Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 07, 2014


CERIS-OCASI Panel Discussion on Bill 161: Implications for Immigration and Labour in Ontario (

This panel discussion will address the implications of Bill 161 for immigration and labour in Ontario from the perspectives of policy, research, labour, and the community. Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration tabled the province’s first-ever immigration legislation on February 19, 2014. Currently being debated in the Legislative Assembly, Bill 161, An Act with respect to immigration to Ontario and a related amendment to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, recognizes the ongoing nation-building role of immigration in forming Ontario’s social, economic and cultural values, also introducing measures for temporary labour migration such as employer regi

Health Disparity Among New Canadians a Real Challenge: Report (Maria Assaf,
A struggle to find employment and a lack of understanding of the medical system are the main reasons for the “healthy immigrant effect,” a phenomenon of new immigrants’ health decline within their first five years of arriving to Canada, said Maya Roy, executive director of Newcomer Women’s Services, at the Immigrant and Racialized Women’s Health (IRWH) project conference on February 21 at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management.

Judge scolds Lev Tahor families for fleeing before court ruled on custody case (Diana Mehta,
Families from an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect who fled the country last month in the midst of a child custody case were chided by an Ontario judge on Friday for not allowing the country’s courts to do their work.

No increased language requirements for spouses (Raj Sharma,
It would appear that no increase in language requirements is in the works. Minister Chris Alexander made that clear in Parliament on March 27:

"Mr. Speaker, no, we have no intention of imposing language requirements for spouses, but we will continue to study these issues…"

Immigration and Refugee Challenges for LGBT Individuals (
Canada has always been a leader in pursuing equality for LGBT individuals within our borders and abroad; however, the application of Canadian immigration and refugee processes continues to pose numerous challenges for LGBT individuals and couples seeking to enter Canada. Learn about the hurdles that persist, and gain practical strategies for overcoming these barriers for your LGBT clients. Join the conversation on what can be done to work to eliminate these obstacles and achieve a fair immigration and refugee process.

Guest columnist — Settlement agencies help immigrants adapt (

What’s up at the old railway station in Brandon? How is it possible for an immigrant who comes from another country, with a different language and culture, to survive the challenge of settling in a new country and successfully becoming an active member of our community? The answer lies in the fact they are not alone. It could not be different because after all, immigrants are people who are badly needed for the sustainability of the country’s economy.—-settlement-agencies-help-immigrants-adapt-253998301.html%253Fthx%253Dy%26ct%3Dga%26cd%3DCAIyAA%26usg%3DAFQjCNEg4OZ37DAn6iKRfmJ3Q6tQ6JBY3Q

Grenfell focusing on international students, cultural diversity (Cory Hurley,
Being on an island at an easterly point in North America, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians know a thing or two about boats. Just how much knowledge they have of cultural diversity — or, perhaps more importantly, their readiness to embrace it as their future — is another ship altogether. The connection between boats and cultural diversity, says Grenfell professor Ivan Emke, is that if there’s no effort to embrace different cultures it goes beyond missing the boat.

New rules make it tougher for immigrants to get Guaranteed Income Supplement (Jessica Hume,
The Conservatives plan to make it tougher for immigrants to qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) – a financial aid program for the poorest in the country.

Right now, immigrants need to be in Canada for 10 years to be eligible for Old Age Security (OAS) and GIS.
The government is proposing to extend that time to 20 years before an application for GIS can be made. Applications for OAS would still be allowed after 10 years.

Should Toronto’s schools speak one cultural language, or many? (Louise Brown,
Culture-specific supports may help kids from communities with high dropout rates — Spanish-speakers, Somalis, or aboriginal students — but some warn of a slippery slope to segregation.

Barriers to Socio-economic Inclusion of Visible Minority Immigrants in Canada (Karun K. Karki,
A socially inclusive society is defined as one where all people feel valued, their differences are respected, and their basic needs are met so they can live in dignity. A socially inclusive society generate better economic inclusion because such society develops policies, programs and interventions to the group of people who are not fully able to participate in mainstream economic life either as a consumer, producer or both. So, what create a cohesive society, are social and human capital. Social capital is the cement of society’s goodwill, and creates a cohesive society. The network, trust, and shared values of social capital bring life to human capital. Human capital comprises the value of person’s skills, expertise, and knowledge. Both social capital and human capital are expected to play a significant role in socio-economic inclusion of visible minority immigrants into the Canadian society.

Is Canada’s multiculturalism in peril? (Safiah Chowdhury,
Canada is widely hailed as a multicultural success state. As the first country to adopt multiculturalism as official policy, and with high rates of integration among immigrant populations, it is often looked at as a model to be followed. Recently, though, the French province of Quebec has dented this global reputation with the introduction of Bill 60, popularly known as the Quebec Charter of Values.

Olivia will cut small business tax and red tape, help immigrant entrepreneurs (
As our new mayor, Olivia will: Help entrepreneurs from abroad set up businesses and export. Our city should offer forms in many languages, like the province does. We should also emulate successful programs for immigrant entrepreneurs like Vancouver’s SUCCESS program ( that helps new Canadians start businesses in Toronto, while helping existing small businesses export to markets abroad. Together, these are expected to cost $1 million.

Federal court denies judicial review for accused Macau triad kingpin (
The accused kingpin of a Macau triad will not get a new hearing of his immigration case, after a Federal Court judge found there is ample evidence of his ties to criminal activity. Lai Tong Sang was ordered deported by an Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator last August, on the grounds that he was criminally inadmissible to Canada.

Chinese groups clash with each other over plan to kill wealthy immigrant program (Douglas Todd,
A group of ethnic Chinese leaders is holding a forum this Saturday, April 5th, at West Richmond Community Centre to make sure Canada’s recently cancelled wealthy-investor immigrant program does not get revived. This group of ethnic Chinese, spearheaded by Huang Hebian, adamantly disagrees with other Chinese groups – in both Canada and China – who are intent on launching a class-action lawsuit against Canada’s federal government for declaring it will cancel the controversial investor-class program.

App for new Canadians wins open data contest (Terry Pender,
Carlos Saavedra and Jason Ernst will use $26,000 in prize money they just won to launch a startup called Electric Sheep, which will help new Canadians decide where they should live based on employment, education and climate data. Saavedra and Ernst won first place in the Canadian Open Data Experience, a national app development contest organized by the Treasury Board of Canada. Treasury Board provided access to government data and Waterloo-based Open Text Corp. provided the prize money.

Race riots and how Mackenzie King made his name (Jennifer Hunter,
Investigating race riots led to delicate diplomacy in Asia and the start of a legendary political career, says historian Julie F. Gilmour in her book Trouble on Main Street: Mackenzie King, Reason, Race, and the 1907 Vancouver Riots.

International students plan needs more thought (
Universities around the world engage in an intense competition as part of the knowledge economy due to globalisation. This situation has served as a catalyst for Canada to engage in immigration strategies and initiatives designed to attract and recruit international students. There is also an urgent need for highly skilled individuals since there is a concern that once the ‘baby boomers’ retire there will be severe labour shortages, which will have negative implications for Canada’s growth and nation building.

In defence of a ‘holistic approach’ to immigration and integration (
Chedly Belkhodja, a professor at Concordia and principal of its School of Community and Public Affairs, testified for Canada’s Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages on March 31. Belkhodja’s presentation focused on the impact of recent changes to the national immigration system on official language-minority communities, a subject he addresses in his research. In recent years, Belkhodja has explored immigration and francophone communities outside of Quebec; he has also developed original research questions about the relationship between minority and majority communities, while taking immigration into account.

Countries With Less Religious Diversity Have More Faith-Based Violence (Emma Green,
On Friday, the Pew Research Center released a report on the countries with the most and least religious diversity, and the results—at least at first glance—are what you might expect. There’s very little religious diversity in the Middle East and North Africa, where most people are Muslim, as well as in Latin America, where most people are Christian. By far, the Asia-Pacific region, home to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and non-religious people, is the most diverse part of the world.

Interfaith dialogue and cooperation conference on tap (Mario Toneguzzi,
The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada is hosting its 7th Annual Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation conference on Sunday. Also, Eid E Milad un Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, will also be celebrated on that day. “This is an event where we come together as Calgarians and Canadians to share our diversity and faiths,” said Imam Syed Soharwardy, the founder of Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.

Douglas Todd: ‘Best and brightest’ slogan popular with leaders who don’t get its satirical edge (Douglas Todd,
Judging from media coverage, those most inclined to overuse the “best and brightest” catchphrase are those recruiting immigrants, temporary foreign workers and international students. Citing global competition, senior officials from government and higher education increasingly try to convince Canadians they are dedicated to bringing “the best and brightest” to the country. Like most marketing slogans, the catchphrase does not hold up under scrutiny.

‘Best day ever’ as daughter reunited with her dad after four-year immigration wait (Jeff Bell,
Four years away from Dad was more than enough for 12-year-old Sadé Ashby.

She hugged him and held on tight in a long-awaited reunion at Victoria International Airport on Thursday. Immigration issues forced Adrian Ashby to leave Canada and return to Barbados four years ago but, with some of those details cleared, the Help Fill A Dream Foundation acted as a “support group” to help make the reunion happen. “Best day ever,” said Sadé after seeing her dad. “I’m so happy and excited I want to jump up and down. I did jump up and down.”

Sikh Heritage Month promoted locally by MPP Singh (Rob O’flanagan,
Despite being part of the Canadian fabric for 100 years, Sikhs continue to face discrimination in this country, Bramalea Gore Malton MPP Jagmeet Singh said during a visit to the Guelph Sikh community Sunday.

Immigration blues (Teenaz Javat, Express Tribune)
The Inca, Mayans, Aztec and Sumerians all nurtured grand city-states near bodies of water. Closer to home, we have the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilisation to prove that the prehistoric man was never stagnant. And neither are we. While the quest for sustenance led the early men across the world, the promise of a better life has sparked a similar trend in the current generation, commonly referred to as immigration. Among the top feeder countries, developing nations like China, India and Pakistan lead the pack as thousands of natives migrate to the West every year in the quest for a better standard of living. “One of the main reasons people shift to a foreign country is to live a better life and get more opportunities that are impossible in their home countries,” explains Rayomand Dubash, a Toronto-based, former immigration consultant. “Good pay, job security and sound living facilities are huge motivational factors especially when third world natives manage to secure jobs in first world countries. In my experience, skilled people are readily welcomed when their skills are sought by the host country and when supply meets demand; it’s a win for both the immigrant and the host country.”

Toronto schools’ multilingual support: accommodation or segregation? (

There’s something about this new homework club that gives Guadalupe Herrera an edge. The tutors are speaking Spanish — and so are most of the kids. It’s the latest move by a Toronto school to offer help along cultural lines.

Changes too restrictive: immigration advocates (Ashley Prest,
Canada’s doors are closing to newcomers, a pro-immigration group laments. The Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition says it is more difficult than ever to immigrate to Canada, claim refugee status or become a citizen. The coalition members made their opinions known at a panel discussion Sunday that drew about 20 people at the downtown Millennium Library.

Classroom on wheels brings diversity lessons to Durham (Jillian Follert,
As Durham steps up efforts to attract foreign workers and help newcomers already here make smooth transitions, diversity and tolerance are becoming more crucial. On April 2 Region staff and politicians had a chance to brush up on the subject when the Tour for Humanity bus made a stop at Region of Durham headquarters in Whitby.


New restaurant marks victory for former refugee (
Ali Al Haijaa waited four years in a refugee camp in Jordan, hoping a new country would take him in. He finally ended up in Canada. Six years after landing, he has opened his own restaurant, Mohamed Ali’s in downtown St. John’s.

Refugee Rights Day: CCLA shares the story of the Daróczi family (
This Refugee Rights Day, April 4, 2014, CCLA wishes to share the story of one family – two parents and their 6-year-old daughter, Lulu. The parents – both human rights activists, both Roma, one of Jewish descent – were assaulted in their home country, Hungary, and are in danger if they return. Unfortunately, their refugee claim in Canada was unsuccessful. An investigation into why the claim failed is currently underway. In the meantime, this couple and their little girl have lived inside a church for 27 months. The church granted them sanctuary to protect them from the Canadian government, which might deport them back to Hungary, where their lives are threatened.

In refuge on Refugee Rights Day: The Awan family story (
Since August 2013, Khurshid Begum Awan has been living in sanctuary in a Montreal church. She had courageously opted to defy a deportation order which would have disrupted her access to care, divided her family and put her safety at risk. Widely observed as Refugee Rights Day, April 4 marks the anniversary of the Singh Decision. On a day where we remember migrant and refugee struggles for freedom, dignity and security and recommit to fighting ongoing injustice, we highlight the struggle of the Awan family.

John Ivison: Despite Mulcair criticism, case shows Conservative reforms to refugee system are working (John Ivison,

It’s a time-honoured opposition tactic: raise the case of a frail, elderly woman about to be deported to some Third World hellhole by a heartless system, run by an immigration minister so mean he wouldn’t give you the parsley off his fish. Privacy laws mean the hapless minister is forced rise in the House of Commons to mumble some tinsel about being unable to comment on the specifics, before sitting down knowing at that moment everyone in the whole country hates him.

Gov’t Loans Saddling ‘Most at Risk’ Refugees with Debt (Katie Hyslop,
The same day she was to fly from Lebanon to Canada with her family last May, Zeena Alhamadani learned she owed the Canadian government over $5,000. An Iraqi refugee, Alhamadani came to Beirut, Lebanon, with her three sons in 2010, waiting to be placed in a safe country by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. After three years the United Nations arranged for the family to come to Canada as government-assisted refugees.


Speaking notes for Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, for an address at the Immigrant Employment Council of BC’s 2014 Global Talent Summit (

So these are the reasons why your Global Talent Summit is so timely. And there is fierce international competition for a finite number of skilled immigrants. We must, all of us – the federal government, provincial government, employers, educators, service providers, other stakeholders – work together to ensure British Columbia and Canada remain competitive in the marketplace for skilled immigrants.

McDonald’s accused of favouring foreign workers (

McDonald’s is under federal investigation over possible abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker program at a franchise outlet in B.C. "The pattern is that the temporary foreign workers are getting more shifts and that the Canadians are getting less,” said employee Kalen Christ, a McDonald’s "team leader" who has worked at the Victoria location for four years. As a result of Go Public’s inquiries, the government has suspended all pending foreign worker permits for the three McDonald’s locations owned by franchisee Glen Bishop and has blacklisted his franchise from using the program, pending the outcome of the probe.

Migrant workers injured in farm vehicle crash lose bid to keep OHIP (Nicholas Keung,
Migrant farm workers’ health coverage should end when their work permits expire, the Ontario Divisional Court has ruled in the case of two workers seriously injured in a farm vehicle accident in 2012. “When the work permit expires, the person’s employment is legally at an end,” wrote Justice Ian Nordheimer in a ruling released last week, upholding a Ministry of Health decision to terminate OHIP coverage for Kenroy Williams and Denville Clarke.

Temporary foreign workers no fix for LNG skill shortage: CLC (
The final report from Premier Christy Clark’s Liquefied Natural Gas Working Group has found BC has a huge gap when it comes to labour needed to extract the resource. The Canadian Labour Congress is warning governments temporary foreign workers are not the answer.

UFCW Canada meets Guatemalan officials to raise awareness of migrant workers’ rights (
UFCW Canada and allies recently met with Guatemalan authorities to discuss the shortfalls of temporary foreign worker programs, and the impact of the programs on the human and labour rights of Guatemalan migrant workers. Officials from the Ministry of Labour, Foreign Affairs, and the Guatemalan Migrants Commission – CONAMIGUA – as well as representatives of UFCW Canada and Global Workers Alliance, discussed working together within an institutional framework to promote migrant workers’ fundamental rights.

Jim Sinclair: ‘We support the rights of migrant workers in B.C.’ (
We are pleased to see that there is increased media attention on the important issue of migrant workers, worker abuse and the continuing decline in wages and employment standards here in B.C. as well as in other provinces across Canada. The article by Adriana Paz and Chris Ramsaroop is based on a short video clip reported in the mainstream media. We want to ensure rabble readers have the full story.

Beef up training programs before turning to TFW (Laila Yuile,
For a premier so committed to providing jobs for British Columbians, the irony of Christy Clark’s trip to Ottawa — liquefied natural gas industry executives in tow — in part to ensure the federal government would continue its controversial Temporary Foreign Worker Program, is stark. It’s a bright red flag waving in the faces of all Canadians when two levels of government sign an agreement that relies on a program that is rife with blatant abuse and exploitation.

‘Foreign drivers not the answer to trucker shortage’ (
Some trucking companies are hoping to deal with the shortage of drivers by hiring temporary foreign workers. But a BC labour leader says that’s not the way to address a shortage of drivers. The trucking industry expects to lose 20 per cent of the work force due to retirement over the next ten years, and some are hoping driving will be designated a skilled trade, to make it easier to hire foreign workers.

Work In Progress: Overqualified for your job? Statistics Canada says you’re not alone (Jessica Barrett,
Immigrants face a much higher probability of being overqualified than Canadian-born workers, with immigrants who did not graduate from university in Canada or the U.S. bearing a particular burden. Fully 67 per cent of immigrant women and 61 per cent of immigrant men in that category were employed in jobs requiring a college diploma or less in 2011, with 43 per cent of those women and 35 per cent of men working in jobs that required a high school education at most.

Employers who have broken the rules or been suspended from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (ESDC)
Employers, whose name and address appear on this list have had a labour market opinion (LMO) revoked or suspended. First employers added.

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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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