Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Oct 11, 2013


Three men arrested in ‘hate’ attack on 6 ‘visible minorities’ in Kingston, Ont. (Global News)
Police in Kingston, Ont., say they’ve made three arrests in what investigators believe was a hate-based attack on six people last Sunday.

‘We are zero’: Immigrant says she can’t escape sting of India’s caste system, even in Canada (Cheryl Chan, National Post)
For most of her life, Kamlesh Ahir has been trying to escape the caste system that’s defined her from birth. She went to university, abandoned her religion and, in 1994, left India for Canada, a new land offering a fresh start. Or so she thought. To an outsider, Ms. Ahir is no different than the more than 200,000 people of South Asian heritage who call Metro Vancouver home. Yet among her own people, her last name brands her as a dalit, the people formerly called untouchables.

Slow the flow of immigrants into Canada (Martin Collacott, The Province)
Racism was widespread in Canada a century ago. If you weren’t white and preferably of British origin, you weren’t regarded as a fully valued member of society. While cases of white supremacists still surface in Canada from time to time and have to be dealt with firmly, they represent only a very small fraction of the population and are not a threat to society as a whole. This doesn’t mean that barriers have ceased to exist or that we have arrived at being the inclusive colourblind society that should be the goal of all Canadians.

Press Release: Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network (FCJ Refugee Centre)
City management, Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network, police, human trafficking survivors, community agencies from multiple sectors will gather on the 28th and 29th of October, 2013 for the first in a series of roundtables “Building Collaboration to Combat Human Trafficking in the City of Toronto”. The event is organized by the Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network comprising of organisations and individuals working towards the elimination of the crime of human trafficking, while facilitating services and protection to trafficked persons through a holistic approach based on human rights and the needs of each individual.

Op Ed: Right to a Fair Trial is not just for Canadian Citizens (CCLA)
Security certificates allow the Canadian government, on the basis of secret evidence, to deport non-citizens who are deemed a security threat to Canada. The regime also allows for detention -with no statutory limitations on the length – so long as the detention is reasonable. Because it is not a criminal proceeding, the standard of proof is much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard applied is whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the named person is a security threat. Furthermore, the disclosure of secret evidence in the security certificate proceedings does not require the judge to balance the interests of the named person for disclosure against the interests of national security for non-disclosure, as is required in the Canada Evidence Act. In response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s first ruling on security certificates in 2007, the Canadian government introduced special advocates who are able to challenge the secret evidence. However, procedural safeguards for a fair trial are still not comparable to those given to Canadians in a criminal trial. Yet, both security certificate proceedings and criminal proceedings present the possibility of detention and, in the case of security proceedings, potentially indefinite detention.

Supreme Court urged to accept revamped national security certificate rules (Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star)
The federal government is urging the Supreme Court of Canada to uphold the country’s second attempt at crafting special immigration warrants to deport terror suspects

Government defends national security certificate system in Supreme Court (Jim Bronskill, Brandon Sun)
The Conservative government “carefully crafted” changes to the national security certificate system that brought the rarely used tool for dealing with threats to Canada in line with the Constitution, says a federal lawyer. As a Supreme Court hearing on the controversial certificate system began Thursday, federal counsel Urszula Kaczmarczyk said the 2007 reworking allowed Mohamed Harkat of Ottawa, accused of terrorist ties, to know the case against him.

From there to here: Persistence pays off for Ghanaian immigrant (Debra Black, Toronto Star)
Edward Bansah, an immigration consultant, came to Canada in November 1998 as a skilled worker. Bansah, who had a degree in statistics from the University of Ghana, had been working in the United States for nearly two years with the Council on International Educational Exchange. Prior to his arrival in the U.S., he worked at the University of Ghana as an administrator. But then, with the encouragement of his brother who already lived here, he applied to come to Canada. At first, finding work was difficult. He took jobs at Canadian Tire and a logistics company. He also worked as an interpreter for the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Too many Canadians have lowest levels of literacy, numeracy (Jeff Johnson Alberta Minister Of Education, Globe and Mail)
For example, immigrants to Canada score lower than the rest of the population (although the gap is smaller in Canada that in most other countries), but those who complete a significant portion of their education in Canada do not. Similarly, Aboriginal populations score lower than non-Aboriginals, but when we compare Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people with similar levels of education, the differences in proficiency disappear. These findings are important precisely because of what really sets Canada apart: our diversity. We are a bilingual nation, with the second-largest proportion of immigrants of the 24 countries surveyed. In addition, we have the largest percentage of population whose mother tongue is different from the official languages of the assessment. The skills advantages that we have rest on our success in responding to this diversity through, among other things, our systems of education.

New light at end of tunnel for Bass River family facing deportation (Harry Sullivan, Truro Daily News)
The Bass River family of Sean, Angelica, middle, and Becky Platnauer were all smiles on Thursday after picking up letters of support from Immigration Canada that will enable them to acquire work permits and thereby avoiding being deported back to the their native England. “Sean got a job offer yesterday,” Becky Platnauer said, Thursday morning regarding her husband.

Study: Media reflection of immigrants not reality (Adela Talbot, University of Western Ontario)
A new Western-led study shows Canadian media outlets exploit already existing negative portrayals of immigrants in order to create a crisis mentality. It’s an approach, researchers argue, that harms the nation as a whole. Led by Western psychology professor Victoria Esses, along with PhD student Stelian Medianu and Andrea Lawson of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, the study reveals the effects of the media’s negative depictions of immigrants and refugees.

Blend in, or remain stuck on the outside (Thr Province)
In 1971, Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy. By so doing, Canada affirmed the value and dignity of all Canadian citizens regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, language or religious affiliation. However, today, racism is still quite prevalent in paradise. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was in-your-face racism bullying. Since then, racism has merely gone underground. Unfortunately in Quebec, it has reared its ugly head again with their Charter of Values. Back in paradise, people of colour or those with an outward appearance of being different are still fighting for their rights. What is the Canadian value? It is white-European or is it the aboriginal culture? Or is it true multiculturalism in which you are not judged by your appearance? Unfortunately, many people who come here from Asia change their name to a “Canadianized” name in order to “fit in” because they know the general Anglo-Saxon population will not accept them if they maintain their birth name.

Multiculturalism isn’t an excuse to import traditions that smack of bigotry (Cheryl Chan, The Province)
The smell of freshly-steamed buns wafted through the air at a Richmond Chinese bakery. An impatient lineup stretched out to the pavement. Suddenly, an elderly Mandarin-speaking woman elbowed in to the front of the line. “These Mainlanders,” sniffed a woman to her companion in Hokkien, a Chinese dialect usually spoken by people from China’s Fujian province and other southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines. “They don’t know how to behave.”


London support centre touts refugee health fund (London Community News)
London’s Cross Cultural Learning Centre (CCLC) will publicly launch its Refugee Health Fund at its 45th AGM Wednesday (Oct. 16). The CCLC created the fund in August 2012 with a donation from the Sisters of St. Joseph in response to cuts to the Interim Federal Health coverage offered to refugees entering Canada. Due to the cuts, refugees are now responsible for costs stemming from the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of medical problems. The fund helps refugee claimants with heavy medical expenses.

A Refugee’s Story (Immigration lawyer blog)
Our client, a mother and grandmother came to Canada from a war torn African country. She made a refugee claim on the basis of her ethnicity which was granted and she applied for permanent residence status. On that application, she included her children, who had, subsequent to their mother’s claim, fled their country of nationality, sojourning in Sudan before making their way as refugees themselves to Uganda. Our client was granted permanent residency in Canada, and for four long years she waited anxiously for Citizenship and Immigration to process the applications for her children. All were refused by a visa officer in Nairobi. The reasons were related but are not reasonable.

New hurdles for gay refugees (Julie Sobowale, The Coast)
Imagine you are a new immigrant to Canada. Within a few weeks of arriving, you are speaking at a hearing about why you feel you are under prosecution in your homeland because of your sexuality. The LGBTQ immigrant community faces unique challenges when claiming refugee status. The Halifax Refugee Clinic helps gay refugees in their struggle to have legal status in Canada. The clinic takes on a handful of cases each year. Usually immigrants are recommended to go through alternative routes to citizenship given the difficulty of claiming refugee status as a member of the LGBTQ community.

From refugee camps to business degree (Ross Macdonald-Allan, SFU)
When Alain Ndayishimiye collects his Bachelor of Business Administration this week, he can afford a moment to reflect upon the journey that led him to SFU. Growing up in Africa, Ndayishimiye lived in a number of refugee camps in Rwanda, Tanzania and Malawi, although he identifies as Burundian, the country his parents are from. He came to Canada through the World University Services Canada student refugee program, an initiative that allows refugees to continue their studies in post-secondary institutions across Canada. Having spent so much of his life in refugee camps, Ndayishimiye recognizes the opportunities that have been made available to him in Canada.

Canada’s Refugee System Remains in Disarray (James Bissett, Frontier Centre for Public Policy)
European Union countries long ago introduced pre-screening processes to sort out frivolous and clearly false claims from genuine ones, and they have accelerated procedures for dealing with claimants originating from countries considered safe for refugees. Many countries have reduced welfare benefits and other services to asylum seekers ; … others do not permit asylum seekers to work. These methods have been implemented so that fraudulent claimants who are illegal immigrants do not overwhelm their asylum systems.

Another unspeakable tragedy on the Mediterranean (CCR)
Some 300 people, maybe more, died at sea last week, trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat. Most were Eritreans. For many Canadians this may seem a distant event, and the desperation of the passengers, risking their lives on a rickety boat, may seem unimaginable. But others in Canada know this reality only too well. They have lived through persecution that forced them to flee their home countries. They have spent time in refugee camps that are barely safer than the countries they fled, and where hopes for a decent future are crushed each day. They have sisters, cousins, friends who might well have taken their chance on that boat, so desperate is their situation today in East Africa.


Alberta Federation of Labour fears temporary workers shutting out Canadians (Courier Islander)
The Alberta Federation of Labour says it is worried that Canadians at one oilsands project are being replaced by temporary foreign workers. But others say that’s a mischaracterization and it’s just a case of one subcontractor finishing one job before another subcontractor was hired for another. AFL president Gil McGowan said Thursday that more than 270 workers at the Husky Sunrise project near Fort McMurray have been told they are off the job.

Tell Kathleen Wynne this Thanksgiving we need a raise! (Workers’ Action Centre)
This Thanksgiving weekend, who is putting food on our tables? Too many workers will be relying on food banks for their Thanksgiving dinner. All along the food chain there are people in low wage jobs, from farm workers to restaurant workers. Thousands of migrant farm workers are excluded from minimum wage laws altogether.

Temporary Foreign Workers at Husky proof program is broken: AFL (Fort McMurray Today)
The Alberta Federation of Labour is taking aim at the federal government, after Today discovered that 270 Canadian workers had been replaced with temporary foreign workers at Husky Energy’s Sunrise site. The site – located 60 kilometres north of Fort McMurray – is the workplace for more than 1,500 people, however, the AFL estimates that less than one-third of those workers are Canadian citizens.


Saving data to save the country (Sherri Torjman, Toronto Star)
No Canadian can afford to remain idle as Ottawa strips away our most important collective resource − public information about who we are.

New poverty reduction strategy in the works for Ontario (Chronicle Journal)
Two of the Northwest’s MPPs discussed possible solutions for reducing poverty with area residents and community leaders on Thursday. Liberals Michael Gravelle (Thunder Bay-Superior North) and Bill Mauro (Thunder Bay-Atikokan) listened to ideas about how government and communities can work together to break the cycle of poverty, during a consultation session at the Italian Cultural Centre. A cabinet committee on poverty reduction, co-chaired by Children and Youth Services Minister Teresa Pirruza and Community and Social Services Minister Ted McMeekin, is looking into creating a new poverty reduction plan for the province.

Poverty is a health issue: it’s time to address housing and homelessness (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
Housing insecurity and homelessness have significant health impacts. The poorest neighbourhoods have the worst quality housing and the worst health profiles. Health impacts of poor housing include increased incidence of illnesses and premature death. Children who live in homes that are damp or moldy have a greater risk of chronic conditions such as asthma, and these conditions can last a lifetime. Critically, the death rate for homeless people is eight to ten times higher than for housed people of the same age. Having a safe and affordable home is an important foundation for good health.

Take Time on October 17th to Think Beyond Food Banks (Megan Yarema, Dignity for all)
3.8 million people in Canada cannot access the food they need. Close to 1 million people use food banks each month. Food banks are not a sufficient response. Surely we can do better. This year on , we propose that people think beyond food banks to solutions that address the root causes of poverty. Set up as temporary measures in the 1980s, food banks have now become part of the charitable fabric of our society. But do they end food insecurity? They address an immediate need, but why are they still around 30 years later?

Submission on Ontario’s second poverty reduction strategy – MS Word (ISAC)
ISAC has made a submission on Ontario’s second poverty reduction strategy, focused on income security and social assistance reform, the need for government to take an equity approach to reducing poverty, and the importance of moving away from austerity and toward making the investments that are required.

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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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