Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 23, 2013


Maytree Newsletter – October 2013
In this issue:
• Maytree Opinion – Canadians are ahead of their government in welcoming refugees
• How diverse is health care leadership in the GTA?
• Is the EUROCITIES Charter on Integrating Cities coming to Toronto?
• Lessons from the Data Rescue crowdfunding campaign
• A collective impact case study: Vibrant Communities
• Connecting talent to opportunity
• Five Good Ideas: How to grow as a leader and engage your staff in an environment of constant change
• Celebrate TRIEC’s 10th anniversary
• CivicAction’s new rising leaders tackle jobs and economy
• News you can use

What is Canadian culture? (Jon Ferry,
An immigrant from Britain, I’ve lived in Canada for 41 years, so there’s obviously something I like about it — apart from the weather, of course. But as a recent HSBC survey noted, Vancouver is not the most welcoming of Canadian cities. It placed last behind Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto in that regard. And over the years I’ve had my doubts as to whether I made the right move in coming here … as do most immigrants, I suspect.

‘Diversity has been the key to life’s resilience’ (Cassidy Olivier,
There were a lot of ideas shared by the panellists involved in Monday night’s forum, hosted by the Laurier Institute in partnership with The Province newspaper, titled How Racist Are We and How Do We Move Past It?, that we were unable to fit them all into Tuesday’s paper.

News Release — International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) successfully concludes meetings in Canada (CIC)
Minister for Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, announces the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has reached a consensus on a working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion at a Canada-led meeting in Toronto. “I’m very pleased with the progress made at the IHRA meetings, which demonstrates the Government of Canada’s dedication to Holocaust remembrance, research and education,” said Minister Kenney. “Canada’s goals as Chair of IHRA were ambitious, and I’m thrilled that we have been able to move such important issues forward.”

Inna (Bulgaria) (
At the age of eight Inna left post-cold war Bulgaria with her Family to come to Canada. It was a time of great instability for Bulgaria and Inna told me how thankful she was that she got to complete her schooling in Canada which lead her to a career in teaching. She is currently teaching ESL to adults at the City Adult Learning Centre.

An insider’s view of the Harper Government (Luc da Silva,
BOOK REVIEW: Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, by Andrew Griffith, Anar Press, 2013, 117 pages Any time a just-retired mandarin decides to write about his days serving the “Harper Government” should be good for the health of Canadian democracy. Our system of government is kept alive in the delicate balance and dance that defines the relationship between an elected government and career bureaucrats, and it comes as no surprise that Andrew Griffith’s insider account of Ottawa is still rife with tension – even nearly eight years after the Conservatives came to power.

Supreme Court’s secret hearing and Judge Nadon’s Charter dismissal (Matthew Behrens,
During that long-ago hearing, Galati asked a high-level CSIS staffer, Ted Flanagan, whether lawyers for CSIS ever advise their agents about Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, especially in the context of interrogating individuals like Mr. Mahjoub. At that point, Mr. Nadon, then a Federal Court judge, chimed in with a response that reeked of a failed German defence at Nuremberg: “I would be very surprised if Mr. Flanagan and his colleagues ever spend any time reflecting on this,” said Nadon. “They carry out the policy and the operations. I don’t see why Mr. Flanagan should worry about the Charter. I don’t think it is his job.” Considering that CSIS, at that time, had made secret allegations about Mr. Mahjoub that would lead to his ongoing detention and house arrest for 13 years (continuing to the present moment), Nadon’s feeling that Charter rights were not something CSIS should be messing with perhaps escaped the notice of the Supreme Court’s interviewing committee.

Immigration Law Update Changes to Definition of “Dependent Children” (
In May 2013, the government announced changes to Canada’s immigration regulations. These changes will affect people who want to bring their children to Canada. In most cases, the law allows a person to include any “dependent children” in his or her application for permanent residence. The law also allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their dependent children to come to Canada.

Immigrants in Toronto / Many newcomers survive by participating in parallel economic activities research finds (Michel Cournoyer,
Shadow Economies: Economic Survival Strategies Of Toronto Immigrant Communities documents the realities of many immigrants who are stymied at the edge of the economic mainstream. The research conducted by the Toronto East Local Immigration Partnership and funded by the Wellesley Institute shows that many newcomers survive by participating in parallel economic activities, often facing exploitation in substandard work conditions, even in established businesses.

“Shadow Economies” (CBC Metro Morning)
A study being released today paints a bleak picture of life for new Canadians in this city. Matt Galloway spoke with Diane Dyson. She is the co-author of a study, of new Canadians in Toronto, for the Wellesley Institute.

New Canadians pushed to edges of the economy (Ranjit Bhaskar, New Canadian Media)
Social mobility, access to opportunity and fairness are foundational principles of Canadian society. Sold on these ideals, immigrants arrive ready to thrive. Instead most struggle to survive as they find themselves shut out of the formal economy. Faced with such exclusion, many are forced to find precarious jobs in the informal economy, says the latest study on the poor labour market outcomes faced by new immigrants. The Shadow Economies report released in Toronto on Tuesday attempts to throw more light on the dark underbelly of the city’s economy that is mostly invisible. It puts a human face to an issue that is often talked in terms of the money it hides. Statistics Canada pegged the country’s underground economy at up to $36-billion as of 2008.

New Canadian (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Teddy Lema. He was born in Ethiopia and tomorrow, in Markham, he will become a Canadian citizen.

Federal and provincial ministers respond to concerns our readers raised during Racism in Paradise (The Province)
Throughout the course of our series on race and racism in B.C., we’ve heard concerns from readers that many new immigrants don’t try hard enough to integrate. As a result we see the creation of so-called “ethnic enclaves” and a simmering anger, that often expresses itself as overt racism. It’s a touchy subject, for sure. Some readers expressed frustration with the government and current immigration policies. We posed a series of questions to both levels of government to try and get a sense of what, if anything can or should be done.

Canadian woman fails immigration test, blames biased judge (William Wolfe-Wylie,
A woman who has lived in Canada since 1999, and been a permanent resident since 2003, finally decided to challenge the citizenship exam. She failed it dreadfully. But then she sued. Wei Zhou had originally been scheduled to take a written exam, but couldn’t make her assigned date. So she was re-assigned to take the test orally in front of a citizenship judge, which made her nervous. At the end of the day, she only scored 13 out of 20 questions correctly, failing the test by two questions. But she argued in court that she had been wronged, and that she should have passed the test.

When Skilled Immigrants Have Other Options (Paul Feltman, National Journal)
Would it surprise you to know that most potential immigrants don’t want to come to America? A worldwide poll conducted by Gallup shows that while more than 600 million individuals want to emigrate, the United States is not where most of them want to go. In fact, more than three-quarters of respondents—77 percent—named a country outside the U.S. as their top-choice destination. Often they chose to go somewhere close, but when the sky’s the limit, their answers reflect a stark new reality: The U.S. is no longer the default option for ambitious young immigrants, including those trained as engineers, doctors, and other professionals. Instead, we’re competing for their attention and talent. Countries like Canada, Australia, and even Germany are proactively encouraging skilled workers to choose their nations for a new home. These countries often sweeten the pot by offering services to help new arrivals find jobs and become integrated.

Gender diversity can’t wait (Barbara Shecter, Financial Post)
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. 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.

Ontario launches immigration web portal to attract skilled Francophone newcomers (Canadian Immigrant)
It will now be easier for skilled Francophone newcomers to make the move to Ontario. The Ontario Government has developed a new web portal, which features information about 18 participating communities. The portal includes immigration resources, community attractions, and tools such as employment sites, health care options and newcomer guides, to help attract skilled Francophone immigrants to fill local labour market gaps.


Dr. Martina Scholtens (
Family Physician Martina Scholtens speaks at the Vancouver protest to demand the government restore Interim Federal Health (IFH) to all refugees. “As a physician I join my colleagues in condemning these cuts for a number of reasons. Amoung them, the fact that cutting preventive and primary healthcare does not save money. It increases system costs.”


Cause for concern, cause for action (Adrienneclarke,
As Mendelsohn describes the issue, it’s all about risk: Who bears it, and who takes responsibility for it. Traditionally, the burden of risk—of an employee falling sick, having an accident, getting laid off—was borne by the employee, the employer and the government. But with the rise of precarious employment and the erosion in the “social contract” between employers and employees, that burden is shifting, in a big way, to individuals. What does all this mean? Essentially, people facing uncertainty are likelier to postpone fundamental life decisions: starting a family, buying a home, etc. More troubling, says Mendelsohn, rates of intergenerational mobility—the assumption that young people will be at least as well off as their parents—has been eroding, throwing into doubt the “Canadian promise” that has been so attractive to newcomers.

Co-op placements helping newcomers land opportunities (
Getting a head start is important to many newcomers to Canada. They may have the eagerness to work and contribute, but don’t know where to start. Gaining some prior training to gain the skills they need to break into the Canadian labour force is the right way to begin. Newcomer Centre of Peel (NCP) offers no-cost in-class programs to help newcomers learn skills like interviewing, resume writing, networking skills, and training in software common to many workplaces such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. For those with accounting or finance backgrounds, clients can also benefit from learning programs such as Simply Accounting and Quickbooks.

Raising Ontario’s Minimum Wage (Erin Weir,
On Friday, the United Steelworkers made the following submission to Ontario’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel. The United Steelworkers union endorses the Ontario Federation of Labour’s (OFL) call for a minimum wage of $14 per hour, to ensure that Ontarians who work full-time earn appreciably more than the poverty line.

Event Nov 4: Making the Grade? A Civil Society, Research, and Policy Dialogue on the CCR’s Migrant Worker Report Cards and the Treatment of Migrant Workers in Ontario (CERIS)
In 2013 the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) released its Migrant Worker Report Cards, focused on the protection of the rights of migrant workers in the “low-skilled” streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program in each province and nationally. Because migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, the CCR and allies are calling for the protection of migrant workers’ rights and access to permanent residence and services. This event will present and offer a chance to discuss the report’s evaluation of Ontario within the broader context of TFW programs in Canada and will feature a dialogue between the audience and representatives from civil society and academia.

Layers of diversity (Michael Power, Canadian Manufacturing)
The return on investment that supplier diversity can offer organizations may not always be immediately apparent. And with busy agendas, procurement and supply chain management professionals, along with the C-suite of many companies, may not think first of supplier diversity when looking to improve supply chain performance. But including diverse suppliers—as well as actively seeking them out—offers myriad benefits. Supplier diversity in the United States has a foothold dating back decades. Meanwhile, efforts in Canada to employ diverse suppliers—those 51-percent or more owned and operated by women, Aboriginals and other groups—have grown at a different pace than in the US. But efforts to raise supplier diversity’s profile in this country are bearing fruit. Several organizations, such as the Canadian Aboriginal & Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC), WEConnect Canada and the Business Diversity Network, have worked to raise the profile of supplier diversity.

Report overturns conventional view of Canadian job markets (Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail)
For all the cry over skills and labour shortages in Canada, little evidence points to their widespread existence, a new report says. Some pockets of Canada may be seeing shortages – such as in the Prairies, but a study to be released Tuesday argues forcefully against the notion of looming economy-wide labour shortages. Analysis of vacancy, wage and unemployment rates in the country finds no proof of an imminent skills crisis.

Skills shortage not as dire as feared: TD report (Dana Flavelle, Toronto Star)
Canada’s skills shortage may not be as dire as some people fear, a report by TD Economics says. The report purports to throw “cold water” on the idea that Canada is facing a severe and imminent skills crisis characterized by large and persistent job shortages and a “lost generation” of younger workers. Called Jobs in Canada, the report acknowledges that there is some evidence of skills mismatches across certain occupations and provinces, and that the challenges facing younger workers have increased since the Great Recession of 2008.

Jobs crisis in Canada? What jobs crisis? (M. Corey Goldman, Financial Post)
On the same morning we learn that U.S. employers disappointed by adding far fewer than expected workers in September, along comes a new report suggesting that concerns over Canada’s labour market are somewhat overblown. Talk of a skills crisis and a mismatch of jobs to locations has dominated debate about the jobs picture in Canada in this year, but there’s not much data to back that up, according to a new report from TD Economics.


Open Government (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Don Lenihan. He is the chair of Ontario’s Open Government Engagement Team, which was unveiled yesterday by Premier Kathleen Wynne.

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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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