Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Sept 25, 2013


DiverseCity onBoard: Building the momentum (DiverseCity Toronto)
Our national and international DiverseCity onBoard partners have been busy and active working to get projects up and running in their cities. Here are a few updates.

Canada needs to take advantage of being ‘Diaspora Nation (Matthew Mendelsohn Serene Tan, Toronto Star)
Canadas population grows more diverse every year. Oddly, our trading and export patterns have not diversified to the same extent. We remain woefully dependent on trading with the United States. Today, Canada attracts more immigrants from Asia and Latin America than from Europe. But only China and India are among our top 10 trading partners. One reason is that were not doing a good enough job integrating immigrants economically. The diversity of our people is one of Canadas strengths but were not capitalizing on this comparative advantage.

Stress of immigration can be a risk factor for child abuse – PDF (Yorks Knowledge Mobilization Unit)
Research shows that minority children who suffer from abuse have a harder time than abused white children. The child welfare system often treats minority children differently than their white counterparts. However, little is known about how a persons status as a minority affects her experiences in the child welfare system. This is a problem since child welfare workers need to have a firm understanding of families who are both immigrants and members of minority groups. They need to know how the process of migration and being a minority impacts on families and children.

Study: media dehumanises immigrants, creates false crises (Liat Clark, Wired UK)
Looking at Esses’ CV, the results shouldn’t shock. She has been working in the field for 20 years and there has been a problem with perception and prejudice surrounding immigrants many decades and even centuries prior to then. “I have seen the dehumanisation of refugees in particular become more common,” Esses says. “In recent years the media has been more actively depicting certain groups of refugees in ways that lead to dehumanisation, supporting the view that these individuals do not deserve our assistance. The public may be particularly receptive to these depictions in times of economic and cultural uncertainty, which certainly characterises many Western nations in recent years.”

Challenge police on human rights (Margaret Parsons, Virginia Nelder, Ottawa Citizen)
The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently released its latest annual report: Rights, Partners, Action! While Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall acknowledges that the Commission has not made all the progress that is needed, she states that the commission aims to set standards in order to meet its mandate of creating systemic change, and depends on its partners to do so. The Annual Report states that the OHRC has worked with police services and other key players to find and remove barriers caused by racism and racial profiling. But the problem is still there.

Canada Announces New Rules on Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (
In order to facilitate immigration, the Alberta province announced new rules on Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP). The changes focused on certain categories of workers intending to settle in the province, including Food Services Industry Pilot Project and Strategic Recruitment Category.

Canadian Centre of Diversity halts daily operation (Metro News)
The Canadian Centre for Diversity, founded in 1947, is ceasing its day-to-day operations, says the chair of the board of directors. Formerly known as the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, the organization was established to promote racial and religious harmony. Over our 65-year history we have delivered a number of critical diversity education programs across the country, thanks to our dedicated staff, and our generous donors, said board chair Janice OBorn.

Making Equity in Education a priority in Ontarios next poverty reduction strategy (Social Planning Toronto)
Since releasing our Triple Threat to Equity report this spring, Social Planning Toronto has worked with a number of community partners to highlight the problems with education funding in Ontario that does not adequately reflect the needs of students living in poverty. SPT has prepared a backgrounder on this issue, as a useful tool for individuals and organizations who are participating in Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy consultations.

Public Tandoor Oven (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Sabina Ali. She is the project coordinator for the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee. The permanent tandoor oven will be officially opened this Friday afternoon in R.V. Burgess Park.

Ottawa Can Account for All Official Languages Funds Transferred to Provinces, Says Fraser (Marketwach)
Federal institutions have all the tools they need to ensure funds transferred to the provinces for official languages programs are used for their intended purposes, but not all of them dig deeply enough, says Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser. Fraser’s office found Citizenship and Immigration, Canada Health Canada and Canadian Heritage all have formal accountability mechanisms in place for official languages transfer payments to the provinces for immigration, professional training in health, minority-language education and second-language instruction.

Newcomers (Canada’s Economic Action Plan)
The Government is strengthening Canadas immigration system, moving to one that is proactive and helps to foster economic growth and ensure long-term prosperity for all Canadians. Click through the individual initiatives listed below to learn more about what is in the Economic Action Plan for you.

Audio: Voices from Hamilton’s Immigrant Women’s Centre (CBC Hamilton)
In a high-rise building at John and Burlington streets, Ines Rios welcomed 76 women and their families immigrating to Hamilton from Central America. Its where the Sisters of St. Josephs would host the women until they got settled into their new lives. That was the beginning of the Immigrant Womens Centre.


Thank you, Charter of Values (Alan Broadbent and Ratna Omidvar, Maytree)
A separatist Quebec premier has managed to unite Canadians doctors, nurses, child care workers, university staff, politicians, journalists, academics, and citizens, to name a few something that has eluded every other political leader for at least half a century. Without intending to, we just had a national conversation in which Canadians from all walks of life joined. What makes this remarkable is that Canadians, from East to West, seem to agree in their overwhelming rejection of the divisive policies of Premier Pauline Marois by speaking out against the proposed ban on religious symbols worn by public employees.

Quebec Values Charter: Bad Solution to the Wrong Problem (Behind the Numbers)
Its near impossible to ignore the current debate regarding the Québec Values Charter. It would seem laudable at first for a society to decide to reflect on its shared values. There is no cause to rejoice in the face of the current debate: it is certainly not the relevant exercise it could have been. Discussions about our values regarding the exploitation of our resources, the occupation of our land or our willingness to remain within our ecosystems limits are not on the agenda. Also off topic are Québecs values in crucial aspects of society: universal access to free and quality health services, care for our elderly, or public education free from the pressures of businesses. The items listed above do not belong to the realm of Québec values, we are told.

A few simple questions for Pauline Marois | Toronto Star (Andrew Griffith, Multicultural Meanderings)
Haroon Siddiqui in The Star comes up with a few questions on how the proposed Charter could be implemented and the numerous practical issues that arise. The challenge for any principles-based approach lies in the practical; his list indicates just how impractical and exclusionary it actually is.

The death of multiculturalism in Quebec (Rafia Zakaria, Al Jazeera)
Set against a royal blue background and hung under an arch of gilded gold-leafed boughs, the crucifix at the Quebec National Assembly is a focal point of the majestic room where Quebec lawmakers do their legislative business. It is a reminder of Quebecs Catholic heritage and a tangible expression of its religious history. And it was under its shadow, last week, that the Parti Quebecois, which currently holds the majority in the Assembly, introduced its long promised Charter of Quebec Values.


Awash In Refugees, Whose Needs Come First? (Huffington Post)
We are awash in refugees, today, especially with the disaster taking place in Syria. We have limited resources — human and financial. We must prioritize the needs of all these people; caught in a world not of their making.

Syrian refugee flood strains host communities (Don Cayo, Vancouver Sun)
Canada accepts 10,000 to 15,000 reasonably well-screened refugees each year. Lebanon has whether it wants them or not about a million whove streamed across its borders in recent months fleeing from the Syrian civil war. Yet Canada has hugely greater capacity to absorb new people. We have nine times Lebanons population, 25 times its wealth and almost 1,000 times its land mass. So if Canada has trouble gracefully accommodating the trickle that comes our way and our record of spotty services and mutterings from some members of the established citizenry indicates that we do imagine Lebanons challenge in coping with its flood.

A common culture for refugees (Daniel Pipes, Washington Times)
The appeal has been heard: Canada has offered to take 1,300 Syrian refugees; the United States, 2,000. Italy has received 4,600 Syrian refugees by sea. Germany has offered to take (and has begun receiving) 5,000. Sweden has offered asylum to the 15,000 Syrians already in that country. Local groups are preparing for a substantial influx throughout the West.

After conflict and fear, a true home (Chronicle Herald)
Zdenko Juric lives in Dartmouth, owns his own real estate business that serves much of the HRM and has a growing family. He feels incredibly fortunate to be here, especially after he was almost swept into the bloody conflict of the Bosnian War, which tore that part of Europe asunder. We came to Canada 15 years ago and its tough coming to a new place where nobody knows you, where the language is different, the culture is different, Juric said. But the people Ive met over those years have given us huge support and we appreciate that as a family and I myself as a business owner, its been just great.


Webinar recording: Bias-Free Hiring and Assessment: Removing the Canadian Experience Barrier (
When reviewing job candidate profiles, it is important to assess all qualifications and prior experience regardless of where it is obtained. This gives you the opportunity to select from a wider pool of diverse talent. As of July 15, 2013 requiring Canadian experience could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code, according to the new Ontario Human Rights Commission policy (OHRC). In this webinar, you will hear about this new OHRC policy on removing Canadian experience. A moderated discussion with two employers follows the international law firm Dentons and the Ottawa based IT company Pythian on how they assess the qualifications and competencies of new employees. We also provide practical examples on how you can implement effective hiring practices that discounts Canadian experience.

Windsor bar cancels concert amid new foreign worker fees (CBC)
A Windsor bar claims recently approved changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program has made it necessary to cancel a concert. Rising U.S. country music singers Randy Houser and Jerrod Niemann will not be appearing at the Bull and Barrel in downtown Windsor. The bar canceled plans for the concerts because of a new fee Ottawa is charging temporary foreign workers.

Funding for skills training at risk under federal plan (Susana Mas, CBC)
Provincial and territorial labour ministers were united today in their assessment that the federal government’s Canada Job Grant program will actually make it more difficult for low-skilled Canadians to find work. The labour ministers, who met in Toronto, called on the federal Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney to reconsider Ottawa’s approach. The provinces want Ottawa to reconsider proposed changes to the way the provinces provide skills training to Canadians looking for work, particularly low-skill workers such as youth, Aboriginals, persons with disabilities, social assistance recipients, recent immigrants, older workers and long-term unemployed Canadians.

Irish ambassador to Canada says case of laid off Irish workers is unusual (Irish Central)
KBAC Constructors, a subcontractor for VALE, laid off 26 Irish welders after only three weeks at Long Harbour nickel processing plant in Canada and gave no reason for their early dismissal. The Irish ambassador to Canada, Raymond Bassett, is claiming the incident is an uncommon one and that most workers coming to the country for jobs have had few complaints. Ambassador Raymond Bassett has said the Irish people are interested in coming to Newfoundland and Labrador, and that companies there need skilled trades workers.

Living off the land (Rosemary Westwood, Maclean’s)
As the industrys traditional labour pool shrinks, the Forest Products Sector Council is urging companies to hire more women, immigrants and Aboriginals. But recruiting a younger generation that witnessed the demise of so many jobs and would rather make video games is tough, notes Hughes. Plus, forestry jobs pay less, on average, than mining or oil and gas. Average weekly earnings in May were $1,055 in forestry, compared to $1,792 in mining. In return for lower pay, says Hughes, workers get a better lifestyle. Josh Sephton, a 24-year-old millwright apprentice in Fort St. John, B.C., agrees. With oil and gas, youll end up in the bush in the middle of nowhere, he says. I get to come home every day and see my wife and kid.


The Canada Revenue Agency revokes the registration of the ISNA Development Foundation as a charity (CRA)
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will revoke the registration of the ISNA Development Foundation, a Mississauga-based charity. The notice of revocation will be published in the Canada Gazette with an effective date of September 21, 2013. On August 20, 2013, and in accordance with subsection 168(1) of the Income Tax Act, the CRA issued a notice of intention to revoke the registration of the ISNA Development Foundation as a charity.

Federal Government Joins Innoweave (J.W. McConnell Family Foundation)
Innoweave is pleased to announce a new five-year partnership with the Government of Canadas Social Development Partnerships Program. At a time when governments are operating under conditions of fiscal restraint, it is vital that we invest in communities capacity to innovate. The Foundation and our Innoweave partners are grateful for this support, which will expand Innoweaves ability to provide charities with new management tools, said Foundation President Stephen Huddart.

Shaping the Future: Leadership in Ontario’s Nonprofit Labour Force – PDF (ONN)
Leveraging human capital is a challenge across all sectors, and has been identified as a strategic priority by and for the nonprofit sector. The ability of the sector to attract and retain the right talent, develop effective leadership, provide relevant training and skills development, and offer competitive benefits and compensation will be critical in determining the future vibrancy and sustainability of the nonprofit sector in Ontario.1 In order to begin the process of developing a human capital strategy for the nonprofit sector in Ontario, there is a need for data that captures the baseline of experiences and challenges faced by leaders and their organizations. Are organizations growing? Are they able to attract the people with the competencies they need? Who are the current nonprofit sector leaders? What has been their experience? Is there a disconnect between their vision of leadership and their ability to deliver on it? How are the next generations of nonprofit leaders being identified and developed? What are the leadership skills that are needed today and in the future? This report focuses largely on leadership because the sector is facing a leadership gap on three dimensions: an impending demographic exodus; a disconnect between the visions of leadership and the reality of leading organizations in this sector; and the rapidly changing competencies that are needed to navigate and lead in a complex landscape.


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.

An American idea about the Canadian middle class (Miles Corak)
The suggestion that the middle class is stagnating, the linchpin of Justin Trudeaus economic platformto the extent it existsis an idea shamelessly borrowed from the United States. Shameless it may be, but it is, nonetheless, true. Clearly there are some ways in which we are all better off not withstanding what President Obama tells the American public, and notwithstanding how closely Canadian political leaders listen to him.

Regent Park’s forward-thinking food movement (Yonge Street)
Paint Box Bistro has become emblematic of Regent Park’s current status as a neighbourhood in radical transition; straddling the ambiguous and heavily contested line between gentrification and revitalization. Paint Box, the cheerful, year-old restaurant run by Chris Klugman, is nestled into a corner of the Daniels Spectrum building in the heart of Regent Park. It’s lunch menu favours local ingredients, but is considered pricey. But, says Klugman, “To call what is happening in our neighbourhood gentrification does everyone here, and particularly the proud long-term residents, a disservice.”

Daily Bread Food Bank releases new report on hunger in Toronto (Yonge Street)
The Daily Bread Food Bank has released its annual report on food bank clients in the GTA. But unlike previous years, the 2013 report–Who’s Hungry: A Tale of Three Cities–examines food bank usage across three different regions: the downtown core, the former inner suburbs, and the 905 region.

Poverty is a Health Issue: What to look for in the next Poverty Reduction Strategy (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
Living on a low income affects peoples lives in many ways. It can mean having fewer opportunities to fully participate in important day-to-day activities like work and education. But living on a low income can also contribute to having poorer health than those who are better off. Poverty is a health issue, but poverty and poor health are not inevitable. Ontario is currently working on a new five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy. This provides an excellent opportunity for the province to set out their concrete steps to reduce poverty in the short- and medium-term. A new Wellesley Institute report details how the province can improve the health of all Ontarians by reducing poverty. This is the first in a series of three blogs that set out how to create a Poverty Reduction Strategy that enables good health for all.

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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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