Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 8, 2014


Mother-of-two facing deportation from Canada due to clerical error (

Some 10 years ago, Janina applied for Canadian citizenship, presenting the required documents along with her Sri Lankan passport. However, her passport was lost somewhere between the Canadian immigration office and the Sri Lankan High Commission, and the relatively simple process turned into a decade-long nightmare culminating in her arrest and detention.
Asian Heritage Month tour of India Bazaar (

Heritage Toronto, in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, is celebrating Asian Heritage Month by hosting several free walking tours including two events in the Gerrard India Bazaar, a popular crossroads for the city’s diverse South Asian community since the 1970s.

Toronto artist maps diversity, one portrait at a time (

Living in what is considered one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world, a Toronto photographer is taking it upon himself to map his city’s diversity using the faces and stories of the people who live there. Colin Boyd Shafer, a 30-year-old photographer and teacher, is attempting to take pictures of at least one person from every country in the world who now call Toronto home.

Your Digital Trail Follows You to the Border (Susan Stellin,

Information, money and jobs flow easily around the world, yet it’s getting tougher for travelers to cross some borders. As immigration policies tighten and the security and technology to enforce them increase, travelers can find themselves caught in a web of suspicion that prevents them from visiting some countries. A past arrest or conviction — even a public admission of illegal activity — can be grounds for inadmissibility. So can political activism or the impression that a traveler is visiting on business without obtaining a work visa.
Will the ‘Culturally Compatible’ Immigrant Please Stand Up? (

PM Harper, Kenney and his crew have been careful not speak publicly on these matters. But Kenney slipped up while unrolling the red carpet for the Irish, not long after he cancelled 300,000 patiently-waiting skilled workers’ applications. “The employers in Canada are increasingly identifying Ireland as a great source of talent, hard-working, highly-educated folks who are culturally compatible,” Kenney said.

Five Charged In Connection With Beating And Racial Slurs At Ontario High School (

Four youths and one adult have been charged with assault in connection with a beating at a high school in Sutton, Ontario, about an hour north of Toronto. In April, a black student at Sutton District High School was beaten as onlookers egged the attackers on with racial slurs, the Toronto Star reports. The attack was recorded in videos made by several students, and were shared on social media.

Intersections of Violence Against Women and Precarious Immigration Status—A National Symposium for Advocacy and Community Mobilization (

The Migrant Mothers Project at Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work in partnership with the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT) are delighted to invite you to Intersections of Violence Against Women and Precarious Immigration Status—A National Symposium for Advocacy and Community Mobilization. This Symposium will be a full-day event held at the University of Toronto to engage with an active network of service providers, activists, policy analysts, researchers and immigrant women in Canada.

Couple battles Ottawa to rescue and adopt abused boys (

Diaz, a Canadian-born citizen from Sarnia, and husband Rafael have been trying since 2009 to bring his four cousins to Canada: Guanyer, now 16; his brother Christofer, 12; Bryan Alexis Mejia Mateo, 13; and Leuris Oscar Vernavel Fernandez, 14. All four had suffered physical abuse. Christofer had suffered burns and subsequent infections; Bryan had a mouth full of abcesses. Guanyer and Leuris had never been to school. Although the Diazes have already obtained guardianship, Ottawa has refused to let the boys come to Canada so the adoptions can be finalized in a Canadian court.

Lost mail snafu forces couple to go through lengthy immigration appeal (Nicholas Keung,

For almost a year, Hung Yin Tsang and her Canadian husband religiously checked the immigration website for updates on her spousal sponsorship application. The Markham couple was stunned to receive a rejection letter in February from Citizenship and Immigration that said Tsang had been turned down because she did not respond to requests for her passport and police clearance from Hong Kong — demands the couple said they never received.

Study finds ‘entrenched’ racial bias in Canadian TV ads (

That’s according to a new study from the University of Toronto, which found an “entrenched” bias when it came to depictions of race in television commercials.

Jihad becoming ‘as Canadian as maple syrup’ says Calgary man who joined armed extremists in Syria (

A Canadian foreign fighter in Syria taunted the “evil, despotic and Zionist Harper government” on Wednesday, claiming it was losing the battle against extremism and that fighting jihad was becoming “as Canadian as maple syrup.”

A dying mother’s final wish thwarted by immigration policy (

An Edmonton family is appealing to immigration officials to allow two daughters to visit their dying mother. Izdihar Almousa, originally from Syria, is a patient at the University of Alberta Hospital where she is being treated for liver cancer. Jaundiced, and growing weaker every day, she has only one final wish: to see her two daughters before she dies.

Somali man claiming refugee status in Canada is under investigation by the FBI and ‘may pose danger to the public’ (

A Somali described as a “person-of-interest” to the FBI is being held in Manitoba after he and another man walked across the border from Minnesota and were captured by RCMP officers. Ahmed Abdi Ismail and his travelling companion got 15 kilometres inland before they were picked up by members of the RCMP Integrated Border Enforcement Team on March 20.

Dutch foreign minister praises Canada as an ‘immigrant society’ (
Europeans can learn a thing or two from Canada when it comes to integrating different ethnic groups, says Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans.  “I think it is mind-boggling that a huge nation like Canada, with all its diversities, with so many recent immigrants from all parts of the world, with all their different cultures, can maintain this level of social tranquility and integration of difference, acceptance of difference in this society,” Mr. Timmermans told a crowd at a Dutch Embassy and Centre for International Governance Innovation breakfast event at the Rideau Club on May 2.


New CCR report shows established refugees now face loss of status in Canada (

The Canadian Council for Refugees today released its report “Cessation: stripping refugees of their status in Canada”. The report provides case examples and shows that, following recent changes to the law, refugees now live in fear of loss of status and removal from Canada, in a process that is arbitrary, draconian and absurd.

‘Draconian’ changes to refugee act put those with protected status on edge (Andrea Woo,

Recent changes to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act have resulted in a dramatic increase in applications to strip refugees of their status, according to a new report by the Canadian Council for Refugees. The issue, which appears particularly pronounced in Vancouver, has created a climate of fear among refugees – some now permanent residents – who face the possibility of losing status and being deported from Canada, the report states. The CCR calls the process “arbitrary, draconian and absurd.”

Contribute to a Guide for Newcomer Youth (

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Youth Network is developing a guide whereby newcomer youth can share their experiences and provide useful insights for youth who are just arriving in Canada.

The General Issue of Refuge 30.1 Has Now Been Published (

Founded in 1981, Refuge is an interdisciplinary journal published two times a year by the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University. The journal aims to provide a forum for discussion and critical reflection on refugee and forced migration issues. Refuge is a non-profit, independent periodical supported by subscriptions and provides analytical, reflective, and probing articles from a wide range of disciplinary and regional perspectives, presenting writing of academics, policy-makers, and practitioners in the field of forced migration. The journal provides space for discussion of emerging themes as well as ongoing issues. Special thematic issues address the broad scope of the journal’s mandate, featuring articles and reports, shorter commentaries, and book reviews. Refuge publishes articles in both English and French.

New Issue of FMR (

Forced Migration Review’s latest issue (no. 46, May 2014) has been published. The theme is “Afghanistan’s Displaced People: 2014 and Beyond.”


Supporting Immigrant Employment Contributes to Prosperity in the GTA (
The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is one of the most culturally diverse regions in North America, a significant advantage in today’s global marketplace. GTA employers need to tap into the diverse talent pool here to build the economy and remain competitive on a worldwide scale. Today, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) and RBC are recognizing the winners of the 8th Annual Immigrant Success (IS) Awards; organizations and individuals who are helping employers do just that to the advantage of employers, immigrants and the region as a whole.

Blog Posting – Moratorium on LMOs for Food Service Industry (
The widely publicized moratorium on LMOs for several occupations in the food services industry is affecting individuals and companies who need LMOs for either an initial work permit or extension; as well individuals who have already received an LMO and have a work permit application in process. Based on industry feedback, we understand that work permit applications for persons who already have LMOs are being refused as a result of this moratorium.

Solidarity not xenophobia for migrant workers (

Migrant workers – the term defines those working in a country other than where they were born. This group is large – more than 230 million. If placed together they would form the 5th largest country on the planet. Like us, these mobile workers are looking for a better life and opportunities for their families. Canada’s inherently flawed Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s (TFWP’s) has been that risky pathway.

NDP MPs’ letters contradict party’s stand on temp worker program (Jessica Hume,

Two NDP MPs appear to have contradicted their party’s position on the temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) in letters written to cabinet ministers on behalf of their constituents. In a letter dated March 2013 and addressed to then-employment minister Diane Finley, NDP MP Megan Leslie, who said she was writing on behalf of a constituent, lamented the requirements on employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers.

READER’S CORNER: Foreign-worker hiatus poorly timed (

Suspension of the temporary foreign worker program in the restaurant category has occurred at the worst possible time, particularly for the smaller operators who rely heavily on the summer tourist trade. The negative impact of this decision could be felt not only by restaurant operators, but by the tourist industry generally. Robust and varied food services are an important component of the tourist trade, and particularly in Nova Scotia, where tourism is a significant part of the overall health of our economy.

Halted foreign worker program disrupting local business (Dan Walton,

Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program helps employers find staff for tough-to-fill positions, but reports of exploitation and preferential use of the program has suspended the food service sector from taking part, and the suspension is already having an effect locally. Strand’s Old House Restaurant owner Tony Wood is back to square one after losing the chef he had lined up through the program, and will only be able to offer service five days each week instead of seven until a new one is hired. This also means that his restaurant, a renowned local venue for live music, won’t be able to host the same number of shows people have come to expect until that time.

More questions raised about federal foreign worker program (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.

Government Grapples with Temporary Foreign Workers Issue (

The province says it is looking at the legislation of other jurisdictions as it relates to the protection of temporary foreign workers, but the Minister Responsible doesn’t go so far as to say amendments will be made. Service NL Minister Dan Crummell feels the provincial legislation is working very well, but NDP Leader Lorraine Michael disagrees.

Website maps businesses using temporary foreign workers in B.C. and Alberta (Dene Moore,

The vast majority of temporary foreign workers approved in the two westernmost provinces were located the three major urban centres, according to a new website mapping government authorizations. That’s contrary to claims that the program is bolstering the workforce in rural or remote areas where resource companies struggle to recruit.

Employed, temporarily (Josh Kerr,

When Senthil Thevar moved to Canada as a temporary foreign worker in 2008, he had high hopes for the future. He’d met a recruiter who promised he could make big money working as a cook in North York. So the Mumbai native quit his job, hopped on a plane and made his way to Toronto. “He told me [the employer] was willing to pay a good salary, said Thevar. “So I came to Canada for better opportunity.”

Fruits of labour: Migrant farmworkers in the Okanagan Valley (Christina Turner,

British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is a breathtaking, 20,000 square kilometre strip of sagebrush-topped hills that slide into narrow lakes, where southwestern desert morphs into mountainous lake country in the space of an hour’s drive. It is the hub of fruit growing and winemaking in B.C., industries that have been significantly (if at times invisibly) transformed by the North American Free Trade Agreement. It is also home, for eight months of the year, to 1,500 temporary migrant farmworkers.

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.

How a little Alberta union helps temporary foreign workers become Canadian (Amber Hildebrandt,

Filipino butcher Eduardo Basa knew little about the small-town meat-packing plant in southern Alberta where he’d secured a job under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. “When I came to Canada, I feel that I’m blindfolded. I don’t know where to go,” said Basa, about his journey here from Manila nearly six years ago. “I know the name of the company, but what’s the process, what’s the system?” A surprise awaited him. He had stumbled into a workplace with a rare guarantee to its transient foreigner workers to help them become Canadians.

Feds walking fine line on temporary foreign workers, say diaspora groups (
The government is in a political straightjacket as it tries to defend itself against an onslaught of criticism over abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Stories of abuse of temporary workers and displaced Canadian workers continue to dominate the news cycle, despite a series of government reforms to the program dating back more than a year. New Canadians are no fans of the program, say the leaders of two diaspora organizations.

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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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