Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Nov 13, 2013


New report looks at diversity of the GTA’s health care leaders (Yonge Street)
A report released last Tuesday by Toronto’s DiverseCity Counts project documents the diversity of the GTAs health care leaders. The report, conducted in partnerhsip with Mount Sinai hospital, is the eighth installment in a series of research papers on leadership diversity in the GTA released by DiverseCity Counts, a multi-year research project that is itself one of nine initiatives of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project.

Top 6 ideas on renewing civic participation (Jennifer Phillips,
On Friday, October 25, Samara co-hosted a workshop on political and civic participation featuring academics, community organizations, and party activists. Short presentations followed by discussion sessions allowed participants to reflect on a variety of challenges that cause citizens to become disengaged from politics, as well as some solutions. Yes, solutions!

Active citizenship is something we can all get behind – PDF (Institute for Canadian Citizenship)
The Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) believes in active citizenship. Large or small, these daily actions strengthen our communities, and our country. Over the past year the ICCs work to promote and encourage active citizenship has been met with more and more Canadians embracing our call. From volunteering, to civic participation, to accepting cultural difference, active citizenship yields powerful results. Our national network of Building Citizenship volunteer committees made it possible for us to host 36 ceremonies with roundtable discussions in communities across the country, welcoming 1,600 new citizens and launching meaningful discussions on what it means to be a citizen of this country.

News Release Improving the Canadian Experience Class (CIC)
Today, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced changes to improve the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) so that the program continues to attract top quality candidates. The Canadian Experience Class has allowed more than 25,000 people to stay in Canada permanently to contribute their skills and talents, said Alexander. The government is taking concrete action to reduce backlogs and processing times. By making these changes to the Canadian Experience Class, we are moving toward a more effective and efficient immigration system.

Operational Bulletin 554 November 8, 2013 – Ministerial Instructions: Canadian Experience Class Applications (CIC)
Effective November 9, 2013, a maximum of 12,000 new applications that are complete in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) will be considered for processing each year. Within the overall 12,000 cap, a maximum of 200 complete applications for each occupation at Skill Level B as per the 2011 version of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) will be considered for processing each year. There are six occupations for which work experience cannot be used to qualify for the CEC (ineligible occupations).

Shoestring Ethnic Publications Say They Need Federal Cash, Ads: Survey (Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press)
Canadas ethnic newspapers and magazines are struggling financially in the digital age and need federal cash just to survive, says a new survey. Many of the 22 publishers and editors polled for the Canadian Heritage Department said their budgets are so tiny that even a small amount of red ink can be catastrophic. Many respondents indicated a passion for government involvement in the sector, identifying government finding as critical to the current and future existence of their publication, says the report, completed in May.

Profiles from Cosmopolis Toronto
Lis (Denmark)
Melvyn (Botswana)
John (South Korea)
Ava (Germany)
Bruno (Belgium)
Nadia (Bangladesh)

Charter could turn away French-speaking immigrants to Quebec (Michelle Lalonde,
Quebecs policy of favouring French-speaking immigrants over others has been like a welcome mat to the thousands of francophone Muslims from countries like Morocco, Algeria and Lebanon who now call Montreal home. But some believe the Charter of Quebec Values tabled in the National Assembly last week will do just the opposite; its ban on the wearing of religious symbols by public sector workers discouraging not only Muslim immigrants, but others who will see the Charter as a sign of Quebecs intolerance toward minorities or of an unstable social climate.

Rukhsana Khan’s books explore multicultural Canada for kids (Jessica Wong,
Considered a must-read author in many Canadian schools and recently included on the New York Public Library’s list of 100 great children’s books of the last 100 years, Toronto-based writer Rukhsana Khan tells stories that resonate in our multicultural world. With about a dozen books under her belt so far, Khan’s stories including Big Red Lollipop, the title tapped by the New York Public Library often feature visible minority children as the main characters. The stories share universal lessons about bullying, belonging, jealousy or social class and tackle tough topics such as immigration, poverty and refugees.

Britain’s children fought for Canada (Carol Sanders,
The Canadian government has never apologized for that sad chapter in this country’s immigration history, said Horrox. A petition calling on the federal government to issue an apology is being prepared to present to Canada’s Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, she said.

Could this man in Canadian jail be South Africas missing anti-apartheid icon? (Nicholas Keung,
A man who has been languishing in immigration detention in Canada for almost a decade is believed to be a South African anti-apartheid icon whose disappearance has remained a mystery. Mbuyisa Makhubu was 18 when he was photographed carrying dying schoolboy Hector Pieterson, a 13-year-old shot by South African police on June 16, 1976, during the Soweto uprising. The image, which captured the apartheid governments brutality against the African majority population, became a symbol of resistance, and June 16 has since been marked as National Youth Day.

Immigrant language training program renewed at SIAST (Thomas Piller,
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has renewed its contract with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) to help immigrants speak English. The federal government is committing an additional $12.7 million over three years to fund SIASTs Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program.

Immigration a buoy for Atlantic Canada (Kevin G. Lynch,
Today, structural trends and seismic events are reshaping economies, societies, politics, power and expectations around the globe. The future is hiding in plain sight, and the question before us is whether we have the wisdom to spot it, and the ambition to seize it. In short, do we want to proactively shape our future, or be passively changed by it? Consider four drivers of this global change and what they may mean for our future in Atlantic Canada.

The Filipino community in Canada at a glance (Kirsten Smith,
There are approximately half a million people of Filipino ancestry in Canada, about 1.5 per cent of the overall population. The number of immigrants from the Philippines has increased dramatically in the recent years and since 2006 is the number one source of new immigrants to Canada, surpassing both China and India.

Opinion: Bus ads target and isolate Muslims (Amarjeet Sohi, Erum Afsar,
The sponsors of the ads say their intent was to bring attention to the issue of honour killing. We are providing another point of view and key information regarding these ads. The term honour killing must stop being used. It needs to be called what it is: murder, femicide, wrong. Attaching the term honour to these crimes empowers the perpetrators, allowing them to justify their thinking and actions.

#CdnImm #19 – Francophone LGBTQ+ Newcomers in Ontario (OCASI)
The #CdnImm Toronto team will be hosting its second event in French, on the topic of Francophone LGBTQ+ Newcomers in Ontario. All presentations will be in French, but participants will be welcome to ask questions in English

Startup visa program nears approval of first applicants (Brenda Bouw,
Few foreign entrepreneurs are following the progress of Canadas Start Up Visa Program as closely as Jose Barrios. The Mexican-born co-founder and CEO of Vancouver-based Cognilab, a virtual laboratory for psychology research, is among the first batch of applicants for the new program designed to accelerate permanent residency for foreign entrepreneurs.

Vancouver benefits from influx of mainland Chinese migrants, says mayor (
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says a flood of mainland Chinese immigrants, tourists and investors is creating new economic development opportunities in the Canadian port city, not driving up property prices, as some city residents have complained. In Hong Kong yesterday to wrap up an eight-day China tour, Robertson said Vancouver’s property market had been attracting international investors long before the current rush of mainland Chinese buyers.

Welcoming future Canadians to Durham Region (
Durham Region has the doors open and is waving people in — and theres plenty of room, with more to spare. According to new data from Statistics Canada, Durham Region is home to the lowest percentage of immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area, at just 21 per cent.

U of T alters admissions policies (Heather Gardiner,
The law school even hired a new admissions director, Neel Joshi, who will focus on admissions, recruitment, and diversity. We want the strongest class possible, and if there are students who for whatever reason are not pursuing a legal education but theyre strong students, we would love for them to apply to the University of Toronto law school, says Benjamin Alarie, associate professor and associate dean of the first-year program at U of Ts law faculty.

Room to improve women, visible minorities, youth and bilingualism at Ottawa city council table (Susan Sherring,
Older, whiter, and male-dominated. In a nutshell, that’s a quick snapshot of the makeup of Ottawa city council. With 24 politicians on city council, 18 are men, just six are women. Census data shows females in Ottawa make up just more than 51% of the city population. On council, they compose just 25%.

MP says rules too hard, fast (Jennifer O’brien,
Canadian immigration officers need more discretion to allow people to remain in the country, a London MP says. New Democrat Irene Mathyssen is pushing for changes to the countrys immigration policy after a London family Mohamed Walji, his wife Shyroz and their disabled adult daughter Qyzra were found shot to death in a ­murder-suicide in their apartment on Richmond St. The family had tried but failed to get permanent status in Canada since arriving as visitors from Tanzania 15 years ago.

Savings, planning key for immigrants (Romina Maurino,
For many immigrants setting up a new life in Canada, the biggest challenge isn’t coming faceto-face with a mountain of snow or dealing with unfamiliar customs, but the sticker shock that comes with such a move. Elke Van Hout figured she’d thought of everything when immigrating to Canada from her native Belgium with her husband and teenage son in 2010.

New Ontario regulations: Vindication for Denied Haircuts? (Jessie Legaree,
Last year around this time, a complaint was filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission when a Toronto barber and practicing Muslim denied a womans request for a haircut as against his religion. It was reported about on the RightsWatch blog here. In August of this year, the case was quietly settled in a closed-door mediation session. This isnt the only recent case of its kind. Also in August, a woman was denied a haircut at a Hamilton barbershop. In this case, the complainant had a voucher for a free haircut but the store owner said his business is for men only (no religious reasons). She is also reportedly filing a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal.

Hindu festival lights up Chestermere for Diwali (Kristen Spruit,
Residents of Chestermere got a taste of one of the biggest and brightest Hindu festivals originating from India, on Nov. 1. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, was held at the Calgary Yacht Club in Chestermere from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to celebrate one of the towns largest cultural groups.

The citizenship review: what to watch for (Andrew Griffith,
Whether it be to pursue opportunities in their country of origin, or go back and forth to pursue business and other opportunities, citizenship policy has an impact on diaspora linkages and mobility. Make it too restrictive and the linkages may be underdeveloped make it too easy and citizenship may be instrumental, without attachment. Hopefully, once the draft bill is tabled, both parliamentary and public comment and discussion will engage in a broader debate about what kind of citizenship approach we want.

NOVA SCOTIA A-Z: New sense of place emerges from turmoil of Africa (
Daleen van Dyk has lived in countries where peace and harmony have been hard to come by. The South Africa native an Afrikaner moved with her family to Zimbabwe as a child because her father, a pastor, would not buy into the apartheid policy of the minority rulers of South Africa, which left the bulk of the population without a voice. That led to trouble.

Is Canada importing patriarchy? (Douglas Todd,
Its also worth exploring, however, what Yousafzais plight might suggest about gender conditions for those seemingly far removed from Pakistan and India the women of North America. In this era of mass migration, one of five residents of Canada is now born outside the country, mostly in Asia. The ratio of foreign-born residents rises to almost one in two in Toronto and Metro Vancouver. Pakistan has become Canadas fifth leading source of new immigrants. China, the Philippines and India remain the three largest immigrant-providing countries. The U.S. is fourth.

Vigil for family who fell through the cracks (Craig Gilbert, London Community News)
A debate breaks out amongst a group of Qyzra Waljis Oakridge Secondary School classmates over whether they should smile in a photo at a somber candlelight vigil. We should you guys, Kate Nielsen says after some discussion. She had that amazing smile. She would want us to. They were just a few of the close to 100 people who came out to the vigil, held to remember Qyzra, 21 and her parents, outside Kings University College Tuesday (Nov. 12). The Waljis were found in a Richmond Street apartment, the victims of an apparent murder-suicide, on Oct. 30.

Push for ‘secularism’ divides French Canada (Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, Al Jazeera)
As the government of Quebec moves forward with its controversial “secularism charter”, the Canadian province is strongly divided over the plan to ban religious symbols from the public sphere. “Some people will leave Quebec because of this. Some people will leave their jobs because of this,” said Rémi Bourget, a lawyer and president of Québec Inclusif, a group mobilising against the government’s proposal. “Freedom of religion in Quebec, in North America, includes the right to wear something that shows your religion. When the government is sending the message that these rights are not so fundamental anymore, we think this is a slippery slope.” Formerly called the “Charter of Quebec values”, the secularism charter known as Bill 60 would ban state employees from wearing clothing or displaying objects “that overtly indicate a religious affiliation”. This includes headscarves, yarmulkes, turbans, or “larger-than-average” crucifixes.


Share why are you proud to protect refugees (CCR)
Lets change the conversation. Help promote a positive vision of what we want for refugees in Canada and of the important contributions refugees make to our communities. Get involved and show your pride in protecting refugees in Canada. Here are some ideas below. Click here for more ideas, or if you have one to share!

Harper government slammed for cutting welfare to failed refugee claimants still in Canada (Andy Radia,
The Harper government is being slammed, once again, for its treatment of Canada’s refugees. The Toronto Star is reporting that Ottawa is actively lobbying provincial authorities to cut refugees off welfare “as soon as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) issued an ‘enforceable removal order’ against them.”


Creating partnership and strategy for BCs Northwest labour needs (
New Canadians are an under-represented demographic group with the necessary talent and skills to help meet demand in BCs northwest region according to a new IEC-BC report.

It IS Possible to Raise the Minimum Wage to $14! (WAC)
Everyone wins when workers receive fair wages. Higher wages means more spending and that’s good for the economy. Raising Ontario’s minimum wage to $14 an hour would stimulate Ontario’s economy by putting more than $5 billion additional dollars in workers’ pockets!

Federal government pulls pathway to immigration out from under foreign workers: labour (Tobi Cohen,
A decision to bar foreign retail and restaurant supervisors from applying to the much-vaunted Canadian Experience Class immigration stream is raising questions about whether the federal governments handling of the temporary foreign worker program has allowed low-skilled workers to gain easy access to permanent residency. The federal government announced late last week that it was capping immigration applications to the Canadian Experience Class, a pathway thats supposed to facilitate residency for international students and skilled foreign workers with jobs in Canada.


Have your say: Vote for this years Social Finance Awards! (Ellen Martin,
At and the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, we are dedicated to building the social finance marketplace and ultimately shifting the existing financial system. We believe that the transformative potential of social finance is deeply rooted in its ability to mobilize the resources of traditionally fragmented sectors towards a common vision of social or environmental good. Collaboration is a key driver of social finance and is necessary in order to scale the marketplace in Canada. Thats why this years Social Finance Innovator Award theme is Most Promising Collaboration in the Canadian social finance landscape. Over the summer and early fall, we opened up a public nomination period, from which we are pleased to announce the nine finalists for this years award.

Charities and Nonprofits a Strategic Component to Canadas Success (Brian Emmett,
Many people are curious about my new role as Chief Economist for Canadas Charitable and Nonprofit Sector with Imagine Canada, the national umbrella for the sector, and are surprised when I tell them about the sectors economic impact and reach. Perhaps people are vaguely aware that charities and nonprofits are employers and produce social and economic value, but not necessarily how much they contribute to Canadas gross domestic product: two and one half times the contribution of agriculture and a surprising six times as much as automobile manufacturing. Nor do they realize that charities and nonprofits offer such a range of value here and throughout the world: tackling social issues; delivering health care and higher education; supporting arts and culture; and providing sports leagues and recreational facilities for Canadians and their children.

Trust in Charities. We need to talk. (Marcel Lauzière,
Many of you will have seen by now the results of the recent Muttart Foundation survey: Talking About Charities. This is the 5th iteration of the survey that was first done in 2000. This time around The Muttart Foundation contracted Imagine Canada to do the analysis of the responses. There is some very good news coming through this major phone survey of close to 4,000 Canadians, but there are also some very real messages that Canadians are sending us and that we need to take very seriously. As a charitable sector, we need to be listening very closely to what is being said.


Welfare Re-form: The Future of Social Policy (Sherri Torjman and Ken Battle, Caledon Institute)
The speech describes how the Caledon Institute used to believe that the future of social policy involved significant improvements to welfare in order to bolster and ease access to this important program. We continue to support those proposals and have worked with several provinces and with the Government of Nunavut to explore possible enhancements to welfare. We now believe, however, that the future of social policy involves more than improvements to welfare alone. The focus is welfare re-form, which entails the eventual dismantling of this program and its reconstruction into a renewed architecture of income security. In six words: from welfare reform to welfare reformulation.

Time to negotiate: Hammering out a First Nations Education Act (John Richards and Michael Mendelson, Caledon Institute)
The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs took the highly unusual step of releasing a draft First Nations Education Act on line before tabling the Act in the House of Commons. This op ed, first published in the Globe and Mail on November 7, 2013, spells out the deficiencies in the draft Act. But it also points out that the Act was published as a draft so that there could be negotiations. It suggests ways in which the Act could be revised to satisfy First Nations demands and benefit on-reserve education. The op ed urges First Nations and the government to sit down and negotiate.

Time for Talk, Not Action (Michael Mendelson and Chris Atchison, Caledon Institute)
In its March 2013 Budget, Ottawa announced the new Canada Job Grant program, promising that the detailed design would be negotiated with the provinces over the next year. On November 8, 2013, Jason Kenney, the new Minister of Employment and Social Development, finally found the time to meet with his provincial counterparts. This op ed, originally published in the Vancouver Sun on November 7, 2013, reviews the problems inherent in the Canada Job Grant and the implications of funding the new program through cutting employability and training for vulnerable populations. It argues that the federal government should now work with the provinces to redesign the program.

The Wealth Paradox (

Benefits and pensions for all: Why Canada needs a new social contract (Jamison Steeve,
Across Canada, a divide is growing in our cities and provinces. Temporary, contract and part-time positions are accounting for a greater share of the workforce, while permanent, full-time positions are declining. These forms of precarious employment are less likely to provide employment benefits, less likely to offer a stable income and put significant strain on workers ability to plan their lives and make ends meet.

New tax credit for Ontario farmers who donate to food banks (
Last week, the Ontario Local Food Act received unanimous support at its third reading in the Ontario legislature. The support ensures that, come the new year, the new Bill will be enshrined into law. Tucked in among a number of provisions to strengthen Ontarios local food sector is a new tax credit for farmers who donate to community food programs.

How income inequality hurts every Canadian’s chance of building a better life (
Canada is at a crossroads. A gap has grown between the middle class and the wealthy. Now, that divide is threatening to erode a cherished Canadian value: equality of opportunity for all. This article is part of The Globe’s Wealth Paradox series, a two-week examination into how the wealth divide is shaping Canada’s cities, schools, social programs and even its national sport.

Income inequality and what to do about it (Pressprogress,
This week, the Globe and Mail launched an in-depth series on income inequality in Canada entitled the Wealth Paradox. The two-week series will investigate various negative impacts of inequality on the lives of Canadians, highlighting how and why unequal societies provide less opportunity, less social mobility and a blinkered democracy. This is an important and long overdue journalistic investment by the self-styled national paper of record, one worth checking out. Inequality has worsened in Canada as a result of political choices governments have made. But as the series points out, the trend can be reversed with other political choices. The Globe puts forward several meaningful options, including making Canada’s tax system fairer, investing in skills training, boosting support for the working poor and precarious workers, and investing in early childhood education. All worthwhile ideas.

Ontario affordable housing waiting lists still climbing (Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star)
Waiting lists for affordable housing in Ontario continued their slow and steady climb in 2012 despite the provinces modest economic gains, says a new report being released Tuesday. Almost 158,500 households including about 72,700 in Toronto were waiting for affordable homes as of December last year, according to the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Associations annual waiting list survey. The number represents more than 3 per cent of Ontario households, the highest rate since the association began collecting statistics in 2003, the report notes. The associations members operate more than 163,000 non-profit units in 220 communities across the province. To meet the need they would have to almost double the supply of rent-geared-to income housing, the report says.

Latest Media and Policy News: 11 Nov 2013 (ISAC)
Policy and poverty news from across Canada)

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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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