Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 8, 2014


New Ontario bill to protect migrants is doomed: Study (Nicholas Keung,

Three years after Ontario enacted new laws to protect foreign live-in caregivers from abuse, Draman, now an advocate with the Caregivers’ Action Centre, said recruiters still charge illegal fees to job-seekers and employers continue to deduct unlawful costs from their nannies’ paycheques. Just as Ontario is pondering new legislation (Bills 146 and 161) to expand the current protection to all migrant workers, a new study released by the Metcalf Foundation Tuesday said the proposed changes are doomed to fail if the province does not address current loopholes in the system that have allowed the exploitation to continue. “Little has changed for us,” said Draman, 43, who has met all her employment hours and is on course to receiving her permanent resident status.

Canada doesn’t always get the immigrants it wants (Mike Donachie,
Engineers. Give us engineers. That’s the message that flashes before the eyes of any immigrant who takes a look at the list of 24 “eligible occupations” on the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the federal government agency charged with making sure Canada gets the immigrants it needs. And there are many types of engineers: Civil, mechanical, mining, petroleum, aerospace and geological. Then there are the medical lab technologists, physiotherapists, sonographers and similar healthcare workers. Land surveyors are on the list, too, and computer programmers.

Video: Welcome home to Canada (
They were born worlds apart, but today they all call Canada home. Dariush Bagheri, Naeema Frooqi and Suray Acharya all arrived in Canada full of hope and dreams — many of which they’ve now achieved. Bagheri came from Iran some 30 years ago looking for freedom to live his faith. Farooqi left Pakistan to experience the opportunities available to entrepreneurs. And Acharya, born in Nepal, arrived in Canada as a student after spending time in London, England.

Immigration in Canada: Come one, come all? (Mike Donachie,
They come in the hundreds of thousands, and every community in Canada has them: Immigrants. From across the globe, newcomers pour into Canada each year in search of a new life. In 2012 alone, more than 257,000 people were granted permanent resident status, and many of them aim to be citizens one day. But this year, things could be changing.

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.

Director Asimakopoulos Shoots Film on Neighborhood of Greek Immigrants (Konstantinos Menzel,
Greek-Canadian Montreal based director Tony Asimakopoulos decided to go the route of the ever-growing popular method of crowdfunding, so as to fund his most recent documentary project entitled “A Walk in Park Ex.” The latest project by director Asimakopoulos, who is renowned for his sold-out documentary “Fortunate Son,” features the neighborhood Park Extension, the place where he was born to Greek immigrant parents and the place he moved back to after buying a house.

What Tessanne Chin teaches us about diversity (Tony Wong,
Canada is a land of hyphenated Canadians, so it’s no surprise to many of us that this kind of diversity exists. Chin has given heightened attention to a tiny diaspora — a minority within a minority — that has made a significant impact belying its size. And not just in Jamaica. Actually, Toronto has one of the largest Chinese-Jamaican populations outside the island nation.

One month in: the new RLMD Stream of the Nova Scotia Provincial Immigration Program (E. Wozniak,
In mid-February, the province announced it was eliminating the Community Identified Stream and opening the Regional Labour Market Demand Stream on March 6, 2014.
Judging by some of the new stream’s criteria, it is a bold idea. It indicates that the province is serious about addressing the economic and demographic problems identified in the Ivany Report. Judging by those same criteria, though, the new stream may also be terribly misconceived. The category is so wide open that it seems impossible to administer.

Queen’s helps make Kingston more welcoming to newcomers (Wanda Praamsma,
Monica Stewart and Stephanie Simpson are both well-acquainted with the challenges that come with settling into a new city and a new country. Many years ago, Ms. Stewart, now the coordinator of faculty recruitment and support programs at Queen’s, moved from Germany to Kingston to study at Queen’s. She ended up staying and marrying a Canadian, and eventually found work in the human services sector with the Social Planning Council. Ms. Simpson, an advisor in the Human Rights Office, is the daughter of Jamaican parents, who both struggled to find work in their fields in Canada. They persevered and finally landed good positions – her father in printing/publishing and her mother in nursing. “I have a lot of empathy for newcomers to Kingston. I’ve felt what many of them have felt – I know how incredibly hard it can be to find work and settle into a new place,” says Ms. Stewart.

Video: Problems with the pledge (
Should newcomers to Canada be required to swear allegiance to the queen, or the country?

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.,-cultural-diversity/1

Canadianize yourself: Immigrant reinvents herself after 400 applications, no interviews (Mike Donachie,
It’s been a struggle for Shirley Edwards. She’s a highly-qualified teacher from the Carlisle in northern England, who came to Canada in 2005. Edwards, 50, has two grown children back in the U.K. and a 12-year-old son who lives with her in Calgary. Although she gained entry to Canada as the wife of a police officer who was headhunted in England, she thought that, with vast experience and two undergraduate degrees, she would find a job in Canada easily.

Immigration lawyer to receive honourary doctorate (
The most famous immigration lawyer in the Maritimes will receive his honourary Doctor of Divinity May 3. Lee Cohen, who grew up in Saint John, will receive an honourary doctorate next month from the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax. Shelley Cohen describes her brother as a humanist and a workaholic, committed to social justice.

Conference Board of Canada – Canadian Immigration Conference 2014: Enhancing Canada’s Immigration System (
Immigrants are a critical source of talent for Canadian employers. Newcomers to Canada have always contributed to our national fabric and identity. They are instrumental in driving innovation, providing advanced skills for the economy, and creating many of our largest companies and employers. Yet, today employers are experiencing challenges finding and hiring immigrants with the right skills—when they need them. In addition, many organizations are not yet taking full advantage of immigrants’ skills, talents and expertise to optimize corporate performance and growth.


Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) Quarterly – PDF (CARL)
In this issue:
CARL’s 6th National Conference
Student Corner
CARL in the Courts
FEATURE: A View from the Front Lines; Impacts of the IFHP Cuts

CARL Conference Teasers
CARL in the Media

Human Trafficing and Youth: Addressing intersectionality and igniting change (
April 12. FCJ Refugee Centre is organizing a one day forum to bring together multiple stakeholders including refugee and immigrant youth, youth workers, other field professionals and allies to participate in discussions around how multiple forms of human trafficking affect both domestic and migrant youth populations. Unfortunately, youth are overrepresented in dialogues around human trafficking, and intersecting elements of their identities compound vulnerabilities for these populations


Ontario Award for Leadership in Immigrant Employment (

The Ontario Award for Leadership in Immigrant Employment recognizes individuals and organizations who are forward-thinking champions of immigrant economic integration. They may be employers who recognize the competitive advantage of a diverse workforce or immigrant entrepreneurs who are creating opportunities for themselves and others, contributing to Ontario’s globally-connected economy.

IEC-BC HR Tip Sheets to Support Managing Immigrant Talent (
Five tip sheets provide resources to make it easy for you to attract, hire and retain skilled immigrants.

B.C. McDonald’s franchise at centre of latest foreign worker case (Bill Curry and Justine Hunter,
McDonald’s is launching a comprehensive review of its use of temporary foreign workers in Canada after the federal government suspended a franchise owner who operates three locations in Victoria. For the first time, the federal government is publicly naming employers who have been banned or suspended from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for breaking the rules – including one of the world’s most recognizable corporate brands.

Three Victoria McDonald’s face federal investigation over hiring (Carla Wilson, Lindsay Kines, Jack Knox,
The federal government has blacklisted a McDonald’s franchise in Victoria as it investigates alleged misuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employment Minister Jason Kenney said Monday that the owner of the McDonald’s franchise could face criminal prosecution, depending on the outcome of its investigation. The restaurant owner is alleged to have hired foreign workers in place of Canadians.

Victoria McDonald’s blacklisted amid foreign workers controversy (Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press)
Three Victoria McDonald’s restaurants were put on a federal blacklist Monday for alleged abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, prompting the fast food chain to move quickly to cut ties with the franchise owner. Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney also suggested criminal charges could result against the owner if he lied on the original application to employ temporary foreign workers. "I suspended both the labour market opinions and the work permits that that employer has been using pending the outcome of the investigation," said Kenney. "And we’ve blacklisted that employer as well as two others that we believe have abused the program."

Need for foreign workers still strong (Derek Sankey,
Despite changes made to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in late 2013, it’s clear the need to tap into that labour supply remains strong, and nowhere is that more clear than in the labour-starved Calgary market. "When you look at the types of jobs we are looking for in this city, it’s across a wide range of sectors from hospitality … to medical services … to an engineer to a project manager to a lawyer," says Mary Moran, vice-president of marketing, communications and research for Calgary Economic Development (CED).

Migrant Workers Alliance for Change is available for comment on groundbreaking report on migrant worker recruitment (

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC), Canada’s largest migrant worker coalition, will be participating in the launch of Lawyer and Professor Fay Faraday’s groundbreaking new report Profiting from the Precarious: How Recruitment Practices Exploit Migrant Workers on April 8, 2014, at 2pm at Toronto Reference Library. Migrant workers and allies are available for comment in the lead-up to the report release and after. There are an estimated 338,000 migrant workers in Canada. Low-wage migrant workers are often tied to a single employer, and cannot change jobs easily. Many migrant workers pay up to two years of their salaries in their home country to Canadian (or Canadian-affiliated) recruiters to work in Canada, leaving entire families in debt. As result of these debts, many migrant workers cannot exert their rights in Canada for fear of facing reprisals and deportations. Regulating recruiters and keeping track of migrant worker employers is an essential step to ensure basic rights for migrant workers.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program sanctions target 3 employers (Susana Mas,
The federal government has revoked or suspended three employers’ permits to hire workers through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. CBC’s Go Public reported Sunday on the suspension of all pending foreign worker permits for three McDonald’s locations in Victoria that are owned by franchisee Glen Bishop, pending the outcome of an investigation. Bishop would not address the complaints, but told CBC News he had "nothing to hide."

Why would Jason Kenney grant temporary foreign worker permits for McDonald’s? (
Well, this is embarrassing for Employment Minister Jason Kenney: actual McJobs at McDonald’s are being filled by temporary foreign workers under a federal program that he pitches as necessary to address a skills shortage in Canada. The latest news, courtesy of CBC, show a McDonald’s franchisee successfully applied for temporary foreign worker permits at a location in British Columbia — and Kenney’s department suspended all pending permits for three outlets owned by the same franchisee after the news outlet pressed the government about why migrant workers were displacing Canadians eager to work at the fast-food chain.

Canada, Stop Denying Migrant Workers Health Care When They Need It Most (Ritika Goel,
What they probably didn’t know is that on August 9, 2012, they would be involved in a car accident while being driven to the farm by their employer, and that the government would deny them the healthcare they needed to recover. They were with seven other workers, one of whom was killed. Kenroy suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as neck, chest and back injuries, while Denville suffered both spine and whiplash injuries. Despite the injuries having been sustained directly in the line of work for which we brought them here, Canada has decided these men, their lives and their health is disposable, and we have cut off their health insurance leaving them without access to care. As a Canadian physician, I am ashamed of this decision.

Duty to Accommodate (CIDI)

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need duty to accommodate and instead, we as individuals, corporations, labour unions and communities would implement principles of equality, inclusion and fairness as automatic necessities. Unfortunately, that is not the case and, until that day arrives, we have both Canadian and provincial human rights laws to ensure that these principles are upheld.

Mistreatment of domestic workers in the First World (Hajra Batool,

The Third World is often assumed to be the sole vesicle of all social ailments such as poverty, labour issues, and injustice. Canada, a First World Country and a G-8 nation — with the acclaimed Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that promises equality and freedom for all — must be free of such injustice, poverty and labour issues, right? Not exactly. In the reclusive upper-echelon of Canadian society, women employed from foreign countries to act as nannies, or domestic employees commonly face abuse from their employers. These foreign workers are almost entirely women who are employed from Third World nations to act as caregivers, or domestic employees to the upper class Canadians as well as foreign diplomats.

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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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