Immigration & Diversity news headlines – Nov 8, 2013


GTA hospitals lack diversity at the top (Theresa Boyle, Toronto Star)
There is a major lack of diversity at the top levels of GTA hospitals and other health organizations, new research has found. Only 16 per cent of senior managers and 14 per cent of board members are visible minorities, according to a study by DiverseCity Counts, a research initiative by Maytree and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance. Mount Sinai Hospital was also involved in Wednesday’s release of findings. The study looked at those at the helm of 28 hospitals, five local health integration networks (LHINs) and five community care access centres (CCACs) in the Greater Toronto Area. LHINs plan and fund local health systems, while CCACs co-ordinate home care, long-term care and community health services.

Diversity lacking in GTA’s health-care leadership: Report (
Women are well-represented in the Greater Toronto Area’s health-care leadership, according to a report released by Maytree and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance (CivicAction), in partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital. However, the number of visible minorities, people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer (LGBQ) individuals found in leadership are very low, found the survey of five local health integration networks, 28 hospitals and five continuing care accreditation commissions.

Webinar recording: Immigrants Wanted! Smart Strategies for Advancing Welcoming Communities and Regional Growth (Cities of Migration)

What is Inclusion? – Part 1: Keeping it Stirred Up (Mary-frances Winters,
Diversity is a more concrete and tangible concept. In many cases you can count how much diversity you have. Of course there are also many dimensions that are not visible and do not get counted. However, dimensions like socio-economic status, education, thinking styles can be counted, albeit in some cases a fairly difficult task. Inclusion, on the other hand, is more elusive. The extent to which one feels included is personal and I dare say varies based on one’s world view. One employee in a focus group complained that he was consistently left out of meetings where he thought his input would add value. In the same group, another employee said that it did not bother him in the least that he was left out of the meetings. He felt that there were too many meetings, taking away from time to be productive at work.

Reel Canada launches Uniting the Nation Through Film (Danielle Ng See,
Reel Canada has launched its ninth season, and with it, a new initiative to bring even larger youth audience to Canadian film. Reel Canada is a program designed to boost awareness of Canadian films by bringing the film festival experience to students, introducing them to homegrown films and filmmakers through screenings of Canadian features, docs and animated films to students across the country.

Safe Harbour program helps fight discrimination (Tracy Samra,
Earlier this year First Nation, civic, and business leaders and concerned citizens met at VIU to discuss how to move from racism to reconciliation in Nanaimo. After the first meeting the mayor was quoted saying that “we have everything here but we do not have racism.” At the next meeting, the mayor acknowledged that we need to talk about these issues. Hopefully, he realized that the “undertones” of racism are not restricted to a “lone voice,” it is much more pervasive and unless we accept that fact and do something about it, nothing will change.

Metro Transit ferry names criticized for lack of diversity (
A contest to choose the name of Metro Transit’s new ferry between Halifax and Dartmouth has turned up five finalists, but some are upset about the lack of diversity in the choices.

PQ tweaks values charter but political fight still on (Allan Woods, Toronto Star)
The Quebec government presented its long-awaited values charter to the provincial legislature, kicking off what promises to be a long political fight that risks ending in an election. The proposal that has divided the province into those who support the move to legislate religion out of public-sector workplaces such as schools, daycares, universities and hospitals, and those who say the Parti Québécois legislation violates fundamental freedoms of religion and expression.

Islamophobia surging in Quebec since charter, group says (Marian Scott,
Islamophobia has surged in Quebec since the introduction of the proposed Charter of Quebec Values, Muslim organizations warned Tuesday, with an alarming rise in verbal and even physical attacks against Muslim women. Muslims made 117 complaints of verbal or physical abuse to a local anti-Islamophobia group between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, compared to a total of 25 complaints (or 3.5 complaints per month on average) in the seven-month period of January to July 2013.

Culture marked by week (
Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Week (Nov. 17 – 24) was proclaimed by Yorkton Council at its regular meeting Monday. Each year the week of November that includes November 22, is celebrated as Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, explained a letter from the Yorkton Branch of the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCS). MCS representative Darlene Stakiw, said this year the Saskatchewan motto for the event is “From Many Peoples Strength.”

More new Canadians struggle to put food on the table (Ranjit Bhaskar, New Canadian Media)
Maria, a 38-year-old single mother of two boys, aged 14 and 8, graduated from university in the Philippines and did well as a dental hygienist there. The family recently immigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto’s Scarborough area. Maria needs to re-train as a hygienist as her credentials are not recognized in Canada. Having spent all her savings on tuition, she is forced to make regular visits to a food bank to keep hunger at bay. Like Maria, Ali and Sabrina from the Middle East are not your stereotypical users of food banks. Newcomers living in the Peel region of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the couple first visited the food bank not for food but to look for jobs in the community centre where it is located. Both have Masters Degrees from their home country, Ali in Biochemistry and Sabrina in Agronomy. Fluent in English, they are volunteering to get Canadian work experience. Sabrina says the effect of hunger is devastating on her family. “We are educated and just want any kind of job to survive.” They have three children, daughters 11 and 9 and an 8-year-old son.


An introduction to our work examining the Indochinese Refugee Movemen (James C. Simeon,
The Centre for Refugee Studies at York University and the Canadian Immigration Historical Society are working together to examine one of the most significant periods of refugee resettlement in Canada’s history. “The Indochinese Refugee Movement 1975-80 and the Launch of Canada’s Private Refugee Sponsorship Program” conference will consider in detail Canada’s reaction to the escalating refugee crisis in South East Asia. The role of the government, media, and the amazing response of concerned Canadians who formed over 7000 groups to sponsor refugees – as well as all of the other factors that led to Canada, at the peak of the program in 1979-80, welcoming more than 60,000 refugees. Several distinguished speakers are set to join us including Udo Janz , Director of the UNHCR Office in New York.

RRN Newsletter – Fall 2013 – PDF (Refugee Rights Network)
Message from Dr. Susan McGrath page 2
Refugee Research Clusters page 3
Regional Initiatives with Institutional Partners page 6
New RRN Website Design page 8
RRN to Launch Post Conference Online Forum Discussions page 9
RRN’s Social Media Update page 10
New Scholars Network page 10
Meet an RRN Researcher: Dr. Susan Kneebone page 12

Ottawa relents on making Benhmuda family pay for deportation (Sandro Contenta, Toronto Star)
Adel Benhmuda and his family can return to Canada without paying the costs of a deportation that resulted in his torture, the federal government has decided. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has waived the $6,800 fee his department was demanding before allowing the former Mississauga family to return. Most of the fee — $6,000 — was to cover the costs of deporting the family to Libya in 2008. Upon arrival at the Tripoli airport, Benhmuda was imprisoned and tortured. The demand for payment, revealed by the Star, was seen by supporters of the family as adding outrageous insult to injury.

Benhmuda family, deported to torture in Libya, has fee waived (Maureen Brosnahan,
The Canadian government has done an about-face and agreed to waive thousands of dollars in fees for a family that was deported to Libya where the father was imprisoned and tortured. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander made the decision this week on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. “In this extraordinary case, the [Citizenship and Immigration
Canada] fee has been waived,” Kevin Menard, a spokesman for the minister, wrote in an email to CBC News on Thursday.

Canadians waive removal fee for Libyan refugees stuck in Malta (
The Canadian federal government has agreed to pick up the tab for a Libyan family that was welcomed back to Canada – after first being denied refugee status and deported to Libya – on condition that they pay $6,800 for their removal to Libya, where they faced torture. Adel Benhmuda was brutalized at the hands of Libyan dictator Muammer Gaddafi’s security forces when he was denied protection in 2003 in Canada, and was deported back to his home country in 2008.


Helping New Hires Reach Their Full Potential (
Integration is a two-way street. While a skilled immigrant employee has a new organizational culture to learn about and contribute to, an organization can help foster that integration by promoting an inclusive and respectful work environment.

Ontario Presents Award for Leadership in Immigrant Employment (
Ontario is recognizing the first ever recipients of the Ontario Award for Leadership in Immigrant Employment, for their role in championing diversity and supporting jobs in their communities.

No Shortage of Opportunity Policy Ideas to Strengthen Canada’s Labour Market in the Coming Decade (Cliff Halliwell, IRPP)
For Halliwell, this is an opportunity to achieve the virtuous circle of rising wages and productivity that has long eluded Canada. Rather than simply looking for ways to increase labour supply, employers and policy-makers need to focus on improving the way we develop, match and use the skills of Canadians — those who are unemployed as well as those who are employed. Halliwell’s analysis calls into question recent conventional wisdom, according to which all future labour force growth will have to come from immigration. This perspective, he argues, ignores the large pool of young Canadians who will continue to be available to the labour market between now and 2030. Over this period the number of young people ages 25-29 will average approximately 2.5 million, far greater than the annual intake of immigrants (approximately 250,000).

Kenney prepares to meet with provinces hostile to federal jobs grant program (
The federal government’s Canada Job Grant proposals are in trouble, officials and opposition critics are warning on the eve of Jason Kenney’s meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts. Seven months after Ottawa first proposed the program in its March 2013 budget, the minister of employment and social development can expect a litany of complaints when he sits down with his colleagues Friday in Toronto. Quebec has even demanded to opt out of the program.


New study examines importance of charity websites and online giving (Charity Village)
In 2010, as charitable organizations were seeing a general increase in online donations, Dunham+Company commissioned a study to try to understand what was driving this increase. What is consistent from 2010 to 2013 is that about 1 out of 2 donors indicates they have given to a charity through the charity’s website. The only demographic where there is consistent growth in giving through charity websites is donors age 60+. Even more enlightening is the shift in the spread between the under-40s and those 60+. From 2010 to 2013, this type of online giving among donors 60+ grew from 37% to 47%.

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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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