Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Sept 19, 2013


Boosting Innovation Through Immigration (Conference Board of Canada)
Canada has joined the global race for innovative entrepreneurs. It should come as no surprise that countries are starting to look at immigration as a source of innovation. Previous Conference Board of Canada research found that at the individual, business, national, and global levels there is a significant association between immigration and innovation. This is true for research, culture, business, and global commerce.1 The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that immigrants are more likely than the native-born population to be self-employed—17.5 per cent versus 14.5 per cent in Canada—and many are involved in high-growth industries.

Toronto Mela attracts South Asians to celebrate together in Scarborough (South Asian Generation Next)
Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA) with the support of City of Toronto organized its second annual South Asian Summer Festival, “Toronto Mela 2013” on September 7th, 2013 at Albert Campbell Square in Scarborough.

New individuals added to the “Wanted by the CBSA” list (South Asian Generation Next)
Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today announced eight new additions to the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) Wanted by the CBSA list. “Since its inception in July of 2011, the “Wanted by the CBSA” program has proven to be effective in its goal of locating individuals who are inCanada illegally and who have hidden from the CBSA,” said Minister Blaney. “The successful location of almost 40 per cent of the cases posted to the list demonstrates not only the program’s usefulness, but also the level of engagement of the public in protecting our borders.”

Ottawa man claims new evidence in fight against deportation to country he’s never visited (Chris Cobb, Ottawa Citizen)
New evidence shows the federal government is breaking its own law in its efforts to deport a 23-year-old Ottawa-born man to a country he has never visited, his lawyer claimed Wednesday. Deepan Budlakoti, currently living with his parents in Nepean, is effectively stateless with the Canadian government claiming he isn’t a citizen and trying to deport him to India, and the Indian government saying it doesn’t want him. Budlakoti was convicted on drug related charges in 2010 and was apparently reported to immigration authorities by a guard at the Ottawa Detention Centre.

Indigenous Community and Hip-Hop Community: Not So Different (Huffington Post)
Shad: “Fam Jam” is a song inspired by a Jay-Z lyric, and old West African tune from my childhood, and a desire to celebrate the immigrant/refugee experience in all of it’s complexity. The last verse details some of my story as a first-generation Canadian, specifically the common challenge of trying to reconcile two distinct cultural/national identities within the same story. While that particular aspect of my journey is articulated clearly in the last verse, tucked away in the 1st verse are a few lines that speak to a new and growing dimension of my experience and concern as a Canadian.

New measures to cut down on wait times for Canadian Citizenship decisions (Migration Expert)
As Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander recently said in a recent statement, the citizenship application process has been bogged down for too long by people who unnecessarily delay the process for everyone else by not taking the process seriously.

Event Sept 25: Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: What Do We Mean When We Say EDI? – PDF (Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Ryerson University)
This is a series of noon hour moderated panel discussions. While enjoying a warm bowl of soup and refreshments, participants will engage panelists in an open conversation on a range of diversity related topics. Dr. Denise O’Neil Green, Assistant Vice-President/ViceProvost Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), will moderate the series, which is free and open to the public.

Canada’s Democracy Week (Elections Canada)
From September 16 to 23, for the third year in a row, Elections Canada is organizing Canada’s Democracy Week, a civic education initiative inspired by the United Nations’ International Day of Democracy. As part of Elections Canada’s mandate to conduct public education, Canada’s Democracy Week shines the spotlight on the positive aspects of Canadian politics and provides a forum for promoting the importance of democratic involvement and voting. This year’s theme is “Connect with Democracy.” It’s about connecting with people, places and information that help broaden your understanding of why democracy and voting are so important.

Media Advisory Repeat: WelcomePack Canada Launches Special ‘New Immigrant Welcome Program’ With Participation of More Than 30 Brands (Marketwatch)
WelcomePack Canada is launching its new and innovative program on September 18 that welcomes 30,000 new Canadian immigrants with a gift box full of daily use products and special offers from more than 30 Canadian brands. The launch showcases the full extent of this innovative program that connects Canadian brands with newly arriving immigrants, providing them with benefits all year round.

Racism linked to depression and anxiety in youth (Science blog)
The first of its kind, the review showed 461 cases of links between racism and child and youth health outcomes. Lead researcher Dr Naomi Priest at the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne said the review demonstrated racism as an important factor influencing the health and wellbeing of children and youth. “The review showed there are strong and consistent relationships between racial discrimination and a range of detrimental health outcomes such as low self-esteem, reduced resilience, increased behaviour problems and lower levels of wellbeing.”

Case study highlights conflict between bureaucrats, Minister Kenney on direction of multiculturalism programs – The Globe and Mail (Andrew Griffith, Multicultural Meanderings)
John Ibbitson of The Globe on my book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism. Excellent summary. As to his suspicion that I was more comfortable with the old ways, initially yes, but my perspective changed as I thought through the issues, and broadening multiculturalism to include all groups, not just mainstream/visible minority relations, and focusing on citizenship integrity (knowledge, language, residency) were all policy changes that I support generally. Implementation and some of the details is another matter as he points out. As this is behind the insider pay wall, full text below.


Video: Quebec’s Charter of Values (TVO The Agenda)
Pauline Marois’ Parti Quebecois government has introduced the details of a “Charter of Values” it intends to pass this fall. If it passes, the province’s public service employees will be banned from wearing or carrying any religious symbols – a move meant to firmly establish secularism in public life. It’s also a challenge to Canada’s values of tolerance and acceptance of diversity. The Agenda examines these two solitudes, forced to face the most divisive of issues.

We must defend Ontario’s diversity (Toronto Sun)
Recently I introduced a motion in the Legislature with the aim of reaffirming our government’s commitment to diversity and religious freedom in Ontario. It was tabled as a response to the proposed charter of values by the Parti Quebecois in Quebec, which, if legislated, would ban all public employees from wearing religious symbols such as turbans, hijabs, kippas and crucifixes in the workplace. The national debate this issue has sparked has many Ontarians concerned. For the people of Ontario our diversity is a point of pride.

Quebec bans symbols but all of Canada bans migrants (Syed Hussan, rabble)
Thousands are outraged at the Parti Quebecois charter of values — a charter that proposes to prohibit the wearing of religious symbols by public employees. As these symbols are disproportionately worn by racialized immigrants in particular Muslims and Sikhs, critics insist that Marois is playing the “race card.” Many insist that the Charter of Values will create a “second class of citizens.” Amongst this outrage, there are critics emerging from strange quarters. Stephen Harper insists that the charter will fail and if it doesn’t, the federal government will launch a legal challenge. Jason Kenney has ridden into the struggle — calling the charter a “Monty Pythonesque” absurdity. Even the much maligned Margaret Wente is up in arms — calling Premier Pauline Marois’s move the “stirring of populist resentment.” NDP’s Thomas Mulclair dismissed it as “base politics,” while Trudeau went as far as to compare it to segregation (a comparison he later softened). Under all this pressure, it seems that Marois may be backtracking.

The Italian community will not condone racial profiling (Digital Journal)
The National Congress of Italian-Canadians, Quebec Region, has formally advised the Syndicat des cols bleu to apologize to the Italian community and immediately withdraw the offensive commercial which negatively portrays the Italian community. Letter attached. The community will not condone any form of racial profiling based on race or national origin.

What if we created a Charter of Toronto Values? (Edward Keenan, The Grid)
Of course, the proposal itself is not fun. Unveiled earlier this month, it seeks to ban religious clothing such as turbans, headscarves, skullcaps, and large crucifixes for those who work in public service—and enshrine that ban and the principle of a religiously neutral state in the province’s own Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It plays politics with the lives and livelihoods of real people. And even as a proposal, even if it never becomes a law, it places the topic of whether thousands of conscientious people are worthy of the rights of citizenship at the centre of public debate. It’s a disgrace to the people of Quebec. But watching from here in Toronto, we can take a minute to reflect on the very idea of what values are, and how they are communicated and shared. It makes me wonder what a “Charter of Toronto Values” might look like, if we were inclined to create one.


Refugee –related research themes & questions for students (Refugee Research Net)
This list of research themes and questions has been developed by the Refugee Research Network (RRN) at the Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS) at York University to encourage the generation and mobilization of research on refugees in Canada. While the questions came out of Canadian experience, we hope there will be enough material that can be adapted in other contexts.

INVITATION: 35th Anniversary of the Student Refugee Program! (WUSC)
Please join us to mark the start of the 35th Anniversary of the Student Refugee Program and meet sponsored students placed in the Ottawa-Carleton region. Also come and catch up with your WUSC friends and fellow alumni.

Putting Jason Kenney’s refugee reforms to the test (Chris Selley, National Post)
I understand why refugee advocates rail against this expedited system for “safe” countries: Not only is it not perfect, but Mexico for many years was Canada’s largest source of legitimate refugees, as determined by the Immigration and Refugee Board. Even with the visa requirement, it was the sixth largest source of approved claims in the first six months of this year. That’s hardly “safe,” is it? But Mr. Kenney’s plan, while imperfect, is emphatically fairer than the current situation, simply because — when fully implemented — it will give Mexicans, Czechs and perhaps others a hearing instead of seeking to block their access entirely. (Of course the world’s most imperiled people can never hope to get here in the first place, but that has always been the case.) Again: It will be intriguing to see when the government is willing to take the training wheels off and see if this system is up to the challenge.–g


For the last ten years TRIEC has been a leader in the journey to build a more prosperous future for the Greater Toronto Region by better integrating skilled immigrants into the workplace. We are honoured to be part of the TRIEC team and to share their vision. Through TRIEC’s work and the commitment and collaboration of leaders from business, education, government and immigrants themselves there have been many successes, some of which are highlighted in this report. We have seen firsthand how skilled immigrants enrich our community when they reach their full potential – through international work experience and networks, fresh ways of thinking and a drive to succeed, to name a few.

RBC’s Janice Fukakusa: Going All In (Heather Landy, American Banking)
To Janice Fukakusa, diversity is about more than platitudes. It’s about tactical solutions-and a willingness to examine the metrics. Royal Bank of Canada’s Janice Fukakusa is a passionate advocate not only of the diverse group of people she mentors and sponsors, but of the idea of diversity itself. Considering her stature within the Toronto-based bank and her breadth of responsibilities as both chief administrative officer and chief financial officer, it is a viewpoint that carries significant weight. It’s also a good fit at a company that has made diversity a strategic goal and taken steps to operationalize it.

Connecting Immigrant Job seekers with Employment (ERIEC)
There is a ‘new’ web based resource that is working to ‘connect’ immigrant job seekers with employment. This new resource is called and is the first ‘immigrant focused’ job directory in Canada. They are currently working on expanding their network to include diverse job seekers of all talents and skills as well as job opportunities from businesses and organizations of various sizes and industries. They are developing job search and employment related resources as well as employment related events promotions. They are working closely with organizations across Canada who share the goal of connecting immigrant job seekers with employment. This could be a very useful ‘employment searching tool’ for newcomers seeking employment.

Foreign workers welcome in Saskatchewan (Yorkton This Week)
In Quebec, the Parti Quebecois government is enacting a law saying those whose custom it is to display their religious affiliation — be it a turban, head-cover or even a Catholic of Protestant cross — can no longer do so if they want to work in the public sector. Think of the chilling message this sends — especially to newcomers to Canada who came to escape religious prosecution. Now, compare that with how welcoming both rural and urban Saskatchewan has been, given the biggest controversy here is whether we’re too aggressive in bringing foreign workers. No, we’re not perfect here. One certainly can’t say that everyone in this province is tolerant. You will find some who oppose temporary foreign workers simply because they are foreigners. But we certainly don’t have government policy prohibiting the public expression of religious belief.

Callaghan says temporary foreign worker program can benefit U.S. and Canada (Bill Phillips, PG Free Press)
It would be slightly inappropriate for a high-ranking U.S. official to encourage American workers to relocate permanently to Canada to help with our skills shortage. However, U.S. consul general Anne Callaghan says she is working on a program to help U.S. residents come north under the Temporary Foreign Worker program. “We have a very successful program in Alberta,” Callaghan told the Free Press Wednesday. “They’ve brought up more than 1,000 skilled workers from the United States.”

Ideas to enhance your mentoring initiative (Shawn Mintz)
Have you started a mentoring program or are you thinking about starting one? This is great news, because mentoring is one of the most effective ways to transfer knowledge, keep your members energized, engaged and to help them develop important skills. Whether your mentoring initiative is informal or has a formal structure, here are a few ideas on how you can build some buzz. Have a mentoring team The mentoring team will be responsible for defining the mentoring program’s goals and objectives. They will create a plan outlining the organizational benefits, member benefits, who the mentors and mentees are, the number of projected matches for the year, and how to measure the program’s success.

Denying health coverage to injured migrant workers is shameful (Nanky Rai, 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 Javier’s 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 government’s intentions to challenge an independent tribunal decision to provide OHIP coverage for injured migrant workers.

If unpaid internships are exploitation, why don’t the kids just stay home? (Andrew Coyne, National Post)
Still, if internships are a benefit to which we should wish to expand access — and not a Dickensian relic we should wish to ban — the example of higher education may suggest a remedy. The most promising reform of student assistance would replace the present system of student loans, which must be repaid on a fixed schedule regardless of income, with one in which repayment is based on a share of the graduate’s future earnings. Essentially this amounts to taking an equity stake in the student’s human capital. Could young workers likewise be staked the funds to support them while they are acquring experience in unpaid internships?

Diversity recruitment targets for Canadian Forces are ‘unattainable’ (Cpl Phil Cheung, Windsor Star)
Military officials are preparing to scale back targets related to the number of women and visible minorities in uniform because they say the current goals are “unattainable,” according to a defence department audit. This is despite the military having made some progress in increasing the proportion of both within its rank and file in recent years. At the same time, auditors have warned that the decision to close 12 military recruiting centres across the country to save money will hurt reserve units as well as aboriginal recruitment, which has been on the increase.

Minimum Wage (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Allan O’Dette. He is the president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

VIEW: Change BC’s out-of-step, ad hoc style in setting minimum wage (David Fairey, The Tyee)
The average weekly wage in B.C. increased by only 1.3 per cent between June 2012 and June 2013, half of the 2.6 per cent jump in wages Canada-wide. This latest news, from an August Statistics Canada release, adds one more piece to the growing body of evidence that B.C.’s labour policies are contributing to increasing income inequality and stubbornly high poverty rates. In January, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reported that StatsCan data from income tax files revealed that B.C. was the only province where the bottom 90 per cent made less in 2010 that they did in 1982. In Vancouver, the bottom 90 per cent saw their incomes drop by $4,300 after accounting for inflation — the biggest decline in Canada’s three largest cities.


Event Oct 17: Be Good Be Social Toronto 2013
Be Good Be Social Toronto returns for its 3rd year, and in 2013 we are moving the conversation up a level. This year we’ll be talking about intermediate and advanced strategies, from selecting partners to work with, balancing internal and external communication demands, recognizing corporate partners, and taking risks with new platforms…. We’ve had some exciting applications and are shortlisting your speaker line up right now.


CLEO’s report, Public Legal Education and Information in Ontario Communities: Formats and Delivery Channels, is now available (Your legal rights)
This research takes a focused look at effective formats and delivery channels for reaching low-income and disadvantaged communities in Ontario with information about their legal rights.

LAO invests an additional $3 million in community and legal clinics (Your legal rights)
A news release from Legal Aid Ontario: Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is investing additional provincial funding of $3 million in 2013/14 to create two new funds that support Ontario’s community and legal aid clinics.

For Teens Frozen Out of Ontario’s Child Welfare System, a New Bill Offers Hope (Jennifer Hough, Torontoist)
Ontario lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that would quash a rule preventing some teens from accessing child welfare support services. Under current Ontario law, if a 16-year-old comes to the attention of welfare services for the first time at that age, he or she is classified as an adult, and can only access adult benefits. Bill 88, the Child and Family Services Amendment Act, seeks to change that.

Toronto Housing Wait List Passes 90,000 Households, 165,723 People (Michael Shapcott, Wellesly Institute)
Toronto’s affordable housing wait list has grown to a staggering 90,060 households as of the end of August, according to Toronto Housing Connections (which maintains the list). Those households include a total of 165,723 women, men and children – an increase of 4% in the past year. If the Toronto affordable housing wait list was a separate community, it would be the 24th largest city in Canada (just behind Abbotsford, and ahead of Sudbury and Kingston).

Five years of economic recovery have been far from equal (Armine Yalnizyan, Globe and Mail)
Five years after a global economic crisis unleashed chaos on markets everywhere, income inequality has become an inescapable political and economic issue, in Canada as elsewhere. That’s because of mounting evidence that the increasingly skewed distribution of gains from economic growth slows future growth potential, and erodes trust that a democratically governed system is working for the benefit of the majority. It’sa conversation that is heating up in Canada, as two new, articulate voices were added this week to Canada’s federal political scene. Journalists Chrystia Freeland (Liberal) and Linda McQuaig (NDP) – nominated as their parties’ candidates in an upcoming by-election in the high-profile riding of Toronto Centre – will help define how inequality is discussed, both within their respective parties and in the broader public. The stance they will share is that we can’t afford five more years of doing nothing about inequality, and that current federal policies widen the income gap.

The social safety net worked (Philip Cross, Financial Post)
In this debate about distribution and inequality, it is fundamentally important that the exclusive focus has been on the middle and upper classes, and not the poorest members of society. This is remarkable, because people at the bottom of the income ladder usually suffer the most when the economy stumbles. The nearby graph shows that there was a close relationship between the unemployment rate and the poverty rate (broadly defined as income below Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut Off). During the recessions of the early 1980s and 1990s, the unemployment rate jumped nearly four percentage points. As a result, the poverty rate rose over two points in 1982, and nearly four points in the early 1990s. A corollary of former President Ronald Reagan’s assertion that “the best possible social program is a job” is that losing a job aggravates poverty.

New Census Raises Poverty Debate (Huffington Post)
New poverty numbers released last week have received mixed reviews. Replacing the Census (with much protest), the National Household Survey (NHS) churned out income and shelter metrics from 2011 that were meant to highlight how the country has fared since the 2008 recession. Instead of offering concrete insight into the low-income population, the survey has left holes in understanding the full impact of the economic downturn. What it has successfully done is revisit the poverty debate. According to the NHS, in 2011 4.8 million people were living with low income, with the majority of these individuals concentrated in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. This stat was derived from the Low Income Measure — a pseudo poverty line that sets the bar at half the median income. The median income in 2011, as stated by the NHS, was $27,800. This would put the poverty line at approximately $14,000.

National Household Survey and Housing in Manitoba (Josh Brandon, Policy Fix)
Last week, Statistics Canada released data from the third and final instalment of its 2011 National Household Survey (NHS). The new data dealt with housing and income of Canadians. It is still unclear how compatible this new data is with the Census data this survey was intended to replace. However, what is apparent is that for many families finding an affordable, suitable home in good repair remains a far off goal. The 2011 NHS surveyed 4.5 million households across Canada, making it one of the broadest research tools available to Canadian social scientists and policy makers. Unfortunately, with less than three quarters of households responding, the data is much less complete than the Long Form Census data was. The Long Form Census, formerly conducted every five years, sampled 20 per cent of all households and was mandatory to complete.

Resource 2013 Street Needs Assessment Results (Homeless Hub)
On April 17, 2013, the City of Toronto conducted the third Street Needs Assessment (SNA). Previous surveys were completed in 2006 and 2009. The 2013 SNA was done in partnership with more than 500 trained volunteers and team leaders from the community. Almost two thousand 13-question surveys were successfully completed with individuals experiencing homelessness in Toronto. Surveys were conducted outdoors, in the shelter system (including City-administered shelters and those serving victims of domestic violence), hospitals and treatment centres, and correctional facilities.

Roma women go on strike (Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star)
Okay, why a rent strike? The women say they have had a hard time getting repairs, and that when work has been done they have paid out of pocket and the cost of repairs has not been deducted from the rent. The women have gone as a group, a couple of times, to the landlord’s office. The landlord is a lawyer. The meetings have not gone well. This is extraordinary, because most of the Roma in Toronto avoid doing anything that might bring official attention.

The following two tabs change content below.


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.

Read previous post:
Daily Reads/Micro Thoughts Summary

Shared 9 links. 1 in 3 parents don’t understand child's job: Survey | Canadian HR Reporter It’s not about the...