Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Oct 17, 2013


Webinar Nov 7: Immigrants Wanted! Strategies for Advancing Welcoming Communities (Cities of Migration)
Join us to learn how innovative strategies in St. Louis (US) and Botkyrka (Sweden) aim to attract, recruit and integrate immigrants to jump start regional growth and secure a future of shared prosperity for all.

David Mousavi: Canada’s Next Generation of Diverse Leadership (Samuel Getachew,
The riding of Willowdale is as diverse as the residents that are represented. If Justin Trudeau and his once-mighty Liberals have any chance of forming a near-future government, they would need to do well in this working class area as this was a once safe riding for them. The riding is as diverse in people with a large Chinese, Korean, South and West Asian population. The much utilized Mel Lastman Square, the Toronto Center for the Arts are some of the hallmarks that are in the riding. The imprints of Canada’s immigrants, especially the affluent Iranian-Canadian population, is everywhere – as owners of the most sought after buildings as well as business interests such as the Future Shop, a onetime immigrant success story, and the Hakim Optical chain.

Slava Levin, Co-Founder and CEO of Ethnic Channels Group is the 2013 media man of the year, as awarded by Diversity Magazine (
Slava Levin, Co-Founder and CEO of Ethnic Channels Group received the prestigious Diversity 2013 Media Award on Friday, October 4, 2013 from Diversity Magazine. The Diversity Awards were first awarded in 2010. They were created to celebrate leadership, excellence, harmony and innovation. Slava Levin is also eligible for Diversity Magazine’s Person of the Year Award. In advising Mr. Levin of his award, Moses Mawa, President and CEO of Silvertrust Media and Publisher of Diversity Magazine commented that, “Mr. Levin’s impact, along with all of his efforts on behalf of the ECG family on the Canadian media landscape is tremendous and we believe the Company is only getting started, especially with its commitment to ongoing innovation and technological advancement.”

Jim Leech: Time to ‘end the debate’ on gender diversity in boardrooms (Barbara Shecter,
If Canadian companies are left to their own devices, it will take until 2097 for women to have equal representation in the boardroom, a study by the Canadian Board Diversity Council suggests. “By 2097, we’re all dead, our children are all dead,” said Pamela Jeffery, founder of the board, which plans to release the study next month. Ms. Jeffery was among the participants in a discussion Wednesday hosted by the Ontario Securities Commission, which is considering new rules to encourage or even force female representation on boards and in senior management.

OSC’s women on boards initiative won’t work, Teachers CEO warns (Janet Mcfarland,
Ontario’s proposal to create a voluntary disclosure rule to boost women on boards is unlikely to cause much improvement and will likely have to be turned into a quota, warns the head of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Speaking at a public forum Wednesday hosted by the Ontario Securities Commission, Jim Leech said Canada has a smaller proportion of women on corporate boards than countries like Turkey and Poland. He said voluntary disclosure rules can be tried for three or four years, but will probably end up being rejected as inadequate. “Let’s skip this intermediate step we don’t think is going to work,” Mr. Leech proposed.

Women On Boards (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Jennifer Reynolds. She is the President of Women in Capital Markets.

Poetry book recounts Italian immigrant experience (Adam Martin-Robbins,
Woodbridge author Lillian Conti’s latest book, Illuminata!, shines a light on the Italian immigrant experience. “It’s an illumination of the reality of being an immigrant with all its goodness and its drawbacks. But it’s also a spiritual awakening of sorts from the Italian heritage we have and carry over here. And trying to keep that heritage in our spirituality,” said Mrs. Conti, who emigrated from Italy in 1959.

Faith & the Sciences (Firas Al-Atraqchi,
North American Muslims have in recent years seen the number of Islamic-oriented food stores double in number. Drive down Dundas Street in Mississauga, Canada, or take a stroll through Dearborn, Michigan and you will see nearly hundreds of halal food and meat stores festooning the area. 13 years ago, New Jersey for example, became the first state to pass a consumer protection law that specifically deals with issues of halal food. The law established guidelines that sellers and distributors must follow when labeling foods as halal. Living an Islamic way of life, it seemed, was becoming easier in North America. That perception may have been shattered by a series of events in late May, which until now were virtually undiscovered and kept under wraps.

Czech tourists will no longer need visas, but Mexican travellers out of luck as ‘serious’ security concerns remain (Stewart Bell,
Canada is not yet ready to lift its visa requirement on Mexican travellers, an official said Wednesday as the government signaled visitors from the Czech Republic would no longer need visas. The official said that while Canada hoped to agree on a roadmap for tackling the dispute, Ottawa’s security concerns would have to be satisfied before it allowed visa-free travel for Mexicans. “Mexico is still very much on the frontlines of Latin American criminality,” said Kevin Menard, a senior special assistant to Chris Alexander, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Racism in Paradise: Do not focus on the differences, but the similarities (Farid Rohani,
Any newcomer to Canada is confronted with the question of what is the source of his identity? Where should his attachments and loyalties lie? Hence the retreat to where he is most comfortable, and that is amongst his community. Our cities are now made up of different ethnic communities and the sources of identities that define us are also diverse. Which are most important? Can different identities engage with each other?

Canada the first to adopt multiculturalism (
Did you know that Canada was the first country to adopt “multiculturalism” as an official policy? It was introduced in the early 1970s and made a federal law by the Multiculturalism Act (1988). The policy is multifaceted and is designed “to preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of all Canadians while working to achieve the equality of all Canadians in the economic, social, cultural and political life of Canada.” It embraces diversity and replaces the concept of the ‘melting pot’ where immigrants are expected to assimilate into the dominant culture. The genesis of multiculturalism is often attributed to Canada’s struggle to address biculturalism and bilingualism.

Canadian culture is a commitment, not a convenience, immigration lawyer and former B.C. premier agree (Jon Ferry,
Foreign-born immigrants, most of them originally from Asia, now make up 40 per cent of the population in the Metro Vancouver region. That’s nearly double that of Canada as a whole. But it’s clear many B.C. residents are unhappy about that. They want to pull up the drawbridge and slow down both population and economic growth. New immigrants, meanwhile, often find the Lower Mainland a hard place in which to find affordable housing, suitable work … and to fit in socially.

Website, app launched to help young immigrants become citizens (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
A national website and mobile app will be launched Tuesday to help young immigrants learn about the importance of getting their Canadian citizenships in light of tightening government rules. The website and its accompanying Android/iPhone app explain the benefits of becoming a citizen and the application process as well as providing preparation materials for the citizenship test. More important, there is a section that aims to dispel myths and misinformation about becoming a Canadian citizen, such as having to give up one’s citizenship and passport from the home country, and how getting charged or convicted with a crime will affect a person’s immigrant status.

New immigrants find knowledge and more at class (Michelle Berg,
Just four months ago, Zixia Gong, Jiang Cheng and their four-year-old son moved to Saskatoon from China. They see the importance in integrating themselves into Canadian culture, so they are working hard on improving their English. The two are enrolled in the free Stage 1 levels 3-4 adult English class put on by the Saskatchewan Intercultural Association, a non-profit that provides services for immigrants and refugees. The couple travel to St. Paul’s United Church twice a week for the class, where they take advantage of the free child care service on site. The couple’s English class is their favourite place in Saskatoon — they are improving their English and making friends at the same time.

Interactive Map on Migration (i-Map)
The Interactive Map on Migration (i-Map) serves as a support instrument to intergovernmental dialogues on migration by facilitating access to and exchange of information through country profiles, visualisations and up-to-date news.

Mapping Migration (
Several interesting maps have appeared recently, with various visualizations of migrants in Europe.

London Cross Cultural Learner Centre Will Publicly Launch the Refugee Health Fund Today (Settlement AtWork)
Medical expenses can be difficult to cover, especially for refugee claimants in Canada who, due to cuts in the Interim Federal Health coverage at the end of June 2012, are now responsible for all costs incurred for diagnosis, treatment or prevention of medical problems. London Cross Cultural Learner Centre (CCLC) created the Refugee Health Fund (RFH) in August 2012 with a donation from the Sisters of St. Joseph. The Fund represents a local response to this national issue. The intent behind the creation of the fund was to provide a financial resource to which refugee claimants with heavy medical expenses could apply for assistance.

Blog Posting – New Rules on Parental Sponsorship (
The government has imposed changes to the family class program allowing for sponsorship of parents by permanent residents and citizen. The new program is capped at 5000 applications per year and comes into effect in early 2014: These changes are summarized below: -doubling the amount of time for which sponsors must cover any provincial social benefits incurred by their relatives from 10 years to 20 years.

2011/12 Annual Human Rights Office Report (City of Toronto)
This report provides information on harassment and discrimination enquiries and complaints raised by service recipients and City employees to the following complaint resolution avenues: the City’s Human Rights Office (HRO); the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO); and the City’s grievance/arbitration process in 2011 and 2012. The report also considers complaint trends and initiatives to promote consistent human rights practices that ensure legislation breaches and/or penalties against the City are minimized.

Skills in Canada: First Results from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) (Statistics Canada)
PIAAC, the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, is an initiative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It is a highly detailed survey of the information-processing skills of youth and adults between the ages of 16 and 65, in 24 countries and sub-national regions. In addition to collecting data for the entire country, Canada used sample sizes that were large enough to be statistically reliable for every province and territory. The skills surveyed are literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments (PS-TRE). These are considered to be “foundational” skills, in that they form the basis for mastering other, higher-level skills that are necessary to functioning at home, school, and work, and in the community.

Who do we Think we Are? Examining the Quebec Values Charter as a Human Rights Issue (Centreforraceandcult,
Time and time again, Canada has been defined as a nation whose core and foundational values allow Canadians to position ourselves as human rights advocates. What it means to ‘be Canadian’ has been defined through national narratives reproduced in our text books and our mainstream media that construct Canada as an inclusive ‘cultural mosaic’, a peacekeeper, a country devoid of a colonial history….and the list goes on. Fortunately, many Canadians have fought against these narratives, naming them for what they are – myths that deliberately ignore the violations of human rights in the past and present. While I have read articles and listened to interviews that report on both sides of the debate, I cannot help but notice what people are not talking about.

Edmonton MLA connected to alleged smear campaign against journalist (Charles Rusnell,
Associates of Edmonton MLA Peter Sandhu orchestrated what is alleged to be a public smear campaign, featuring defamatory news stories, against an Edmonton Punjabi-language journalist, a CBC News investigation has found. Edmonton-based, OMNI-TV journalist Jarnail Basota said the campaign against him began after Sandhu threatened to teach him a lesson for reporting on the political fallout from a CBC News investigation into Sandhu’s debt problems. Basota said Sandhu threatened to sue him, despite the fact the MLA had failed to respond to several interview requests before OMNI broadcast the story. Basota said about six weeks after the lawsuit threat, Sandhu approached him at a public function.

Demand grows for exotic veggies as nation’s palate changes (Janet Davison,
Anon Lololi quickly rattles off how he likes to cook callaloo, a leafy green vegetable common in his native Guyana, but not so common in kitchens and grocery stores around his Toronto-area home. “We love it in rice,” he says. Add coconut milk, and it’s a real “delicacy.” Plus, it is chock full of nutrients, offering “more iron than spinach” and lots of Vitamin E. But as good as callaloo may be, it’s far from being a household staple in Canadian kitchens.


Harper’s Disingenuous Appeal to Human Rights (Lorenzo Fiorito,
Vancouver residents will remember the 2009 and 2010 dockings of the MV Sun Sea and Ocean Lady. These ships were intercepted carrying Tamil refugees who had fled Sri Lanka’s brutal (and, some would argue, genocidal) war on Tamils from the Northeast region of the island. Many Tamils felt their historical grievances with the state warranted political independence. Xenophobia about the landings became a means to bolster Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s support among conservative voters, particularly white conservatives. Having won a majority in 2011′s federal election, Harper and his government took the opportunity to pass Bill C-31, among whose provisions was a clause entitling the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism to designate any refugee entrance of two or more as an “irregular arrival.”


Event Nov 13: RBC Diversity Panel (Toronto Board of Trade)
Toronto is home to many diverse communities who together contribute to a stronger city, promoting sustainable growth. Join leading industry experts as they discuss:
What measures companies can put in place to positively benefit from Canadas skilled and diverse workforce
What companies can do to decrease the skill and education gap between foreign credentials and the Canadian system
How diversity can positively impact a companys bottom line leading to increased economic and sustainable growthe

No Diversity? No Excellence (Elena Chernaeva, ERIEC)
For many years, while working as interpreter and translator for various European companies, I was exposed to different workplace environments, cultures and values. I did not know then that years later that ‘diversity’ would be such a widely discussed topic. Some North American employers look at the diversity as a reference to race only which is usually connected to challenges and misunderstandings in the office. In many cases diversity becomes the objective in a hiring process focusing only on outward appearances.

HK businessman’s trafficking sentence in Canada ‘a warning to employers of domestic helpers’ (
Hong Kong employers who take their domestic helpers with them to Canada face a high risk of prosecution if the helper overstays in the country. The warning from helper agencies came after the sentencing on Tuesday of a Hong Kong businessman in the British Columbia Supreme Court. Franco Orr Yiu-kwan, who took his Filipino helper with his family when they moved to Canada, was jailed for 18 months for human trafficking.

Economy is Stephen Harper’s weak spot despite Conservative bragging (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper prides himself on his handling of the economy. His economic skills are cited time and again as reasons for voting Conservative. This sound-management mantra will almost certainly be repeated as MPs gather in Ottawa this week to re-open Parliament. But five years into the Great Recession, it is a mantra that is wearing thin. The truth is that Canada’s economy is not doing well. Official unemployment may be hovering around the 7 per cent mark (last month it was 6.9 per cent). But official unemployment figures do not take into account those who are underemployed or who have simply given up looking for work.

Event Oct 24: Pushing Back Against Precarity: The Cost of Precarious Employment to Community Well-Being (Toronto Workforce Innovation Group (TWIG))
The combination of low pay and new forms of insecure employment has short-term and long-term implications for labour market integration/mobility, household and community well-being, and citizen participation in local economies. It’s More Than Poverty, a report released by the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) research group identified that in the City of Toronto 19.4% of those in paid employment are experiencing precarious employment. In the Toronto CMA the number of people who describe their job as temporary has increased by 40% since 1997. Join us to learn and engage further about the impact of precarious employment confronting Toronto’s economy, workforce and community.

Unpaid interns: critics want government to review labour laws (Zoe McKnight, Toronto Star)
When Seneca College designed a new hospitality management program four years ago, its administration decided to go against the tide of unpaid workers flooding the job market. Young people who work as unpaid interns often do so through a school program and receive an academic credit — rather than minimum wage — in exchange for their labour. But Angela Zigras, chair of the school of tourism, said she believes long-term or full-time placements should be paid. “We had it as our mandate when we started this program that our students would not go out as free labour,” said Zigras. “We said we want industry standard rates for our students. We don’t want them getting less than anyone else doing this job would get.” Ofir Perelman said he chose the college for that reason.


Toronto nonprofits: Apply now for free consulting services (
Collaboration Partners – Social Impact Consultants is currently recruiting clients for its upcoming consulting engagement. They provide free consulting services to nonprofits in Toronto whose programs and services target disadvantaged socio-economic groups, including youth, women and their families, minorities and immigrants. Collaboration Partners assists their clients in solving key strategic issues that their organizations face in promoting social impact. If you are interested in applying for their services, please contact Collaboration Partners at info or (416) 432-3620. Please note: Collaboration Partners does not provide fundraising assistance at this time.


Throne speech 2013: The full text for Governor General David Johnston’s statement (National Post)
The full text of Governor General David Johnston’s Speech from the Throne on Oct. 16, 2013.

The 41st Parliament and the future of Canadian politics (Aaron Wherry,
If our democracy is indeed broken, if it does indeed need to be saved, we have two years now to do something about it. Or at least to begin to do something about it. There are some two years between now and this nation’s 42nd general election. And nearly everything, down to some of the parameters by which we formally govern ourselves, is up for grabs. So what kind of country do we want?

The Integration Imperative: Reshaping the Delivery of Human and Social Services (Jennifer Gold & Nevena Dragicevic, Mowat Centre)
This report, produced in partnership with KPMG’s Human and Social Services Global Center of Excellence, publishes the results of an international survey of government leaders spearheading current integration schemes. It profiles the kinds of initiatives being rolled out and identifies key trends in the future trajectory of services integration.

Canada’s stubborn ignorance: Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues (Daniel Wilson, rabble)
Getting the same advice over and over again and ignoring it is the definition of stubborn ignorance. It is, nonetheless, an apt summary of Canada’s approach to Indigenous rights. Everyone knows there are problems. The statistics on Indigenous poverty, income inequality, violence victimization, incarceration, addiction and suicide are all too familiar. There is the lost opportunity, for Canada and Indigenous people alike, brought on by failing to educate, train and employ the youngest and fastest growing segment of the population.

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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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