Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 9, 2013

The non-economic case for immigration (Natalie Brender, Toronto Star)
Those who are worried about combating such trends can start with the low-hanging fruit — for instance, as University of Ottawa professor Patti Tamara Lenard did in a Broadbent Institute blog post exposing the shoddy logic of the Fraser Institute’s figures and proposals. But since no one denies that economic goals are a centrally important part of a sound immigration policy, it’s not enough to rebut outright mistakes in order to put the economic factors in a much-needed broader context. What’s missing from public debate is a focused effort by advocates to explain both to the federal government and their fellow Canadians why and how grounds other than narrowly economic ones should inform immigration policy.
Editorial: Some would-be Canadians tying up immigration process (Vancouver Sun)
It’s high time the federal government took action to jettison dormant citizenship applications that are clogging the system.  Citizenship and Immigration Canada will start closing the files of those who repeatedly fail to attend scheduled citizenship tests or interviews. Applications submitted on or after April 17, 2009, will also be classified as dormant and closed if applicants fail to provide proof of residency after receiving two notices from the government, Postmedia News reports.  A department spokeswoman estimates that about 12,000 files will be closed in coming weeks and said that 54,000 citizenship applicants have failed to show up for their test in the past three years alone.
OAS benefits denied: Immigrants told to produce residency proofs (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
After 40 years as a registered nurse, Yvonne Gardner never thought she’d have to beg to get her federal pension benefits. For 14 months, the Toronto retiree has been struggling to prove to Service Canada that she’s eligible for the $500 monthly Old Age Security (OAS) pension. In the latest twist, she was asked for copies of plane tickets for all of her travels in and out of Canada since moving here from England in 1975 — a mission impossible — as proof she has lived here the minimum 10 years required to qualify.
PQ plans step-by-step release of values charter, keeping critics on their toes (Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail)
The Marois government will release only the broad outlines of its Quebec Charter of Values next week, forcing critics to keep waiting before they can debate the legality or the finer details of the proposal.  The Quebec government will lay out a series of “orientations” and “proposals,” while a full bill will be tabled only after a consultation period, provincial officials said.  The step-by-step release means the contents of the actual charter will remain a moving target, forcing other political parties to either hold their fire, or commit to a firm stand on an evolving proposal.
Analysis: Why the PQ is putting Quebec back on a values roller-coaster (Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette)
It was Liberal leader Philippe Couillard who said out loud what many observers believe to be true.  “The Parti Québécois is continuing its policies of division by literally fabricating a crisis to change the subject (from Quebec’s economic situation),” Couillard said at a party caucus meeting last month in Rivière-du-Loup.  Then, dragged into the debate despite his desire to talk about the economy, Couillard added his own opinion on the PQ’s plans for a Charter of Quebec Values, which is expected to be made public sometime this week.  “What do we want to build in Quebec? Do we want to build an identity for all? Or is it ‘them’ and ‘us.’ ”
Quebec premier Marois says she didn’t mean to offend with England comments (Winnipeg Free Press)
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois says she didn’t mean to offend anyone with comments blaming multiculturalism for social unrest and bombs in Britain.  She said her comments were made in the context of a discussion about different models of integration around the world.  Marois added that she didn’t intend to interfere with United Kingdom policies. “It’s up to Quebec to develop its own model, according to its own values and history,” Marois said Saturday in a statement posted to the Parti Quebecois website.
Pauline Marois shows ignorance of Canada: Editorial (Toronto Star)
We knew that Quebec Premier Pauline Marois was a small-minded and cynical politician. Her latest salvo in defence of the idea of a Charter of Quebec Values shows she is also remarkably ignorant about the country she seeks to destroy. In the course of reflecting on her shambolic first year in office (broken promises, abrupt reversals in policy, bungling ministers), Marois threw out a revealing twist on her determination to affirm “Quebec values.”
Quebec religious symbol ban would survive challenge, says scholar who helped draft it (Allan Woods, Toronto Star)
Quebec’s proposed ban on public employees wearing religious symbols is legally defensible, necessary for the good functioning of the province and even “wise” in the face of the province’s immigration levels, says the renowned constitutional scholar who helped the Parti Québécois draft the controversial bill. But Laval University law professor Henri Brun said he had no illusions when he was working on the so-called charter of Quebec values last spring that its release would be explosive in the province and cause tremors across Canada. “It was foreseeable,” Brun said in an interview with the Star. “In any case, the government and (Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard) Drainville were aware that it would be starting an antagonistic debate between the Anglo-Canadians and the Franco-Québécois. As early as April we were aware of that.”
Pauline Marois Just Doesn’t Get Multiculturalism — or Canada (Saeed Selvam, Huffington Post)
There’s a drastic need for change in Canadian politics, even more so in Quebec. Premier Pauline Marois’ proposal to ban religious symbols in public sector settings like schools, hospitals and daycares is as unconstitutional as it is offensive to every religious minority in Quebec and across the nation.  It’s well known and accepted that Quebec’s equal right to preservation of French culture, values and history is a cardinal priority of the Parti Québécois and a majority of Quebecers — nothing wrong with that. But a ban on religious symbolism, essentially a ban on expression and identity is a violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms under Section 2 which specifically states a Canadian’s right to freedom of religion and expression among others, no matter where you are, what day of the week it is or what happens in other countries that are nowhere near analogous to yours.
Marois blasts multiculturalism, promises gradual phase-in of Quebec secular charter (Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail)
The Parti Québécois is promising that it will slowly implement its planned Quebec Charter of Values to ensure a smooth transformation toward a more secular government apparatus.  “There will be transition periods,” Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said in a French-language interview that ran in Friday’s edition of Le Devoir.  She told the Montreal newspaper that her government is leaning towards the French model of secularism, blasting what she called the English model of multiculturalism.
Professional Nepalese-Canadian Mentorship Program expanding across the nation (Ajit Jain, Globe and Mail)
It’s an all too familiar story: Binod Paudel, a science instructor at Kathmandu University, is currently working as a security guard to make ends meet in his new home, Canada.  His fate and those of dozens of others inspired Tulsi Dharel, a professor at Centennial College, to start a mentorship program to help Nepalese migrants build careers. He started the Professional Nepalese-Canadian Mentorship Program last year with 40 mentees and only 15 mentors, but now he’s attracted 75-plus volunteer mentors, and is planning to expand the project across Canada.
Newcomer Champion Awards: 2011 Recipients (Gov of Ontario)
Created in 2007, the Newcomer Champion Awards recognize people and groups who have made a difference in their community and the province through active citizenship and engagement. In 2011, the awards were expanded to recognize a broader range of Ontarians who champion voluntarism, proudly support newcomers, and advocate greater social and civic inclusion.
Policy on Creed and the Accommodation of Religious Observances (Settlement AtWork)
The Ontario Human Rights Commission is updating its 1996 Policy on Creed and the Accommodation of Religious Observances and they need your help.  Please consider filling out their Human Rights and Creed Survey, and sharing it with your networks and peers. They want to hear from individuals, employers and other groups what creed means, experiences of discrimination based on creed and its root causes, as well as challenges and success stories for accommodating creed beliefs and practices.
They Came to Canada (TVO)
To broadcase on Sept 11: They came from far and wide. They came to build new lives and new paths. They came because Canada was a land of opportunity. Do immigrants to Canada in 2013 have the same opportunities? The third installment in The Agenda’s “Dude, Where’s My Future?” series.
The new Canadian passport is pure Harperlandia (Heather Mallick, Toronto Star)
The passport contains 22 visual watermarks portraying the essence, the uniqueness of Harperlandia. There are, by my count, 98 images of males, six of females. There are various landscapes, from the north, the Prairies and Newfoundland, plus Niagara Falls. There are football players and hockey players, a warship, three war memorials, the RCMP and a soldier. But there is no image of Toronto or Vancouver and no aboriginal Canadian. Apparently only one Canadian verging on our lifetime (Terry Fox) has ever distinguished himself. According to the government, we are white guys, rural, warlike and sporty, but not literate. Our landscapes are bleak, our buildings drab, our statuary undistinguished. These are not propellant images. In most, we are either stationary or plodding. Worse, not a single Canadian face is shown cracking a smile.

Join Us For CARL’s 5th National Conference (Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers)
We hope you can join us for CARL’s 5th National Conference and 3rd Annual General Meeting on Thursday, October 3, 2013! Conference locations include Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, with a live webcast available for participants in other locations.
Up to 70 Iraqi refugees expected this month (Michael Swan, Catholic Register)
While the Syrian refugee crisis grows, Toronto parishes continue to welcome Iraqi refugees. The archdiocese of Toronto’s Office for Refugees is expecting between 60 and 70 Iraqis to land here over the course of September.  Exact dates for landings are difficult to predict because refugees fly on the left-over capacity of unsold airline seats, said ORAT executive director Martin Mark. Given the instability in the region, ORAT has set up a system for notifying parishes when their refugee families will be arriving, and when those flights have been cancelled.
How the Chilean coup forever changed Canada’s refugee policies (Eva Salinas, Globe and Mail)
“The regulations on what to do when people are in trouble were pretty vague,” said Mr. Dolgin, long retired from the foreign service and now living near Gatineau, Que. “The one thing that was clear was [that] we were in no position to grant asylum because we were in no position to get people out of the country.”  The Canadian ambassador to Chile at the time, Andrew Ross, was in Buenos Aires and unable to return immediately. Mr. Dolgin, then first secretary, was in charge. He made the decision to start accepting people at his own home and within a week, moved them to the ambassador’s residence, where he assumed they would be better protected under diplomatic immunity.  Some 16 people, including the Duran family, settled in as best they could in the residence, sleeping on mattresses in a large upstairs room. “They said they were going to help us get to another country – Peru or Mexico – or we could stay with them until we could come out,” Mr. Duran recalled.
UN calls for innovations to aid its work with refugees (
The UN’s refugee agency hopes to use crowdsourced innovations to improve how it works with refugees. On 12 August, UNHCR (the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees) launched the first of several planned challenges intended to produce innovative solutions to pressing problems in the field.  This first challenge in the UNHCR Ideas initiative asked the agency’s staff and partner organisations to suggest ways to improve access to UNHCR information and services for refugees living in urban areas.
Syrian-Canadians look outside community to help with donations for refugees (CTV Montreal)
Syrian-Canadians are trying to do their part to help family, friends and strangers in their former county, where one-third of the population – or roughly the population of Quebec – has been displaced by war, according to the UN’s refugee agency.  One of those organizations is non-profit group founded in December called A Heart for Syria. Started by a Montreal named Hala Maatouk, she and other volunteers are not affiliated with any religious or political ideology and are simply seeking to help those who are suffering.  For the past two years, Maatouk has sold artwork made by Syrian men and women to provide humanitarian aid to refugees of the war-torn country.
United Church Launches Appeal for Syrian Refugees (Canada Newswire)
Today, The United Church of Canada launched a major fundraising appeal,, to support its partners, ACTalliance and the Middle East Council of Churches working in the burgeoning refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. “We are launching the appeal prompted by reports from our partners that the situation of uprooted Syrians is dire and our support is urgently needed,” says Gary Kenny, who coordinates the church’s response to global emergencies.  And, as part of the appeal, the church also issued a statement deploring, unequivocally, the use of chemical weapons. The church also believes their use and the ongoing conflict in Syria will not be resolved by military action. “The witness of the Christian scriptures and of Jesus is that violence begets violence,” said Moderator Gary Paterson. “Together with the World Council of Churches and especially churches in Syria, we appeal to the international community to work cooperatively to find a peaceful and negotiated end to the conflict.”
Hinton Scouts introduce refugees to camping (Hinton Parklander)
The Second Hinton Scouts will be helping new immigrants and refugees enjoy the great Canadian wilderness this month.  It’s the first time the local Scouts group is participating in Jasper National Park’s Learn to Camp program, which brings together a group of new immigrants to Canada, many with a refugee background, to enjoy a weekend of camping. The event is free of charge for the new Canadians, organized by Parks Canada and Alberta Parks. A similar event took place in William A. Switzer Provincial Park last month.
Canada’s Professional Crystal Ball Gazers Get It Wrong (Canadian Immigration Reform)
No one can predict the future. No one, yet the government has shaped immigration policy around what these occasionally-right-by-way-of-a-lucky-guess palm readers say about labour market trends. They are wrong often enough that we shouldn’t be listening to them at all and it’s a very real possibility that the future Canadian labour market they predict – one that necessitates the highest immigration intake quotas in the world – will not come to pass. If so we are in the process of stock piling a labour force of which supply exceeds demand and with this comes a bevy of social problems.
Canada’s Jobless Numbers Questioned: Toronto Created How Many Jobs? (Huffington Post)
Some unusual numbers in Statistics Canada’s latest unemployment data, released Friday, have some economists questioning the accuracy of the monthly report.  Will Dunning, who works as the chief economist for mortgage industry group CAAMP, pointed to StatsCan data showing that, of the approximately 59,000 net jobs created in Canada, 45,500 came from the Toronto area.  Dunning describes that number as impossible.  “The data for Toronto suggests that employment grew by 1.5 per cent in just one month,” he said in an email to HuffPost. “If that was correct, it would be equivalent to 19 per cent per year. Employment just does not grow that quickly.”  Dunning says Toronto is under-represented in StatsCan’s survey, creating errors in the data.
Help us fight for $14! Join the September 14th day of action (Workers’ Action Centre)
September 14th is coming soon — the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage’s second province-wide day of action for a $14 minimum wage! This month we’ll be carrying out creative actions outside corporate targets who are board members of powerful lobby groups fighting to keep wages low. You may be surprised to hear who’s on the list! Stay tuned as we announce the full list next week! Actions are being organized in Halton, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Peterborough, Sudbury, York Region, Cornwall, London, Toronto and more! Check out 2 actions happening below.
Universities should educate – employers should train (Globe and Mail)
The trajectory of most individuals in their education and careers is seldom linear. Few people at 17 or 18 have a crystal-clear idea of what their job will be at 40. And for those lucky ones who do, it is unlikely they will pursue a linear path to that end point and stay in that career until retirement. This is simply not the pattern of the modern workplace.  Yet there seems to be an increasing – and in my view mistaken – expectation that graduates are entitled to land a high-level and highly relevant job right out of school. This is unrealistic in today’s rapidly shifting employment landscape.
Salary Survey Report (2013) (Charity Village)
In this brand new report, you’ll find comprehensive data, including a wide variety of tables, charts and graphs, in the Canadian nonprofit sector. The practical analysis allows you to quickly translate the data into important takeaways to immediately benefit your organization.  CharityVillage’s Canadian Nonprofit Sector Salary and Benefits Study is the only one of its kind in Canada, offering a complete and exhaustive survey of the Canadian nonprofit compensation landscape.
Charitable Fraser Institute received $4.3 million in foreign funding since 2000 (Craig Fleisch, Vancouver Observer)
In May, it was found that the US oil billionaire Koch brothers gave the Fraser Institute half a million dollars since 2007. But further investigation shows the insitute received funding from other major US foundations.  The issue of foreign funding of progressive Canadian charities has been under scrutiny since Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver released an open letter last January accusing “environmental and other radical groups” of influencing Canadian politics.  He said that these groups “use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.”
Canadian Social Research Newsletter September 8, 2013 (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. [Ontario] Robin Hood Doctor Under Fire for Helping the Poor (Krystalline Kraus, – September 7
2. [Ontario] Administrative Justice Support Network (Guide to appeal courts in Ontario)
3. Court dismisses landmark Charter challenge on behalf of homeless Canadians (Toronto Star) – September 6
4. [New Brunswick] Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation to hold public sessions – August 26
5. Social Assistance Reform in New Brunswick
6. Media and Policy News for September 6 (Jennefer Laidley, Income Security Advocacy Centre)
7. New way to keep the war on poverty alive (Toronto Star, Caledon Institute on Social Policy) – September 4
8. Unifor: Canada’s Newest Union (Jim Stanford, Progressive Economics Forum) – September 1
9. The New Attack on Unions (Andrew Jackson in Progressive Economics Forum) – September 3
10. On income inequality, Andrew Coyne misses the mark (Andrew Jackson in The Broadbent Blog) – September 3
11. Indecent proposals: why the Fraser Institute is wrong on immigration (By Patti Tamara Lenard, Broadbent Institute) – September 3
12. Ontario welfare reforms roll out this month (Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star) – September 2
13. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— Canadian economic accounts, second quarter 2013 and June 2013 – August 30
— Payroll employment, earnings and hours, June 2013 – August 28
14. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit
Statistics Canada report to reveal income and housing inequality (Misty Harris,
As more and more Canadian politicians adopt the mantle of the middle class, you’d be forgiven for thinking the suburban white-collar worker is a newly endangered species.  The reality, population experts say, is that the squeeze on the middle is highly generational, with those under 45 more likely to be affected than those nearing retirement. And it’s this inequality that’s expected to be a key narrative of Statistics Canada’s final wave of National Household Survey data, which on Wednesday, Sept. 11 will lay bare income and housing issues across geographic, demographic and ethnographic lines.
Making Transit a Priority (Social Planning Toronto)
Access to transit needs to be a significant component of any initiative to reduce and ultimately eliminate poverty in Toronto and Ontario.  Toronto Public Health collaborated with Social Planning Toronto to convene a number of groups with a shared interest in making sure that affordable, accessible transit is part of Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy.  From that conversation, a background paper, “Make Affordable Transit an Issue in Ontario’s Next Poverty Reduction Strategy” has been developed, and can be downloaded here.  We hope that it will be a useful resource for individuals and organizations working to shape the next phase of Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy.
Activist Communique: No More Talk About Poverty, it’s Time for Action Demonstration (Krystalline Kraus, rabble)
The Wynne Government is making those on social assistance in Ontario poorer and preparing a major attack on disabled people on ODSP. At the same time, it has the audacity to hold yet another round of public consultations on ‘poverty reduction’.  This is not a Government with any progressive intentions with regard to poverty but, rather, it is implementing a regime of austerity in this Province. OCAP and allies within the Raise the Rates Campaign will be picketing this event to expose the sham discussions taking place therein and to demand living income, the restoration of the vital Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) and no undermining of the rights and income of disabled people by merging ODSP with Ontario Works.
PRS Consultation Schedule as of September 13, 2013 (25 in 5)
The public consultation process for Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy began in mid-August.  So far, consultations have been held in Windsor, London, Ottawa and Peel Region.  A consultation focusing on newcomer issues was held in Toronto in August.
Latest Media and Policy News: 6 Sept 2013 (ISAC)
Poverty and policy news headlines from across the country.
The Scourge Of Poverty (Wa Wa News)
It is well established that poverty has a strong correlation with life expectancy.  It is one of the big holes in the government’s reasoning behind their plan to increase the age of eligibility for OAS. The government used numbers that tied the life expectancy of wealthier baby boomers to the need of those who aren’t as well off monetarily and came up with a false projection to justify their actions.  Poverty statistics are at the heart of a Canadian Medical Association report which was released in July.  It clearly states that poverty is the main issue that must be addressed to improve the health of Canadians and eliminate health inequities.  This is not good news in a country where the gap between rich and poor is growing, as the middle class vanishes and more people are forced to work at low paying jobs with insufficient benefits and non-existent pensions.


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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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