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

Safe Third Country Agreement to stay, pledges immigration minister

March 29, 2017

CBC News | Brenna Rose As the debate over the future of asylum seekers in Canada continues, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has once again rejected calls to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement, a pact which considers asylum-seekers to be safe in both Canada and the U.S. “[The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] supports our position and they’ve said very clearly the U.S. domestic asylum system provides due process both in Canada and the U.S.,” said Hussen while at a citizenship ceremony in Vancouver. “There’s absolutely no need to tinker with the Safe Third Country Agreement.” The RCMP has arrested nearly half as many asylum seekers already this year as they did in all of 2016. And, advocates for those asylum seekers warn the agreement gives people incentive to cross irregularly, potentially putting themselves at harm. “[The agreement] forces people to cross with their families. There are pregnant women that are crossing, children crossing in really dangerous situations where... Read More

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


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