a news conference Tuesday at which he called for calm and reasoned discussion over what has become a divisive, emotional set-to over secularism and religious freedom in Quebec.

Charte des valeurs: Some Good Opinion Pieces (Andrew Griffith, Multicultural Meanderings)
Starting to blink as the Quebec Minister for Montréal, Jean-François Lisée signals open to compromise. However, what sort of compromise, and how do you compromise fundamental human rights, is another matter.

Case study highlights conflict between bureaucrats, Minister Kenney on direction (John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail)
(NOTE: behind paywall)


Train employers to hire and work with immigrants (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 second in a series of excerpts from her remarks. Read other excerpts from this speech. Read the full speech In a country where immigrants make up 20% of our population, projected to increase to 25-28% by 2031, focusing only on the deficits of immigrants is short sighted. Just as immigrants have training needs, so to do employers. They must learn to deal with a new demographic. I like to compare what is happening in todays growing workforce to what happened immediately after the Second World War when large numbers of women entered the work force. As a result, employers and policy makers had to go back to school. Many years later we have a healthy range of policies ensuring that women are treated with fairness in the workforce such as maternity leave policies, rules on what you can ask or not ask in job interviews, the adjustment of height and weight restrictions and so on. Today, employers are facing a similar kind of demographic train and their approaches to sourcing, hiring, on-boarding, assessing, and promoting need to be refreshed, reviewed and updated to meet the changing times.

Denying health coverage to injured migrant workers is shameful (Nanky Rai Abeer Majeed Jim Deutsch Brendan Bailey Miriam Garfinkle, Toronto Star)
In December 2005, Javier Alonzo de Leon experienced a stroke provoked by a workplace accident. His employer attempted to deport him instead of ensuring that Javier received the appropriate medical care he needed. Community pressure prevented Javiers deportation but a few days later, he experienced a second full stroke that left him with lifelong disability preventing him from working in the same way. Javier was a seasonal agricultural worker from Mexico who did not have access to provincial health coverage in British Columbia. He is now back in Mexico without proper medical attention or financial support. Imagine getting injured at work, and instead of going to a hospital or seeing your health-care provider, you are deported from Canada. This is why we, as health professionals, are outraged by the Ontario governments intentions to challenge an independent tribunal decision to provide OHIP coverage for injured migrant workers.


PRS Consultation Schedule: Updated September 11, 2013 (25in5)
Government is continuing to invite participation in public consultations for Ontarios next Poverty Reduction Strategy. Since our last update, a consultation in Peterborough has been announced.

National Household Survey 2011: Ontario making progress fighting poverty (25in5)
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.

Hamilton neighbourhoods vanishing from new ‘census’ (Adam Carter, CBC)
The death of the long-form census has left Hamilton full of black holes of neighbourhood data, leaving out many of its poorest areas. According to a new report from the Social Planning and Research Council, that could lead to bad policy choices and inappropriate spending that wont help the people who need it most. That means decisions on social program funding will be made scrambling in the dark, says Sara Mayo, social planner with the council. Its a huge concern in Hamilton, she said. Its vital to have data from these neighbourhoods.

CRICH Research Flash (St. Michael’s Hospital)
Raising income could dramatically improve health for mothers and babies
Half of Ontario residents think health is related to wealth
Urgent need for diversity of health promotion strategies around infant sleep position
How to help reduce barriers to cancer screening faced by South Asian communities

September 2013 Research & Policy Updates (Wellesley Institute)
The Real Cost Of Removing Water Fluoridation
Better Budget Day TO
Diabetes Prevention And Management Through A Health Equity Lens
Rising Inequality, Declining Health

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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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