Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Oct 10, 2013


Operation Black Vote (Cities of Migration)
Ever looked at your political leaders and thought how far they are from representing diverse populations? In the UK, just 4% of the national Members of Parliament (MPs) and local councillors originate from an ethnic minority background, despite minorities making up 14% of the wider population. The absence of ethnic minority leaders is common across other areas of public life too, including in local policing, education and the voluntary sector. But Kacey Akpoteni’s experience suggests that, with a helping hand, people from ethnic minority backgrounds can leap forward to be local and national leaders.

Access to banking, an important piece of economic inclusion for newcomers (Piali Roy, Maytree)
The cost of economic exclusion is too high to ignore – especially in times of economic austerity. Why is access to banking an important issue for immigrants? It leads to increased opportunities from taking out a loan to cover the cost of updating credentials to using a bank account to pay bills.

Hijab is what Marois really wants to banish (Andrew Griffith, Multicultural Meanderings)
Interesting insights from Charles Taylor, on how the model of laicisme ouverte was a tactical move to find a compromise that should work with the population. A valid call, even if the fundamentals are still questionable.

Reply to an Islamophobe Bully (Yumna Baqai, South Asian Generation Next)
Occasionally, I receive hateful messages from random Islamophobic strangers on Facebook or sometimes if people are brave enough, they say it all in person. Either way, it hurts and scars take a long time to heal. Last week, I received a very offensive message from a total stranger and to that I decided to reply. I am going to publish this as it is indicative of all the “behind the scenes” bullying that goes on by the Islamophobes especially towards the Muslim girls/women.

Donna Quan chosen as director of Toronto District School Board (Caroline Alphonso, Globe and Mail)
Trustees at the Toronto District School Board have selected a quiet, steady hand to lead Canada’s largest and most diverse school board. Donna Quan, the board’s former deputy director, had been temporarily filling in after the previous director abruptly resigned amid allegations of plagiarism. On Wednesday night, trustees approved a motion to offer Ms. Quan the position.

Request for Proposal for Consultant to Research The New Generation of Newcomers and Settlement Service Models (Settlement AtWork)
This RFP is a search for a consultant to work with the partner Executive Directors to research and identify the “new generation of newcomers”, their profile and needs and potential new settlement service models.

Request for Proposals for a Consultant to Facilitate Collaborative Partnership Development of the Toronto Settlement Collaborative (Settlement AtWork)
This RFP is a search for a consultant to work with the partner Executive Directors to explore, develop, and facilitate a new collaboration model to deliver a broader spectrum of settlement services across Toronto.

Featuring Research from OCASI Member Agencies (Settlement AtWork)
As part of its on-going focus on research and evidence-informed decision making, OCASI would like to start featuring and archiving research produced by (or in partnership with) its member agencies over the last 5 years. A central repository on the OCASI website of member research will demonstrate the sector’s historical and growing expertise in research, and will also provide another avenue to promote member agencies’ work. OCASI can either host the document, or link to it on the relevant agency website.

News Release — Winner of Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education announced (CIC)
Mr. Scott Masters, a teacher at Crestwood Preparatory College in Toronto, Ontario, won the Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education for his innovative approach to promoting understanding and awareness amongst students of the Holocaust as well as its implications. The award winner was announced today by Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism, at a special event to honour Holocaust survivor educators held in conjunction with the bi-annual meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Immigrant entrepreneurs invest into the community (Weyburn Review)
A group of new companies to Weyburn are offering new services and new opportunities, and they were created by three new immigrant entrepreneurs. Chakra (Chad) Balayar, Gurbinder Sidhu and Beant Singh are partners in the businesses of Country Cab and DT Convenience. In addition, Beant puts full-time hours managing the Weyburn Mac’s Convenience Store, Gurbinder works full-time for ComIT Technologies, and Chad operates Kimron ITS Corp., a contracting company “Every guy has their own full-time job,” said Balayar. Each of the three partners has invested in to the companies, using money they brought with them when they immigrated to Canada.

Corporate board database expands number of qualified women, minorities (Global Post)
After conquering the male-dominated mining industry, Dominique Dionne is hoping for a spot on one of the country’s top corporate boards. The former vice-president of corporate affairs at Xstrata Nickel will be listed in the Canadian Board Diversity Council’s database, a tool to help directors find qualified women and visible minorities to fill board seats.

Diversity 50 list overcoming barriers to diverse corporate board-level representation (Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald)
Eight Calgarians have been named to the Canadian Board Diversity Council’s latest list of qualified, diverse candidates for corporate board of director appointments. In its second year of a nationwide search, the council’s Diversity 50 list added 50 new corporate leaders to its database, doubling its pool of candidates, it said on Wednesday.

Calgary mayoral candidate slams Naheed Nenshi’s Muslim faith (Andy Radia, Yahoo! News)
Civic elections across the country sometimes bring out some ‘colourful’ candidates. In 1980, for example, there was John Buttrey in Edmonton: according to the Edmonton Journal, the plumber turned mayoralty wannabe “suggested pimps should be painted purple, heckled opponents, and sang tunes such as the politically incorrect Mammy during his campaign speeches.” Well, meet Calgary’s colourful mayoralty candidate: Larry Heather, a gospel radio show host looking to oust current Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Heather, 59, describes himself as the campaign’s Christian choice. On his website, Heather takes a direct swipe Nenshi’s Muslim faith.

NDP, Liberal critics claim PM’s boycott of Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka politically motivated by Canadian electoral strategy (Tim Naumetz, Hilltimes)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s high-profile decision to boycott a summit of Commonwealth leaders in Sri Lanka next month is based on a “political calculus” to woo support from thousands of Tamil voters in Toronto rather than a conversion over the past two years to sympathy for Sri Lankan Tamils whom the government ignored prior to the last federal election in 2011, opposition MPs claim.

Canada Post boss admits posing as immigration officer, extorting sex favours (Sun News Network)
A Canada Post supervisor admitted impersonating an immigration officer and using threats of deportation to extort sexual favours from an immigrant woman from the Philippines. Raymond Coles posed as an Immigration Enforcement Agency official after accessing information from his work computer and obtaining personal details regarding his first of two victims, Crown attorney David Fisher told a Toronto court. Coles used the computer to order an immigration officer’s badge and to download photos of nude Filipina women.

Video: Charity provides Thanksgiving turkey dinners to newcomers (CTV)
Ashley Rowe has more on an organization that provides Thanksgiving turkey dinners for newcomers to Canada.

“Why Not Stop Everybody” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about carding, with Knia Singh. He is a law student and community activist.

No advances for Canada’s children following Canada’s Human Rights Review (Cheryl Milne, Rights of Children)
In September, the Government of Canada responded to the 162 recommendations it received to advance the human rights of Canadians, during the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in April, 2013. The UPR is a process to review, every five years, how each nation is advancing the realization of the human rights they have committed to in ratifying the core international human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unlike specific treaty review processes, states are obligated to respond to the recommendations made by other states in the UPR. They may accept or reject recommendations – in part, in full, or in principle – and provide comments to justify their positions.

2013 Charles Hastings Lecture on Public Health Featuring Dr. David Williams (Toronto Public Health)
Race is emerging as an important public health issue. There is a growing body of international research on the health impacts of racism and the unequal distribution of the social determinants of health by race. Given Toronto’s great diversity, understanding and tackling this issue will enable all residents to have the best chance for good health.

Oct 31: Hacking Migration in the Capital (Louisa Taylor)
If you code for fun or for a living, if you work with newcomers or teach migration issues, if public policy is your thing or you write about immigration, grab a friend and join us for Hacking Migration in the Capital on Saturday, Nov. 2 & Sunday, Nov. 3. It’s fun, it’s creative and it’s for a good cause!

NOVA SCOTIA A-Z: Dutch national a sentimental storyteller (Kelly Shiers, Chronicle Herald)
For the next couple of hours, the 79-year-old travels back in time, effortlessly crossing decades, switching between his experiences and those of visitors to Halifax’s fabled Pier 21, where he welcomes former immigrants to the spot where they first set foot in Canada. It’s a long way from the Netherlands village of Tjerkwerd, which he left at the age of 17. But that’s where the stories begin this day.


Understand Your Workforce and Gain a Competitive Advantage (
Do you know who makes up your workforce? Manitoba Hydro does. They ask new employees (through a voluntary form) if they are immigrants, what year they arrived and their country of origin.

Cancelled fast-track program for foreign workers could soon return (Tobi Cohen, Montreal Gazette)
Employment Minister Jason Kenney says the government could soon resurrect a fast-track scheme that allows companies to bring temporary foreign workers to Canada more quickly. The program was dumped last spring amid controversy over a B.C. mining company that hired 201 Chinese workers after an ad seeking Mandarin-speaking miners failed to turn up Canadian candidates, and a group of Royal Bank of Canada employees found themselves training foreigners to replace them after their jobs were outsourced by a contractor.

Sanjeev Sharma – A Professional Newcomer Success Story (ERIEC)
Until September 2010, Sanjeev, his wife and two children were living in India where Sanjeev was employed in his chosen profession of accounting. From India’s Punjab state, Sanjeev had completed his Master of Commerce degree from Delhi University in 1994 and earned his professional accounting designation in 1997. Eager to make a new life for himself and his family, Sanjeev and his wife chose to emigrate, joining his wife’s parents in Edmonton in the summer of 2011.

Out-of-work immunity for health-care workers (Sarah Barmak, Maclean’s)
The much-publicized problem of immigrants who struggle to have their foreign credentials in medicine recognized in Canada has been a focus of government initiatives. The 2009 federal budget funded the development of a national framework to smooth foreign-credential recognition for key health care jobs, such as medical radiation technologists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, registered and licensed practical nurses, dentists and physicians. The existence of newcomers with foreign medical training may be leading to the growth of a different kind of medical stream, however: the physician assistant, sometimes called the “physician extender.” Originating in the United States, the as-yet-unregulated profession pairs one supervising doctor with an assistant, who takes on a number of tasks, such as getting patient histories and doing select diagnostic jobs. According to national advocacy group the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants, Canada has approximately 300 physician assistants, mainly in Ontario and Manitoba, a number that’s set to grow. Roughly 160 students are now enrolled in physician assistant programs, such as McMaster University’s bachelor of health sciences (physician assistant) program—preferred by many foreign medical professionals over studying for a whole new medical degree.

Solving Canada’s skills shortage – with Americans (Linda Nazareth, Globe and Mail)
Here’s a nifty way to get the right workers into Canada and help the U.S. unemployment situation at the same time: Encourage Americans to head north and fill skilled positions on this side of the border. That’s the recommendation of a new report from the Conference Board of Canada that makes some interesting points while coming to what some may consider a controversial conclusion.

Ottawa offers changes to sway provinces on Canada Jobs Grant (South Asian Generation Next)
The Conservative government is offering to ease the rules on how provinces spend $2-billion in federal training transfers in the hope of gaining their support for the proposed new Canada Job Grant. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, federal Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney said Ottawa is prepared to remove a barrier that forces training dollars to be divided into two categories: money for people on Employment Insurance, and a smaller amount for people who are not. He said this might help provinces find the money they need to join the job grant progra

A Tale Of Three Cities: Detroit, Toronto, And Pittsburgh In A Post-Industrialized World (Palash Ghosh, IB Times)
Writing for a blog called “Comeback City,” La Noue suggested that part of Toronto’s stellar economic performance is linked to its attractiveness as a destination for diversely-skilled immigrants – particularly those from Asia. In fact, just under one-half (49 percent) of Toronto’s current population comprise foreign-born immigrants, including many from places like China, South Korea, India and Pakistan. According to statistics from the Toronto government, South Asians account for 12 percent of the city’s population; with the Chinese at 11.4 percent. (Thus, almost one-quarter of Toronto’s populace hail from India-Pakistan or China.)

Minimum Wage: Infographic (Wellesley Institute)

Minimum wage hike proposed at poverty meetings (CBC)
Anti-poverty activist Randy Hatfield is pushing for a living wage for people in Saint John that would see people paid between $15 and $17 an hour. (CBC) Raising the minimum wage in New Brunswick is one idea that has been getting support at a series of meetings aimed at tackling poverty in the province. Anti-poverty advocate Randy Hatfield has been working with an accountant to come up with a so-called living wage.


Ontario launches new social enterprise strategy (Charity Village)
Ontario has launched a new plan that will help social enterprises start and grow their businesses while supporting the creation of 1,600 new jobs in the sector. Impact – A Social Enterprise Strategy for Ontario is the province’s plan to become the number one jurisdiction in North America for businesses that have a positive social, cultural, or environmental impact while generating revenue. The strategy will support social entrepreneurs and attract investors by focusing on four key areas.


Share your feedback on Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (Charity Village)
The Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) participated in a consultation facilitated by the Ministry of Finance with the Hon. Charles Sousa to share ways of renewing Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. Minister Sousa listened in on roundtable discussions on how the business sector can effectively contribute to the alleviation of poverty, including examples of partnerships and ways to increase business sector participation in poverty reduction. Local, provincial and national nonprofits attended, in addition to corporations and small businesses. ONN was there to hear feedback from the sector, support nonprofits working on poverty issues who are experts in this area, and encourage government to consult the sector, which has on-the-ground experience, as strategies are developed. Feedback will contribute to the development of a new five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario. The sector can add its voices in two ways: complete the online survey before October 17, 2013; or, send your submission by October 11, 2013 to: povertystrategy. If you’ve participated in a consultation or made a submission, please share with ONN and they’ll compile these online to share the voices of the sector.

Now accepting applications: 2014 Max Bell Public Policy Training Institute (Max Bell)
Canadian charities have a long history of helping to inform and shape public policy at municipal, provincial, and federal levels. For many, it’s a key strategy for advancing their missions. Whether your organization has experience in public policy advocacy or is relatively new to the field, this extraordinary professional development opportunity will help you improve. Between January and June of 2014, Max Bell Foundation will deliver its sixth annual Public Policy Training Institute (PPTI). We will bring together another group of 25 leaders from Canada’s charitable sector whose organizations want to impact the public policy process. Enrollment is open to staff or Board members of any Canadian charity.

Bigger clawbacks to Old Age Security not the answer (Andrew Jackson, Broadbent Institute)
Not content with the recent Harper government decision to trim program costs by raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (OAS/GIS) from 65 to 67, the Fraser Institute wants to withdraw OAS benefits from more seniors. They propose to claw back OAS benefits from seniors with individual incomes of more than $51,000, instead of the current clawback level of $71,000. Under their proposal, benefits would be entirely lost at an income of $95,000, instead of the current $115,000.

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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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