Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 9, 2014


Did the Ethnic Vote Crush Pauline Marois? (
This week, Quebecers were summoned for the second time in eighteen months to determine the seating arrangement at the Assemblée Nationale du Québec. The results, with Philippe Couillard’s Liberals in a clear majority government, have been interpreted as a "rejection of Pauline Marois’ secularism charter" or a "rejection of the PQ’s a referendum", depending on which pundit you believe. Either way, the pollsters have determined that francophones liked the idea of informing newcomers of the dress code boundaries plainly (as opposed to the covert cultural messaging that permeates the Canadian quotidian). Anglos and allophones didn’t appreciate it quite as much. How did the experts determine which linguistic profiles and demographics favoured the doomed Charter of Values?

Having ‘boots on the ground’ can give brokers a leg up in China (Jonathan Cooper, Dan Scarrow,
As discussed in a previous article, my colleague Dan Scarrow went to Shanghai in February to explore opening a Macdonald Realty office. Shortly after his departure, the Canadian government announced the termination of two federal immigration programs geared toward high net worth immigrants. Both programs had significant subscription from Chinese families, and Dan was able to discuss the changes with immigration consultants in Shanghai to help us — and the broader real estate community — gauge what the impact would be. Below is an update on the how the cancellation of these programs is playing out thus far amongst potential Chinese immigrants.

Police board policy on carding will hinge on definition of public safety (Patty Winsa,
An anti-carding contingent kept the heat on the Toronto Police Services Board at a public meeting called Tuesday night to discuss the board’s first draft policy on the controversial practice. While calling the policy an “important step,” Barbara Hall of the Ontario Human Rights Commission said the document doesn’t resolve “our human rights concerns.” Hall told board members carding should be stopped until it’s cleared by the courts or a human rights tribunal to ensure the practice is legal under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Success stories: Gayathri Veersaswaminathan (Prepare For Canada,

Eighteen months after landing in Canada Gaya and her family are realizing their dreams. Gaya is thrilled to be working with Newcomers in her position. Her husband has completed a similar ELT program and is currently working as a Distribution Associate and their daughter is fully integrated to Canadian life. Gaya credits her mother for giving her the strength and determination to move to Canada and pursue a life here even when things were difficult. She credits the staff at POLYCULTURAL for supporting her and helping her to get the experience and soft skills she needed to get a good job.

Muslim groups call on Quebec government to rebuild bridges after divisive charter debate (Katherine Wilton,
Religious groups that felt targeted during the divisive debate over the Parti Québécois’s proposed charter of values have called on premier-elect Philippe Couillard to help mend fences between Quebecers and restore the province’s reputation as a welcoming place for immigrants. “They need to continue to communicate the message that Quebec is a welcoming and open society and that people who come to Quebec will not have to choose between their religious identity and their potential employment,” said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

Raising voices against hate and intolerance (
Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies highlights the importance of the Tour for Humanity initiative. Regional Chair Roger Anderson also spoke about the importance of rising against hate and intolerance.

Offering "Express Entry" to Qualified Economic Immigrants (Chris Alexander,
Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today announced that Canada’s active recruitment model for economic immigration will officially be called “Express Entry.” Set to launch in January 2015, “Express Entry” is a major step forward in the transformation of Canada’s immigration system into one that is fast, flexible and focused on meeting Canada’s economic and labour needs.

What does it mean to be a Canadian Citizen? (

What does it mean to be a Canadian citizen? Chris Alexander, the current Minister of Citizenship and Immigration believes that all Canadians share certain, fundamental values. In my opinion, lecturing newcomers as to the inherent superiority of "Canadian values" is not the best way to spread those values. The values that Chris Alexander references as Canadian values are global and transnational values espoused by every culture that I have encountered – hard work, honesty, etc.

Will the Fair Elections Act Hurt New Canadians? (Amira Elghawaby, Vicky Tobianah and Janice Thiessen,
Canadian immigrant service providers are worried that the Conservative government’s proposed election bill will potentially impact the voter participation rate of new Canadians and ethnocultural communities in future elections. Currently, citizens who don’t have proper identification can vote if someone else can vouch for their identity. If the new bill passes, vouching would be banned – a problem for new Canadians who want to vote but may lack proper identification simply because they’re new to the system.

Why have nation-states? (Charles Jeanes,
Two things happening in Canada now must move one to ask why Canada is. Immigration of alien cultures here is one, and Quebec sovereignty is the other, reason to ask: Why is there a jurisdiction, this political entity, called “Canada”? The historical answer comes most readily to me, with my background as an historian.

Interdean Offers Warning over Fraudulent Immigration Agents in Canada (
Following the news that the Canadian government has highlighted the dangers of fraudulent immigration agencies, the overseas relocation specialists at Interdean have offered their guidance for those contemplating becoming a Canadian resident.

Harper Comms 101 : When in doubt, blame the Liberals (John Mccallum,
Following my recent iPolitics article documenting ballooning processing times for all major categories of immigration during the Conservatives’ time in office, the government responded by … blaming the Liberals. ‘We’re cleaning up the Liberals’ immigration mess’ was the illogical title of the article by Parliamentary Secretary Costas Menegakis. Never mind that the Conservatives have been in power for eight long years.

Appeal court hears battle over citizenship oath to the Queen (
Three permanent residents opposed to taking an oath to the Queen as a condition of Canadian citizenship took their battle to Ontario’s top court Tuesday. They argue the requirement is discriminatory and violates their constitutional rights and should be struck down. The three oppose the oath on religious or conscientious grounds, saying it should be optional or that pledging allegiance to Canada should be enough.

Op-Ed: An optional oath to the Queen (Derek Smith,

On Tuesday, the Ontario Court of Appeal will hear a case involving three would-be Canadians who meet all our requirements for citizenship except one: they won’t express allegiance to the Queen or her heirs, for a range of personal reasons. They love Canada and want to only promise to obey Canada’s laws and fulfil the duties of a Canadian citizen. Last summer, a lower court said that the regal oath forced on them under the Citizenship Act trumped their right to free speech under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Citizens in Action (
Meet some of Canada’s new citizens as they share their volunteer experiences through videos, portraits and written stories.

Oath to the Queen battle to be heard in appeal court (
Three permanent residents opposed to taking an oath to the Queen as a condition of Canadian citizenship are taking their battle to Ontario’s top court today. They argue the requirement is discriminatory and violates their constitutional rights and should be struck down.

Mother granted reprieve to look after daughter with cancer (Nicholas Keung,
Maria Diaz Castro, a failed refugee claimant, had been scheduled for deportation Thursday as her daughter battles an advanced nose and throat cancer.

Nations within a nation: Immigrants band together for support (Dave Langford,
Cely Velez was 39-years-old when she came to Toronto in 1997, leaving her home in the Philippines behind. “My mom is here and she was not that young any more,” Velez said, adding that her lone sister lives in California with six children. “So for me, I wanted to be the one responsible for my mom’s care.” Velez is the business administrator at the First Filipino Baptist Church of Toronto. Sitting in the heart of the city with a congregation of about 410 people, the church is a focal point for Toronto’s burgeoning Filipino community — the fastest growing enclave of immigrants in the nation, one expert said.

Born Canadian? Citizenship of babies born using new fertility methods sometimes unclear (Tom Blackwell,
Malkiat Kandola always assumed that when his wife gave birth in India through in-vitro fertilization, their baby would automatically become a Canadian citizen, like the Vancouver-area truck driver himself. But an immigration officer ruled otherwise, and now the Federal Court of Appeal has upheld that decision in a “groundbreaking” case that raises intriguing questions about the intersection between modern fertility treatment and immigration.

Manitoba is falling ever further behind (Graham Lane,
It is splendid that Manitoba, and the prospect of being a Canadian, can attract more than 10,000 immigrants from foreign lands each year, but should we not, while celebrating the newcomers, concern ourselves about the ongoing outflow? They include professionals, those in the trades, business owners, the retired and just ordinary folks. While statistics are regularly released on the origins of the immigrants, little is said about the composition of those who leave and why they left.

Urban Alliance on Race Relations Deputation on TPSB Community Contacts Policy (TPSB Special Board Meeting: April 8, 2014) (
It is the UARR’s position that the practice of carding must not only stop, but also be recognized as a prohibited policing practice of the Toronto Police Service. Carding is a discriminatory practice in that it violates the equality rights of young Black and Brown people in this city. The right to equality is a fundamental right that our young people are guaranteed under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Conversations in Conflict (
Palestinian-Canadian lawyer Diana Buttu and University of Toronto political scientist Emanuel Adler on what stands in the way of finding peace between Palestine and Israel. Then: do immigrants to Canada bring conflicts from their homeland to their new lives in this country?

Regina cheerleaders complete anti-racism training (

University of Regina cheerleaders who took anti-racism training after dressing up as "cowboys and Indians" seemed confused at first but overall were receptive to the message, their instructors say. Last month, a picture of the students wearing stereotypical costumes was posted on social media, sparking a massive response from people who said it was offensive.


Roma family living in Toronto church exhausted from living in exile (
The six-year-old daughter of a Roma couple has spent more than one-third her life at a Toronto church where her family lives in exile. Jozsef Pusuma and Timea Daroczi, and their daughter, Viktoria, also known as “Lulu”, fled Hungary in 2009 following what they describe as an attack because of their Roma ethnicity.

International Roma Day (
Jozsef Pusuma lives in a Toronto church and hopes his deportation hearing will soon be heard because he is exhausted with living in exile. Matt Galloway spoke with him this morning. Then Matt spoke with Mary Jo Leddy. She is the founder of Romero House, a home for refugees in Toronto.

What to do with a Failed Humanitarian Application (
An application under s.25 a "Humanitarian and Compassionate Application" is about seeking an exemption from the criteria set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. The applicant seeking the exemption (obviously) bears the onus of proving his or her case. This means that the applicant needs to establish that ‘unusual or undeserved’ or disproportionate hardship would result if the application were not granted.


How recruitment practices exploit migrant workers (
Profiting from the Precarious examines migrant workers’ experiences of recruitment and analyses whether the existing legal model can adequately protect low-wage migrant workers against recruitment abuse. The report draws on in-depth interviews with low-wage migrant workers in the Greater Toronto Area and southern Ontario, and community organizers in Canada and abroad. Faraday maps out migrant workers’ experiences of recruitment and analyses how abusive recruitment practices resonate throughout a worker’s labour migration cycle. She demonstrates how our complaint-based laws fail to provide effective protection or enable workers to enforce their rights.

Media Advisory – New report shows massive Ontario failure in protecting migrant workers from recruiters’ (
A groundbreaking report released today by the Metcalf Foundation highlights how recruiters are abusing and exploiting migrant workers while Ontario’s laws lag shamefully behind. The report echoes the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change’s (MWAC) call for the overhaul of the proposed Ontario Immigration Act (Bill 161) and the passing of Bill 146 with amendments. MWAC also continues to call for full immigration status on landing for all migrant workers. Authored by lawyer Fay Faraday, the report "Profiting from the Precarious" demonstrates that recruiters are central to migrant worker vulnerability in Canada, and that Ontario must follow Manitoba in adopting a comprehensive migrant worker recruiter and registry system including a system of financial bonds for recruiters and proactive enforcement.

Migrant workers exploited by illegal recruitment fees (
A new report from the Metcalf Foundation reveals how migrant workers are paying thousands of dollars in recruiting fees – equal to as much as two to three years’ wages in their home currency – to work in minimum wage jobs in Ontario.

Jason Kenney needs your help to solve a problem he created (Pressprogress,
Employment Minister Jason Kenney is busy these days, acting completely shocked that McDonald’s and other companies may be filling McJobs with temporary foreign workers instead of locals. He’s even asking the public, via Twitter, for help in finding wayward employers so he can crack down on abuse.

Help wanted: Ontario’s temporary foreign workers and the need for answers (
Temporary foreign workers seem to be top of mind for many today. In a CBC news article posted this morning, the CFIB claimed that temporary foreign workers have a better work ethic than their Canadian counterparts. And yesterday, CBC reported that McDonald’s has been bringing in temporary foreign workers to fill new vacancies. At the same time, new research from the Metcalf Foundation points out that migrant worker recruitment is big business – for profit companies are making big money matching migrant workers with precarious jobs. Ontario’s labour market has gone through a dramatic change since the turn of the century. The use of temporary foreign workers in the province is no exception.

New Ontario bill to protect migrants is doomed: Study (Nicholas Keung,
Just as Ontario is considering expanding its protection of migrant workers, a new study warns it’s doomed to fail if existing loopholes are not fixed.

Fill the gap: Ontario should insure injured migrant workers (Melanie Spence,
The Ontario government should immediately provide OHIP coverage to injured migrant farm workers. As frontline healthcare providers in Ontario, we often witness the impact of decisions made in the corridors of power on people’s health and well-being. We witness how policy shifts may suddenly disrupt the lives of our patients, with severe consequences. Unfortunately, we see this once again with the Ontario Division Court decision last week to strip OHIP coverage for injured migrant workers.

Temporary foreign workers have better work ethic, some employers believe (Mark Gollom,
Some Canadian employers are willing to incur the added costs of hiring temporary foreign workers because they believe they have a better work ethic than Canadian workers, says the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "I can tell you, anecdotally, I’ve had many many emails from small business owners who’ve said that their temporary foreign workers are among the most productive employees, that are doing really high quality work, that have terrific customer service skills and, more than anything, are reliable," Dan Kelly said in a phone interview with CBC News.

Ontario laws failing to prevent migrant workers from exploitation, abuse (
When Liza Draman came to Canada in 2007 she paid $3,500 to a recruiter to get a job as a live-in caregiver. According to human rights lawyer Fay Faraday, $3,500 is on the low end. It can be as high as $15,000 — and that’s to get a minimum wage job. For some, that’s as much as three years of wages. “That’s money they don’t have on hand,” says Faraday to Kevin Newman Live. “In order to get that money they have to go to an informal lender.”

Ottawa publishes ‘blacklist’ of foreign worker program abusers (Canadian Manufacturing Staff,
The Conservative government has unveiled its so-called employer “blacklist”—a publicly-listed register of companies who are suspected of abusing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Announced by Employment Minister Jason Kenney, the published list of companies that have had their labour market opinions (LMOs) revoked or suspended was launched in a bid to discourage firms from abusing the revamped program.

Blacklisted McDonald’s restaurant calls back local applicant (
At least one job seeker previously turned away from a B.C. McDonald’s restaurant is now being called in for an interview, days after the federal government launched an investigation into alleged abuses of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. William Toulmin says his son, a grade 10 student, was previously rejected as a job candidate at one of the three locations in Victoria run by franchisee Glen Bishop.

Rising to the challenge of Canada’s skills shortage (
Canadian employment in the professional, scientific and services sector hit a record high in December, while factory jobs continued to decline. And the new jobs pay better than the old jobs being lost, noted Globe and Mail reporter Tavia Grant in assessing the data compiled by Statistics Canada for the newspaper. This trend presents a crucial opportunity to build national prosperity. But it’s only an opportunity if there are enough workers with in-demand skills, a fact that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has clearly understood for some time.

Nanny Recruitment Fees (
Why are nannies still paying recruitment fees to work for families in this province. Matt Galloway spoke with Fay Faraday. She is a human rights and constitutional lawyer in Toronto.

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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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