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“Acting Against Racism: Strategies for Moving Forward”

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How asylum seekers make refugee claims, and why they take so long

August 25, 2017

By Andrea Bellemare, CBC News | A look at how the refugee process normally works, and how its been affected by the sudden increase in demand. Asylum seekers who come to Canada are often able to make their claim for refugee status on the same day they arrive. But in Quebec the process has been disrupted by the recent influx of asylum seekers from the U.S. Here’s a closer look at how that process normally works and how it’s been affected by the sudden increase in demand. Eligibility interviews Asylum seekers crossing the border illegally at Roxham Road are met by the RCMP, and then taken to a Canada Border Services Agency office where they fill out a Basis of Claim form. In the past, an eligibility interview would usually take place on the same day to determine if the seeker is able to proceed with their refugee claim in Canada. But because of the massive influx this summer, asylum seekers could have to wait up to... Read More

Minister Hussen announces major step forward in gender equality by making changes to passports and immigration documents

August 24, 2017

News Release From Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada August 24, 2017 – Ottawa, ON – As Canadians, we know that protecting and promoting fundamental human rights is an imperative for governments and individuals alike. This includes gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced that the Government of Canada will be working to implement an “X” gender designation in Canadian passports, as well as other documents issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to support LGBTQ2 rights and advance the Government’s agenda on gender equality, diversity and inclusion. An “X” will make it easier for people who do not identify as female (“F”) or male (“M”) to acquire passports and other government-issued documents that better reflect their gender identity. Starting August 31, 2017, IRCC will be the first Government of Canada department to introduce interim measures, which include allowing individuals to add an observation to their passport stating their sex... Read More

Racist confrontation on Vancouver train caught on camera

August 24, 2017

By Jackie Dunham, CTV News | Metro Vancouver transit police are investigating a racist confrontation between a white woman and a senior Filipino couple aboard the city’s SkyTrain this week that was captured on camera by multiple witnesses. The three passengers involved in the heated exchange were travelling on the Millennium Line train heading towards Brentwood Town Centre at approximately 2 p.m. local time on Monday. The disturbance began when the woman told the Filipino couple they were speaking too loudly, according to Paula Correa, a witness who filmed the argument on her phone. The woman can be heard hurling offensive language at the Filipino couple in the videos. “One of the first things I heard her say was, ‘Oh, you’re just a stupid [expletive] Filipino,’” Correa told CTV Vancouver on Wednesday. “There was swearing.” In the video Correa later posted to Facebook, the woman can be heard hurling offensive language at the Filipinos. “Go back to the f—ing Philippines,”... Read More

A Supreme Idea

August 23, 2017

Editorial, North Shore News | A supposed rally by white supremacists in Vancouver failed in spectacular fashion over the weekend. The organizers were planning to decry immigration, Islam and multiculturalism but they evidently chickened out and instead stayed in their basements where no sunlight could disinfect their festering thoughts. In their place, came 4,000 anti-racism protestors preaching love, tolerance and diversity. Aside from a few skirmishes, it was more of a love-in than hate-fest and for that, we’re very proud of the people who marched, including a great many from the North Shore. But these twerps, with their overt hatred for others were the easy targets. We would argue the more insidious form of racism is the kind that hides in plain sight: The racist comment made at the dinner table that goes unchallenged. The condescending and unfounded assumptions made about an Indigenous person. The frustration over housing costs spilling over into anger at people of Chinese descent generally. The refusal... Read More

Q&A: Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen on being the country’s gatekeeper

August 21, 2017

BY MALCOLM JOHNSTON , Toronto Life | As a boy, he fled Somalia for Canada. Now he has the unenviable job of deciding who gets in and who doesn’t In January, you became immigration minister. Two weeks later, Donald Trump signed an order banning visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia, the country of your birth. Was this a travel ban or a Muslim ban? Neither. My U.S. counterpart, John Kelly, the head of Homeland Security, told me that it was a pause to allow them to deal with travel document integrity and analyze their refugee resettlement program. I have to take him at his word. The Canadian government has committed to admitting 300,000 permanent residents in 2017, and right now you’re deciding what the number will be in 2018. What can we expect? I don’t have exact numbers yet, but I can assure you it won’t drop. It’s a matter of finding the right mix. Kellie Leitch, the former Tory leadership contender,... Read More

OTHER VOICES: Acknowledging racism is first step in stopping it

August 16, 2017

North Shore News |   Speak the truth: the first step in acting against racism is to own that it exists. January, 2017. Riding the 240 from North Vancouver to Vancouver, the bus passed Trump Tower. Post U.S. election, post Trump’s hate-fuelled campaign, there it was: his name unveiled. Suddenly for the first time in my life – after 40 years of fighting racism – I felt afraid. I didn’t sleep for days after the election. I was overwhelmed. I disconnected from TV, Facebook and my connections who were expressing their own rage, rightly so, over the increased incidences of racism Trump’s campaign seemed to have sparked. If I, as a diversity specialist, was afraid, what were other people feeling? Racism is not new – the belief that a particular race is superior to another, that a person’s character is predetermined by their biological characteristics – has existed for a very long time and has created systems of oppression for... Read More

Acknowledging racism is first step in stopping it

August 16, 2017

Meharoona Ghani, North Shore News | Speak the truth: the first step in acting against racism is to own that it exists. January, 2017. Riding the 240 from North Vancouver to Vancouver, the bus passed Trump Tower. Post U.S. election, post Trump’s hate-fuelled campaign, there it was: his name unveiled. Suddenly for the first time in my life – after 40 years of fighting racism – I felt afraid. I didn’t sleep for days after the election. I was overwhelmed. I disconnected from TV, Facebook and my connections who were expressing their own rage, rightly so, over the increased incidences of racism Trump’s campaign seemed to have sparked. If I, as a diversity specialist, was afraid, what were other people feeling? Racism is not new – the belief that a particular race is superior to another, that a person’s character is predetermined by their biological characteristics – has existed for a very long time and has created systems of oppression for... Read More

Racist graffiti in West Vancouver raises questions about wider intolerance

July 27, 2017

JEREMY SHEPHERD | NORTH SHORE NEWS, JULY 27, 2017.  A West Vancouver woman says she was shocked and saddened to see an anti-Chinese slur spray-painted on the West Vancouver Community Centre on Monday. The graffiti included a racist epithet followed by the phrase: Deserve To Die scrawled on a wall near a playing field. West Vancouver staff quickly removed the paint but it was still unsettling, noted Lillian Salchner, who reported the graffiti. “There was a lot of hatred in that message,” she said. “Being a Chinese-Canadian, it is shocking.” The suspects are a pair of 11-year-old children who are thought to be behind a string of racist graffiti in the area, including at least one swastika, according to West Vancouver Police Department spokesman Const. Jeff Wood. “They’re doing their work in their own backyard. Genius criminal element,” he said. Police would likely favour a restorative justice approach that underscores the impact racism has in the community, said Wood. The graffiti might... Read More

Foreign students boost business of education in B.C.

July 25, 2017

By Patrick Blennerhassett, Business in Vancouver.  Salvador Ferreras, KPU’s provost and academic vice-president, said the school has seen a bump in international students from India lately, primarily to take business-related programs | Submitted B.C. continues its reign as Canada’s top choice for foreign students. While domestic enrolment numbers across the Lower Mainland’s top universities have flatlined, international students are flocking to schools across the province in record numbers. According to a study by the provincial government, one-third of all international students who come to Canada to attend public and private K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions choose British Columbia. Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is one of the schools reaping the direct benefit of international attention. With 8,990 students, KPU is B.C.’s fourth-largest university for full-time undergraduate enrolment, behind the University of British Columbia (35,070), the University of Victoria (14,220) and Simon Fraser University (12,880), and has posted an increase in international students for more than five consecutive years. During the 2010-11 school year, KPU... Read More

Additional federal funding for immigration and refugee legal aid

July 25, 2017

The Legal Services Society has received confirmation that the federal government will provide additional funding to ensure continued legal aid services for immigrants and refugees. LSS announced last month it would stop taking applications for immigration and refugee services effective August 1, 2017, due to a lack of funding to keep up with increased demand. The new funding allows LSS to maintain services until November 2017 and federal-provincial discussions regarding immigration and refugee legal aid in BC are concluded. “Refugees are an extremely vulnerable group. Many have faced persecution and torture and they need help to navigate our complex legal system,” said Mark Benton, QC, Chief Executive Officer of the Legal Services Society. “This new funding demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to helping those who need our support and assistance.” The need for increased funding is the result of the global refugee crisis, which resulted in a 145 percent increase in legal aid refugee cases at LSS over the past... Read More

Press Release: New Project Launched to Place More Immigrants on North Shore Boards & Committees

July 25, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE New Project Launched to Place More Immigrants on North Shore Boards & Committees NORTH VANCOUVER, July 25, 2017 – A recent survey of 39 governance boards and committees across the North Shore found that very few had members from the North Shore’s top immigrant source countries like Iran, China, the Philippines, Korea and others. While many recent and longer-term immigrants actively volunteer in the community, fewer have been appointed to leadership roles, a situation the North Shore Immigrant Inclusion Partnership (NSIIP) hopes to address with a new project. NSIIP has received grants from the West Vancouver Foundation, the Community Foundations of Canada, and the Districts of North and West Vancouver to run a “Board and Committee Diversity Project” between now and December 2017. The goal of the project is to match 10-15 established immigrants with positions on governance boards and advisory committees at local non-profits and civic institutions. Organizations wanting to diversify their boards can look to... Read More

PRESS RELEASE: New Project Launched to Place More Immigrants on North Shore Boards & Committees

July 25, 2017

For Immediate Release NORTH VANCOUVER, July 25, 2017 – A recent survey of 39 governance boards and committees across the North Shore found that very few had members from the North Shore’s top immigrant source countries like Iran, China, the Philippines, Korea and others. While many recent and longer-term immigrants actively volunteer in the community, fewer have been appointed to leadership roles, a situation the North Shore Immigrant Inclusion Partnership (NSIIP) hopes to address with a new project. NSIIP has received grants from the West Vancouver Foundation, the Community Foundations of Canada, and the Districts of North and West Vancouver to run a “Board and Committee Diversity Project” between now and December 2017. The goal of the project is to match 10-15 established immigrants with positions on governance boards and advisory committees at local non-profits and civic institutions. Organizations wanting to diversify their boards can look to the West Vancouver Memorial Library for inspiration. The library has made strides in... Read More

“Acting Against Racism: Strategies for Moving Forward”

June 22, 2017

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Introducing the North Shore Board & Committee Diversity Project

June 13, 2017

Find out more!  Contact Angela at wfg@shaw.ca or 604-522-1492 for inquiries. Read More

See our Latest Newsletter!

May 2, 2017

Learn more about what we’ve been working on, find out about our latest resources, and more. Read our Newsletter. Receive quarterly updates from us – sign up here. Read More

Asian OCAD student’s mock resumé forces others ‘to see who I am’

April 27, 2017

Toronto Star | Nicholas Keung Stein Wang has a resumé that cannot be overlooked. Part irony and part political statement against employers’ hesitance to interview and hire candidates with Asian names, the OCAD University industrial design graduate has created a resumé that confronts hiring managers’ biases against jobseekers with non-Anglicized names. To be able to read Wang’s curriculum vitae, viewers must stretch their eyes outward with their hands in order to be able to recognize the letters in a font that he developed that can only be properly viewed through what he calls the “slanty eyes” that most Asians have. “People cast others based on stereotypes and biases. Employers look past you by your name and don’t really see who you are,” said Wang, 27, referring to recent Canadian studies that found recruiters are less likely to offer job interviews to applicants with Asian names. “Now, they have to make an effort to see who I am.” The mock resumé... Read More

Liberals repeal Conservative immigrant residency requirement targeting marriage fraud

April 25, 2017

CBC News | Kathleen Harris The Liberal government is repealing a measure brought in by the Conservatives that required newcomers to live with their sponsoring spouse for two years or face deportation. The conditional permanent residency status policy, which kicked in October 2012, was designed to clamp down on marriage fraud. But immigrant advocates said it had the effect of trapping some people in violent, abusive relationships. Scrapping the two-year probation for permanent residency checks off another 2015 Liberal campaign promise, which the government signalled it would pursue last fall. According to the Privy Council Office website, the cabinet decision was formally taken April 13 and will be published on May 3 in the Canada Gazette, the government’s official newsletter. A formal government announcement on the change is expected Friday. Under the Conservative policy, sponsored spouses and partners were given a status of “conditional” permanent residence, and were required to cohabit and remain in a conjugal relationship with their sponsor for two years. If they didn’t,... Read More

Ottawa pilots ‘name-blind’ recruitment to reduce ‘unconscious bias’ in hiring

April 20, 2017

Toronto Star | Nicholas Keung Ottawa has launched a pilot project to reduce biases in the hiring of federal civil services through what is billed “name-blind” recruitment, a practice long urged by employment equity advocates. The Liberal government’s move came on the heels of a joint study by University of Toronto and Ryerson University earlier this year that found job candidates with Asian names and Canadian qualifications are less likely to be called for interviews than counterparts with Anglo-Canadian names even if they have a better education. “It’s not just an issue of concern for me but for a lot of people. A number of people have conducted research in Canada, the U.K., Australia and the U.S. that showed there is a subliminal bias in people reading too much into names,” said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, who first delivered the idea to Parliament last year as a rookie MP from Toronto. “Name-blind recruitment could help ensure the public service reflects... Read More

Ottawa is rethinking its approach to immigration detention

April 9, 2017

The Star | Brendan Kennedy The federal government is “exploring potential policy changes” to reduce the length of immigration detention and get non-violent migrants out of maximum-security jails, according to a new report. The Canada Border Services Agency’s “New National Immigration Detention Framework,” released late Friday, is not a concrete plan as much as it is a general set of intentions. But, if implemented, it would signal a substantial shift in how Canada treats its unwanted immigrants. Based on a series of stakeholder consultations conducted last fall in response to mounting public pressure, the report from Canada’s border police agency says it wants to “better align” itself with international and domestic standards for immigration detention by reducing the use of maximum-security jails, expanding alternatives to detention and “drastically” shrinking the number of children in detention. “By implementing the Framework, Canada Border Services Agency is taking concrete steps to exercise its responsibility for detentions to the highest possible standards,” the report... Read More

Immigration minister meets with youth group, plays soccer

April 7, 2017

CBC News | Rafferty Baker Canada’s immigration minister laced up his sneakers and worked up a sweat playing indoor soccer with a group of immigrant and refugee teens on Friday in Vancouver, following a meeting with the youth group. Minister Ahmed Hussen sat down with the group of young people, called Fresh Voices, who had all experienced the immigrant or refugee settlement process in Canada. The teens shared their recommendations, thoughts and questions with the minister, who arrived in Canada from Somalia as an unaccompanied refugee when he was 16. “I’m always prepared to listen to people on the ground who are accessing the system, whether it’s refugee loans or other issues related to immigration, to see what we can do better,” said Hussen after the closed-door meeting. “We had a great conversation around services that are accessed by refugee and newcomer youth, how those services sometime help, but sometimes miss the unique needs of refugee and newcomer youth,” he said.... Read More

 

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