Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 5, 2014


Courting Justice: Families and The Law in Australia (

For most people, navigating through the court system and judicial process can be perplexing in the best of times. But as a refugee or an immigrant there is the added stress of learning new local customs, culture and language, not to mention how the country’s many institutions function. Moving to a new country, especially under trying or tragic circumstances, can place enormous stress on families as different family members struggle to communicate in a new language, seek work and schooling and go about daily business with few social networks outside the family unit.

Wicked Failures? Cities Offer Local Solutions (Dana Wagner,

When failure in religious inclusion of immigrants makes headlines, the story is typically about a place, a city, where things are (or aren’t) happening. Addressing “wicked failure” of immigration policy is not an exclusively national-level conversation. Cities can and do step up with clever solutions when national governments don’t get it right. – See more at:

Conversations in Integration Current Issue April 2014 (

US cities race to attract immigrants
Global cities are in a race to attract human capital
Wicked Failures? Cities Offer Local Solutions
Including Migrant Votes Is Good for Democracy
and more

Sugar Sammy crosses Canada’s two solitudes (Brian Daly,
Leave it to a Hindi and Punjabi-speaking child of Indian immigrants to break Canada’s linguistic divide. Samir Khullar, a.k.a. Sugar Sammy, has achieved a rare feat – he has English people watching French television. The irreverent Montreal comic’s English speaking fans have followed him to his new show on Quebec’s V channel.

I was born in Canada but my Canadian citizenship has been stripped away (Deepan Budlakoti,

My name is Deepan Budlakoti, and I have been stripped of my Canadian passport. I was born in Canada at Grace Hospital in Ottawa, which is now closed. I have an Ontario birth certificate. I held a Canadian passport and before that, I was on my mother’s Canadian passport for five years. In my passport it says that my nationality is Canadian, the same is true of my younger brother. The government now says it gave me a Canadian passport in error.

Muslim group appealing Ottawa’s ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unconstitutional’ decision to list it as a terrorist entity (Stewart Bell,

Branded a terrorist organization by the federal government, an Ontario-based Muslim relief group long accused of links to Hamas has told the Federal Court it is appealing the “unreasonable” and “unconstitutional” decision.

Migrants may look to NZ as Canada scraps policy (

More wealthy foreigners could make their way to New Zealand after an immigration sweetener in Canada was scrapped. Canada allowed residency for migrants who loaned the Government $800,000 for three years. But now that that is gone, immigration advisor Tuariki Delamere says they are looking here instead.

Canada to release KomagataMaru centenary stamp (

Finally, an honour comes for Komagata Maru ship voyage, and that from the country that denied entry to Indian immigrants on board the ship on racial basis. The Canadian postal department would release a stamp on Tuesday to commemorate the centenary of incident.

Survey on Religion, Racism and Intergroup Relations in Canada Shows Differences in Attitudes Among Anglophones, Francophones and Other Groups (

Leger Marketing conducted a national survey, sponsored by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) and the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS), on the issues of religion, racism and intergroup relations in the last week of January 2014. Oversamples of Muslims, Jews and Aboriginal Peoples were included in the survey to provide insight into how these groups’ views on the issues compare with Canada’s Francophone population, its English-speaking population, and persons whose mother tongue is neither English nor French.

U of T News: ‘Eclampsia and preeclampsia higher in female immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa’ (

Pregnant immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Caribbean islands may require increased monitoring during pregnancy, according to new research from Dr. Marcelo Urquia.

Family finds out today when they must leave Canada (Lois Tuffin, Giorgio Berbatiotis,

After 10 years in Canada, the Zaveljcina family has no idea where they will go with their two young children when they arrive homeless and jobless in Slovenia. Today, the Canadian Border Services Agency will give them the details of their departure; date, time and flight number.

Canada’s feel-good racism (

Recently, a chemistry professor at McGill University, Joe Schwarcz, posted a faked, denigrating photo of Pauline Marois on his Facebook page. Apparently, Marois omitted congratulating two members of the Canada’s Olympic hockey team and Prof. Schwarcz took offense at this. The posting touched off an outpouring of disrespectful, hateful and denigrating comments from supposedly "enlightened" Anglos. A torrent of “bitch”, “cow” and the obligatory references to the Nazis was unleashed on Facebook. The good professor was dismayed by the virulence and intensity of the hatred and felt compelled to remove the post. However, Ariel Fenster, one of Schwarcz’s colleagues, said that the comments were a sign of the “social context” created by the PQ and its charter. He also assured us that Schwarcz was not a Francophobe. If Schwarcz was surprised by the reaction, as opposed to ashamed or embarrassed, then he clearly wasn’t paying attention to the chronic Francophobic drone in the Anglo media. As for Prof. Fenster’s assertion that his friend is not a Francophobe, he meant, probably without realizing it, that he is not particularly Francophobic by Anglo standards. But rest assured, among Anglos in Quebec and in Canada, Francophobia is the default operating system.

Book Launch: Immigrant Integration (

Examining the issues and challenges facing immigrants as they attempt to integrate successfully into Canadian society, Immigrant Integration is a multidisciplinary compendium of research papers, most of which were presented at the 14th National Metropolis Conference, held in Toronto in 2012. With a focus on the future of public policy related to immigration and settlement, this book addresses the growing economic and educational inequality among immigrants and racialized populations in Canada and seeks to guard against further inequities. Each chapter concludes with a clear set of policy recommendations indicating how those in government and the broader public, private, and non-profit sectors can help newcomers integrate and welcome them as contributing members of Canadian society.

Asian Heritage Month seeks Canadian identity (Wanyee Li,

For Beverly Nann, multiculturalism is a two-way street. Nann, the vice president of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, has spent her whole career working on multiculturalism as a former social worker who in 1989 helped found the Laurier Institution, a non-profit organization that supports research and education on diversity in Canada.

“We are not anti-Sikh just anti-immigration” (Pradip Rodrigues,

Few people in the Peel Region were aware of an organization called Immigration Watch Canada until last week when it sent out the offensive flyer to residents of Brampton. So what exactly is the aim of this organization? Are they rednecks intent on turning back the clock? Is the browning of Canadian cities bothering them? Is it a matter of preserving

“The Changing Face of Brampton”: A ‘racist’ flyer or freedom of speech (

Dan Murray, a spokesman for Immigration Watch Canada, says: “That’s the standard answer that they all give. They can’t think of anything else to say, so they play the race card or call you a xenophobe,” Murray said. “If we are going to throw around names, I’ll call them a bunch of cowards and quislings – the mainstream part of the population that engages in that type of conversation.”

Racial bias in television ads (Elaine Smith,

The first systematic study of Canadian television commercials, conducted by sociologists Shyon Baumann and Loretta Ho from the University of Toronto Mississauga, shows that despite the country’s multicultural make-up, visible minorities are underrepresented and misrepresented in TV advertising.

U of C week looks at religious diversity and literacy (Mario Toneguzzi,

The University of Calgary is hosting a major religious studies conference this coming week. Tinu Ruparell, associate professor and head of the Department of Religious Studies at the U of C, said the conference, from May 7-11, will feature three keynote speakers who are high profile in their fields and it is expected to attract about 175 academics from across the western part of Canada and the United States.

Japanese-Canadian community has deep roots across the country (

The Japanese-Canadian community is spread out across the Greater Toronto Area. Parts of south Scarborough and North York report higher ratios of residents of Japanese descent that some other areas, but generally the population is diversified across the entire the area and well established over many generations.

Swiss immigrants have settled across Canada (

Nearly 2,500 immigrants from Switzerland reside in the City of Toronto and almost 20,000 Swiss immigrants have settled across Canada according to the 2006 Statistics Canada Census. There are multiple official languages for the European country, which include French, German, Italian and Romansh.

Q&A with Shyon Baumann and Loretta Ho: Cultural Schemas for Racial Identity in Canadian Television Advertising (

Researchers at the helm of a University of Toronto study have found that racial discrimination in advertising is not only prevalent in Canada, but also reflects a variety of racial stereotypes. A series of food ads on primetime TV significantly underrepresented black and Asian actors in favour of white actors, and at the same time pigeon-holed both minority and majority actors into portraying inaccurate racial caricatures.

Medical schools ‘committed to social accountability’ (Karen Seidman,

The increasing diversity of McGill University’s medical class may have some worried, but it reflects a trend across North America, and a concerted effort on the part of medical school administrators to ensure students of all ethnic, socioeconomic and linguistic backgrounds have the opportunity to become doctors.

Mother-of-two, 14-year B.C. resident facing deportation (Scott Roberts,

A mother of two who has lived in Metro Vancouver for 14 years is facing deportation after she was arrested by border officials in April. Ibarra, who moved to Canada from Sri Lanka at age 15, is married to a Canadian man. They have two boys together, ages 7 and 10.


Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 9 #2, 2 May 2014 (
In this issue:

BC Court of Appeal rules that helping refugees is a criminal offence

Refugee claimants share thoughts on new system
Join us for Gateways to hope, pathways to belonging: CCR Spring Consultation, Halifax, 29-31 May 2014
Plans are afoot! Join the Walk with refugees for a stronger Canada this June

35 Journeys supporting the CCR: Meet one of our donors, Martha Kuwee Kumsa
New from the CCR

B.C. court orders new trial for ship’s captain charged with human smuggling (Nicholas Keung,

A B.C. appeal court has ordered a new trial for human smuggling against the captain and chief crew members of MV Ocean Lady that arrived in Vancouver in 2009 with 76 Tamil refugees.

Vive at Risk of Closing (

Vive in Buffalo helps about 3,000 refugees each year who are looking to gain asylum in the United States or Canada. Now, the refugee center needs financial help in the next month or it could close.

Government commits to initiate proceedings against 875 refugees per year (Steven Meurrens,

In January 2014, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) released Operational Bulletin: PRG-2013-59, which states that the CBSA has committed to referring a minimum of 875 refugee vacation or cessation cases per year to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD). News of this bulletin, and the apparent resolve of CBSA to reach its quota, puts many in the refugee community at risk. It is important that all refugees who became permanent residents, and refugees who are not yet permanent residents, understand its implications.


Underground world of off-the-books migrant work revealed by Star investigation (Claire Brownell,

Documents from detention reviews obtained by The Star through an access to information request provide a glimpse into the world of underground, illegal migrant work that helps workers and employers bypass the rules. A network of agents operating in the Windsor region matches migrant workers looking for a new employer with farms and greenhouses looking for flexible, temporary labour without going through the mountains of paperwork required to hire them legally.

Dear Immigration Minister: Make Food Service Workers Permanent (Vanessa Routley,

If I could send a message to the Minister of Immigration (tried that once; didn’t pan out), I would tell him to be more pragmatic about the foreign worker problem. Not only is this easy to fix, it’s imperative, it can make you look good, it’s good for Canada, and you can turn this problem into a lot of new Canadian voters who’ll love you. Also, it would alleviate some of the LMO headaches for your buddy, the Minister of Employment. (That’s a guy whose going places, and then he’d owe you a favour.)

McWhistleblower glad he spoke up about foreign workers (Michael Smyth,

The kid who kicked Ronald McDonald in the keister doesn’t regret a thing. Kalen Christ is the original McWhistlebower who revealed the use of temporary foreign workers at three McDonald’s outlets in Victoria, sparking a federal investigation and a national moratorium on the TFW program for Canada’s entire restaurant sector.

Tools to change the channel on the migrant worker debate (

There have been thousands of articles, and broadcast pieces on the temporary foreign worker program these last few weeks. Even articles with a progressive bent, reiterate calls for shutting down migrant worker programs in the name of ‘objectivity’, rather than status for all. I am linking here, some critical analysis of the debate and broader solutions proposed from a number of voices. Hopefully these will give you ways to talk about the situation, and to intervene in debates likely happening all around you.

‘Irresponsible’ to suspend TFW program that helps Canadian employers (Brent Stafford,

Calling for a suspension and scrapping of the entire Temporary Foreign Worker Program is irresponsible and foolhardy. Those who make this argument reveal a lack of understanding of how the Canadian economy works. The TFW program provides critical labour for companies who cannot fill jobs locally and creates jobs for Canadians by supporting business growth.

Broken Temporary Foreign Worker Program needs overhaul to protect Canadians and foreign workers (Laila Yuile,

In response to the revelations of rampant abuse in the restaurant industry, the government instituted a moratorium for TFWs in the food sector — a move that has garnered criticism as some restaurants say they might have to close due to a lack of staff. The government has promised to crack down and tighten up the program. I think what needs to happen is a temporary suspension of the entire program so it can be revamped — or scrapped. I empathize with the plight of temporary workers who are already here and caught in the middle of a mess not of their creation. Many are supporting families overseas, and many have been exploited by their employers. It’s an appalling situation no matter how you look at it, and one wrought with emotion. A pragmatic approach is needed. The program is clearly broken, a mere shell of what its original intention was. It needs more than just fine-tuning to prevent further exploitation of TFWs and to protect Canadian jobs.

AWA provides accidental death insurance for migrant workers (

The Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) has renewed a benefit plan to provide accidental death and dismemberment insurance for its members. UFCW Canada signed the renewal agreement with AIL Canada, the life insurance company which has provided this important benefit for AWA members since 2011.
Moratorium puts temporary foreign workers in limbo, NDP MPs say (Derrick Penner,

Filipino restaurant worker Dexter Batoc’s employer was in the middle of renewing the temporary-foreign-worker permit that Batoc thought would let him stay in Canada for another two years when the federal moratorium on the program for food services took hold.

Cape Breton tech company says skilled workers hard to find (

A small business in Sydney is looking to expand, but says it can’t find anyone to fill the jobs. Marcato Digital Solutions develops software for the music industry, and has close to 2,000 clients around the world. The company’s clients include businesses that do everything from organizing and managing artists, to music festivals and other large events.

Temporary foreign workers should be offered path to permanent residency: Advocates (Derrick Penner,

Filipino restaurant worker Dexter Batoc’s employer was in the middle of renewing the temporary foreign worker permit Batoc thought would let him stay in Canada for another two years when a federal moratorium on the program for food services took hold.

‘Don’t Blame Foreign Workers,’ Says Fast Food Employee (David P. Ball,

Temporary foreign workers are speaking out against Canada’s sudden moratorium on restaurants hiring them and others in the program, which country-wide has more than tripled over the last decade to nearly 340,000 workers.

Like it or not, foreign workers are sometimes the only ones available (Dan Kelly,

In my 20 years as a lobbyist for small businesses, I’ve witnessed good and bad public policy, done thousands of interviews and received my share of “beefs and bouquets” (as we used to say in Winnipeg). But I must say I’m a little taken aback by the political firestorm regarding the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program in the past few weeks.

Never underestimate Jason Kenney (Lawrence Martin,

His attack on Rae helps divert attention from the hole he is in. The same can be said for his hollow criticism of political opponents — that they have profited from the program in their own ridings. Of course they have. That doesn’t mean the program doesn’t need to be fixed. “Why doesn’t this minister look in the mirror and admit to Canadians that this mess is a Conservative mess,” shouted Liberal MP John McCallum in the Commons. “It’s his mess and nobody’s else’s mess.”

My Company Owes Its Sweet Success To Temporary Foreign Workers (

Because of the ban on temporary foreign workers, all our efforts and large amounts of money have been wasted. The future and livelihood of not only our company, but also those Canadians who we employ, has been jeopardized. The foreign workers we hire are not just low-skilled employees who work for minimum wage. They are the driving force behind our organization. It is not about the country from which they reside; what matters to us is their skills, knowledge, and expertise in the East Indian food industry.

Bureaucratic tape could send bricklayer back to Ukraine (Liz Monteiro,

Vitaly Khlopenyuk has been working in Canada since he arrived here from Ukraine eight years ago. Khlopenyuk wants to stay in Canada and become a permanent resident, but it appears federal bureaucratic tape is thwarting what should otherwise be a simple approval case, says Doug Dunnington, an immigration consultant working with Khlopenyuk.

Battle Of The Twidiots (

It was a Twitter sissy-slap fight validating the criticism that the immigration system has become so politicized to where it’s more about chasing existing immigrant votes – while importing more – and having less to do with meeting the real needs of the country and protecting the interests of Canadians.

Told you so (Lana Payne,

The low-wage dependency created by the out-of-control expansion of the federal temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) — a result of the Harper’s government total capitulation to the cheap-wage lobbyists — has now become a huge political problem for an increasingly unpopular Conservative government.

Temporary Foreign Workers: A mess of Mr. Kenney’s making (John Mccallum, Rodger Cuzner,

The Temporary Foreign Workers program is out of control, a shocking example of mismanagement by the Harper government. Canadian companies have always needed a certain number of temporary foreign workers to fill short-term positions for which no Canadians are available. However, the government has permitted abuses in the system and has allowed the annual intake of temporary foreign workers to skyrocket, almost doubling from 122,000 in 2005 to 214,000 in 2012.

Immigration consultants offer to pair firms with temporary foreign workers (

Immigration consultants, many in Western Canada, are apparently now specializing in pairing employers and temporary foreign workers. One online advertisement placed in several provinces even pledges to help temporary foreign workers find employers instead of the other way around.

Temporary Foreign Workers: Economics meets real world (Ted Mallett,

It’s a shame the neat and clinical world expressed by macroeconomics does not really exist. Gently sloping supply and demand curves and distinct intersection points telling us where markets clear are fine for theoretical discussions and highly simplified views of the whole economy, but they don’t really give a good sense of the messy churning that takes place at ground level. This clash in macro viewpoints and micro realities is well demonstrated in the controversy surrounding the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program, which came to a head last week with a moratorium on new approvals in the restaurant industry.

Temporary foreign worker numbers rising steeply in Kitchener and Guelph (

The number of temporary foreign workers grew by almost 13,000 between 2011 and 2012 in Ontario — an increase of 12 per cent, and those numbers are rising even faster in Waterloo Region according to new Wilfrid Laurier research by Jenna Hennebry.

Temporary foreign workers a global phenomenon: Salutin (Rick Salutin,

There used to be another word for temporary foreign workers. They were called immigrants. They did jobs that, we’re told, Canadians now don’t want to do. That included mining, assembly line manufacturing, construction and cleaning. They did them with relative verve because they were en route to being Canadians and so were their kids — especially the kids.

Well-intentioned bills on migrant workers don’t go far enough (Evan Boudreau,

Two bills under consideration in Ontario that seek to expand protection for migrant workers are “doomed” because they don’t address the real thing these workers need, a means of staying here, says Stan Raper. “If you are good enough to work here you should be good enough to stay here and bring your family here,” said the national co-ordinator of the Agricultural Workers Alliance. “Our immigration system has broken down to the point where we now are asking employers to identify people that might be good enough to live here if they know how to do a certain job.”

Canada’s McMess: Conservative Party’s Colossal Mishandling of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (Andrew Woodbury,

The Liberal Party started it, but the Conservative Party destroyed it. Canada’s temporary foreign worker program is in tatters, and there’s no one to blame but the current government.
Temporary Foreign Worker halt stokes Yukon Filipino fears (

Some Filipino workers in the Yukon are worried about being kicked out of the territory. Their concern comes after the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program was suspended for the food industry.

Foreign Workers In Canada Fear Backlash, Loss Of Dreams (

Bugan Wigan could handle the hard work packing fruit and cleaning hotel rooms, and the crushing debt she owed recruiters who found her jobs. But a backlash against the foreign worker programme that brought her to Canada means the clock is ticking on her ability to support her family in the Philippines. “I’m here six years, away from my family. I was hoping I could bring them here. But now, we are just counting our days,” said Wigan, 40, who currently works at McDonald’s in Vancouver.

Foreign-worker chill costly (Jordi Morgan,

It’s been troubling to watch the explosion of dialogue over Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP). Since the exposure of a handful of alleged abuses in the west, rhetoric from union bosses and a fundamental misunderstanding of the program — and the problems it is designed to address — have played into some of the worst of our collective national attitudes.

Editorial: Alberta ill-served by temporary foreign worker ban (Sean Kilpatrick,

Federal employment minister Jason Kenney’s hair-trigger decision to suspend the food service industry’s access to the temporary foreign worker program may feel like the right medicine for a major political headache. But the abrupt, cross-country suspension leaves a lingering bad taste.

An Apology to the Foreign Workers Who Serve Us Fast Food (

Canada’s temporary foreign worker policy is at odds with Canadian values, and frankly, this is getting a bit awkward. You know you’re looking at a Canadian when they apologize when someone else bumps into them. Sure, it doesn’t make sense, but we feel it’s the right thing to do.

Foreign worker reports death threats, coercion (Kathy Tomlinson,

A temporary foreign worker who sold massage devices and other products in mall kiosks has reported he and his colleagues worked hundreds of hours for no pay, while forced to live under constant threat of deportation. “It’s all organized from the start,” said Anton Soloviov, 25, who worked for 0860005 B.C. Ltd, a company run by B.C. resident Dor Mordechai and his wife, Anna Lepski.

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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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