Overwhelming majority of Canadians say refugee rules must change: Ipsos poll

March 29, 2017

Global News | Monique Scotti Over 90 per cent of Canadians think the government’s current approach to dealing with asylum seekers in Canada needs to change, a new poll from Ipsos reveals. While respondents to the survey were sharply divided on exactly how the rules should be adjusted, just 8 per cent said they were content with the status quo as more and more asylum seekers make their way across the border illegally. The poll, conducted on behalf of Global News between March 22 and 23, found that that a slim majority (52 per cent) think that the rules should change so that all migrants crossing into Canada from the United States are treated equally — either they should all be sent packing (12 per cent want that to happen), or they should all be permitted to seek asylum in Canada (40 per cent). Currently, refugees who cross into Canada at a legal border checkpoint are sent back to the U.S.... Read More

Avenue 0: How U.S. asylum seekers are finding their way to British Columbia

March 28, 2017

CBC News | Brenna Rose Abdul and his family boarded a flight from New York to Seattle at the end of February and then took a taxi to the Washington border town Blaine. Pushing a stroller with their newborn baby inside on that town’s A Street, they crossed an unguarded, unfenced park onto 0 Avenue in Surrey, B.C. Then police arrived. ‘We walked around five to seven minutes and then [they] caught us,” said Abdul, whose last name and identity of his family is being withheld out of concern for their safety. “They didn’t shout at us, they were very humble and very calm officers.” Abdul’s family have been living in Vancouver since. They’re part of 291 asylum seekers apprehended by the RCMP in B.C. in the first two months of 2017 — 130 more than Manitoba, where refugees have attracted international coverage. “We have seen a rise in the numbers of people coming, especially families crossing the border,” said... Read More

Soldiers of Odin arrested at anti-racism rally in Vancouver

March 27, 2017

By Karin Larsen, CBC News | Anti-immigrant group uses smoke bomb, intimidation tactics to disrupt International Day Against Racism rally. International Day Against Racism rally organizer Imtiaz Popat said about a dozen white men in black hoodies started following the march as it moved down Hastings Street towards Victory Square. Video shot by rally attendant Fatima Jaffer shows a skirmish breaking out in the crowd at Victory Square before police move in to break up the fight and handcuff some of the SOO members. “They obviously meant to intimidate.” said Jaffer. “The tension was building. The cops were standing and watching.” Popat said police should have intervened sooner. “The police just watched basically until they started physically attacking the crowd,” said Popat. According to VPD spokesman Const. Jason Doucette, three men who identified themselves as SOO members were arrested for breach of the peace and removed from the crowd. “The three men were released without criminal charges…after it was determined their detention was no longer necessary to keep the... Read More

Canadians Adopted Refugee Families for a Year. Then Came ‘Month 13.’

March 25, 2017

By JODI KANTOR and CATRIN EINHORN, New York Times | Everyday Canadians spent a year embracing Syriansin the world’s most personal resettlement program. Letting them go might be the biggest test yet. TORONTO — One year after Canada embraced Syrian refugees like no other country, a reckoning was underway. Ordinary Canadians had essentially adopted thousands of Syrian families, donating a year of their time and money to guide them into new lives just as many other countries shunned them. Some citizens already considered the project a humanitarian triumph; others believed the Syrians would end up isolated and adrift, stuck on welfare or worse. As 2016 turned to 2017 and the yearlong commitments began to expire, the question of how the newcomers would fare acquired a national nickname: Month 13, when the Syrians would try to stand on their own. On a frozen January afternoon, Liz Stark, a no-nonsense retired teacher, bustled into a modest apartment on the east side of this city,... Read More

Information for people considering making a refugee claim in Canada entering from the USA

March 24, 2017

Information for people considering making a refugee claim in Canada entering from the USA The Canadian Council for refugees has produced a document with general information for people considering making a refugee claim in Canada entering from the USA. Read More

This Syrian refugee wants to learn more about Canada’s First Nations

March 22, 2017

By Jenny Uechi, National Observer | #21 of 21 articles from the Special Report:Syrian Refugees in Canada Fadia Jouny, a 19-year-old Syrian refugee, has recently come back from Winnipeg where she gave a passionate presentation about First Nations, and why refugees need to learn more about their history. “I feel very bad. We’re on their land,” she says in a soft voice, speaking in downtown Vancouver. Jouny expresses herself easily in English, despite missing school for most of her teens because of the war. Since arriving in Canada in 2015, Jouny has been busy learning not just the English language, but also about Canadian culture, and Indigenous colonization, missing and murdered Indigenous women. Jouny says fellow refugees are occasionally surprised by her interest in this topic. Why do you care about what First Nations went through? some ask her. The experience of displacement makes her feel close to them, she says. “I feel I am the same as them, in some way,”... Read More

Expression of Interest: Coordinator, North Shore Board and Committee Diversity Project

March 22, 2017

NSIIP is seeking expressions of interest from individuals interested in coordinating the North Shore Board and Committee Diversity Project on a part-time, flexible basis between May and December 2017.  The coordinator would be responsible for the following: Activities and Deliverables: Meeting and liaising with the NSIIP Coordinator and representatives of NSIIP’s Representation Working Group to receive strategic direction on the project and confirm approach. Recruiting and screening diverse candidates interested in joining North Shore boards and committees. The focus would be on adults and youth who have moved to the North Shore within approximately the last 10-15 years from top sources countries such as Iran, China, the Philippines and South Korea, among other under-represented groups (target 20-30 people). Identifying organizations interested in diversifying their boards and committees. Establishing their requirements and desired skills and qualifications for candidates (Target 10-15 organizations). Organizing a board and committee information/orientation sessions for potential candidates in collaboration with pro-bono trainers followed by a networking event to match... Read More

Trump, tighter air travel rules behind surge of refugees at Canada-U.S. border, experts say

March 21, 2017

By NICHOLAS KEUNG, Toronto Star | In January and February, a total of 2,145 people sought asylum at land borders, but only 525 made claims upon arrival by air. There were four times more asylum claimants arriving at land border crossings than at airports in the first two months of 2017, new Canadian data show. In January and February, a total of 525 air travellers — 400 in Ontario, 90 in Quebec, 35 in British Columbia and nine in Alberta — sought asylum upon arrival at airports, said the Canada Border Services Agency. By contrast, 2,145 people crossed at official land border ports of entry and made refugee claims during the same period, including 1,085 in Quebec, 905 in Ontario, 80 in Manitoba, and 35 each in Alberta and British Columbia. In addition to the migrants who made it through the border either legally or illegally and later filed what are known as “inland” claims, Canada received claims from a total... Read More

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 21 March, by United Nations

March 20, 2017

From United Nations’ web page: Children in a camp for internally displaced people in Haiti. UN Photo/Logan Abassi 2017 Theme: Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration Every person is entitled to human rights without discrimination. The rights to equality and non-discrimination are cornerstones of human rights law. Yet in many parts of the world, discriminatory practices are still widespread, including racial, ethnic, religious and nationality based profiling, and incitement to hatred. Racial and ethnic profiling is defined as “a reliance by law enforcement, security and border control personnel on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as a basis for subjecting persons to detailed searches, identity checks and investigations, or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity,” according to a recent report to the Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Refugees and migrants are particular targets of racial... Read More

Integration still a challenge for Syrian refugees one year later: researchers

March 16, 2017

By Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press | MONTREAL — More than a year after landing in Canada, many Syrian refugees are still having trouble integrating, according to government data and researchers who have studied the issue. In comparison to government-sponsored refugees, privately sponsored newcomers tend to fare much better in the short term in language acquisition and job integration, Dawn Edlund of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said Thursday. She said that while more than half of the privately sponsored Syrian refugees who arrived before March 2016 have found work, only 10 per cent of government-sponsored refugees have done so. “The integration journey that people are on has various aspects to it, and Syrian refugees, whether privately sponsored or government-sponsored, are on that exact same pathway,” she told The Canadian Press in an interview. “I don’t know if I identify that as a gap. It’s a similar pathway that we’ve seen resettled refugees travel before.” Edlund was among the first presenters at... Read More

Caught at Canada’s border: What happens once asylum-seekers cross irregularly

March 13, 2017

By National Post | In recent weeks, the sight of asylum-seekers irregularly crossing the border from the U.S. into Canada — some of them young children — has left an indelible impression. There are worries about a spring surge, but so far officials in Ottawa say it’s too early to know. The release of official numbers has been haphazard and incomplete, but one thing is clear: irregular border crossers represent just a fraction of the people seeking asylum in Canada every year. How does one claim asylum? Someone who fears persecution, torture or risk to their life may seek protection as a refugee by claiming asylum at a port of entry (airport, border crossing or seaport) or at an inland office of the Canada Border Services Agency or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Asylum claimants are different from those refugees who are resettled from abroad and who are sponsored by the government or a private group. What happens next? All asylum claimants undergo... Read More

Nowruz Info Sheet

March 10, 2017

Learn more about Nowruz! Read our Nowruz info sheet created in partnership with the North Vancouver District Library and the North Vancouver City Library. Read More

Are asylum seekers walking across the border into Canada actually breaking the law?

March 9, 2017

By Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press | OTTAWA – Since the start of 2017, there’s been a marked increase in the number of people arriving in Canada from the U.S. to seek asylum. More than 1,000 people have filed refugee claims at the Quebec-U.S. border since January, compared with about 200 during the same time last year. In Manitoba, at least 107 people have filed asylum claims at the border since January, compared with 45 in the first two months of last year. Some of those claimants entered Canada at official “ports of entry” – formal border crossings where hundreds of thousands of people each year present their travel documents to border officers for inspection before being allowed into the country. “What we’re seeing now is that people are crossing illegally trying to seek asylum here in Canada, risking life and limb.” – NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan. “What is happening at our border right now is illegal.” – Conservative MP and leadership... Read More

Donald Trump’s immigration ban could be an opportunity for Canada, federal documents say

March 9, 2017

By ALEX BOUTILIER, Ottawa Bureau Reporter, Toronto Star | When America closes a door, Canada could open a window for high-tech workers and start-ups hit by Trump’s travel ban, internal docs suggest. OTTAWA–While America closes the door, Canada could open a window for high-tech workers and start-up entrepreneurs hit by President Donald Trump’s travel ban, internal federal government documents suggest. Documents prepared for former Immigration Minister John McCallum suggest the Trump’s election could lead to increased immigration from entrepreneurs and workers in the high-tech sector. “In certain sectors in the U.S., there is a large pool of temporary residents (including start-up entrepreneurs) who historically have had difficulty securing permanent residency in the U.S.,” the documents, obtained under access to information law, read. “Any proposed measures to ease the immigration process for temporary residents in the U.S., such as start-up entrepreneurs, are unlikely to proceed under the Trump administration. Canada’s Start-Up Visa could provide an attractive alternative for these applications.” Email records show... Read More

82 per cent of B.C. minorities have experienced discrimination or racism, survey finds

March 6, 2017

Vancouver Sun | As multicultural as Canada may be, it appears we are not immune to racism. According to a new survey conducted in B.C., 82 per cent of visible minorities say they have experienced prejudice or some form of discrimination, while 56 per cent of all respondents reported having overheard racist comments. Of those who identified themselves as visible minorities, 46 per cent said they believe they face social disadvantages because of their background, and 33 per cent said they have been a target of abuse. Another 29 per cent reported facing discrimination simply based on their name, while 10 per cent have dealt with disadvantages because of their religious beliefs. Read More

Montreal becomes ‘sanctuary city’ after unanimous vote

February 20, 2017

By Benjamin Shingler, CBC News | The City of Montreal unanimously approved a motion on Monday declaring itself a “sanctuary city” for unauthorized immigrants. The motion includes provisions to ensure undocumented people can obtain services without fear of deportation. Mayor Denis Coderre said the move is more than symbolic and will help protect and assist the most vulnerable without compromising security. The designation comes as the province is dealing with an increase in the number of asylum seekers crossing the border illegally from the United States. Solidarity Across Borders, a Montreal-based human rights organization, welcomed the idea but said the city needs to take steps beyond what it called “easy symbolism.” The group said Montreal police routinely arrest undocumented migrants and hand them over to the Canada Border Services Agency. It wants that practice stopped. In a statement, the group also called on Montreal to bar border agents from all city premises. Changes for police, city services Coderre, a former federal immigration minister, said the designation would lead to substantive changes. “We... Read More

Refugee claims at Canada-U.S. border have doubled over past 2 years

February 17, 2017

By CBC News | The number of refugee claims made at the border has more than doubled over the past two years, surging to 7,023 in 2016, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. By comparison, 4,316 people sought refugee status in Canada at land border crossings in 2015 and another 3,747 did in 2014. But the spike isn’t unusual and represents a return to the volume of refugees Canada has previously received, said Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council of Refugees. “The numbers may look high, but that is because the range you are looking at is one where Canada has been receiving unusually low numbers of claimants,” Dench said in an email interview, noting that there were more than 8,000 land border claims made annually from 1999 to 2004. “So in the longer perspective, 7,000 is not a very large number,” Dench explained. Canada changed the way it receives refugees in 2004 with the introduction of the... Read More

Canadian citizenship applications decline after processing fees triple

February 13, 2017

By Kathleen Harris, CBC News | Experts say prohibitive cost is causing some immigrants to delay becoming new Canadians The number of applicants for citizenship declined last year, and experts say the decrease is largely due to a hike in the application fee. (Photo: Peter Power/Canada Day) A sharp fee increase has helped fuel a dramatic drop in the number of immigrants applying to become Canadian citizens, according to immigration advocates. In the first nine months of 2016, there were 56,446 applications filed for citizenship, a decrease of nearly 50 per cent from the same period a year earlier, when 111,993 applications were submitted. The figures are included in a briefing by former Immigration and Citizenship director general Andrew Griffith prepared for the Senate social affairs, science and technology committee, which begins hearings this week on Bill C-6, a law to amend the Citizenship Act. Griffith, an author on immigration issues and fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, calls it an “alarming” trend... Read More

New website aims to connect refugees with employers

February 12, 2017

By Liam Britten, CBC News | Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. launched new website on Friday Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. CEO Kelly Pollack (at podium) speaks at a Friday launch event for B.C. Refugees Job Connect. (Photo: Sangeeta Subramanian) The Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. says its newly-launched website will help connect refugees with employers. New website aims to connect refugees with employers 6:43 IEC-BC CEO Kelly Pollack says refugees often have a hard time finding jobs after seeking safety in a new country and employers sometimes struggle to bring them into their companies. B.C. Refugees Job Connect aims to help with that problem and has been live since Friday. “Many [refugees] come with a whole assortment of skills but some challenges,” she told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn. “Language being one of them for some … and absolutely very little understanding of how to find a job in British Columbia, how to network, how you connect with people, things most of... Read More

British Columbia’s immigration limits hurt economic growth: Minister

February 9, 2017

By JUSTINE HUNTER, The Globe and Mail | The B.C. government says Ottawa is stifling the province’s growing technology sector by rejecting demands for a substantial expansion of a program that allows B.C. to nominate new immigrants according to its labour-market needs. British Columbia will be allowed to select 6,000 immigrants in 2017 – the same number it had in 2016 – under the provincial nominee program. Last year, that program fast-tracked skilled workers with job offers in B.C. including engineers, information technology workers, heavy equipment operators, social workers and university professors. B.C. Jobs Minister Shirley Bond said in an interview she is disappointed with the decision from federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen on this year’s limit. “We had asked for 9,000. We laid out what we thought was a very strong economic argument,” she said. The B.C. government recently rewrote its jobs plan to adjust to a changing economy. Five years ago, the province was banking on growth in sectors such... Read More


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