Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 30, 2014


Citizenship reform bill is constitutional, Alexander assures committee (Bj Siekierski,

In a committee appearance Monday afternoon, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander rejected arguments that the Harper government’s new citizenship reform bill violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — and defended changes that will make it harder for foreign students to become Canadians.

Video of CIMM Meeting No. 22 – Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration

Canadian Bar Association Submission: Bill C 24, Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act – PDF (
The CBA Section supports the Government of Canada’s objective of clarifying the test for residency and commends the retroactive restoration of citizenship to additional “lost Canadians.” However, we have serious concerns about other aspects of the Bill and recommend significant changes. Our most significant concerns relate to the lack of flexibility by reducing residency to a physical residence test, requiring applicants to demonstrate intent to reside in Canada if granted citizenship and the expansion of grounds to revoke citizenship.

Submissions to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on Bill C-24 – Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act – PDF (Geraldine Sadoway and Jennifer Stone, Inter-Clinic Immigration Working Group and Parkdale Community Legal Services)

We are greatly concerned by the proposed changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act as set out in Bill C-24. We believe that the changes will have a negative effect on many
residents of Canada who are seeking to become Canadian citizens and who will be unduly disadvantaged by the proposed changes in the law. Rather than “strengthening” Canadian citizenship, these provisions will seriously weaken Canadian citizenship and our democracy. These proposed changes violate a long-standing principle of encouraging and fostering the successful integration of refugees and new immigrants in Canada. Should they be implemented, it will result in unequal and discriminatory treatment of immigrants and refugees, contrary to the principles of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Video: Racism in Canadian professional sports (

Does an undercurrent of racism exist in professional sports in Canada? The CBC’s Chris Brown finds out.

Start Talking (Nooreen Pirbhai,

The face of our cities and towns are changing rapidly, as is the make-up of our schools and the needs of children and youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies are also experiencing the shift in demographics within their communities and mentoring matches. The need to ensure that our mentoring programs are responsive to the needs of newly immigrated (newcomer) children and youth has never been greater.

Generation Emigration (

In the lead up to Canada’s “Express Entry” programme, which opens next January, significant changes have been announced to three of the country’s permanent residency pathways which may offer Irish workers new options for moving to or staying in Canada.

Visa requirement still rankles with Mexican-Canadians (Ajit Jain,

Mexican-Canadians see Canada’s visa requirement as a major stumbling block for business and investment, and are asking the federal government to consider either ending it or making it more user-friendly.

True Blue Jason Kenney wants Stephen Harper’s job. But is he too extreme for the Tories? (Marci McDonald,

In his five-year stint at Immigration, the longest of any minister’s in history, he managed to pull off a precarious balancing act: boosting the number of newcomers, among them thousands of cut-rate temporary foreign workers, needed to fill the yawning corporate maw, while brandishing the lexicon of a law-and-order zealot who cast asylum seekers as guilty until proven innocent. Staging showy crackdowns on alleged human smugglers, marriage fraudsters, and whole classes of refugees he branded as “bogus,” he used such inflammatory language that it has changed the terms of the national debate. “What Kenney has done is create this whole new vernacular,” says Philip Berger, co-founder of a national physicians’ campaign against Kenney’s cuts to refugee health care. “It’s creating a terrain of hostile attitudes to refugees.”

Middle Eastern man pleads guilty to immigration fraud (

The second of three men charged in an immigration fraud scheme pleaded guilty in Halifax provincial court to five of eight charges Tuesday morning. Ziad El Shurafa was not in court, but his lawyers entered the pleas on his behalf and Crown lawyer Tim McLaughlin withdrew the remaining three charges.

RCMP raids Muslim relief group’s offices as Canada declares it a terrorist organization (Stewart Bell,

A Muslim relief organization accused by federal auditors of sending almost $15-million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has been raided by police, who seized an “extensive amount” of evidence, the RCMP said Tuesday. Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams searched the head office of the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy Canada in Mississauga, Ont., as well as a private residence in Montreal.

Our Opinion: Seeking logic in a sad story (

Over the past week, we’ve heard much debate over how companies are slighting Canadian workers to sign on new Canadians and how that is unfair. After all, some immigrants are paid less and Canadians are losing jobs. In the face of this, we feature a family who did all the right things and are being deported from this country regardless. Robert and Mihaela Zaveljcina left a country where they faced discrimination because she is the child of a mixed-race couple. They came here, worked hard and built a business. They didn’t displace any other workers.

Multilingualism: An Essential Ingredient of Culturally Competent Healthcare (Evelina Silveira,

Everyday occurrences and unprocessed feelings usually form the basis of my blogs. Today’s is no different. It is Tuesday, and I am still thinking about the elderly Italian woman I saw over the weekend in a long-term care facility and left wondering: Is there a better way to meet the needs of residents who do not speak English?

What Migrants Bring (

New skills. New ideas.
New points of view. New progress.
When people move countries, they bring a lot more than a suitcase.

And what they bring can benefit everyone.

Fusing Social Justice and Career Development: A Career Development Professional’s Guide to the Unique Needs of Immigrant Workers (, Jon Woodend)

“It’s humiliating that, after over 20 years in the field, I’m being asked to go back to university to take courses because the ones I did take in my native language are, apparently, worthless here…”. These words from a recent skilled immigrant worker to Canada about her current career development endeavours are disheartening. As a Canadian-born individual born to immigrant parents, I find it chilling to see that immigrant skills and education are still being discredited, creating demeaning conditions for immigrant workers. In order to highlight the continued relevance of immigrant workers integration, this post will share a social justice and career development perspective on the situation as it currently exists.

Premier Wynne to introduce motion denouncing anti-immigration flyers (David Shum,

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has asked both opposition leaders to rally behind a motion condemning the distribution of anti-immigration flyers in Brampton. The motion, which is expected to be moved before Tuesday’s Question Period session, states: “That this House condemns the distribution, by the group called ‘Immigration Watch Canada’, of hateful material toward the Sikh community in Brampton, and re-affirms the positive values of tolerance and inclusion that are the hallmarks of modern Ontario society.”


Refugee advocates dub new appeal process a flop (Nicholas Keung,
Lawyers challenging the newly minted refugee appeal tribunal say it doesn’t offer a “full fact-based appeal” as promised by the Harper government.


Where Are They Now? (
This year we’re celebrating our 8th Annual Immigrant Success Awards, which recognize extraordinary leadership in immigrant inclusion. We looked back at our past IS Awards winners to see where they are now in their engagement with immigrant inclusion. Click here for 2007 winner Alan Rego’s story. Stay tuned for 2014 winners.

Racism rears its ugly head and migrant workers/immigrant community take the beating (
It would seem that there are many Canadians in BC who are angry, who are speaking loudly against migrant workers, especially Filipino workers, because according to them, these foreign workers are taking their jobs, are being given more hours and better pay, and are essentially being favoured over Canadians by the employers. These angry people call the radio stations, post hateful comments, betray their ignorance of the temporary foreign worker program and the situation of the migrant workers themselves. It has not helped that the general media slant on this issue focuses on the migrant workers as the source of all these problems, rather than on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program which is the reason why we have temporary foreign workers.

Disposable workers : Bigger profits from lower wages (Duncan Cameron,

In her much-discussed Walrus profile of Jason Kenney, award-winning journalist Marci McDonald questions how well immigration policy designed as part of Harper Conservative political strategy is playing out. Most observers of Canadian politics know about efforts led by Kenney to woo "hard-working Canadians" — recent immigrants — to expand the base of the governing party. McDonald lays out problems in the Kenney/Harper approach that could come back to haunt the Conservatives at election time.

Four reasons why shutting down TFWP is no solution to migrant worker abuse (Syed Hussan,

With increased workplace uncertainty, as permanent jobs disappear and the public sector shrinks, many are looking around for culprits to blame. Though migrant workers and the TFWP seems like an easy target, it isn’t. It’s important to analyze the key arguments being made about the TFWP.

Work In Progress: Dignity and the hiring process (Jessica Barrett,

Boy did last week’s stories on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program ever get a lot of reaction, including, but not limited to: McDonald’s Canada pulling out of the program (temporarily, of course, and then landing in hot water later when the company’s Canadian head called concerns over the program bull—t, oops); Tim Hortons taking over two stores from a franchisee who allegedly bullied workers into forking over some of their overtime pay; and then, of course, Employment Minister Jason Kenney suspending restaurants from using the program.

People With ‘A Little Colour’ Not Necessarily Foreign Workers, And Other Claims From The CFIB (

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has been one of the most vocal supporters of Canada’s temporary foreign worker (TFW) program, and it’s become even more vocal in the days since Employment Minister Jason Kenney suspended use of the program at restaurants.

Jason Kenney On Defensive After Foreign Workers Controversy (

In the midst of a fresh eruption of abuse allegations surrounding the government’s troubled temporary foreign worker program, Jason Kenney’s reputation as a capable task-master taking a beating.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program “poorly designed”: Lukaszuk (Vincent Mcdermott,

Alberta has demonstrated it needs more workers, says Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, but the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is not perfect and needs reform.

What does the foreign worker ban mean for your franchise? (Chad Finkelstein,

For franchise restaurants, the crisis management options are neither easy nor obvious. From a strictly legal perspective, each franchise agreement should provide that the franchisor has the right to terminate the agreement and the option to purchase the business should the franchisee conduct itself in a manner that is offside applicable laws or which brings harm to the brand’s goodwill.

Victim or menace: Notes on the TFWP and political agency (Michal Rozworski,

The louder the debate about temporary foreign workers grows, the more it seems temporary foreign workers, especially those from the global South performing low-wage labour, are left in the din on the sidelines. While there have been stories about exploitation on the job and beyond, much of the focus is on Canadian resident workers, business owners and the Program itself as an object of “abuse”.

Guest editorial: Foreign workers program is broken (

By now, the idea that a few bad apples are responsible for the abuses that have bedevilled the federal government’s temporary foreign worker program (TFW) can be put to rest. So many Canadians have come forward with stories about being let go from their jobs and then replaced by foreign workers that it can’t all be blamed on rogue operators. The abuse is so widespread, it can only come from a fundamental flaw in the program — and it must be fixed.

Fix TFWP or scrap it (Bruce Johnstone, Leader-Post)

The temporary foreign workers (TFW) program should be given a major overhaul, if not scrapped altogether, following recent reports of abuse and a damning study that concludes the program actually increases unemployment and does little to reduce labour shortages.

Tories reject NDP query on temporary workers program (Kady O’Malley,

The government is refusing to release detailed information on the controversial Temporary Foreign Workers program on the grounds that doing so "would produce a prohibitively large document."

Top Filipino diplomat defends Ottawa’s foreign-worker program (Bill Curry,

The top Filipino diplomat in Canada is defending the temporary foreign worker program as an overall success after the Conservative government’s surprise decision to block restaurants from the program left many migrant workers in limbo.

Filipino Diplomat Shields Ottawa’s Foreign-worker Program (

The top Filipino diplomat in Canada, Eric Tamayo, has bluntly defended the federal government’s temporary foreign worker program calling it an overall success after the government made an abrupt decision to block restaurants from using the program and leave many migrant workers in distress. Statistically, the Philippines has been the No. 1 source country in terms of approved Labour Market Opinions, i.e. a screening process that ensures there is no Canadian available to do the work. Back in 2012, the number of successful applications from the Philippines was twice as high as the second-place Mexico.

Energy Watch: Why Keystone XL isn’t the biggest threat to the oil sands (Jameson Berkow,

When federal Employment Minister Jason Kenny suspended the TFW program for the restaurant sector last week, he said he wouldn’t expand the suspension to other sectors such as natural resources. But BNN’s Frances Horodelski asks your friendly neighbourhood energy reporter, "what if he did?" While temporary foreign workers are not the folks actually pulling the bitumen out of the ground, separating it from sand and sending it to refineries around North America, they are the ones building the roads, work camps and other key pieces of infrastructure used by the folks that do. Temporary foreign workers are widely used in the construction industry, particularly in the northern Alberta where the seasonal nature of construction conforms well to TFW rules and wages for those authorized to work in Canada are astronomically higher than elsewhere in the country. So what would happen if all those workers weren’t allowed in next year?

Internal review of foreign worker program not enough, says opposition
By Annie Bergeron-Oliver and Kelsey Johnson,

Amid calls for an auditor general’s investigation into the Conservative government’s besieged temporary foreign workers program, opposition MPs are calling a purported internal review of the program by the government woefully inadequate. Faced with an onslaught of criticism and concerns over employer abuse of the program, Conservative MP Blake Richards told iPolitics the government is working to conclude a review of the program in a matter of “weeks.”

TFW freeze hits hard locally (James Wood,

The pause on the Temporary Foreign Workers program in Canada has left some Lloydminster businesses in an awkward position as many local workers are a part of the program. “To get foreign workers you have to prove to CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) that you couldn’t find local workers to come in and work for you,” said Roy Gultiano, manager at Humpty’s Family Restaurant. Gultiano said, adding that it is difficult to find local hires in the local labour market. “We advertised the job online for a month as well as the paper,” said Gultiano, adding that local hires also would not stay very long at the restaurant. “We had to prove to them (the CIC) that this person didn’t show up for their first shift or they showed up and then didn’t come back for their second shift.”

More foreign workers heading to Canada under the International Experience program for youth (Lee-Anne Goodman,

Are you an employer keen to hire help from abroad, but nervous about the controversy dogging Ottawa’s temporary foreign worker program? The government of Canada may have a solution for you. Under the International Experience Canada program, as many as 20,000 workers aged 18 to 35 will soon be coming to Canada — just as Canadian youth begin pounding the pavement in search of summer jobs.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program – Small business advice (

The TFWP is designed to help businesses with staffing when willing and able Canadian workers cannot be found. A few companies have been accused of misusing the program resulting in the Government of Canada initiating a moratorium in the food services sector, even though most businesses have always followed the rules. Over the next several weeks the Government of Canada will conduct a review of the TFWP.

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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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