Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 7, 2014


PRESS RELEASE: New Citizenship Act Threatens Rights of All Canadians (

On behalf of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL), University of Toronto Law Professor Audrey Macklin, executive member of CARL, testified before the Citizenship and Immigration Committee of the House of Commons on May 5, 2014 on Bill C-24, the “Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act”. Professor Macklin testified that this new proposed law will weaken the citizenship rights of all Canadians.

TRIEC celebrates 10 years of helping skilled immigrants (Hamutal Dotan,

More than a decade ago, the Toronto City Summit Alliance (now CivicAction) and the Maytree Foundation conducted some community outreach, asking what the most compelling issues facing Toronto were—including which issues were being neglected and required more attention.

C-24 Citizenship Act Committee Hearings – 5 May (Andrew Griffith,

As there was no real press coverage of Committee hearings 5 May, watched the video and the following summary may be of interest. Like many committee hearings, an element of Kabuki theatre with the Government asking questions of witnesses in favour of their approach to revocation while the opposition asking questions of those opposed to revocation and a number of other provisions.

Diversity and Political Participation (

Are you interested in running for office or managing a political campaign? Then this accelerated learning opportunity is for you.

Canada should encourage citizenship (David Berger,

Bill C-24, the “Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act,” deserves as much scrutiny as the “Fair Elections Act.” The bill would increase the period of time a person would need to stay in Canada before applying for citizenship.

Liberals Attack Kenney For Calling Irish Immigrants ‘Culturally Compatible’ In 2012 (VIDEO) (

What did Employment Minister Jason Kenney mean when he said the Irish were culturally compatible with Canada? While in Dublin two years ago Kenney, who was then immigration minister, appeared on a late-night talk show to explain why Irish citizens should come work in Canada.

When Culture Robs Girls of Role Models (Amira Elghawaby,

My observation as a Canadian Muslim woman is that few women in our community are given a platform to share and speak about their knowledge and experiences. On the flip side, young men and boys do not have to look far to find men of all ages standing up and speaking to them with authority and offering guidance.

Afghan interpreters who worked for Canadian Forces say families still at risk (

They risked their lives to help the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. Now, the Afghan interpreters who immigrated to Canada say Ottawa should also be doing something to help their family members, who are still under attack in their war-ravaged country. Sayed Sharifi is among the few interpreters who managed to start a new life in Canada. He now lives with three roommates in Toronto, but says he constantly fears for his family members back home.

Dalhousie dental program offers free care to immigrants (

A free program offered by Dalhousie University’s faculty of dentistry is helping immigrants to Nova Scotia get access to dental care — in some cases for the first time in their lives. The university says the program, which offers a free exam and cleaning, has helped as many as 200 immigrants as well as providing students with a priceless learning experience.

Marni Soupcoff: One man’s ‘hate’ is another man’s faith (

Judges are human, and no matter how neutral they genuinely try or wish to be, they still, like the rest of us, are inclined to defend more vehemently those people and causes that strike them as being sympathetic than those people and causes that don’t. That’s why any free-speech advocate worth his salt will insist on explicitly extending free speech protections to the vilest and most controversial of views — and why Canada’s hate-speech laws are so problematic.

Students hurl racial slurs as teen beaten at York Region high school (Andrew Russell,
The father of a black student at a York Region high school is furious with the school board after his son was beaten in a fight, while onlookers yelled racial slurs. “I can’t believe that happened here in Canada,” said Charles Makuto, the father of the student who was beaten in the video. “It’s worrisome. it’s scary that this kind of thing goes on in Canada today because it shouldn’t.”

New documentary training program explores newcomer experiences in the GTA (Katia Snukal,

A new documentary training program will provide 25 participants with two years of fully-subsidized filmmaking training. The initiative, Documentaries for Change, has been designed for a very specific student cohort: certified language interpreters. And more specifically, certified language interpreters registered with Toronto social enterprise the Multilingual Community Interpreter Service (MCIS).

Second annual Scarborough Film Festival announces line-up, prioritizes community engagement (

"The submissions coming in this year have almost doubled, last year we had about 300, this year it’s more than 500. Because we have so much to choose from and we’re expanding, we’re able to bring great films that represent many different ethnic groups and filmmakers of different backgrounds. Given how diverse Scarborough is we really focus on showcasing a diversity of cultures. "We need to celebrate Scarborough culture, it often has a lot of negative attention in the media this is about doing something positive. It’s about engaging people from Scarborough to come and watch films, but also encouraging people from the GTA to come into Scarborough."

Ontario plan aims to put data in your hands (Bonnie Mah,

Given the growing dearth of reliable, large scale, government-collected data (we miss you, long form census!), the Ontario government’s recent announcement of a new “open data” tool was a pleasant surprise.

Government of Ontario wants your input on new Volunteer Strategy (


Why Syrian refugees will thrive in Canada (Ratna Omidvar and Dana Wagner,

Canada has a history of doing it successfully, sometimes on a shoestring. Hungarians, Chileans, Ismaili Muslims, Southeast Asians, Bosnian Muslims and Karen people were among the bigger movements of the past half-century. Using our history, there is a lot to confidently predict about Syrians in Canada. While cultural adjustment and trauma will certainly be an opening chapter of their lives here, it will not be the whole story.

35 Journeys (
As the Canadian Council for Refugees celebrates its 35 year anniversary, we wish to recognize and celebrate the many positive contributions refugees and immigrants make to Canadian communities. We have been asking individuals who once came to Canada as refugees or immigrants to share the story of their journeys with us and make a special donation to the CCR to contribute to ensuring that the refugees and immigrants of tomorrow are secure and able to flourish. We hope to be able to share 35 stories.

Pledge to resettle refugees from Syria not being fulfilled (Michael Swan,

There’s little chance Canada will fulfill a pledge to resettle 1,300 Syrian refugees before the end of 2014, said the director of the Office of Refugees in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

State Protection (Raj Sharma,

Lawyers from this office will be attending before the Federal Court on 5 separate judicial review applications this week. Bjorn, Ram, Suha and I are appearing before Justices de Montigny and Zinn challenging decisions from various decision makers including the Immigration Appeal Division, the Refugee Protection Division and immigration officers. My matter involves the (faulty) analysis of RPD Member Philip MacAulay on the issue of state protection. Now, state protection was canvassed by the Supreme Court of Canada in a decision called Ward. In essence, before succeeding on a refugee claim, the claimant must show that he or she was unable or unwilling to avail him or herself of the protection of the country of reference. It’s not enough for the claimant to simply state that he or she doesn’t believe that state protection is unavailable. This is a contextual analysis. The RPD needs to assess the nature of the harm; the nature of the agent of persecution; the efforts taken by the claimant to seek protection; the response from the authorities; past experience dealing with state authorities; the experiences of similarly situated individuals and the available country condition evidence.


Temporary Foreign Workers: What Canada Must Do To Protect A Vulnerable Labour Class (Joe Fantauzzi,

The increasingly integrated world economy moves much more than money. It moves people all over the globe. Writing about the structures that form the foundation of the world economy, Nandita Sharma tells us that “[d]espite the historical and contemporary reality that unfree employment relations are as global as capital, they continue to be regarded as peripheral to the capitalist world economy.”[1] I contend that fundamentally unfree employment relations have been historically, and remain, a foundational building block of the Canadian economy, specifically through the exploitation of migrant worker labour. I also argue that several legal and employment rights such as access to collective bargaining and the contemplative powers of the state via coroner’s inquests can and must be implemented to undermine this exploitation.

Auditor general opens door to review of temporary foreign workers (Evan Solomon,

It’s not quite a yes, but it’s not necessarily a flat no, either. As questions and controversy continue to swirl around alleged abuse of the temporary foreign workers program, Auditor General Michael Ferguson has left the door open to a full review of the file.

Windsor’s temporary foreign workers doubled in 3 years (

Statistics show the number of temporary foreign workers employed in Windsor has more than doubled since 2009. The website for the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration shows 614 were employed in 2009. That number jumped to 1,550 in 2012, the last year for which data is available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

Canadian academic calls for end to Temporary Foreign Worker Program (

A Canadian academic has called on the federal government to close the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and, instead, to grant more permanent residence visas to international workers. Professor David Green of the University of British Columbia, says that the TFWP disadvantages foreign workers, who can only work for one named employer. The employer is therefore able to pay them low, exploitative wages. This disadvantages both the foreign worker and Canadian workers who are undercut by low-wage competition from TFWP workers, he says.

Statistics Canada Data on Job Vacancies of Limited Value for Users: Watchdog (Nirmala Menon,

Canada’s Auditor General said key job-vacancy data produced by the country’s statistical agency have limited value for job hunters because they don’t specify the locations and type of workers sought. The findings come amid controversy about a temporary foreign worker program that has been popular among businesses, particularly in resource-rich Western Canada, who say it is difficult to find Canadians to fill lower-paying jobs. Ottawa recently barred fast-food restaurants from hiring temporary foreign workers amid a public outcry over alleged abuses of the program, which is aimed at filling such labor gaps.

Kijiji???!!! Really???!!! (Paxcanadiana,

Get a load of this! Apparently the government used job listings on sites like Kijiji and Craigslist to compile their labour data; data used to tell Canadians the nation faced a looming labour shortage and justifying the out of control TFW program and, by implication, record levels of immigration during a severe economic downturn. And now they have readjusted that data to ignore job postings on Kijiji and like media and as a result job-vacancy rates plummet.

TFW employees in Edmonton call for moratorium to be lifted (

Migranté Canada, an advocacy group for migrant workers, is calling for the moratorium on fast-food workers to be lifted, or to exempt those waiting for permits to be renewed. The moratorium was implemented by labour minister Jason Kenny earlier this month after a CBC investigation revealed several employers were allegedly abusing the program.

Opinion: Quebec’s lead has been key for foreign farm workers (Michael Smolander,

Migrant workers are often described as Canada’s “disposable workforce.” Particularly true of migrant workers in the agricultural sector, the work is tough, low paying and seasonal.

Temporary Foreign Workers Taking Jobs Where Canadians Available: HRSDC (

A cabinet minister in the Harper government was warned two years ago that jobs were going to temporary foreign workers even in areas where there were Canadians available to do them, according to internal documents.

Should Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program be scrapped? (Jim Sinclair.

The recent headline in the daily press says it all: "Foreign workers drive unemployment up in B.C." The story quotes a study of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) from the CD Howe Institute – hardly an organization known for left-wing thinking on anything. The study’s researchers conclude that, contrary to business lobby group assertions that the TFWP has a positive impact on our economy, the program actually made unemployment worse.

Rural Sask. restaurateur can’t find cook, says foreign workers needed (

Gerald Duff runs 2nd Street Easts in Wakota, Sask., about 210 kilometres southeast of Regina. He says the oil patch pays high wages and it’s tough to find a cook to work in his restaurants.–Q65JFRyul1_ojbvVyp2XXSVzQ

Conservative MPs raised concerns about foreign-worker program (

Employers in hard-hit regions of Canada have been hiring temporary foreign workers despite an abundance of domestic job-seekers, government data indicates, while at least two Conservative MPs have privately sounded alarm bells about the besieged federal program.

Labrador City women speaks in support of foreign workers (Ty Dunham,

Merides Casio (left) Sylvia Mackey and Lucille Cala-Or (right) have become like family after the temporary foreign worker program brought them together to work with Mackey’s late daughter, Jennifer. Mackey says the workers deserve to be in the country just as much as she does.

Broaden foreign worker moratorium, Sims urges Ottawa (

Sims said a broader moratorium should not apply to agricultural workers or nannies. She also called for an independent audit of the program, which she said must be highly regulated and enforced to ensure skilled Canadians can’t do work offered to foreigners who don’t come here through immigration channels. Enforcement of the TFW program is currently "non-existent" and set to worsen with more scheduled federal government layoffs, Sims said.
How to fix the broken temporary foreign worker program (Justin Trudeau,

With their mismanagement of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Conservatives have done serious damage to that commitment. Since taking office, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have transformed the Temporary Foreign Worker Program — which was originally designed to bring in temporary workers on a limited basis when no Canadian could be found — into one that has brought in a large pool of vulnerable workers.

Internal doc: Jason Kenney knew airlines were flying around TFW rules (

Jason Kenney’s department permitted airlines to hire foreign pilots under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program after acknowledging carriers were sidestepping "requirements and guidance," an internal memo says. "Requiring Sunwing and Canjet to change too quickly may put these Canadian companies at risk," Employment Minister Jason Kenney was advised last October in a memo from his Deputy Minister, Ian Shugart.

Terence Corcoran: The temporary foreign worker success (

It’s this last category that is getting all the attention from the CBC, their path into Canada smoothed by Labour Market Opinions from the government that were intended to assure that the workers were genuinely required and would not be stealing jobs from Canadians. Their numbers, in the accompanying graph, are small as a percentage of the total number of foreign workers in Canada. About 30,200 low-skilled workers (less than 10% of total foreign workers) were in Canada in December, 2012. The increase in these low-skilled workers over the last decade has been significant, up from negligible numbers in 2003, but the totals are far too low to have had any impact on unemployment in Canada.

Media Advisory – Liberal TFWP plan not a solution to Tory mess (

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC), Canada’s largest migrant worker coalition, believes that the 5-point demands issued by the Liberal Party of Canada on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) fail to respond to the needs of migrant workers or the Canadian labour market. Discussions on the TFWP must include the voices of migrant workers

Ed Komarnicki working on TFWP solution (

As the Member of Parliament for a constituency hit with a massive labour shortage, the recent decision to suspend the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has become a significant concern for Ed Komarnicki.

Use of temporary foreign pilots for Canadian carriers criticized (David P. Ball,

Airline pilots are raising concerns about temporary foreign workers being hired by several Canadian carriers to fly their planes overseas. When it comes to pilots, Employment and Social Development Canada says it’s “putting in place new guidelines” for using the controversial Temporary Foreign Worker Program — a long-sought, but positive step, said Capt. Dan Adamus with the Air Line Pilots Association.

MLA talks TFWP moratorium (

Local business owners and management upset with the federal government’s moratorium on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in the service industry met with Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec last week.

Justicia’s questions for the “House of Labour”: CLC Convention (

Justicia for Migrant Workers is a collective of migrant workers, community and labour activists who organize to fight for better working and living conditions for migrant workers here in Canada and in their home countries. This upcoming Canadian Labour Congress convention takes place at a critical juncture. Daily issues related to the crisis in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program grab headlines without any real dialogue on how to enact changes to enshrine the rights of migrant workers and to avoid a divide and rule strategy that only wounds the working class. Headlines construct a narrative or migrants taking Canadian jobs, decreasing workplace standards and having a negative impact in our economy.

Blacklisting Migrant Workers (

When Jose Sicajau left his community in Guatemala to participate in Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, he hoped to make enough money doing seasonal agriculture work to be able to provide for his family back home. But like many other workers who have spoken out against labour rights abuses in Canada, he found himself blacklisted from the program after launching an official complaint against the owner of the farm where he worked in rural Quebec.

Tory MPs raised concerns about TFW program as controversy vexes Conservatives (Lee-anne Goodman,

Employers in hard-hit regions of Canada have been hiring temporary foreign workers despite an abundance of domestic job-seekers, government data indicates, while at least two Conservative MPs have privately sounded alarm bells about the besieged federal program.

Tories face another barrage of attacks on the Temporary Foreign Worker program (Andy Radia,

The Temporary Foreign Workers program is becoming a PR nightmare for the Harper government. Once again the problems surrounding program was the the topic du jour in the House of Commons, on the front pages of the news websites and newspapers, and was even mentioned in Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s spring report — sort of.

Spike in Windsor region migrant workers sparks House of Commons debate (Claire Brownell,

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau slammed the Conservatives Tuesday for allowing the number of temporary foreign workers in Windsor to double, despite the large number of locals looking for jobs.

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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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