Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Sept 8, 2013


I know home (Alejandra Bravo, Living Toronto)
I know home: its St. Clair West but belonging here today is the germination of seeds planted decades ago. For those, like me, who have lost their place in the world, finding it again becomes a journey, a quest to feel rooted. I was a ship at sea that sometimes glimpses shore, but never finds land. Home was once Santiago, Chile, but it was torn apart by the violence of a military coup, turning our world into ash. We boarded a plane and left two days after my third birthday, travelling over a long night from a Santiago winter to a Toronto summer in 1974.

Immigration: Moving beyond the numbers in Nova Scotia ( Soulafa Al-abbasi, CBC)
Immigration is a federal responsibility, but it is also a provincial concern that is not a priority in this election. I would like to think of immigrants as more than a number filling a demographic gap. We each have our own story to tell. Moving beyond the numbers, very little has been said about the importance of immigrants to the future of this province, as well as the policies related to ensuring successful integration of immigrants in the labour market in Nova Scotia such as labour market entry and career advancement.

Neo-Nazis Are Attacking Anti-Racist Activists in Calgary (David P. Ball, Vice)
Amidst a rising tide of hate activity in Canada, the couple have been targeted again and again for their activism with Anti-Racist Action Calgary.

Fundamental fairness for non-citizens at stake in Supreme Court Harkat case (Canadian Council for Refugees)
The Canadian Council for Refugees will be asking the Supreme Court of Canada this week to rule that it is fundamentally unfair to rely on secret evidence in deciding whether to deport a non-citizen, potentially to a risk of persecution.The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) and International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) are jointly intervening in the Harkat case, which addresses the use of undisclosed evidence in the security certificate process. The organizations, represented by Barbara Jackman, Sharry Aiken and Andrew Brouwer, will be presenting oral arguments at the hearing this Thursday 10 October.Treating people fairly means giving everyone equal protection of their basic rights. The use of secret evidence in immigration processes is unfair because it undermines non-citizens right to life, liberty and security of the person. When these rights are at stake for citizens, such as in criminal proceedings, we do not tolerate the use of secret evidence.

Teaching Diversity to Elementary Students in Children’s Picture Book (PR Newswire)
A serious theme discussed in a lighthearted, illustrative way for children to easily grasp and understand it. Author Dr. Ralph Redding centers on judging appearances and diversity as he debuts in the world of children’s fiction with the captivating children’s picture book, What Really Matters!, illustrated by his granddaughter Amelia Wiggins. In this story, children meet Zeke the zebra, who sees his reflection and gallops off on an adventure to learn about the color of his skin.

BLG Champions Progress in Literacy, Diversity and Access to Justice (CSR Wire)
National law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) today released its first Corporate Responsibility Report, highlighting the firms key social commitments and sustainability endeavours. In keeping with the firms commitment to service, the report outlines the community initiatives at home and abroad where the BLG team is striving to promote diversity and inclusion, access to justice, womens leadership, literacy and learning. As professionals at one of Canadas largest law firms we occupy a privileged position, which means we have an obligation to use that privilege in a way that supports and improves society, said Sean Weir, National Managing Partner and CEO. While the importance of corporate responsibility has long been ingrained in BLGs culture, we are always challenging ourselves to do even better.

Event Oct 22 – Shadow Economies: Report Launch (Wellesley Institute)
Join us for the launch of Shadow Economies: Economic Survival Strategies Of Toronto Immigrant Communities. The study, conducted by the Toronto East Local Immigration Partnership looks at how newcomers survive poor labour market access, adverse working conditions and the broader conditions that make them vulnerable to exploitation. It also looks at how newcomers build new economic opportunities for themselves when conventional ones are denied.

Canada’s Saskatchewan province needs more Pinoys (GMA News)
The Canadian province of Saskatchewan has renewed its agreement with the Philippine government, a development that is expected to benefit the growing number of Filipino migrants there. Our kids are growing up together. I think there’s a great promise in that, in terms of a relationship that goes beyond job openings, trade, commerce, or business, said Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Manila on Monday.

Canada hiring more Filipinos to fill out 14,000 job vacancies (Ferdinand G. Patinio, Philippine News Agency)
Job opportunities await many Filipinos planning to work in Canada with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Canadian government. With the MOU, Labor undersecretary Danilo Cruz said that the signing of the agreement will open possible work prospects for Filipino workers as the Canadian government is looking at the Philippines and other Asian countries to fill out at least 14,000 job vacancies in Saskatchewan to keep up with the labor demands of its still growing economy. Over the last four years, the Philippines has become the largest source country for both immigrants and temporary workers for Canada, overtaking China and India as the traditional sources, he said at the sidelines of the signing held in Makati City on Monday.

Why Ottawas right to procrastinate on the values charter (Tom Flanagan, Globe and Mail)
When the Charter of Quebec Values was leaked to the news media this summer, the federal government was criticized for not attacking it. But, in fact, Ottawas cautious response was much wiser than vociferous criticism. The facts show why. At this stage, the charter is just a draft released for public consultation; we dont know what the final text will say. We do know the draft is provoking heated debate within Quebec, including criticism this week from influential former PQ premiers Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard. In any case, the charter seems limited in scope mainly a dress code for provincial employees.

Ontario Teachers Pension says firms on TSX should have at least three women on board or face de-listing (Barbara Shecter, Star Phoenix)
The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan says companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange should be forced to have at least three women on their board of directors by 2020 or face a severe sanction: de-listing from the exchange. In a letter to the Ontario Securities Commission, which at the request of the Ontario government is looking into whether to create a regime to encourage more gender diversity on boards, Teachers senior vice-president of public equities Wayne Kozun says the much more flexible comply or explain regime proposed by the regulator doesnt go far enough.

Big Canadian Pension Fund Weighs In on Board Gender Diversity Debate (Ben Dummett, Wall Street Journal)
One of Canadas biggest pension funds argues companies listed on the countrys flagship Toronto Stock Exchange should have at least three female board members or face being de-listed. Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, a global investor with about 129.5 billion Canadian dollars ($125.8 billion) under management, made the recommendation in a submission to Canadian securities regulators. Currently, Canadas publicly traded companies can have as many or as few female directors as they want. In a March 2013 report by , women represented 10.9% of all board members of companies included in the TSXs S&P/TSX composite index, and 43% of those companies didnt have a single female board member.

Pluralism accommodated: Canadas religion, state relationship (Andrew Griffith, Multicultural Meanderings)
An interesting overview from a former military chaplain on how Canada, and the military, have addressed multiculturalism and pluralism from a faith perspective. Silent on the recent cuts to the chaplain program that disproportionate hit on non-Christian religions.

Canadian Muslims Protest “Honor Killing” Label As Racist (Right Side News)
Are they willfully misleading? Or are Canadian Muslims who are fighting federal funding to investigate honor violence in the Muslim (and other) communities simply naïve victims of the same propaganda used routinely to explain away the religio-culturally-based murders of Muslim women? Every year, according to United Nations reports, 5,000 women worldwide are killed for reasons of “honor” that relate to matters of modesty and obeyance, though most experts maintain the numbers are far higher. And the number of victims of honor violence, which can involve beatings, acid attacks, or locking a woman in her home, is literally incalculable. In the United Kingdom alone, more than 3,000 such honor crimes occurred just in 2010, according to a study by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization (IKWRO). The vast majority of those crimes, the organization states, were committed by Muslims, though Sikhs and Hindus have also been known to commit honor-related crime

Editorial: Ending racism starts by making new friends from other cultures (The Province)
As readers of our current special project, Racism in Paradise, are quickly discovering, the multicultural, tolerant Canadian character can often be a thin veneer. Dig a little deeper and you can find subtle to significant levels of bigotry, as the voices in our 15-part series, (Tuesday is Part 3) are expressing. It was the U.S. civil-rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. who famously said in his 1963 I have a dream speech to a crowd of 250,000 people in Washington, D.C., that he dreamt that one day his four children would not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. Many Canadians then and now have looked smugly down their nose at racism in the U.S. with an air of were not like them.

Guest column: Guilty of driving while black (The Province)
I moved from Uganda to B.C. in 1992, aged 14, not knowing quite what to expect. It turned out people here are mostly friendly, but some are very prejudiced. Back then, my high school principal insisted I play basketball and football, even though I preferred soccer. My younger sister had it worse when her high school teacher told her class all black people living in North America were descended from slaves.

Series: Racism in Paradise (The Province)
Throughout this series, The Province is exploring all aspects of race relations in B.C. We encourage you to join the conversation. While we want this to be an honest discussion about issues of race, culture and values, we do not want to become a platform for racists. We do our best to vet comments so the conversation is constructive, rather than destructive.

Guest column: Bilingualism isnt a sign of community decay (The Province)
While riding the 99B bus last year when it was filled to standing room only, I overheard a man say to his companion that he hated how people spoke Chinese to each other.

Racism in Paradise: An interview with Jaswinder Singh Toor, whose grandfather was aboard the Komagata Maru (Elaine O’Connor Vancouver Desi)
Jaswinder Singh Toors grandfather wanted to come to Canada to pursue higher education. Instead, he got a lesson in racism. It was 1914 and Puran Singh Janetpur, then 24, had excelled at school. He convinced his family to let him leave Ludhiana to do postgraduate studies at UBC. He never enrolled. He boarded the Komagata Maru, bound for Vancouver, one of two students of 376 passengers, mostly Sikhs. They believed they would be welcomed here, Toor said.


Warrant issued: Refugee claims sanctuary in Langley church (CTV BC)
A man the government wants to deport for having ties to an organization it claims is a threat is seeking sanctuary in a Langley church. On Friday, the Canada Border Services Agency issued an arrest warrant for Jose Figueroa, a man from El Salvador who has been living in the country for the past 16 years.


City of Toronto to be recognized at 10th annual Mentoring Immigrants Program event (City of Toronto)
Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport), City Manager Joe Pennachetti and Executive Director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) Margaret Eaton will recognize members of the Toronto Public Service and Toronto residents today for their participation in the Profession to Profession Mentoring Immigrants Program. The City of Toronto will also be acknowledged by TRIEC as the first municipality to surpass 1,000 mentor/mentee matches.

City of Toronto the first GTA municipality to surpass 1,000 matches in program mentoring recent immigrants (Canada Newswire)
Members of the Toronto Public Service and Toronto residents were recognized this evening for their contribution in helping the City of Toronto become the first municipality in the Greater Toronto Area to surpass 1,000 mentee/mentor matches as part of the annual Profession to Profession Mentoring Immigrants Program. “Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world,” said City Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport). “The City is breaking down barriers that skilled immigrants face, helping to improve employment opportunities that will support Toronto’s economic and social development success and make a difference in the lives of many newcomers to our great city. Congratulations to everyone who was instrumental in the City achieving this prestigious mentorship award.” A total of 1,137 skilled immigrants have been mentored by about 500 City staff since the program began in 2004.

In-demand skills list aimed at wooing foreign talent (Chuck Chiang, Vancouver Sun)
Some say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s the case, Canadian immigration officials should be flattered. According to Chinese news media, China will be introducing a list of skills currently in demand in the country, in order to aid its recruitment of foreign talent. A report in the China Daily in late September quoted an unnamed foreign affairs official saying Beijing is “identifying shortages in the domestic labour market” to “learn what types of workers (domestic firms) felt are hard to find.”

Injured migrant farm workers win back OHIP (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
The Ontario government has lost its bid to terminate OHIP coverage of two Jamaican migrant farm workers who were seriously injured in a car accident here. On Friday, the Health Services Appeal and Review Board rejected the provinces request to reverse an earlier order by the independent tribunal to reinstate the health coverage for Kenroy Williams and Denville Clarke. The two men, who came to Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), were among nine Jamaican migrant workers caught in the accident in August 2012 while being driven by their employer, Chardy Produce Ltd., to a farm in Oakland, Ont.

Toronto is Canadas hottest job market for better or worse (Armine Yalnizyan, Globe and Mail)
A company called Career Builder yesterday released a list of what it called the ten hottest jobs in Toronto, based on data about the occupations with the fastest increases in employment between 2010 and 2013. That made me wonder: how does Toronto compare to the rest of the country in overall job growth? And where are the engines of job growth? So I took a look under the hood and was surprised to learn that Toronto accounted for one in three of all jobs created in Canada between 2010 and 2013 thus far.

Ottawa willing to compromise on job grant program after opposition from provinces, businesses (Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star)
The federal government is prepared to make concessions to implement its promised Canada Job Grant program after a show of united opposition from provinces and business leaders, sources say. A renewed effort to show flexibility and reach out to the provinces is underway to rescue the much-criticized measure, with the federal minister responsible for the Conservatives showpiece program, Jason Kenney, writing to the provinces with an olive branch.

Precarious employment on the rise (
Ontario’s economy, and its traditional economic stronghold in the Toronto region, are slowly returning to pre-recessionary levels of employment. Yet there has been growing concern about the kinds of jobs the economy is creating. The growing prevalence of “precarious employment” jobs that are temporary, part-time, with few benefits and low wages has been widely discussed in the media in recent months. In “Untapped potential: Creating a better future for service workers,” the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity partners with the Martin Prosperity Institute to examine job trends within Toronto’s largest employment sector: routine-service jobs. These occupations, including retail staff, food service workers, cleaners, taxi drivers, secretaries, and others, account for 45 percent of Toronto’s workforce and have the worst employment conditions of all occupations. What emerges is a clearer picture of who is being affected, and policy recommendations that can help.

A Closer Look At Who Is Making Minimum Wage In Ontario (Sheila Block, Wellesley Institute)
Many peoples image of a minimum wage worker is a teenager, perhaps at a fast food restaurant, earning some money to buy the newest smart phone. And a teenager flipping burgers is an accurate part of the picture: in 2011, almost 60 percent of minimum wage workers in Ontario were between 15 and 24 years of age. Some of them are likely earning pocket money for extras, while others are likely making crucial contributions to their familys incomes and survival. But, we also need to look at the rest of the picture: minimum wage is not just a youth issue. Forty percent of minimum wage earners are over 25 years old. More than 1 in 10 racialized women aged 25 and over were working for minimum wage between 2009 and 2011, two and a half times the rate of the total population over 25. For women who are recent immigrants, the number is almost 1 in 5. These workers are not earning pocket money to buy a flashy new smart phone; they are trying to pay the bills for themselves and their families on $10.25 per hour.

Fair Wage Office – 2012 Annual Report (City of Toronto)
The implementation of the Fair Wage Policy advances the Citys commitment towards access, equity, and workers and human rights by ensuring that workers on City contracts are paid a fair wage and are not subject to harassment or discrimination. Through the implementation of this policy, workers become aware of their rights and this is particularly important to newly arrived immigrants and other vulnerable workers. The Fair Wage Office will increase awareness in the immigrant community by providing educational material in various languages about the Citys Fair Wage Policy and complaint process. Through these efforts, workers and employers will be better informed of their rights and responsibilities.


Ed Broadbent: are the dreams of social democracy still affordable? (Broadbent Institute)
On September 24th, 2013, Broadbent Institute Chair Ed Broadbent gave the 2nd annual Jack Layton Lecture at Ryerson University. In this speech, Ed Broadbent connects the philosophy and historical successes of social democracy with today’s social and political challenges. Over the past fifty years, social democrats both in government and out have achieved great progress. The creation of the middle class, the extension of new rights to previously disadvantaged groups like women and gays and lesbians, and an openness to new movements like environmentalism are some of the many advances that social democracy can claim credit for.

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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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