Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Oct 7, 2013


For Canada, immigration is a key to prosperity (Globe and Mail)
Canada has become an attractive pole for immigrants from around the world who are looking for a host country that will give them good opportunities. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada’s annual immigration flow is now proportionately one of the highest among OECD members, at 0.7 per cent of its population. In 2011, there were 249,000 new permanent residents, after a record year of 281,000 in 2010. (The official planned admission range is between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents a year.) That is not counting the 190,800 temporary foreign workers that were admitted in 2011 as well as the 98,400 foreign students who came to benefit from our universities and may decide to stay and put their skills to use in Canada’s industries.

More immigration or bust (Fred Morley, SmartCity blog)
Economic development professionals are always looking for an edge for their community ­–– something that will help them out-compete their neighbours. Smart communities have figured out that immigrants can give them that edge over the competition. In Nova Scotia, our provincial immigration strategy has figured out that we need more newcomers. We just haven’t figured out how to get a lot more. Immigration levels have been flat over the last number of years although there was a bump in permanent residents to about 2,400 in 2012, about the same as Kitchener, Ontario. In addition, we had about 4,400 temporary foreign workers and about 3,300 international students working and studying hard in our province in 2012.

DiverseCity Fellows focus on youth unemployment (Joel Eastwood, Toronto Star)
Raised by a single mother in East York, Neil Price became a father at 16. “I quickly realized the importance of having mentors and having programs that were supportive, and having teachers that didn’t allow that very important event in my life to become a detriment — it was actually an opportunity,” Price said. Now, the 37-year-old works to help Toronto’s youth with their own opportunities through Boys and Girls Club Canada, and is one of 27 young leaders selected for the DiverseCity Fellows program.

DiverseCity Fellow (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Meredith Cochrane, she’s the Executive Director of A-Way Express Courier. She’s also one of this year’s DiverseCity fellowsselected for a year-long leadership and networking program. It’s a joint initiative by the Maytree Foundation and CivicAction.

In our opinion: Stand up for religious liberty (Deseret News)
These days, a great deal of lip service is paid to the importance of diversity, but, apparently, not all diversity is created equal. In the Canadian province of Quebec, for instance, lawmakers have proposed what is called a “Charter of Values” that would prohibit any government employee from wearing “overt and conspicuous” religious symbols in public. This would include yarmulkes, turbans, most Muslim headdresses, and even necklaces with a crucifix considered to be too large. The proposed standard is murky – when does a pendant with a cross hanging from it become “overt and conspicuous?” Put simply, the Quebec Charter of Values violates religious liberty. But it is just one of many examples worldwide in which religious devotion is being pushed aside or, worse, violently persecuted.

Canada: Pan Am Games Diversity Standards Denigrate Regular Business Folks (Brenda Walker,
Canada, with its official policy of multiculturalism, has been half a step ahead of America in terms of the bad craziness attached to believing extreme diversity to be a positive value. However, the faith of the citizens may be drifting away. For example, the quadruple honor killing of four women in the Shafia Afghan immigrant family aroused concerns among the public that perhaps misogynous Muslim culture may not be an appropriate fit with western societies.

Group pushes for action over indefinitely detained immigrants (Victor Ferreira, Guelph Mercury)
Guelph will be among the Ontario sites of demonstrations planned for Tuesday to protest Canada’s current immigration detention policies. Guelph-based migrant rights group Fuerza/Puwersa, meaning strength in Spanish and Tagalog, and similar groups have formed a coalition of immigrant justice associations. They’ve vowing to participate in coinciding protests Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Guelph, Toronto, Kitchener, Sudbury, Kingston, London and Peterborough. Fuerza/Puwersa will be chanting and marching with a banner from city hall to MP Frank Valeriote’s office, where members will hand in a petition of 1,000 names calling for an end to indefinite immigration holding.

A shameful history (Elaine O’Connor, The Province)
UBC historian Henry Yu believes the province’s history of race-based policies is best described with a simple, shocking word: apartheid. “We don’t like to think of ourselves as a white supremacist society, but we were,” said the founding member of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of B.C. “We cleared people who were here first, we disenfranchised people. At the time, this was a white minority rule. Just go back and look at what they said at the time: ‘White Canada Forever.’ Doesn’t that sound like South Africa?” It is a deeply uncomfortable question, but one British Columbians must confront if we are to truly grasp the way our past has shaped us, and to move past prejudices.

Donna Quan widely expected to be next TDSB director (Caroline Alphonso, Globe and Mail)
Toronto trustees are expected a select a quiet, steady hand next week to lead the country’s largest and most diverse school board, a change of tack from the previous director who resigned amid plagiarism allegations. Donna Quan, the Toronto District School Board’s former deputy director and who has been temporarily filling the director’s role, is widely expected to be appointed to the top position, according to education insiders. She would take the helm of a $2.9-billion organization. Trustees will vote on the recommended candidate at a board meeting on Wednesday.

Secret Supreme Court hearing focuses on security certificate (CBC)
Later this month, the Supreme Court of Canada will hold an in camera hearing in a secret location. The case is based on a little-used immigration tool called a security certificate, which allows suspects to be detained for years without charge on national security grounds.

Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Forgets Diversity (Huffington Post)
The latest SCC appointment by PM Stephen Harper has ruffled a few feathers around the country. PM Harper faced criticism last year when he named Richard Wagner to replace Marie Deschamps on the court. With Wagner’s appointment, it came down to three women, six men — not the “visionary” image reflected in Claude Le Sauteur’s depiction on a Canadian stamp that chief justice Beverley McLachlin once hailed. There had been talk about a woman being chosen to foster a gender balance in the top court this time around. These calls fell on deaf ears as Judge Marc Nadon was named to the SCC this week.

What is Diversity? – Part 2: Diversity of Thought? (Mary-Frances Winters, The Inclusion Solution)
Last week I shared my frustration that three very different clients had advocated for a de-emphasis on race and gender in the diversity equation, even though an analysis of their respective data showed there were significant opportunities to improve representation of women and people of color especially in the leadership ranks. One of the clients advocated for a focus on diversity of “thought”. I remember several years ago that one of my clients decided to frame diversity around the idea of diversity of thought. He said that it would be an easier idea to “sell” to senior leaders, he felt it was more inclusive and that diversity of thought actually often emanated from different cultural backgrounds and experiences. For example, women may have a different way of approaching a problem as a result of innate differences and socialization patterns. Growing up in the Latino culture might influence values and norms that are different from those of the Euro-American culture.

I Can Sow…in India, Canada or anywhere else (TRIEC)
A recent immigrant, Abhijit Medhi was mentored by a City of Toronto employee and was determined to help others in the same field to build connections and land a job. As a result, he created the professional group of immigrant social workers “I Can Sow.”

New Canadian without passport stuck in Jamaica (CBC)
A Kamloops man says he’s stuck in Jamaica because he was misinformed by Canada’s immigration and border officials. Dwayne Thomas received his Canadian citizenship papers last week just before travelling to Jamaica for his grandmother’s funeral.

North Shore newcomers (Michaela Garstin, North Shore Outlook)
Culture shock can happen at the most unexpected times. Standing at a corner near Lonsdale Avenue, Mahsa Ramezani and her husband were deciding whether to cross the street. “Let’s go, the car is waiting for us,” her husband said, glancing at a driver who had politely stopped a few feet away, even though there wasn’t a crosswalk. “I couldn’t believe he was waiting for us. He was waiting for us to decide whether we wanted to cross the street,” recalls Ramezani with a laugh.

‘We will never see our son again’ (Nigel Armstrong, The Guardian PEI)
Robert Baird and his wife, Angie Jane Baley McLaughlin, during a birthday celebration last year in Honduras. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has broken the hearts of a couple on P.E.I., says Bob Baird. He and his wife will mark her 70th birthday this week here on the Island with their son, Robert, but it will be bittersweet, said Baird. They suspect they will never see him again, and they have yet to meet his wife. Robert lives in Honduras where he was working in property management. He wants to change his career into the marine area, hoping to become a large-ship engineer, said his dad.

Immigrant students want credit for ESL courses (Yvonne Robertson, Richmond News)
When a high school student learns another language, they get a credit towards their graduation — unless that other language is English. Having English Language Learning (ELL), also known as English as a Second Language (ESL), courses count towards high school graduation is just one of 16 recommendations B.C. immigrant and refugee youth are sending to the Ministry of Education. The report, Fresh Voices from Long Journeys: Insights of Immigrant and Refugee Youth, was sponsored by the Vancouver Foundation and B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth (RCY).

Diocese tackling racism (Evan Boudreau, Catholic Register)
The archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas is taking steps to help curb the anti-aboriginal racism that irunsrampant in northern Saskatchewan. “We defend those who don’t have a voice to speak up,” said Archbishop Murray Chatlain while speaking to students at Toronto’s St. Joseph’s College School on Sept. 30 during his annual visit to Toronto. “I really feel called to speak up when sometimes comments are made or things are said that are not fair. Because I know the people (and) I love the people I really am hurt by some of the racism that goes on towards our aboriginal brothers and sisters.”

Former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau chides PQ for overreaching with values charter (
The scope of the proposed Charter of Quebec Values should be sharply pulled back, former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau said as he weighed in on the controversy. In a letter published Thursday in the Journal de Montréal, Parizeau says the charter should be limited to an affirmation of the principles of separation of church and state. It should also declare the neutrality of the state with regard to religion, he added.

Islamophobia On The Rise In Canada‏ (OnIslam)
Reflecting a worrying trend of rising Islamophobia, a new poll has revealed that the majority of Canadians in Quebec province hold unfavorable view of Islam and Muslims, while more than half of the rest of Canadians hold similar unfavorable views. “We put the same questions to Canadians across the country four years ago,” Shachi Kurl, Vice President, Angus Reid Global, said in a press release published on its website.

Women divided over the Charter of Values (CBC)
When Quebec’s government unveiled its Charter of Quebec Values, Premier Pauline Marois hoped it would unite Quebecers. It hasn’t even united factions. Francophones are divided on the charter. So are sovereignists. Muslims and Christians, they’re split as well. Most recently, the charter has caused divisions in provincial women’s groups. And former PQ premier Jacques Parizeau suggests the Charter of Values …. isn’t consistent with the values of Quebec.

Pan Am diversity policy has vendor sidelined (
Scott Anders, of Scooters Catering, had hoped to be able to sell his hot dogs, gently smoked pulled pork and St. Louis style ribs at some of the venues during the 2015 Pan Am Games. Anders thought himself a perfect fit. After all, events like this are bread and butter for his Milton-based company. When I spoke to him earlier this week, he was just winding down from a busy summer operating his food trailer at the Honda Indy, the Live Nation tour at Ontario Place, as well as a variety of weekend festivals.

Canada Hosts Important International Meetings on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (Canada Newswire)
Canada, as Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), is honoured to host a major international conference to address a range of important issues on Holocaust education, remembrance and research. “The Holocaust is a crime that stands alone in human history for the scale of its horror and inhumanity,” stated Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism. “The government of Canada, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has been dedicated to ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten.”

Health of immigrants hampered by confusion, lack of co-ordination: report (Dave Churchill, Hamilton Spectator)
Canada’s health-care system is failing our country’s newcomers, say those on the front lines of delivering health services to Hamilton immigrants. Local research suggests the health of newcomers usually declines after arrival in Canada due to economic, cultural and language barriers. The Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council and the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion released the report this week, called The Health Needs of Newcomers and Immigrants in Hamilton. The report found that lack of co-ordination between service providers and language barriers are the biggest obstacles in new immigrants’ health.

Aging Population, Immigrant Retention Topics at Consultation (VOCM)
Newfoundland and Labrador’s population growth strategy was up for discussion this afternoon at the first of eleven community workshop consultations. Community members from across the province came together to discuss regional employment issues and immigration retention, among other population concerns. Parliamentary Secretary Dan Crummell addressed the crowd. He says the province needs to find ways to deal with an aging population.

Racist graffiti angers Guelph restaurant manager (CBC)
Graffiti on the outside of the back entrance at the Diana Downtown restaurant in Guelph. The restaurant’s manager, Dariq Smith, says he thinks the graffiti is aimed at the restaurant’s workers, many of whom are visible minorities. (Dariq Smith) A restaurant manager in Guelph is speaking out after racist graffiti was placed on a back entrance for employees. The graffiti was spray-painted on with a cut-out stencil, clearly depicting the phrase “Did you bring your green card” at the restaurant Diana Downtown. Smith says Diana Downtown’s new owners are from Pakistan.

Canada, U.S. to share personal information of immigrant applicants (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Ottawa and Washington are further aligning their border security by sharing personal information of immigration and refugee applicants to both countries. The plan, to be fully implemented next fall, is raising privacy concerns over the disclosure and retention of information, such as an applicant’s date of birth, travel document number and fingerprints. The information-sharing wouldn’t apply to Canadian and American citizens or permanent residents. “Information-sharing between Canada and the U.S. . . . supports mutual efforts to facilitate legitimate travel and protect our common borders through improved screening of visitors before they enter our countries,” said Alexis Pavlich, press secretary of Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

Canada, U.S. join forces to keep foreign criminals out (
Canada is tightening the screws in its evaluation of immigration and refugee applications, setting up a new information-sharing system with the United States. Under proposed regulations published Saturday, Canadian and U.S. authorities will share the biographical information of immigration, refugee, work permit and visa applicants with each other by November. Canadian officials say the biggest benefit will be “an increase in the number of identified and prevented ineligible refugee claimants, and a decrease in the volume of crime as a greater number of known criminals who would have otherwise gained access to Canada would be denied entry.”

British Columbians grow more wary of other religions, interfaith marriages (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
British Columbians and other Canadians are becoming more suspicious of Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism and generally less likely to want their children to marry outside their faith, a new study suggests. The downward trend regarding Canadians’ openness to the religions of others are revealed in the results of a major survey of more than 2,000 residents by Vancouver-based pollsters Angus Reid. Angus Reid’s results show 66 per cent of British Columbians have a “favourable” view of Christianity. But only 17 per cent of B.C. residents approve of Islam and just 28 per cent look positively on Sikhism, which makes up B.C.’s second largest religion.

Event: Immigrant Entrepreneurship Supporting Canada’s Innovation Agenda – PDF (Conference Board of Canada)
 To gain insights into recent initiatives to attract global entrepreneurs to Canada.
 To share best practices for leveraging the entrepreneurial talents of newcomers to Canada and
strategies for attracting immigrant entrepreneurs to smaller communities.
 To prepare for the Roundtable’s site visit to Australia in January 2014 by learning about the country’s
programs and policies and discussing the site visit agenda.

NW’s rising tech hot spot: Vancouver, B.C. (Seattle Times)
Venture investors are looking north of the border, where a wave of startups and established companies have found tech-friendly tax and immigration policies and lots of software engineers who don’t expect Silicon Valley salaries.

Brian Mulroney: Quebec Values Charter Sends ‘Inappropriate Signal’ To Immigrants (Huffington Post)
Former prime minister Brian Mulroney has joined the chorus of critics slamming Quebec’s controversial values charter. In a sneak preview from the first episode of “theZoomer” — a new current affairs show on VisionTV co-hosted by Conrad Black — Mulroney calls the controversy “needless.” “If you want to build a dynamic, inclusive society, you have all the instruments at hand,” he said.

Just how racist are we? (Ros Guggi, The Province)
I didn’t speak a word of English when I started kindergarten in Ontario. My dad, from Austria, and my mom, from Yugoslavia, met on the boat to Canada in the early 1950s. They were in their late teens and early twenties, fleeing the poverty of postwar Europe. I was born here, but we spoke only German at home. We were considered “other,” on our street and in my school. My full name is Roswitha and I cringed whenever I started a new class and the teacher made a big deal out of trying to pronounce it. My last name, Guggi, was just as tough. I just wanted to fit in. But being of German descent in the 1950s and ’60s wouldn’t allow that. There was a lot of hatred of Germans after the war and parents passed that on to their kids, who passed that on to me in the schoolyard.

Canadian anti-Muslim sentiment is rising, disturbing new poll reveals (John Geddes, Maclean’s)
This snapshot of public opinion comes as the Quebec government’s proposed “charter of values,” which would forbid provincial employees from wearing obvious religious garb and jewellery on the job, sparks heated debate about religious expression. In fact, the poll shows that opinion in Quebec, while markedly less tolerant of religious minorities overall than in other provinces, hasn’t grown less favourable toward Muslims in recent years. In 2009, Angus Reid found that 68 per cent of Quebecers held an unfavourable opinion of Islam. Asked the same question this fall, the Quebec result was pretty much level, at 69 per cent.

Islamic Radicalization in Canada (Stefan Sabo-Walsh, ICT)
The growth of Islamic radicalization in Canada poses an increasing threat to national security. This report attempts to measure differences in the radicalization process in Canada and to highlight the diverse nature of this threat. It will also present case studies of those Canadians who have turned to radical Islam and attempted to, or succeeded in, carrying out violent acts based on extremist interpretations of Islam. By presenting case studies of radicalized Canadians, this report will show both common and divergent trends in the examples of this varied process, as well as the role of radicalizing influences and common beliefs. This report will deliver an in-depth picture of the threat Islamic radicalization poses to Canada, and recount the successful means by which this threat has been countered in the past.


Canada should give even failed refugee claimants proper health coverage: Editorial (Toronto Star)
Just as critics predicted, new rules are preventing failed refugee claimants and others from getting the medical care they need.

The Real Cost of Cutting the Interim Federal Health Program (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
Refugees are among the most vulnerable people in Canada. They have experienced persecution in their home country and, as a consequence are at greater risk of poor health, especially mental health. Historically, these health needs were recognized by the Interim Federal Health (IFH) program, which ensured that refugees had access to health care services that were similar to what provincial or territorial programs cover for Canadian citizens and residents. This changed, however, in mid-2012 when the federal government made cuts to the IFH program that resulted in the effective elimination of health care coverage for many refugees and refugee claimants and reduced access to health care services for most. The new program provides different health care services to various categories of refugees and claimants.

Women, children most vulnerable to refugee health cuts (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
A young sexual assault victim denied health care for her pregnancy. A woman with asthma with no access to medication, rushed to hospital. A child with pneumonia who could not get a chest x-ray. All because they were refugees. These are three examples cited in a new study released Wednesday by the Toronto-based Wellesley Institute, which examined the impact of cuts Ottawa made to the federal health program for refugees in June 2012. “The new system creates confusion, lessens access to health care services among vulnerable populations, leads to inconsistency in care across Canada, and results in poorer health and avoidable illness for refugees and refugee claimants,” says the 19-page report.

Newman high’s annual Scar Trek aids Syrian refugees (Evan Boudreau, Catholic Register)
Blessed Cardinal Newman Catholic High School students will be using their annual Scar Trek walk-a-thon to raise money for Canadian Jesuits International’s Syrian refugee support efforts. This year’s walk, to be held Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., marks the 30th time the Scarborough students will cut class to make the hike from their school atop the Scarborough Bluffs down Brimley Road to Bluffer’s Beach. Through community sponsors the student body is seeking to raise $30,000, half of which will be donated to Canadian Jesuits International, who will use the money to support the efforts of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in the Middle East.

Parkdale schools mourn deported Roma students (Louise Brown, Toronto Star)
They came in waves; sudden, boisterous, defiant, exuberant waves of children from an almost mythic culture who filled the schools of Parkdale with a challenge beyond any they had faced before. Who knew this wave of Roma students would reverse just four years later, emptying classrooms, laying off teachers and leaving a community heartsick at the loss? It’s a rare case of Canadian schools working hard to embrace newcomers who couldn’t stay.

Burnaby program to help at-risk refugee, immigrant students honoured (Wanda Chow, Burnaby Newsleader)
A Burnaby school district program that supports vulnerable refugee and immigrant students, some who have experienced trauma before arriving in Canada, has been awarded an award of excellence for innovative services by BC’s Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. As reported in the NewsLeader, the program, dubbed Body Worlds and the Brain Project, is an eight-week afterschool program that includes activities such as rope climbing and kung-fu and time with Max, the therapy dog, to build confidence and support.

The 21st century’s worst refugee crisis (Globe and Mail)
Canada, for its part, should seize on this fragile international unity and amplify its already substantial efforts around humanitarian assistance to make more of a difference to those struggling to survive the fallout of war. Ottawa has already committed $203-million in humanitarian assistance – an admirable sum – but should look at how it might further help with specific tasks, as winter looms in the refugee camps and the temperature begins to drops. Politically, Canada should press its allies to fully fund the pledges already made to the $5-billion United Nations humanitarian appeal. Canada, according to figures cited by OXFAM, is well on its way to contributing its fair share. However, other countries, such as France and Qatar, are not pulling their weight

Salvadoran refugee takes sanctuary in Langley church to be able to ‘hug my children’ (Glenda Luymes, The Province)
A Langley church has become Jose Figueroa’s new home. The Salvadoran refugee announced Friday he will be seeking sanctuary at Walnut Grove Lutheran Church to avoid a deportation order that would separate him from his wife and three kids.

Editorial: Deporting Figueroas would not be just (The Province)
The case of Jose Figueroa is yet more evidence of what an utter mess Canada’s immigration and refugee process has become. Figueroa came to Canada 15 years ago with his wife Ivania from El Salvador. Since then, they’ve become — or would have become if our immigration bureaucracy were not so screwed up — model citizens. They’ve had three children since moving here, he’s been steadily employed and the family is active members of Walnut Grove Lutheran Church in Langley. They also volunteer. They are, in a word, model immigrants.

Good Neighbours: Sweaters help refugees keep warm (Pedro Arrais, Times Colonist)
Canadian Lutheran World Relief wants to provide a little Canadian warmth to some of the 125,000 Syrian refugees facing another harsh winter in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. The humanitarian organization is hoping to collect 10,000 new and gently used sweaters for Syrians who have escaped a bloody civil war with just the clothes on their backs. The international relief agency, representing the Lutheran community in Canada, is looking for men’s, women’s and children’s sweaters of all sizes.


I Can Sow…in India, Canada or anywhere else (TRIEC)
A recent immigrant, Abhijit Medhi was mentored by a City of Toronto employee and was determined to help others in the same field to build connections and land a job. As a result, he created the professional group of immigrant social workers “I Can Sow.”

Look to U.S. for skilled workers, Conference Board suggests (Brenda Bouw, Yahoo! Finance)
In a new report that rekindles the controversial foreign workers debate, the Conference Board of Canada suggests Canada employers should look to the United States if they can’t get skilled workers at home. It points in particular to an Alberta campaign to recruit American workers as an example of how to source employees that can easily adapt to the Canadian workforce.

TFWP: A work in progress – PDF (Matthew Bradford, Baker & McKenzie)

Chambers demanding action from Ottawa (Vernon Morning Star)
Canadian business leaders meeting in the Okanagan have urged Ottawa to fix Canada’s Blue Skies policy and reverse changes to the temporary foreign worker program. At the Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting in Kelowna, delegates backed these two policies from the B.C. Chamber of Commerce and its network of local chambers. “Canada’s business community has come together to say, ‘Mr. Harper, Canada’s restrictive air policy and gutted temporary foreign worker program are hurting Canada’s businesses,’” said John Winter, B.C. chamber president.

Eight tips to increase diversity (Globe and Mail)
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.

Ottawa wants companies to jointly train workers through Canada Job Grant (Bill Curry, Globe and Mail)
The Conservative government will encourage companies to pool their efforts in training workers through the Canada Job Grant, according to new program details obtained by The Globe and Mail. Ottawa is suggesting that a consortium of businesses or an employer group could run a training program for a group of potential employees under the program, which is scheduled to begin next year. The new details come amid growing signs that the Conservative government is prepared to go it alone in running the training program.

Jamaican workers owed an apology (Evelyn Myrie, Hamilton Spectator)
The response from the mayor is disturbing to say the least. And here is why: He castigated a whole group of people in his accusation — and he failed to deal with the issue at the individual level. It’s easier to condemn a whole nationality of workers who have arrived in the community each year for the past 50 years to do jobs that no one else wants to do. Cheap labour and deplorable working conditions abound. The response is a classic one: It’s divisive as it sets up the dichotomy of “us” vs. ‘them.” The perpetrators of the alleged sexual harassment are not “of us”; they are foreign.

Comment: Job-grant cuts may weaken economy (Christy Clark, David Alward, Times Colonist)
Canadians in every region of our country have incredible economic opportunities just around the corner. But, each opportunity also comes with a challenge — making sure there are enough skilled workers to meet labour-market demands and keep the Canadian economy marching ahead. That’s exactly why Canada’s premiers turned their attention to issues critical to job creation and economic growth at the Council of the Federation meeting held this past July. Our discussions make it clear that while each of our provinces and territories face distinct challenges related to regional economics, demographics and geography, we are united on one key goal. We need to continue to create opportunities for our citizens to access the services and training they need to get good jobs.


Toronto: What’s working and what’s not (Markus Stadelmann-Elder, Maytree)
Yes, we’re getting some of the big things right, but Toronto is also facing big challenges. This could be the short summary of the Toronto’s Vital Signs Report 2013 released by the Toronto Community Foundation on October 1. For many of us who live in this city, it doesn’t come as a surprise that The Economist ranked Toronto as the fourth most liveable city out of 140 from around the world; or that we have the lowest rate of police-reported crime among Canada’s top 33 metro areas. It is a good place to live – with many parks, cultural activities, and clean beaches. But we cannot ignore the warning signs.

New federal web portal for freedom-of-info expanding with 16 new departments (Dean Beeby, Edmonton Journal)
The federal government plans to expand its web portal for online information requests, with 16 new departments added over the next six months. A pilot project, launched April 9, enabled the online filing of access-to-information and privacy requests, and the electronic payment of fees. It offers citizens a digital alternative to a paper-based system dating from the early 1980s.

Canada’s voluntary census is worthless. Here’s why (DAVID HULCHANSKI, ROBERT MURDIE, ALAN WALKS AND LARRY BOURNE, Globe and Mail)
According to the NHS, many of the census tracts where low-income people live have seen their average incomes rise, while the highest-income census tracts in the country have lower average incomes. If true, this means we are now a more equal society with a much larger middle-income group. The rich are not so rich; the poor are not so poor. According to the standard statistical measurement of inequality, the Gini coefficient, neighbourhood income inequality within Canadian cities has dropped significantly (a lower “Gini number” means less inequality or income segregation). In the Toronto and Calgary metropolitan areas, for example, income inequality among neighbourhoods fell by 12 per cent, from a Gini of about 0.22 in the 2006 Census to 0.19 in the 2011 NHS. Impressive. But … maybe too impressive. Could the good news be too good to be true?

Social, health toll of poverty huge (Mark Lemstra, Star Phoenix)
Imagine being a fetus in-utero. Now imagine that you actually have a choice between two mothers: One uses cocaine during pregnancy and the other is low income. All other things being equal, which mother would you choose during this very important developmental period of your life? Scientifically, you would choose the mother who uses cocaine. Put simply, the devastation of poverty is too overwhelming and all encompassing.

Local social planning council boycotts government poverty talks (Lisa Rutledge, Cambridge Times)
Local social community watchdogs are boycotting government-run poverty strategy consultations set for Friday in the region, arguing the time for talking is over. “We have had enough talk, we want to see some action,” maintains Lyndsey Butcher, a social planner with the Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries.

Poverty rate rises in Abbotsford, report shows (The Province)
A new report measuring key issues in Abbotsford shows poverty continues to be a concern, earning the city a C-minus on the matter. The 2013 Vital Signs report, produced by the Abbotsford Community Foundation, showed low-income families and youth continue to struggle economically, with poverty rates rising slightly. In 2010, the overall poverty rate in Abbotsford-Mission was 19 per cent, up slightly from the 2009 rate of 18.9 per cent.

Vital Signs report highlights poverty, hunger as big issues facing Mississauga (Chris Clay, Mississauga News)
Poverty and hunger are growing problems in Mississauga, according to a pair of organizations working to help those in need. The Community Foundation of Mississauga officially released this morning its 2013 Vital Signs report, which found, based on 2010 data, that about one in four people in Mississauga are struggling to meet their basic needs for food and shelter. (A copy of the report was included in Wednesday’s edition of The Mississauga News.)

Canadian anti-Muslim sentiment is rising, disturbing new poll reveals (ABNA)
Across Canada, Muslims have reason to feel concerned about how they are perceived when other Canadians identify them by their religion. A poll conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion early last month, the results of which were made available exclusively to Maclean’s, found that attitudes toward Islam have deteriorated markedly across the country over the past four years. “It’s disturbing to see this growing level of mistrust,” said Andrew Grenville, Angus Reid’s chief research officer. The way Canadians see the other major religions—Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism—didn’t change much in the same four-year period.

Premier confident in ethnic vote probe (Cassidy Olivier, The Province)
As opposition leader, Adrian Dix has every right to make a complaint to the RCMP who is then obligated to investigate it, Premier Christy Clark said Wednesday, as police continued their ongoing probe into alleged Election Act violations by her government. It was the first time that Clark – in Toronto as part of a weeklong skills and labour tour that also served as a platform to promote B.C.’s LNG ambitions – has addressed last week’s revelations that the RCMP have quietly been investigating Dix’s complaint since August.

Canadian Social Research Newsletter : October 6, 2013 (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Proposed changes to Canada Pension Plan spur momentum for pension reform (Globe and Mail) – October 3
2. Migrant Agricultural Workers challenge unjust denial of Employment Insurance benefits (Income Security Advocacy Centre) – October 2013
3. Hennessy’s Index: Pseudo Census (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – October 2013
4. Behind the Numbers (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Blog) – Recent Posts
5. Who’s Hungry 2013: A Tale of Three Cities (Daily Bread Food Bank, Toronto) – September 24
6. Welfare Incomes Crowdfunding Campaign Update : October 6 (Caledon Institute of Social Policy)
7. Welfare Re-form : The Future of Social Policy in Canada (Luncheon and Keynote Address by Sherri Torjman, Vice-President of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy) – October 24, 2013
8. Why Canada’s voluntary census is worthless (Globe and Mail) – October 4
9. 2013 State of the Federation Conference : Aboriginal Multilevel Governance Conference (Kingston, Ontario – November 28-30, 2013)
10. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— Payroll employment, earnings and hours, July 2013 – September 27
— Canada’s total population estimates, 2013 – September 26
— Final estimates of 2011 Census coverage – September 26
— Canada’s population estimates, second quarter 2013 – September 26
— Deaths, 2010 and 2011 – September 25
— Life Tables, Canada, Provinces and Territories, 2009 to 2011 – September 25
— Report on the Demographic Situation in Canada – September 25
— Government Finance Statistics, second quarter 2013 – September 24
11. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

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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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