Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Nov 7, 2013


DiverseCity Counts 8 (
This research, the eighth report in our DiverseCity Counts series, is conducted by Dr. Samir Sinha of Mount Sinai Hospital and the University Network Hospitals. It examines diversity on boards and in senior management of health care institutions in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Specifically, we look at local health integration networks (LHINs), hospitals, and community care access centres (CCACs). While past reports have focused on visible minorities, this edition broadens the scope of diversity to include sex/gender identity, visible minorities, disability, and sexual orientation.

Diversity counts in the health care sector (Maytree)
Few values are as ingrained and widely shared by Canadians as our belief in and support for high quality public health care. On a societal level, physical and mental health are necessary for productive and engaged individuals and communities. On an individual level, nearly all of us come into contact with health care services at some point in our lives, and most of us use these services throughout our lives. Sometimes this is for preventative health care. Most often, unfortunately, we come to these services when we or our loved ones are sick. When we are sick, we are vulnerable. We are distressed. We must place an enormous amount of trust in the institutions that we turn to to care for us and to care for our families when we are in need. This trust comes also with responsibility. The responsibility to recognize the needs of and serve all patients equitably and respectfully. The responsibility to reflect the community throughout the ranks of the institution. The responsibility to include the community in decision-making and governance.

A Snapshot of Diverse Leadership in the Health Care Sector (
Released today in partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital, the eighth DiverseCity Counts report looks at the diversity of the GTA’s health care leaders ( While past Counts reports have focused solely on visible minorities, “A Snapshot of Diverse Leadership in the Health Care Sector” broadens the scope of diversity to include sex/gender identity, visible minorities, disability, and sexual orientation

Ensuring the electoral and civic involvement of Canadas immigrant communities (Ratna Omidvar, Maytree)
On October 25, I spent a day listening to academics, researchers, politicians, activists and civil society groups on the issue of representation, more specifically, visible minority representation in our political landscape at the federal, municipal and local levels. Organized by the Institute for Research on Public Policy and Samara, Electoral and Civic Involvement of Canadas Immigrant Communities brought together a small group of individuals to weigh the evidence, analysis and trends as presented by academics and researchers, on the one hand, and to consider institutional and community-based responses, on the other. All this, motivated by a common understanding that Canadian institutions must be more responsive to changes in our demography and that political institutions and parties in particular need to perform to a higher bar of representation and accountability to better serve their constituencies.

Pathways to Permanent Residence (
Over the past several years, Canadas immigration programs have undergone a drastic transformation. This workshop will explore options for obtaining permanent residence in Canada outside of the refugee stream.

Filipino in the Canadian Mosaic (
Canada and the United States of America have different views of newcomers to each country. Canada has a policy of integration; the United States, of assimilation. An immigrant to Canada is given the privilege of retaining his or her identity, preserve the traditions of the country of origin as well as celebrate them and settle peacefully with other ethnocultural groups in the country.

Banning hijabs wont halt honour killings (Barbara Kay,
Quebecs Status of Women Committee has released a 167-page report that primarily addresses the disturbing phenomenon of honour killings of girls and women, 17 of which have been officially designated as such in Canada since 1991. The report also considers strategies to combat non-lethal honour-motivated abuses, including genital mutilations, virginity testing, forced marriage and excessive control. One of the reports seven recommendations to the government is the creation of a plan to educate health-care workers, teachers and protection specialists who work closely with populations in cultural communities considered at highest risk. Another recommendation would change the law by stipulating that youth-protection agencies must inform parents when children report honour-motivated abuses to them.

Building New Skills: Immigration and Workforce Development in Canada (
This new report from the Migration Policy Institute examines Canadas workforce development system and policies. Canada has long been considered a world leader in the global hunt for talent, notable for its ability to acquire skilled human capital through a carefully calibrated points system. Although many immigrants to Canada are selected for their skills, the past few decades have seen high unemployment among immigrants, raising concerns that Canadas immigration system is failing to live up to its promise.

Teachers protest cuts to ESL programs (Canada News Wire,
Acquiring English language skills is essential to improving the lives of new Canadians, they say, and ESL training allows them to access education and work opportunities, and become integrated into Canadian life. “Why is Ontario cutting ESL classes for new Canadians?” said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “If this government is truly committed to ensuring immigrants are able to get decent jobs, these classes must be made a priority.”

Saskatchewan announces changes to immigrant nominee program (
The provincial government has announced changes to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program. On Jan. 2, nine categories will be consolidated into three with new eligibility requirements. The family referral category will be combined with the skilled worker category to create a new international skilled workers category, which will focus on attracting workers with high-skilled employment offers. The government says the new category will provide increased flexibility by accepting several applications from workers with skills in high demand without the requirement of pre-arranged employment.

Tarek Loubani and John Greyson go to bat for immigrants jailed endlessly in Canada (Debra Black,
A little more than three weeks since they returned to Canada, Tarek Loubani and John Greyson who spent seven weeks in an Egyptian prison without being charged are demanding an end to what they describe as unjust indefinite detention of immigration detainees in Canada. Tarek and I have huge questions about whats going on in our own backyards, Greyson said at a Toronto news conference Monday in front of the federal courthouse on Queen St. W. Were critical of our own experience in Egypt, but to see this in our own backyard is unacceptable. The indefinite detention of all 191 (detainees in Lindsay, Ont.) raises a lot of questions about what were doing as a nation.”

Canadians demand end to unjust detentions (
Canadian activists have demanded an end to the governments unjust indefinite detention of nearly 200 immigrants held in the country. The call came on Monday after the activists visited the Central East Correctional Center in Lindsay, Ontario, where they met with some of the detained immigrants who have been protesting since September. At least one of the imprisoned immigrants has remained on a hunger strike for over 40 days.

Loubani, Greyson demand release of immigrant detainees protesting at Ontario jail (
Canadian activists Tarek Loubani and John Greyson visited a jail in Lindsay, Ont., on Monday to demand the release of nearly 200 immigrant detainees held under indefinite detainment. Loubani and Greyson, who recently returned to Canada after a six-week detention in an Egyptian prison, visited Central East Correctional Centre to demand the release of immigrant prisoners who say they are being held unjustly. The 191 migrants began their protest in September after they were relocated from the Toronto West Detention Centre to the facility in Lindsay.

United Way backs Daryeelka Qoyska program for Somali parents (Debra Black,
Parenting is difficult at the best of times. But imagine youre a newcomer from Somalia; youre faced with learning a new language, setting up a home, raising your children, and trying to understand the fabric of a new land and society that is totally unfamiliar. Its bound to be overwhelming. Even something as simple as helping with your childs school work can be an additional stress. And thats where Daryeelka Qoyska, a Somali program run by the Yorktown Child and Family Centre, comes in.

Diwali: a festival of fun and philanthropy (
Diwali has been recognized as a highly regarded practice for charitable giving on November 1, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper remarked, As good Canadians, you have brought and continue to honor the tradition of charitable giving that is such an important part of Diwali. He also highlighted the bond between Trillium Health Centre Foundation and the South Asian communities in Mississauga who have raised over $5 million for various critical projects.

Survey: Minorities, women, natives in military suffer more harassment (
Women, aboriginals and visible minorities in the Canadian Forces say they experience higher rates of sexual and personal harassment than their peers in the military, according to a survey that found many dont bother reporting it for fear of being labelled troublemakers. The Canadian Forces Workplace Harassment Survey found that over a 12-month period, 16 per cent of Canadian Forces members who took part in the research experienced personal harassment, which could include offensive comments relating to race, religion, sex or physical traits.

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program gives foreign workers more options (Nick Kuhl, Lethbridge Herald)
Foreign workers seeking permanent residence in the province have until Nov. 28 to apply for the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), as several changes have opened up new streams and categories for requests. The AINP is an economic immigration pilot program operated by the Alberta government, along with the Government of Canadas department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). It is designed to support Albertas economic growth by attracting and retaining work-ready immigrants to the province, with options for both skilled and semi-skilled individuals. Mark Holthe, a business immigration lawyer and partner with Lethbridges Holthe Tilleman Gross LLP, specializes in devising corporate immigration strategies for large multi-national companies transferring large volumes of foreign nationals into Canada for short- and long-term purposes.

Walji’s feared deportation by Immigration Canada (Khalid Magram, Digital Journal)
In the wake of the sudden death of three family members in London, ON, last week – it has emerged that the victims were in constant fear of deportation from Canada. Police say Mohammed, Shyroz and Qyzra Walji all died of gunshot wounds in apparent murder-suicide in London, ON. “They were a family that fought the immigration system with passion for a long time. That was it, after 15-years they gave up all hope, Said Mohamed Walji’s sister, Ruby Walji, after attending the funeral service Tuesday in Toronto.

Multiculturalism Week (
November 16-24 has been officially proclaimed Multiculturalism Week in both Yorkton and Saskatchewan. The week is intended to inform Canadians that we are all multicultural and that equality for all is essential. The Saskatchewan motto is From Many Peoples Strength. Saskatchewan was the first province to enact multiculturalism legislation on November 17, 1974, recognizing the right of every community to retain its identity, language and traditional arts and sciences for the mutual benefit of citizens, said Darlene Stakiw, past president of the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCoS) to Yorkton City Council members Monday evening.

Local francophones get immigrants ready for winter (Don Lajoie,
After arriving in Windsor early last November as a refugee from the civil war in his native Democratic Republic of Congo, Abdoul Mugalu and his family were unprepared for their chosen homelands winter. I saw Canada as a strange country, he said Wednesday as he perused racks of warm winter clothing at Place Concorde. I knew it was in a polar region. I had never lived in such a cold country before. But this winter will be my second and I will have experience. I know how to protect the children and myself and can choose jackets and clothes that will be strong against the cold.

So, What You’re Saying Is We Need Another Head Tax? (
Temporary foreign workers (TFWs). What to do, what to do? In today’s Toronto Star, columnist and social justice advocate Carol Goar opines on the matter. She has problems with the program as do the majority of Canadians; it’s not far fetched to assume they wouldn’t be. So she offers some solutions. She suggest, rightly so, the cancellation of the provision that allows employers to pay TFWs 15% less than the going rate. She also suggests a requirement for employers “to submit a firm plan to replace their temporary foreign workers with Canadian workers over time” as well as “demand proof that companies are not using the program to outsource Canadian jobs.” She also suggests this: charge a $275 per worker fee for using the program. Or in other words a head tax.

Ruby Dhalla: An Indo-Canadian Doctor Speaks On Politics, Race And Immigration (Palash Ghosh,
Dr. Ruby Dhalla is one of the most prominent Canadians of East Indian descent. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Punjabi Sikh immigrant parents, Dhalla entered the countrys House of Commons in 2004 as a Liberal lawmaker, serving for seven years as MP for Brampton-Springdale, a district in Ontario outside Toronto. With her good looks and glamour, she also became a lightning rod for controversy including stints as a Bollywood actress and Canadian beauty pageant queen.

Jenny (China) (
Jenny emphasizes how there are very few places in the world where diversity is as cherished as it is in Toronto. She feels as if most Torontonians take for granted the social acceptance that comes with being a part of this city. Prior to arriving here, her family moved around quite a lot. At the age of nine her father took them from China to Australia to seek better opportunities. She says she lived for 3 years in a culturally homogeneous and racist community which left her with deep and painful memories that she is still dealing with. By moving to Toronto she found her forever home and here she no longer feels like an outsider. The city has helped reshape her worldview and open herself to many meaningful and loving connections. She says I found my best friend here, I found my husband here, and Im finally starting to find myself here.

Tjidzani (Zimbabwe) (
Tjidzani first left Zimbabwe on exchange to Switzerland part of an educational program that aimed to maximize tolerance and minimize conflict. It was then that she decided to see a different country every year for the rest of her life. After university, Toronto was her first stop. She fell in love with the city, feeling as if she could experience every country and culture in this one city. Then she fell in love with a Torontonian. She says the funny part is that she came all the way across land and sea to meet a guy who is from her country of birth! The day she realized she was a true Torontonian, was the day she started saying the word Toronto without pronouncing the second t!

Alex (Norway) (
Alex left Norway to pursue his post-secondary studies as he wished to improve his second language skills and satisfy his craving for travel while getting his university degree. By fluke he started in Victoria, BC, but transferred to York University to be with his wife who is a graphic designer in Toronto. He admits that after 12 years of living in the GTA it is not necessarily the actual location that is the reason why he considers a place home, but rather it is the people that make it that way. In this respect, he doesnt miss Norway, the place, or Victoria, the place but he does miss the people there. releases census data from 1921 online (
On June 1, 1921, 241 commissioners and 11,425 cataloguers set out to conduct a comprehensive Canada-wide census. In addition to being the first census since the First World War (and the sixth comprehensive census since the 1867 Confederation), the decennial census schedule meant the 1921 census was to be the only one conducted in the country throughout the interwar years. Ninety-two years and three months later, the 1921 Census is, for the first time ever, fully indexed and searchable online.


Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 8 #6, 4 October 2013 (CCR)
In this issue:
Call for immigration measures to respond to Syria crisis
Canadas refugee resettlement program: becoming less generous?
Join the Proud to Protect Refugees Week of Action, 1017 November 2013
Register now for the CCR Fall Consultation, Kitchener-Waterloo, 28 30 November 2013
New resource: Permanent residents and criminality

Youth Voices Video (CCR)
The CCR Youth Network brings together newcomer youth from coast to coast. Want to know more about what we are all about? Check out this video to find out!

From Iran to Turkey to Canada, a transgender woman seeks refuge (Shuka Kalantari,
In Iran, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death. But its legal to get a sex change. In fact, there was a fatwa in Iran allowing sexual reassignment surgery in the early 1960s. Today, Iran ranks second in the number of sex changes performed annually, after Thailand. But transgender people are far from equals in Iran.

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Program (
This webinar will give participants an introduction to the program, how it operates, how to refer clients to the program, and opportunity to ask detailed questions from IOM and CBSA representatives.

Refugee Determination Claim Process Workshop (
Presented by Immigration And Refugee Lawyer Laura Brittain from Refugee Law Office The workshop will cover different topics on Refugee Determination Claim Process.

[Special report] Fleeing discrimination at home, S. Koreans seek asylum abroad (
As he began considering the option of refusing to serve, his first thought was to emigrate. He was looking at the sojourn qualifications when he found out about refugee status. At the time, the media was reporting about a 28-year-old man named Kim Kyung-hwan who had had his status as a refugee recognized in 2009 by Canadas Immigration and Refugee Board. Kim was a conscientious objector who was also homosexual. From an early age, he seemed to see the country differently from other children. He can remember that day when he was an elementary school student, and his homework assignment was to memorize the pledge to the national flag.

An urgent request for housing (
West Kootenay Friends of Refugees has been working towards sponsoring several refugee families for the last two years. After a couple of set backs a very exciting opportunity opened up this week: A new family in need of sponsorship has already been approved by Canadian Immigration, and will arrive in Rossland soon. Kathy Moore, WKFoR chair, was contacted Monday morning by the coordinator for the governments Refugee Resettlement Program about this family to sponsor.

Starter Toolkit for Awareness-Raising on Trafficking in Persons (
This Starter Toolkit is intended for anyone wishing to start or enhance outreach and awareness-raising activities on trafficking in persons in their own communities, organizations and sectors.


Human Rights Law and Canadian Job Experience: free informative seminar with TRIEC and Heenan Blaikie (
The Ontario Human Rights Commission is trying to make it easier for foreign-trained immigrants to get professional accreditation and find a job in their field.

Call for proposals (
TRIEC is looking for a consultant or agency to support the development of an integrated marketing communication strategy to guide communications activities in 2014-2017. Proposals should be submitted by 12 p.m. (noon) on November 20, 2013.

Where they are now: Sischa Maharaj, 2007 IS Awards Winner (
Six years ago, Sischa Maharaj was already an established advocate for helping new immigrants integrate in Canada. In 2007, she won a TRIEC Immigrant Success (IS) Award, the Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award, for her work on a variety of initiatives to support the hiring of skilled immigrants at CIBC. That recognition came at a time of transition for her. Having worked as CIBCs senior manager of intake programs, she was moving to a new role as assistant director at Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

ERIEC 3rd Annual Business Leaders Breakfast A Great Success! (ERIEC)
Last Thursday, October 31st, members of the Edmonton business community had the opportunity to listen to Venture publisher and president, Ruth Kelly speak about the business advantages for diversifying their employee workforces here in Alberta.

Overworked and underpaid raise the minimum wage (Victoria Mucciarone,
As inequality becomes daily news, we must not become desensitized to making steps towards improvement. It may be overwhelming to be reminded about all the income disparity, environmental degradation, discrimination in the face of racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, albeism, speciesism, and the seemingly never ending list. There are so many causes to get behind and what often happens, from my own personal experiences, is that on a practical level we do not have time to focus our energies on them, or even have time to enjoy other things in life for that matter, because we are too busy working.

Final arguments for workers claiming racism (
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal will hear final arguments next month as it considers the case of a group of tree planters who allege they endured slave-like conditions and discrimination while working at a remote camp in southeastern B.C. The roughly 50 planters, many of them recent immigrants or refugees from Africa, complained about the conditions of the Khaira Enterprises Ltd., camp in July 2010. Forests ministry officials shut down the camp, near Golden, after the planters were discovered in filthy conditions, without proper shelter or clean water, and told ministry staff they had not had food for two days.

Time for talk, not action, on federal job grant program (Michael Mendelson, Chris Atchison,
Ottawa announced the new Canada Job Grant program in its March 2013 budget, promising that the detailed design would be negotiated with the provinces over the next year. More than seven months have passed without a meeting. But now Jason Kenney, the new Minister of Employment and Social Development, has found a spare day. On Friday, he will meet with his provincial counterparts, presumably to respond to their unanimous rejection of the Canada Job Grant. Is the federal government now prepared to engage in meaningful negotiations and compromise? Or will it barge ahead riding roughshod over the provinces and the many community organizations delivering front-line employment services, virtually all of which agree with the provinces?


Expanding Food Banks (
Matt Galloway spoke with Ella Victor. She is the manager of Lawrence Heights Community Food Bank.

City of Guelph and Canadian Index of Wellbeing: 2013 winners of the Community Indicators Consortium Impact Award (Katherine Scott,
Congratulations to the City of Guelph and the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) for receiving the Community Indicators Consortium Impact Award for 2013 for their work on the Guelph Community Wellbeing Initiative. The Community Indicators Consortium is an active, open learning network and global community of practice among persons interested or engaged in the field of indicators development and application. Its 2013 Summit took place in October in Chicago, Il.

Opinion: Poverty in Alberta is persistent and costl (Diane G. Symbaluk,
As our bitterly cold Canadian winter approaches, we become increasingly aware of people wearing tattered clothing, huddling in doorways and bus shelters, panhandling for money, scrounging through Dumpsters for bottles, and pushing their only possessions down the sidewalk in shopping carts. These individuals make up Albertas homeless population. There are also more numerous but less visible homeless people temporarily living in emergency shelters or staying with friends.

CPP reform needed to avoid poverty in retirement (
Finance ministers are meeting today in Toronto to discuss a looming crisis – Canadians are not saving enough to ensure decent retirement incomes. By their own account, only 26 per cent believe they’re saving sufficiently to meet future retirement needs, according to a just-released Angus Reid poll. And 15 per cent are saving absolutely nothing for their so-called golden years. In B.C., confidence levels are lowest in the country, with only 20 per cent believing they are saving sufficiently. And more respondents in B.C. than anywhere else plan to rely on the sale of a property and an inheritance to fund their retirement.

Over 800,000 Canadians rely on food banks (Lee-anne Goodman,
The number of Canadians using food banks has fallen slightly but remains near record highs almost four years after the end of the economic recession. The annual study by Food Banks Canada, scheduled for release Tuesday, shows that more than 833,000 people relied on food handouts during one snapshot month earlier this year, compared with 872,379 the previous March. More than a third of them were children. “Underlying this small drop is a concern of enormous proportions: food bank use remains higher than it was before the recession began,” the report states.

Many Canadians still need food banks: study (
The number of Canadians using food banks has fallen off slightly but still remains near record highs almost four years after the end of the economic recession. The annual study by Food Banks Canada, scheduled for release Tuesday, shows that more than 833,000 people relied on food handouts during one snapshot month earlier this year, compared with 872,379 the previous March. More than a third of them were children.

Building a common front against poverty in New Brunswick (Scott Neigh,
On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, provincial co-ordinator Jean-Claude Basque of the New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice talks about their efforts to raise the minimum wage, increase social assistance, restore Employment Insurance, and support struggles for pay equity.

Food Banks are a Symptom of Poverty. Lets Fight the Disease (Steve Barnes,
833,098 Canadians used food banks in March of 2013. Half of food bank users reported social assistance as their primary source of income, a quarter were single parent families, 11 percent were First Nations, Métis or Inuit, and 11 percent were recent immigrants. These Canadians come from a broad range of backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: they are living in poverty. It is well established that living in poverty contributes to poor health, such as a greater prevalence of diabetes and childhood obesity, babies born with low birth weights, and poorer mental health. The prescription for fixing these negative health outcomes is to reduce poverty. Ontario is currently developing its second Poverty Reduction Strategy, and we set out for the government how to build good health into poverty reduction.

The following two tabs change content below.


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.

Read previous post:
Daily Reads/Micro Thoughts Summary

Shared 3 links. Twitter / MatthewKangCBC: This picture just confirms ... Twitter / ellievhall: I've seriously been laughing ... Twitter...