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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North Shore Board & Committee Diversity Project

June 13, 2017

Find out more about our North Shore Board and Committee Diversity Project.  Read More

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May 2, 2017

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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

Law would allow children to be Canadian citizens separately from parents

April 7, 2017

Vancouver Sun | Douglas Todd Tens of thousands of children could benefit from a proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act to allow Canadian residents under the age of 18 to apply on their own for Canadian citizenship, say advocates. Ontario Senator Victor Oh proposed legislation on Thursday that asks Canada to follow the lead of Norway and make it possible for minors to apply for citizenship separately from their parents. The proposal would apply to a cross-section of youths in Canada — including asylum seekers, children estranged from their parents, young people with criminal convictions, and minors who don’t want to follow their parents back to nations such as India and China that don’t allow dual passports. Canadian law currently requires permanent residents who want to apply for citizenship to be at least 18 years of age or to be included in a parent or guardian’s immigration application. That “places some highly vulnerable minors at risk of removal once they... Read More

Canada 150: Indian immigrant Ratana Stephens repeatedly named one of country’s top employers

April 6, 2017

Vancouver Sun | Stephen Hume To mark Canada’s 150th birthday, we are counting down to Canada Day with profiles of 150 noteworthy British Columbians. Ratana Stephens rose from lecturing at a girls’ college in India into the stratosphere of B.C.’s business world, named one of Canada’s top 10 female entrepreneurs and one of B.C.’s most influential women. Her remarkable trajectory into the province’s business firmament began when she met Arran Stephens, a young idealist on a spiritual quest. He was the son of Vancouver Island farmer Rupert Stephens, well-known in horticultural circles for advocating the now-common practice of using sawdust as mulch for field berry crops and as developer of the successful Goldstream strawberry variety. Rupert’s grandmother was the daughter of a general with the Bengal Staff Corps at the height of the British Raj. Arran became interested in Eastern mysticism, and in 1967 travelled to India. There he met and later married Ratana. She held an MA in English... Read More

News Release: Budget 2017 helps newcomers get their credentials recognized and find jobs more quickly – ESDC

April 6, 2017

ESDC and IRCC Press Release | Budget 2017 is the next step in the Government’s ambitious plan to make smart investments that will grow our economy and provide more opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it. Helping people, including internationally trained newcomers, find good, well-paying jobs, is part of that plan. Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced that the Government will introduce a new Targeted Employment Strategy for Newcomers. The Strategy will help internationally trained newcomers to our country find jobs that match their skills and experience. Newcomers to Canada often face challenges in getting their credentials recognized so that they can find work. The Government’s new Targeted Employment Strategy for Newcomers will reduce barriers to employment and support newcomers as they put their skills to work in the Canadian economy. Newcomers will benefit from... Read More

Panel: How to improve media coverage of the refugee crisis

April 5, 2017

Open Canada | Catherine Tsalikis Canada has been lauded in the international press for the Trudeau government’s response to the global refugee crisis — for the resettling of more than 40,000 Syrian refugees since taking office and for the way the government has framed the issue in positive terms. But at a media panel presented by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) on Monday at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, journalists who have spent time on the ground in Syria and neighbouring countries affected by the Syrian refugee crisis caution against Canadians feeling overly proud of themselves. Journalist Michael Petrou, who has recently returned from a month spent in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon reporting on Syrian refugees who have stayed in the Middle East, pointed to much smaller communities that have accepted a far greater number of refugees. “I wish we’d stop being so damn smug about it,” Petrou told the audience this week. “I interviewed the mayor... Read More

One in five B.C. citizens’ emails to the province about real estate expressed racism towards Asians

April 5, 2017

Georgia Straight | On July 7, 2016, the province released its first batch of data detailing how many B.C. residential properties were sold to foreign nationals. It was a move that British Columbians were begging the government to make for at least the entire year preceding that day. The Straight filed a freedom-of-information request asking for citizens’ correspondence related to the issue of “foreign buyers, foreign owners, foreign money and/or foreign investment and Vancouver real estate” covering that 12-month period. The response consists of 848 pages that include 526 emails from citizens on the subject of real estate. The vast majority of those letters express intense dissatisfaction with the B.C. Liberals’ long refusal to act on the issue of foreign money in B.C. real estate. “You are elected by the people, but your job has given you enough wealth to disconnect from the middle class,” one reads. “You remind me of Queen Marie Antoinette when she learned that the French... Read More

Advocates challenge false claims about Canadian refugee income

April 4, 2017

CBC News | A retired refugee specialist with the Catholic Diocese of London is concerned an inaccurate email circulating since 2014 is leading to incidents of hate in Windsor and Essex County. The email falsely claims that refugees earn more each year than Canadian seniors living on pension income. Immigration Canada has refuted the claims, but Sister Helen Petrimoulx told several people at a meeting in Windsor Monday night that she had seen signs in Essex County perpetuating the falsehood. “Their yearly income for a single refugee is $6,960. A far cry from the $28,920 in these emails,” she explained. Petrimoulx discussed the email during an event sponsored by Assumption University at the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County. Refugee cap a barrier to generosity She also spoke out against the federal government’s new 1,000-person a cap on privately sponsored refugee applications. The director of the Refugee Ministry of the London Diocese in Windsor said his organization already has 401 applications,... Read More

Research finds refugees have same economic success as other Canadians, but it takes time

April 4, 2017

CBC News | A UBC researcher says three decades of census data shows refugees, on average, cost the country no more in the long term than someone born here. Professor of Geography Dan Hiebert says the financial status of refugees living in Canada’s six biggest cities will eventually mirror the rest of the population, although it can take up to 20 years. “Really tough times at the beginning, high levels of poverty, high levels of social assistance, as much subsidized housing as they can find,” Hiebert told On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko. “After those investments in the beginning years, you find a steady improvement in their economic fortunes over time, [and] refugees end up with the same income distribution at the household level as other Canadians and also with the same level of home ownership.” Hiebert says the things that keep refugees poorer when they first come to Canada, like language barriers, can’t be fixed quickly. Another hurdle... Read More

The Trauma of Facing Deportation

April 3, 2017

The New Yorker | Rachel Aviv In Sweden, hundreds of refugee children have fallen unconscious after being informed that their families will be expelled from the country. Georgi, a Russian refugee who came to Sweden with his family when he was five years old, could talk at length about the virtues of the Volvo. His doctor described him as “the most ‘Swedeified’ in his family.” He was also one of the most popular boys in his class. For his thirteenth birthday, two friends listed some of the qualities that he evoked: energetic, fun, happy all the time, good human being, amazingly kind, awesome at soccer, sly. Georgi’s father, Soslan, had helped found a pacifist religious sect in North Ossetia, a Russian province that borders Georgia. Soslan said that in 2007 security forces demanded that he disband the sect, which rejected the entanglement of the Russian Orthodox Church with the state, and threatened to kill him if he refused. He fled... Read More

Pregnant hijabi raps to celebrate Muslim women

March 31, 2017

BBC News |  Lamia Estatie A pregnant hijabi’s rap video on celebrating Muslim women who wear the headscarf has had support online, though some conservatives are against it. Hijab and rap – do they mix? One woman certainly thinks so. Syrian-American Muslim poet and activist Mona Haydar, 28, put out her first rap song, Hijabi, on Muslim Women’s Day earlier this week. And the unique music video has received a warm response, with people using the hashtag #hijabiXmona to show their support. However, some claimed it contravened Islamic values. The video, which was shot in one day, features an eight-months pregnant Mona, rapping about wrapping her hijab, and a diverse group of veiled women dancing and singing along. She told the BBC: “I’m only interested in growing a more kind and loving world and that is my goal and intention with any and all the work I do.” Repeating questions hijabis often face, the lyrics go: “What that hair look... Read More

Canada to welcome more French-speaking skilled immigrants with new changes to Express Entry

March 31, 2017

IRCC news release | Moncton, NB – Canadians are building a world-leading innovation economy. One way to do this is by making improvements to Express Entry—Canada’s flagship skilled-worker immigration application management system. Programs managed through the Express Entry system attract high-skilled foreign workers and former international students who want to live in Canada permanently and whose in-demand skills are needed by employers across the country to help build businesses and grow the economy. Starting on June 6, 2017, additional points will be awarded to candidates who have strong French language skills. These additional points represent an important change that will contribute to the growth, vitality and prosperity of Francophone minority communities across Canada. Other changes to the Express Entry system planned for June include points for candidates with siblings in Canada and voluntary registration with Job Bank. Quotes “Increasing Francophone immigration and growing Francophone communities across Canada remains a priority for the Government of Canada. Canada’s greatest strength is its skilled,... Read More

Vancouver non-profit app developers win $750K prize from Google

March 30, 2017

CBC News | PeaceGeeks won Google Impact Challenge to develop app to help refugees navigate life in Canada A Vancouver tech non-profit has won a prestigious award from Google. PeaceGeeks won the Google Impact Challenge Thursday in Toronto and will receive $750,000 to develop an app to help refugees navigate their new lives in Canada. “It was incredibly exciting,” founder Renee Black told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn. “It’s a game changer for us.” Vancouver app aims to connect refugees with needed services PeaceGeeks previously developed an app called Services Advisor that assists refugees in camps in Jordan, Turkey and Somalia find survival essentials using their smart phones, like shelter, food, and medical assistance. Their upcoming app is called Pathways, and it aims to connect them with things like language classes, housing and employment services in Canada. “35 per cent of immigrants are not aware of the services available to them. That means you have a situation where you’ve got... Read More


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