Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Oct 30, 2013


Feds pledge to clear backlogs in live-in caregiver program (ipolitics)
The federal government is promising to cut backlogs and speed up processing of applications under a program that brings live-in caregivers from overseas. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says the backlogs in the program are unacceptable. The department says application backlogs and processing times have grown steadily in recent years.

Mayor props immigration while meeting 11 new doctors to P.E.I. (Nigel Armstrong, Guardian PEI)
A gala reception was held at Charlotteotwn City Hall Tuesday, welcoming 11 new doctors to the province, just the kind of immigration the Island needs, said the Mayor. They are working physicians, not students, ranging from family physicians, emergency-room doctors, neurologists and psychiatrists who have, since July, all agreed to set up practice here on P.E.I. In fact, two of the doctors could not attend as they were on call, and one was paged away just prior to the start of the event.

News Release Slashing backlogs, reuniting families (
Canadas Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today pledged aggressive action to reunite more families in 2014. Alexander also announced that the backlog of Parent and Grandparent (PGP) program applications will be almost 50 percent lower by the end of 2013 than it was just two years ago. Our Government is keeping our promise to overcome the massive backlogs we inherited and reunite families faster, said Alexander. These numbers represent the highest level of parent and grandparent admissions in nearly two decades and are a clear expression of our commitment to family reunification as a key part of our immigration plan.

News Release Live-in caregiver admissions to reach an all-time high in 2014 (
Canadas Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today announced aggressive new action to address the growing backlog and increasing processing times in the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). Wait times in the Live-in Caregiver Program have grown to levels that are unacceptable to caregivers, said Alexander. Our government has already slashed application backlogs for skilled workers and parents and grandparents. Now, we turn our attention to the LCP.

We Must Tackle The Cultural Divide Now Or Polarization And Racism Will Continue To Haunt Us (Ken Herar, The Link)
Being a columnist for both Abbotsford community and the South Asian LINK newspapers for the past 18 years, and focusingon cultural diversity and racism issues, I wanted to sharemy story from a Fraser Valley perspective being one of the most diverse regions in the country.I was stopped the other day and was asked as to why I would promote multiculturalism in a Punjabi School during an essay contest I was promoting and speaking about.I replied: The main reason that brought me to this fine schoolwas not only to promote multiculturalism and this contest, but to share in a discussion with some bright minds on finding ways that the South Asian community could be more inclusive with mainstream society.

Hamilton mosque needs $3M by Thursday (Samantha Craggs,
Hamiltons Downtown Mosque needs to raise $3 million in the next two days to close a land deal for a new mosque and community centre and it’s appealing to the city’s Muslim community to make it happen. It is hoping 3,000 Muslim families will step forward with $1,000 each to help it close the deal by the Oct. 31 deadline. The mosque, which has a dire lack of space for parking and prayer at its current location at 96 Wilson St., needs $4 million to buy land at the corner of York and Hess streets to serve its growing congregation. So far, it has $1 million.

More foreign caregivers to be offered residency in 2014 (Susana Mas,
More foreign live-in caregivers and nannies currently working for Canadian families will see their permanent residency applications approved next year, says Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. Alexander announced on Tuesday new measures to address the growing backlog of live-in caregivers currently working in Canada while waiting for permanent resident status. Canada will approve 17,500 live-in caregivers as permanent residents through the program in 2014, almost double the number this year, Alexander said in a written news release on Tuesday.

Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal Re-Designed (James Murray,
The Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal was first launched in 2010. Today, at the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association Immigration Forum, a new and completely re-deigned portal was unveiled. The new portal is designed to focus on connecting newcomers to Northwestern Ontario with the economic opportunities in the region. Rebecca Johnson stated, People in Canada and abroad do not know about the wealth of opportunities in Northwestern Ontario. These new regional tools allow people to research and connect directly with job, employer and business opportunities through one central platform.

Pathways to Prosperity October 2013 bulletin – PDF (Pathways to Prosperity)
An alliance of university, community, and government partners dedicated to fostering welcoming communities and promoting the integration of immigrants and minorities across Canada.

A new day for diversity? (Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette)
Mindy Pollak’s unlikely entry into politics began two years ago, when controversy erupted in her Outremont neighbourhood over plans to expand a synagogue. Pollak, a 24-year-old esthetician and Hasidic Jew, joined forces with Leila Marshy, a neighbour who is of Palestinian origin, to found Friends of Hutchison, which promotes dialogue between ultra-Orthodox Jews and francophones. Now, she hopes to leverage that experience to win election to Outremont’s borough council. The Projet Montréal candidate is among a new crop of contenders hoping Sunday’s election will mark a departure from Montreal’s longtime tradition of electing local councils dominated by white, mostly male francophones.

Ryerson announces $3-million study on reducing mental illness stigma among men in Asian communities (Yonge Street)
Researchers at Ryerson University are spearheading a new $3 million project to explore “new ways to to reduce the stigma of mental illness among men and boys in Asian communities.” The initiative will study the effects of two pilot anti-stigma interventions on 2,160 men living in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.


Sri Lankan immigrant spared deportation as judge rules she no longer fits definition of a terrorist (Adrian Humphreys,
In 2011, however, the Immigration and Refugee Board concluded that Ms. Joseph was a member of a terrorist group and should be deported because of her ties to her husband, who had ties to the Tamil Tigers. Now, a judge has ruled that this summers Supreme Court of Canada decision starkly redefining how Canada defines membership in a terrorist organization means the 76-year-old widow would likely no longer qualify for that dark designation, suggesting a reprieve from deportation may be the best option. In the immigration law system, there has been a pendulum that has swung back and forth [on who is considered a terrorist] and right now, the Supreme Court is saying what weve said throughout this, said Raoul Boulakia, Ms. Josephs lawyer in Toronto.

Americans: Thinking About Seeking Refuge in Canada? Think Again (Allison Griner,
Its one of the rare days in gloomy Vancouver when the sun filtered through the clouds. But unlike the pedestrians on the sidewalk outside, Rodney Watson cant enjoy the warm rays of light, or the crisp outdoor air. Since 2009, Watson has been confined to the sanctuary of the First United Church in the citys Downtown Eastside. From his cramped, one-room apartment on the churchs second floor, he can hear the noises of the street. He can hear sea gulls crying in the sky. But he cannot see them. Today, he has blocked the windows with a black tarp and curtains. Watson compares his surroundings to a jail cell, but he says its better than the alternative: an actual jail cell.

Refugee taking refuge in Langley church spared immediate deportation (Susan Lazaruk, Vancouver Sun)
A Salvadoran refugee who has taken sanctuary in a Langley church for fear of being deported has been spared immediate deportation. I cant believe it, said a happy Jose Figueroa by phone from the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, minutes after a ruling on Tuesday that stayed an Oct. 31 deportation order for his removal to El Salvador by the Canada Border Services Agency. Federal Court Judge R. Hughes granted a temporary stay for Figueroa, who has been living in Canada for 16 years with his wife and three Canadian-born children.

The Indo-Chinese Refugee Movement and the Launch of Canada’s Private Refugee Sponsorship Program Conference (York U)
Join us on November 21-23 for a discussion on one of the most significant periods of refugee resettlement in Canadas history. In the late 1970s, Canada responded to the plight of a new large exodus of Indochinese refugees through the Private Sponsorship Program. At the programs peak, between 1979 and 1980, thousands of Canadians sponsored almost 40,000 refugees. This conference will explore the historic significance and contemporary relevance of this time period with participation from refugees, sponsoring groups, government officials, stakeholders, academics and policy makers.

Webinar Nov 6: Law’s Borders: Challenging assumptions about refugee resettlement (CCR)
Shauna Labman will present highlights of her research which challenges the assumption that resettlement is merely a voluntary complement to Canada’s refugee protection regime. She will look at how the law intersects with resettlement and how resettlement influences asylum law. The webinar will also be an opportunity to explore ways that academia and advocacy communities can and should connect.


Why Canada needs a conversation about fair wages (David Green,
To answer the first question, the Harper government not only continues to believe in the flexibility paradigm they have taken it to a whole new level. This government seems paranoid that wage increases could choke off economic growth. How else can one explain their interventions into wage bargaining, in some cases even after the firm and the workers had reached a deal? How else can one explain bringing in Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) that can be paid a lower wage to fill jobs at coffee shops? The TFW program in particular reveals a government obsessed with keeping wages low and reveals what I view as a fundamental misunderstanding of how labour markets work. Increased demand for labour in the West has resulted in substantial wage increases for all kinds of workers. Those increased wages send signals to workers in other parts of Canada and to young people deciding what skills to invest in about where there is demand. The increased wages may slow down development in parts of the economy that are over-heating, but its not clear that is a bad outcome.

Jason Kenney sticks to skills story (Pressprogress,
Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of jobs, has been busy these days talking up the controversial Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program. Things got awkward for Kenney last week, when TD Economics released a study throwing “cold water” on the idea of a skills shortage in Canada. The problem? The number of TFW in Canada has been growing steadily over the years, with reports of companies abusing the program and bumping domestic employees for lower-paid temporary foreign workers vulnerable to human-rights abuses.

Eight Tips to Increase Diversity (
Most progressive companies embrace the notion of diversity. The difficulty is in making it work ensuring all people feel welcome within the organization, and have a chance to rise to the level their abilities allow. Boris Groysberg, a Harvard Business School professor who teaches a course on how star women succeed, and Katherine Connolly, who works in the organizational behaviour unit at the school, decided to search for answers by speaking to 24 leaders of diverse organizations. From those interviews, it was clear that success depends on chief executive officers firmly pushing for diversity.

New foreign worker program targets high skilled workers for Canadian farmers (Susan Mann,
A national farmer business alliance has developed a foreign workers program to help farmers find high skilled, long-term employees. This program is targeted for more longer term, possibly permanent, and also higher skilled farm labour, such as farm managers, compared to the labour Ontario farmers get through the federal governments Seasonal Agricultural Worker program, says Bill Martin, vice president of Farmers of North America. The alliance is headquartered in Saskatchewan and has 10,000 members across Canada, about 600 to 700 of which are in Ontario.

Temporary Foreign Workers Admissions Up 18% In 2 Years (
The federal government has boosted the number of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) allowed into Canada, even as the governing Tories promised a crackdown on the contentious program. According to data from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), there were 124,017 admissions to Canada under the TFW program in the first six months of this year. Thats an increase of about five per cent from the same period in 2012, and up nearly 18 per cent since the same period in 2011.

A portrait of minimum wage workers in Ontario (Yonge Street)
In order to help combat the increasing wage gap in Ontario, the Wellesley Institute is joining in calls for a $4 increase in the minimum wage. We’ve heard it for years, both anecdotally and through a growing body of research: the middle class is shrinking and the gap between rich and poor widening. A new study just released by the Wellesley Institute explores one particular element of this development: the status of minimum wage workers in Ontario. The study is animated by two key ideas, says its author, Sheila Block. “One is that the minimum wage is just for kidshowever, 40 per cent [of minimum wage workers are over the age of 25.”


CSI Innovators Newsletter Everything Social Innovation (CSI)


Realizing the Potential of HEIA: Lessons Learned Event (
This event will bring both experienced and new users of the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) tool together in-person and online to discuss benefits and challenges of conducting HEIA.

Toronto joins national campaign: Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch (Yonge Street)
Affordable housing’s a frequent topic in Yonge Street’s Civic Impact section: see our continuing coverage of Toronto’s Close the Housing Gap campaign and today’s piece on the York Region’s 10-year housing plan. There’s a reason for all this attention: municipalities in Ontario, and across the country, are increasingly recognizing that there’s a serious problem. Within the next five years, the annual federal subsidies which distribute $1.7 billion annually for social housing programs, are set to expire.

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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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