Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Sept 20, 2013


Half a cheer for Jason Kenney’s revolution in immigration policy (Natalie Brender, Toronto Star)
Andrew Griffith, a retired senior official at Citizenship and Immigration Canada, has just published a book about the tense period beginning in 2007 that saw minister Jason Kenney bring a tidal wave of change to two federal departments. Among the many virtues of Griffiths book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, is a striking commitment to epistemological modesty and self-reflection. Throughout his case studies of various policy issues, Griffith underlines how officials working on multiculturalism and citizenship issues under Kenney were forced to confront their own latent ideologies and grapple with challenges to their expertise under a regime that broke starkly from the approach of previous governments.

Skating club invites newcomers to join them (Comox Valley Record)
Over six million Canadians lace up ice skates every year and the Comox Valley is no exception. As fall approaches, experienced skaters are heading back to the ice, and it’s an ideal time for newcomers to get started. This year, the Comox Valley Skating Club has upgraded their extensive program of skating classes with a special focus on making skating accessible to everyone. Things kick off with two Free Try-It Days, Monday, Sept. 23 and Wednesday, Sept. 25, 5:15 to 6 p.m. at the Comox Valley Sports Centre. Everyone is welcome, regardless of experience and comfort level, to enjoy one or both of these sessions. All you need is a helmet; skates can be rented on site for a small fee.

Hard Lessons: Newcomers & Ontario Private Colleges (Sevgul Topkara-Sarsu and Tom Zizys, Toronto South Local Immigration Partnership)
This report focuses on the experiences of newcomers with private colleges in Ontario. The report relies on the insights of front-line staff of agencies that serve newcomers, and offers their impressions of the newcomer encounter with private colleges: their motivation for seeking out private colleges, recruitment and admissions practices, financial issues, the educational and training process and eventual outcomes. In order to provide some context, this report also reviews the limited literature that exists relating to private colleges, finding that these largely fall into two categories: either reports of questionable practices among private colleges or industry-sponsored studies heralding the successes of private colleges.

Forced marriages a hidden problem in Canada (Debra Black, Toronto Star)
A groundbreaking three-year study of forced marriage in Ontario has found more than 200 women who were wed against their will, a practice the reports authors say highlights serious gaps in services. The first-of-its-kind report, being released at a Toronto news conference Friday, was conducted by the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, which questioned 30 social service agencies about the practice. It found 219 reported cases between 2010 and 2012, with 97 per cent of the victims being women. The survey found the majority of victims, 81 per cent, were between 16 and 34 years old.

Operational Bulletin 485-A September 19, 2013 Bridging Open Work Permits for Certain Federal Economic Class Applicants, (CIC)
Effective December 15, 2012, qualifying foreign nationals currently in Canada who have submitted an application for permanent residence (PR) under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and who meet program eligibility requirements, may be considered for a bridging work permit (WP) if their current WP will soon expire.

African and Caribbean Philanthropy Conference (AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada)
Join us for a one-day education, training and networking conference for Ontario-based nonprofit leaders, fundraisers, volunteers and donors. We will share understandings of the philanthropic culture within the African and Caribbean communities in the Greater Toronto Area. Learn best practices in the charitable sector and how to interact with and approach members of these two communities for charitable giving. You will also learn how to improve the fundraising efforts of your community-based organization.


Quebec’s values charter splits feminists (Allan Woods, Toronto Star)
Dalila Awada is studying in the hopes of one day become a school teacher, but she is loathe to take any lessons from the Quebec governments proposed values charter. Premier Pauline Maroiss Parti Québécois wants to adopt new rules that would instill equality of the sexes in the province, bolster the Québécois identity and underline the religious neutrality of the state by banning public servants from wearing symbols of their faith in the workplace. Awada and other Muslim women who wear the religious headscarf in Quebec have become the focus of feminist arguments in the divisive debate.

Bigoted outbursts in wake of values-charter proposal expose Quebecs cultural divisions (Dan Murphy, Yahoo! News)
An old coot on a bus harasses a Muslim woman in a headscarf. A family shopping at a suburban Quebec City mall is accosted by an angry woman demanding the mother remove her hijab. A mosque in Chicoutimi, Que., is daubed with what’s supposed to be pig’s blood by someone who warns Muslims to “assimilate or go home.” Some of the less tolerant, shall we say, elements of Quebec society have taken the Party Quebecois government’s proposed values charter as licence to vent their latent xenophobia.

Lets stand up for les Quebecois (Andy Radia, BC Local News)
The Quebec government has finally introduced details of its so-called values charter. If the legislation ever passes, all public employees in that province would be barred from wearing overt religious symbols in public institutions. Judges, police officers, public school teachers and hospital workers wouldnt be allowed to wear turbans, head scarves, veils, kippas and large crosses. I think my colleague opposite and I agree that this is a political manoeuvre by Quebec Premier Pauline Marois. The policy has helped her minority government gain some popularity particularly with the Francophones. It also creates a wedge issue between Quebec and the rest of Canada that could help the sovereigntists in a future referendum. But what if she wins that elusive majority? Does anybody really think Premier Marois wont try to pass her secularization plan?

Video: Quebec’s Charter of Values (Rex Murphy, CBC)
Rex Murphy reveals what he thinks about Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values.

Quebec should be as tolerant of religious diversity as it has been of sexual orientation (Robert Leckey, Robert Wintemute, Montreal Gazette)
Given Quebecs historical, linguistic and cultural ties with France, it is understandable that Quebecs policy-makers consider policy models from France along with those from other countries. But that an idea comes from France doesnt make it a good one. This is especially true about respect for human diversity regarding sexual orientation and religion. Concerning religion, Quebec should choose the same tolerant approach it applies to sexual orientation. It should maintain its tradition of permitting visible diversity in public- and private-sector employment and education. It should not be tempted by Frances rigid concept of secularism.

Opinion: We need clear rules for a harmonious mixing of cultures (Diane De Courcy, Montreal Gazette)
Discussion has arisen concerning the proposed Charter of Quebec Values. I would like to point out that multiculturalism is neither the only way, nor the best way, to ensure that Quebecers of all origins contribute to Quebecs development. We have made our own choices in Quebec, and we do not deem difference to be a value to be preserved, but instead regard it as the starting point for an enriching mixing of cultures. The proposed Charter of Quebec Values reflects this stance.

Dear Madame Marois (Matt Friedman)
I have read the news about the proposed Charte des valeurs québécoises with great dismay. I believe that you are a very reasonable, well-meaning person, Mme. Marois, and I dont doubt that you are motivated by the best-possible intentions. The Québec that emerged from la révolution tranquille shorn of ecclesiastical domination has historically been, at its best, a society of unparalleled openness a model of secular tolerance. I can well understand your desire to enshrine these principles in law. Yet the means and the motive are mismatched. Others have indicated, in recent days, the deep contradictions between your stated intent and the instrument of the Charter. It has been noted that what constitutes an overt and conspicuous religious symbol is contingent on who displays it. A headscarf is only a hijab when it is worn by a religious Muslim woman, a yarmulke is simply a beanie on the head of a non-Jew. To prohibit people providing government services in hospitals, schools and public agencies from wearing them is to presume to look into their minds and souls.

PQ ministers advice for religious minorities: Accept Quebec values (Les Perreaux, Globe and Mail)
A Parti Québécois minister has advice for religious minorities who may have to choose between a spiritual symbol and a job, with the Quebec governments plan to limit religious dress in public sector workplaces: Set the panther skull aside. Culture Minister Maka Kotto says thats exactly what he had to do when he left his native country of Cameroon as a young man in the 1970s to pursue an education in France. He then moved to Quebec in 1990, where he became a well-known actor. Mr. Kotto, 51, is one of the rare members of a visible minority in the PQ caucus. His view was highly sought on the fractious debate on a dress code that would ban symbols such as the hijab, the turban, large crucifixes, and, presumably, the animist totem that belongs to his family in Africa. He described himself as a catholic, with shamanistic tendencies, when asked about his faith.


Doctor hopes to harness Valley generosity to aid Syrian refugees (Drew A. Penner,
As the US and Russia work to hammer out a deal to prevent military strikes in retaliation for the use of suspected chemical weapons the crisis of displaced people has only intensified. But a local doctor is pushing Comox Valley residents to help by pitching in for medical supplies to be sent for use in the Domiz Syrian Refugee Camp, just across the border in Iraq. “This is absolutely a critical time,” said Dr. Saren Azer, an internal medicine specialist at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “The number of refugees has grown significantly in the past four month.” Physician Travel Packs prepared by Health Partners International of Canada containing about $6,000 worth of medicine such as antibiotics, anti-fungals, painkillers and more, cost just $575, thanks to support from outside partners.

Fall Consultation, 28 – 30 November 2013, Kitchener-Waterloo (CCR)
Join us to explore questions affecting refugee protection and newcomer settlement. The theme Everyone has a part to play: whats your part? recognizes that we must all work together towards a stronger and healthier future. Conference discussions will address issues that challenge refugees, immigrants, advocates and community workers.


Minimum rage (Ben Spurr, NOW Toronto)
The mood outside Dufferin Mall on the afternoon of Saturday, September 14, is festive, with an Afro-Brazilian drum band banging out songs, kids playing carnival games and free popcorn and samosas for the crowd of about 60. It looks more like a street party than a protest, but the message of the event, part of an action stretching across a dozen Ontario cities, is serious enough. Poorly paid workers and their supporters have gathered to demand an increase to the provincial minimum wage, which has been frozen at $10.25 since 2010.

Examining the Canadian experience requirement (Advocate Daily)
While concerns over using Canadian experience as an employment or accreditation requirement are legitimate, in some cases, such prerequisites are bona fide, Toronto-based employment lawyer Stuart Rudner says in Law Times. In the article, Rudner, a founding partner of Rudner MacDonald LLP, says that unfortunately, many employers use Canadian experience as a way to discriminate against groups that should be protected by human rights legislation. To show that the requirement is justified, An employer will have to come up with a compelling rationale and appropriate supporting evidence. Where they can, the requirement will not be a breach of the Human Rights Code. Of course, the reality is that many employers never explicitly state this type of requirement but simply reject applications that do not meet their particular criteria.


A Platform for Change (Mowat Centre)
Not every idea needs to become a corporate entity. In the not-for-profit sector, shared platforms are providing an organizational home to projects and ideas that are making change happen. They offer governance and administrative support to projects, to free up change makers and leaders to focus on their vision. Shared platforms have the potential to organize the sector around what matters; people, ideas, and communities. This Sector Signal explores shared platforms as an organizational model and considers the opportunity to expand and deepen the practice.

Partnership Project Progress Report 2013 Released Today (Settlement AtWork)
In 2010, when the government launched the Partnership Project they did so knowing the sectors importance. However, it became apparent that information available on the size, scope and socio-economic contribution of the sector was out of date. You may be familiar with the phrase you cant manage what you cant measure. Thats why the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI) committed to undertaking comprehensive research to provide an up-to-date statistical analysis of the impact of Ontarios not-for-profit sector. Today, at the Ontario Nonprofit Network Conference in Toronto, Michael Coteau, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration released Volume I of The State of the Sector Report. This new research sheds light on where your organization fits in, as well as on how diverse Ontarios not-for-profit sector is in size, mission and ability to access resources.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Daily Reads/Micro Thoughts Summary

Shared 24 links. Pledge | White Ribbon Roma women go on strike: Fiorito | Toronto Star Actively Passive » Immigration...