IMMIGRATION AND DIVERSITY
Immigration policy wasnt always about economics alone (Natalie Brender, Toronto Star)
What if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it? Thats an entertaining stumper. But what if immigration activists make an argument and no one grasps it? Thats something more serious and its a very real worry raised by current attempts to question the direction that Canadas immigration policy is taking. In a Star op-ed last week, immigrant advocates Debbie Douglas and Avvy Yao-Yao Go argued that the public consultation being conducted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is deeply flawed. CICs online background paper and survey questions, they claim, have an overwhelmingly economic slant designed to produce responses favouring economic-class immigrants at the expense of family-class ones and refugees. Therefore, the authors urge, Canadians should weigh in on the consultation in order to ensure a full range of perspectives not just economic ones shape CICs plans for Canadas future.
Immigration discussion in Canada should be about people, not economics (Debbie Douglas, rabble)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is currently consulting the public on Canada’s future immigration plan. Very few Canadians know about this, and even fewer may participate. Given the consultation design and the questions posed by CIC, perhaps that should not be a surprise. Some call it cliché while others call it irrefutable fact: our country has been and will continue to be built by immigrants. From economic prosperity to social harmony, the well-being of Canada and its people are intrinsically linked to both our immigration policy and the way immigrants are treated in this country.
Are they illegal or illegalized? (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
What should we call people who are in Canada illegally, without status or proper immigration documents? Some call them illegal immigrants, while others refer to them as undocumented, non-status, irregular, unauthorized or migrants without papers. The naming of this particular population is always a contentious and polarizing issue, causing heated and emotional debates between the enforcement-minded, who are in favour of a law-and-order agenda to keep them out, and their libertarian opponents, who believe in the freedom of movement to give them a pathway to status.
City of Toronto continues its successful international student greeting program at Pearson International Airport (City of Toronto)
Today, the City launched the third year of its International Students Airport Welcome program with the following sponsors: the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; CIBC; Rogers Communications; the Greater Toronto Airports Authority; and Tim Hortons. “This City program offers a warm and helpful welcome for students who greatly contribute to the economic well-being of our city,” said Mayor Rob Ford. “These students have chosen Toronto because our great city offers a globally competitive education as well as a safe, diverse and exciting place to live and study.”
Muslim border security agent targets Muslim Canadian Congress offcial (Ottawa Citizen)
The Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) has asked the Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney and the head of Canadas Border Security Agency, Luc Portelance to investigate an incident at the Niagara Falls border crossing where a CBSA officer describing himself as a practicing Muslim, detained and harassed the president of the MCC and his family.
Canada follows US, makes work visa difficult (Shilpa Phadnis, Times of India)
The past decade has seen a phenomenal increase in the number of Indians working in Canada, the highest amongst any single nationality. But that now looks set to slow down. Just as the US, Canada too is tightening its temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) that allows foreign nationals to work in Canada for short periods. The effort, as Rakesh Prabhu, partner-immigration practice in ALMT Legal, says, is to improve employment opportunities for its locals. Effective July, employers in Canada will have to pay $275 as processing fee for each application that they file to bring in a foreign worker. Till now there was no fee. The new fee is non-refundable in case the application is rejected.
Canadian Forces to reduce unattainable targets for recruitment of women, visible minorities (Lee Berthiaume, National Post)
Military officials are preparing to scale back targets related to the number of women and visible minorities in uniform because they say the current goals are unattainable, according to a defence department audit. This is despite the military having made some progress in increasing the proportion of both within its rank and file in recent years. At the same time, auditors have warned that the decision to close 12 military recruiting centres across the country to save money will hurt reserve units as well as aboriginal recruitment, which has been on the increase.
Immigrant families are living in poverty in spite of working hard (CERIS)
Access Alliance recently released a new report titled Where are the Good Jobs? Ten stories of working rough, living poor. This report is a follow up to our Working Rough, Living Poor report (released in 2011) and contains ten powerful case stories of immigrant families from racialized background (visible minority) who are struggling to find stable employment in Canada. Both reports can be downloaded at: www.accessalliance.ca The case stories of these ten families provide heart-wrenching real life accounts and telling evidence of what it is like for racialized immigrant families to be trapped in a vicious cycle of bad jobs, near-poverty conditions, and deteriorating health. It is important that we put names and faces to these stories, reminding ourselves that peoples lives, families and futures are at stake.
Event August 22: Role of Ethnic Media in Canada (Ryerson University Diversity Institute)
Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute cordially invites you to a seminar on the growing importance of ethno-cultural media in Canada’s diverse cities.
Government of Canada supports internationally trained acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners (Gov of Canada News)
Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister of Multiculturalism, announced that the Government of Canada is helping internationally trained acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners put their skills to work sooner, anywhere in Canada. We recognize the importance of trained health care professionals, including those practicing traditional Chinese medicine, in addressing skills shortages and improving the quality of life of Canadians, said Minister Kenney. That is why we are working with partners like the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia to help Canadian and internationally trained professionals find jobs in their fields and contribute fully to Canadas economy.
NDP MP Sims Unleashed On Kenney Again In New Critic Role (The Link)
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair named Jinny Sims, MP for Newton-North Delta, to the NDP Shadow Cabinet as the critic for Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, where she will again be unleashed on Minister Jason Kenney, who was reassigned from Immigration and Citizenship to Human Resources. I am looking forward to serving in this new role, said Sims. Short-sighted Conservative cuts to social programs have hurt Canadian families, and I will work hard to hold the government to account.
Students train to help new Canadians at high school (Craig Gilbert, London Community News)
When 16-year-old Alejandro Duque moved to London from Columbia, it was a challenge to find the right class, let alone get to his locker. His countryman, Carlos Giraldo, 14, had trouble just opening the lock. In a new school where the culture, language and even lockers are different, having someone who gets it can be a big help. Thats the idea behind the Newcomers program at the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre.
New Divorce Process For Certain Non-Residents Who Married in Canada Now in Force (Settlement AtWork)
Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the coming into force of a new divorce process for certain non-resident couples who married in Canada. Generally, a Canadian divorce is only available if at least one of the spouses has lived in Canada for at least one year. Amendments to the Civil Marriage Act now make a limited exception for couples from other countries if they married in Canada and cannot divorce in their home country because their country does not recognize the Canadian marriage.
University of B.C. and other Canadian universities heading to India to recruit international students (Larissa Cahute, Vancouver Desi)
Representatives from the University of British Columbia and eight other Canadian universities are en route to India to promote education in Canada and recruit international students to their undergraduate programs. According to manager of international recruitment and marketing with UBCs Vantage College, Marc Bavin, its an annual trip organized by the Canadian Higher Education Committee under the Council of International Schools hes also got about five more similar trips abroad scheduled this fall.
Operational Bulletin 440-B – April 11, 2013 – Protecting Canadas Immigration System Act Changes to Humanitarian and Compassionate Consideration (CIC)
This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides an overview of the changes to the Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) provisions, as per Section 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), as well as guidelines to determine if an applicant qualifies to have an application for permanent residence on H&C grounds assessed.
Nepalese refugees welcomed to Halifax (Lizzy Hill, The Coast)
A group of Nepalese/Bhutanese refugees will start new lives and form a new immigrant community in Halifax, after spending nearly 20 years in refugee camps. Twelve government-sponsored refugees arrived last week, joining the 20 who arrived in May. “We’re assuming that we will get more,” says Sarah Cooper, settlement worker at the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association. Canada has promised to resettle 5,000 of roughly 108,000 stateless Nepalese/Bhutanese refugees.
Program helps unaccompanied minors navigate Canadas refugee process (David Hayes, Toronto Star)
When Ivie Okaro was 16 and still lived in a rural area 240 kilometres northwest of Lagos, Nigeria, she dreamed of going to university, of becoming a doctor or a nurse. But she had to drop out of school because her father, a farmer who sold palm oil, fell into financial trouble and couldnt afford the fees. He borrowed from a tribal elder and when he was unable to repay the loan, the elder demanded, as compensation, one of the mans daughters as a wife. So Ivies father told the elder he could have Ivie. Aside from marriage to this old man, which Ivie didnt want, she would also have to be publicly circumcised, a painful and sometimes fatal procedure. Ivies father had already thrown her mother out of the home so, in desperation, Ivie ran away. Her mother and an aunt knew she couldnt hide from her father and the elder forever so they managed to raise enough money for her to escape.
Immigration Minister: Canada will seriously consider refugee claims by Russian homosexuals (Thaddeus Baklinski, Life Site News)
Canada’s newly appointed immigration minister said that Russia is wrong in restricting homosexual propaganda aimed at youth and indicated that refugee claims by Russian homosexuals will be given serious consideration by the Conservative government. Speaking at a Canadian citizenship ceremony in Surrey, B.C. on August 12, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has made its position on the Russian laws against homosexual proselytizing known and that Russian refugee claims related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system.
EMPLOYMENT & WORKERS
Street party for a $14 minimum wage! (Workers’ Action Centre)
What better way to launch a day of action for a $14 minimum wage than organize a pop-up street party in the heart of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s riding. As soon as we arrived we had some very eager helpers from the community!
Canada welcomes first skilled trades immigrants (Tobi Cohen, Leader Post)
Little more than seven months after it launched, Canadas new skilled trades immigration stream has welcomed its first permanent residents to Canada. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Employment Minister Jason Kenney made the joint announcement Friday in Toronto and Calgary where they welcomed a plumber from Ireland and an electrician who had already been working for a Calgary-based company since June 2012. Eric Byrne originally arrived in Canada through a work-abroad program. While here, he got his Ontario trades certificate and found a job at University Plumbing and Heatin
Canadas new immigration program welcomes first plumber and electrician (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Eight months after Ottawa launched a new program to recruit immigrants in skilled trades, the first plumber and electrician both from Ireland received their official welcome Friday. Eric Byrne, 31, the plumber who settled in Toronto, and Paul Lyttle, 29, the electrician now based in Calgary, are among as many as 3,000 newcomers slated to be accepted in 2013 under Canadas Federal Skilled Trades Program. The program was initiated in January to target prospective immigrants whose skills and experience fall into one of the 43 occupations in demand in the countrys construction, transportation and manufacturing sectors.
Foreign-trained MDs being shut out (Charlie Fidelman, Montreal Gazette)
Foreign-trained doctors are still being shut out of medical residencies, says a provincial rights agency whose latest study unveils a vicious circle of discrimination. This year, 50 per cent of qualified immigrant doctors were refused entry into residency a step needed to get a license to practice medicine in Quebec despite successfully completing a government-funded training program conceived with the specific goal of putting them on an equal footing with Canadian-trained doctors. What will it take for immigrant doctors to be able to practice medicine in this province? demanded Gaétan Cousineau, head of the Quebec Human Rights Commission.
Harper government gets slap on wrist for ad touting job grant that doesnt exist (Tobi Cohen, Canada.com)
A federal government television commercial touting a not yet existent Canada Job Grant was misleading and a breach of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, Canadas advertising watchdog has ruled. In a letter to James Gilbert, assistant deputy human resources minister, Advertising Standards Canada said it received more than 20 consumer complaints alleging the ad was misleading. After reviewing the complaints, the council concluded the ad, which aired in May at prime time during the NHL playoffs and likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, indeed omitted relevant information contrary to the code.
POVERTY / HEALTH / HOMELESSNESS / SOCIAL INCLUSION / POLICY
Canadian Social Research Newsletter August 18, 2013 (Canadian Social Research Links)
1. Raising Ontario’s minimum wage makes good economic sense (Toronto Star) – August 13
2. Health Care : Let’s Talk About It. (Ottawa Council on Aging Bulletin, Summer 2013)
3. Le système de santé : Parlons-en (Bulletin du Conseil sur le vieillissement d’Ottawa – Été 2013)
4. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics
— Statistics Canada delays final release of National Household Survey – August 13
— Tracking government finances – July 17 StatCan blog post
5. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit
Canada’s top judge slams ‘inaccessible justice’ (CBC)
“Inaccessible justice costs us all, but visits its harshest consequences on the poorest people in our communities,” the report says. Its author, Melina Buckley, says one of the biggest concerns is the growing number of people who represent themselves in civil cases. Buckley says many people earn just enough money so they don’t qualify for legal aid, but they also don’t make enough to pay for a lawyer. Those people often find themselves on their own in court, she says. The problem is especially pronounced in family law cases.
CBA’s Map to Equal Justice (Omar Ha-Redeye, Slaw)
The Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee has released a new summary report today, Reaching Equal Justice: An Invitation to Envision and Act. The report explains why fundamental change in the legal system is necessary, exploring issues like the growth of unrepresented litigants, the role of technology, and potential partnerships between private practices and public resources.
Report: Reaching Equal Justice: An Invitation to Envision and Act- http://www.scribd.com/doc/161189635/CBA-Equal-Justice-Report-Balancing-the-Scales
Province updating poverty strategy (Craig Gilbert, London Community News)
About 50 social agency reps and London residents received the chance to weigh in on the provinces next poverty reduction strategy Friday morning (Aug. 19). London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews, working on behalf of the minister of children and youth services, hosted an input session at the North London Optimist Community Centre. It was the second of 19 input gathering sessions that will take place across the province as the government updates its poverty reduction strategy. Attendees included representatives of the United Way and LifeSpin, as well as public health advocates.
Liberals determined to make more progress to reduce poverty in Ontario (James Kuracina, Windsor Star)
In response to the letter of Aug. 13 regarding our governments record on poverty, I can say plainly that I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished. After years of cuts and neglect under previous governments, we took action by introducing the Poverty Reduction Act and the provinces first Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2008. We started by targeting our efforts on child poverty and we got results. By creating and steadily increasing the Ontario Child Benefit, weve helped lift 61,000 children out of poverty.
New Legal Clinic Opens at Vaughan Food Ban (Settlement AtWork)
Those who need legal advice along with help at the food bank can now get both in one place, thanks to a new venture that opened recently. The Community Legal Clinic of York Regions satellite office is now open in the same location as the Vaughan Food Bank on Marycroft Avenue in Woodbridge.
Toronto to pick new priority neighbourhoods (Daniel Dale, Toronto Star)
In a high-stakes policy shift, Toronto may soon drop some needy communities from its roster of priority neighbourhoods and replace them with communities now thought to be needier. The city government is about to begin selecting the first new crop of neighbourhoods since the priority initiative was launched eight years ago. The selection process, likely to be completed in 2014, is complicated and political: neighbourhoods that make the updated roster may get millions of extra dollars from governments, corporate donors and non-profits. To help councillors decide which areas to choose, officials are now in the process of developing a new quantitative ranking of neighbourhood need. They are openly hoping that some of the current 13 neighbourhoods dont make the statistical cut.