Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Nov 1, 2013


Cities of Migration Newsletter, No. 43, October 2013
In this issue:
• Pluralism: A Key Opportunity for the 21st Century
• Birmingham’s Next Generation of Leaders
• Three Funerals and a Wedding: Resetting the Way We Work on Migration
• Report from Rabat: Building Better Cities
• Hearing and Vision Screening at Toronto Schools
• Welcoming St. Louis’ Mosaic
• Ideas Exchange: Participation
• Good Ideas in the News

Advocacy lessons from American race politics for Canada (Diane Dyson, Belonging Community)
“It is eerie and unsettling to hear the same issues in country after country. It lifts our common challenges in ways that are sobering,” Angela Glover Blackwell said, after listening to each person’s introduction. Squeezed into an early morning session, the walls at the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) were lined with people from the non-profit sector and advocacy groups, funders and even a former Cabinet Minister, all concerned with racial equity. The Colour of Poverty/Colour of Change had invited us to hear Blackwell, Founder and CEO at PolicyLink, and Dr. Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity, University of Southern California, both speaking at a recent conference in Toronto, and here to share lessons on how to advance the equity policy agenda.

Quebec plans to take in less immigrants (The Canadian Press,
The Quebec government, in the midst of a heated debate about minority accommodation, says it will lower its immigration targets so it can better integrate newcomers and ensure they are able to function in French. Immigration Minister Diane De Courcy announced the reductions as she made public the government’s immigration plan for the coming year. The previous Liberal government had already started to trim levels before the debate over the values charter, a still-unadopted plan to ban civil service employees from wearing obvious religious symbols such as the hijab.

Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards: Winners’ success inspires future entrepreneurs (Ottawastart,
The City of Ottawa presented their 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards to three local business people – Manu Sharma, Julia Chen, and Ysabel Li-Lopez – whose business success and spirit have contributed to the local economy and serve as an inspiration to new Canadians to start their own businesses. “Today’s winners exemplify how important immigration is to Ottawa’s cultural vitality and economic prosperity,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “These three business people serve as role models to inspire both newcomers and all residents to harness their entrepreneurial and community spirit to make a difference to our community.”

Event Nov 17: Immigrant Women’s Small Business Expo (Canadian Small Business Women)
Canadian Small Business Women is hosting our first, annual Immigrant Women Small Business Expo at Daniel’s Spectrum on November 17th, 2013. This is a one of a kind expo in Canada because it is geared toward aspiring and current small business immigrant women of Canada. This expo will offer business tools in the areas of start-up and marketing by way of workshops and guest speakers from business sectors around the GTA.

Man in fight to work and stay in Canada instead of deportation to India (Megan Gillis,
Ottawa-born Deepan Budlakoti says he’s like any other young Canadian who just wants to get a job and fly the nest. But unlike them, he has to take the fight to end conditions that prevent him from doing either to the Immigration and Refugee Board Friday as he battles deportation to India, where he’s never lived. Strict conditions make him live with his parents, both Canadian citizens, under a 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. curfew that prevent the heavy equipment operator from landing construction gigs that start at dawn.

Canadian Muslims: The Highlight of A Mosaic (Dr. Zijad Delic,
Among the most educated, youngest, and diverse groups in Canada, the vibrant Canadian Muslim community is witnessing significant developments that would allow it to offer a lot to their Canadian homeland. Dating back to the middle of the 19th century, Muslims have been arriving to Canada from abroad to settle down and establish their lives and build up their new homeland.

#MigrantStrike Day 44 (Oct 31): Meet the Hunger Strikers (Prisonersolidarity,
Today marks 44 days since 191 migrants began strike actions in a maximum security prison in Lindsay, Ontario, to protest indefinite detention and a broken adjudication process. Today we profile five of the men we are in touch with who have been on hunger strike and locked up in segregation as punishment. There are others whose bios we cannot confirm at this time. Detainees in segregation are on 23-24 hr lock down, some not allowed to shower for a week, and only receive food and access to some calls through a flap in the door. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney has still not made a statement. Yesterday, jail officials met with detainee representatives and like their boss, Corrections Minister Madeleine Meilleur, they refuse to take responsibility for either the indefinite detention or the segregation of detainees.

Report: Racialization and Health Inequities in Toronto – PDF (Jennifer Levy, Donna Ansara, and Andi Stover, Toronto Public Health)
A large number of international studies have found that members of racialized groups experience poorer health outcomes compared to members of non-racialized groups and that experiencing racial discrimination contributes to poor health outcomes. Canadian research has only recently begun to look at these issues. Greater understanding of racialization and health inequities in Toronto is important as almost half of the city’s residents identify as members of a group that has been racialized. Toronto Public Health examined Toronto-level data to explore racialization and health inequities. The analyses found health inequities for specific racialized groups on some of the outcomes examined, and that experiencing racial discrimination is associated with poorer health outcomes. The analysis also examined factors that contribute to racialized health inequities, including racial discrimination, socioeconomic status, access to health care, and health behaviours. The results showed that members of racialized groups were more likely to report experiencing racial discrimination and to report having lower socioeconomic status than the non-racialized group. Overall, the analysis did not find evidence of racialized differences in access to health care or that racialized groups were more likely to engage in negative health behaviours. However, other Canadian research finds that members of racialized groups have poorer access to quality health care than non-racialized groups.

1921 census provides a glimpse into Toronto’s multicultural past (Stephanie MacLellan, Toronto Star)
The Grossmans and the Glionnis were neighbours on Edward Street. They came from different cultures but shared much in common: both took in extended relatives; both pooled incomes from several low-paying jobs to make ends meet. It’s a typical tale of immigrant life in Toronto. But this one is set in 1921. And now, with that year’s census fully indexed and searchable online, it’s easier than ever to get a glimpse into what life was like at the time.

What is Diversity? – Part 6: It’s All About Culture (Mary-Frances Winters,
Last week I asserted that diversity is difficult to define because of the multipliers. None of us is uni-dimensional. We each possess a number of different diversity dimensions, gender, age, ethnicity, occupation, etc. etc. I believe that a GenY woman who is a single mom has a different set of needs than a married Baby Boomer woman who is a grandmother for the first time. While they are both women, I suspect their different generational perspectives and marital statuses lead to somewhat different worldviews. One’s worldview is inextricably tied to culture, a point that I missed last week. Dr. Janet Bennett, iconic interculturalist, pointed out my omission. Dr. Bennett runs the Intercultural Communication Institute.

Renee (Trinidad and Tobago) (
Renee’s family has had ties to Canada for more than a century. Her great grandfather spent time at Dalhousie University, her parents went to college in Canada, and her uncles went to McGill. After vacationing frequently in Canada, her parents moved the family to Mississauga. Renee would, finding little to do in Mississauga on weekends, often take the TTC to Toronto. She now owns a condo in the city, and loves being able to go out and get a coffee at 3:00 a.m. Currently Renee works as a journalist and community manager.

Clarence (Canada) (
Clarence is a fifth generation Canadian with his father’s family arriving in Canada as Loyalists -former slaves who fought in the American Revolution with the British Army. He was raised in Sydney until the age of 9 when his parents separated and he eventually moved, with his mother, to Toronto’s diverse Kensington Market area. Prior to the civil rights movement, blacks were not welcome in many parts of the city but Kensington Market, predominantly Jewish in the 1950s, was one of the only areas that welcomed black people to live in their community. He says he has traveled a lot of places “and the civility of the people is something that has really struck [him] as unique here in Toronto.” Most of his friends are now here in the city; even those from Sydney and this helps them retain a strong sense of community. Clarence keeps connected to his community by attending reunions at St. Christopher House and their Club 65 meetings, a club made up mostly of black Canadians like himself. According to Clarence, Kensington Market has “everything you could possibly ever want or need.” Clarence worked as the traffic manager at Ontario Hardwoods, opened the Scarborough YMCA, and finished his career as a life and disability insurance broker.

Fatima (Pakistan) (
When she was a baby Fatima’s family moved from Pakistan to Dubai but, since her parents were not of Arab descent, citizenship rules eventually forced them to look for a new ‘home’. Canada was the first country to accept them. As a youngster Fatima had the impression that Toronto was perfect, but she has since come to realize it too has its flaws. She admires the city both for its beauty and for its rough edges and says, “Toronto is a home in the sense that it’s not perfect.” Recently Fatima dropped out of University, and she is trying to get by, doing freelance photography and finding free ways to educate herself.

Harper Government to introduce new model of “inviting” immigrants from 2015 (
Canada is moving from passive economic immigration to active recruiting under a new intake system tentatively titled the Expression of Interest System (EOI). Our plan for 2014 takes that change into account and works toward a successful launch on January 1, 2015. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander calls this approach “reactive and responsive”. He announced an immigration plan that will drive economic growth in 2014 and position Canada for success in the years ahead.

Five Strategies for Leadership Development on Religious Diversity (Deborah J. Levine,
While leadership training will often include issues related to Diversity and Inclusion, few programs include instruction in religious diversity. Cultural awareness, cultural competence, global leadership and cross-cultural communication are embraced as the tools of the market place of the future. What accounts for this black hole of information on diverse religions? One has only to turn on the TV, open a newspaper, or check the Internet headlines to see that religion is a major factor in interactions across the planet. It is both puzzling and disturbing that a virtual vacuum of expertise exists in the relationship-oriented sectors of our society: business, education, government, and human services. As a result, few leaders understand, or wish to understand, how to avoid culture clashes of belief systems by paying attention to the details. Yet, the often paralyzing sense of being overwhelmed and under-prepared can be managed with field-tested strategies and resources designed for the religious diversity novice.

Quebec Tightens Halal, Kosher Regulations (
Plans by Quebec’s minister of agriculture to tighten up regulations for the production of halal and kosher meat have angered the religious minorities in the east-central Canada district, seeing them as unnecessary. “For the past 15 centuries, the standards for the animals’ welfare have already been established,” Mohamed Ghalem, Quebec’s Halal Meat Association spokesman, was reported by Montreal radio station CJAD. “I think this misunderstanding is related to Islamophobia.”

Multicultural B.C. residents believe politeness declining (Douglas Todd,
Pollster Mario Canseco‘s personal pet peeve is queue-jumping. After the vice-president at Insights West conducted a major poll that shows most British Columbians are worried about the decline of politeness, he acknowledged he is most put off by what can happen in lineups. “This is the one that gets me the angriest. Respecting queues is the essence of the way a society is supposed to operate. It’s a system based on equality.”

What are ‘Canadian values?’ Let’s start our own dialogue on the topic (Tracy Samra,
What are ‘Canadian values?’ When asked, a majority of Canadians say they expect immigrants and refugees to adopt Canadian values yet, do Canadians actually share the same ones? At first glance the answer seems to be ‘no.’ How else can we explain the deep and historic differences among Anglophones, Francophones and Aboriginal peoples that has dominated our recent history? Or, the polarization in regional identity between ‘Easterners’ and ‘Westerners’ that plays out in every federal election.

Quebec plans to take in less immigrants (The Canadian Press,
The Quebec government, in the midst of a heated debate about minority accommodation, says it will lower its immigration targets so it can better integrate newcomers and ensure they are able to function in French. Immigration Minister Diane De Courcy announced the reductions as she made public the government’s immigration plan for the coming year.


Alleged human trafficking victim made up story to stay in Canada: defence (James Keller,
A young woman whose life in her native Tanzania was marked by poverty and hardship was so desperate to stay in Canada that she fabricated allegations she was tricked into leaving her home and forced into domestic servitude, a defence lawyer told a human trafficking trial Thursday. Mumtaz Ladha, 60, is accused of illegally bringing the woman, who can’t be named, to Canada in August 2008. The Crown alleges Ladha forced the woman to work long hours as an unpaid housekeeper in her home in West Vancouver.

What Do We Really Mean, When We Talk About Diversity (Cba Futures,
The business case for diversity is a strong one, says Omar Ha-Redeye, but paradoxically it rarely encourages change. The issue of diversity – or the lack of it – extends across most spheres but studies have shown the legal profession to be a particularly noted offender; Dr. Arin Reeves, speaking at the 2013 CBA Legal Conference in Saskatoon this summer said this is the case no matter the country. Diversity was the topic of the fifth weekly CBA Futures Initiative Twitterchat Tuesday night. Moderator Ha-Redeye encouraged participants to discuss the reasons for the lack of diversity in the profession, and to suggest ways to improve representation.

Vancouver workers rally in support of Cadillac Fairview cleaning staff (Wendy Stueck, Globe and Mail)
“It took us 25 years to get to $12.60 an hour,” Ranjit Rai, an eight-year employee, said at the Pacific Centre office tower that is home to Cadillac Fairview’s Vancouver office. “They [the new contractor] have offered us our jobs back, but we would be making 20 per cent less.” Most of the workers involved are women, including immigrants with limited language skills, who would find it difficult to find new jobs at wages they had progressed to at Servantage, she said. At Servantage, the workers were members of Unifor Local 3000. Unifor representatives and other labour leaders attended the rally.


Green Bonds (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Armine Yalnizyan. She is our business commentator on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


New Mobile Food Bus to increase access to fresh, affordable food (
Residents of Toronto’s inner suburbs will now benefit from increased access to affordable, fresh produce following today’s launch of a new Mobile Good Food Market bus. At the launch event, Debbie Field of FoodShare Toronto was joined by Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Andy Byford of the Toronto Transit Commission, and Debra Shime of United Way Toronto to unveil a newly retrofitted bus that was donated by the TTC and will support the sale of fruit and vegetables in neighbourhoods across the city.

Mobile Food Market (cBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Debbie Field of FoodShare Toronto about the launch of the city’s first Mobile Good Food Market bus External Site to bring fresh food to Toronto’s food deserts.

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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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