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

Census 2016: Western provinces’ populations are the fastest-growing in Canada

February 9, 2017

By JOE FRIESEN and TOM CARDOSO, GLOBE AND MAIL | Summary: Canada’s population growth is shifting westward, as the latest census results show the Prairie region and British Columbia leading the country in growth. For the first time since Confederation the three Prairie provinces all rank at the top of provincial growth charts, nosing out a slowing Ontario. British Columbia, in fourth place, also grew at a rate higher than the national average. Nearly one in three residents now live in Western Canada, the highest share ever recorded. Statistics Canada counted a total of 35,151,728 people living in Canada on the day of the census, May 10, 2016. Over the five years since the previous census the population grew at a rate of about one per cent a year, or 5 per cent overall since 2011, for a total of 1.7 million additional residents since 2011. Global context As it has been for the last 15 years, Canada remains the fastest-growing country in... Read More

Black History Month: ‘Rich history’ of black people in B.C. has roots in Victoria

February 4, 2017

By Nick Eagland, Vancouver Sun |  If it wasn’t for Black History Month, Ron Nicholson worries a “rich history” that helped shape B.C. would be lost on today’s youth. “Without history you’re nothing, you have no tradition at all,” said Nicholson, who is vice-president of the B.C. Black History Awareness Society. All this month, Nicholson will be busy giving talks and lectures about a history he’s keen to share. His devotion stems in part from learning the story of his great grandfather, who escaped slavery in West Virgina by travelling the Underground Railroad and settling in Ontario. Maintaining a connection to his own past is important to Nicholson, he said. “B.C. has a very rich history of blacks, particularly the ones that came up from California in 1858 and settled in the Victoria area, Salt Spring Island and Saanich area,” he said. “We have a lot of stories to tell. I think it’s beneficial not just for black people — it’s a very interesting history and it’s part of Canadian history. It’s the... Read More

North Shore Immigrant Inclusion Forum is Coming on March 3rd

February 3, 2017

For more information, please visit our Forum page. Read More

Federal budget to include reforms to temporary foreign worker program

February 1, 2017

By Globe and Mail | The upcoming federal budget will include a new wave of reforms to the temporary foreign worker program as the government pledges to ease entry for high-skilled labour while boosting protections for low-wage workers. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Patty Hajdu, the new Employment Minister, confirmed that the government has approved a package of policy changes that will be released in the budget. “I’m actually chomping at the bit to get some of that news out, but as you know, the budget will be released shortly and many of our actions are tied to the budget,” she said. The program, which allows employers to bring in temporary workers from abroad, has long been a political headache for the federal government. Specific cases where restaurant or mining jobs have gone to foreign workers when local help was available sparked controversy and led to a major reform in 2014 under the former Conservative government. Some employer... Read More

As Canada Transforms, an Anti-Immigrant Fringe Stirs

January 31, 2017

By CRAIG S. SMITH and DAN LEVIN, New York Times |    Canadians gathered to hear political and community leaders speak in Quebec City on Monday, the day after six worshipers were shot to death at a mosque. CreditIan Willms for The New York Times TORONTO — François Deschamps stepped out of his apartment building in the Limoilou neighborhood of Quebec City recently and stopped when he saw a sticker wrapped around a light pole. “Burn Your Local Mosque,” it read, around a silhouette of a Turkish-style mosque against an orange flame. He snapped a cellphone photo and added it to his collection of anti-Muslim propaganda popping up around the city. Canada is a remarkably open society, a legacy of liberal politicians who set the thinly populated country on the path of aggressive multiculturalism decades ago. Last week, Statistics Canada reported that by 2036, nearly half of all Canadians would be immigrants or the children of immigrants — most of them... Read More

No change to refugee policy, Canada’s immigration minister says

January 31, 2017

By Laura Payton, CTV News | OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says Canada isn’t going to cancel an agreement with the U.S. that blocks refugees in the country from applying for refugee status in Canada. Hussen spoke to reporters Tuesday following a news conference by New Democrat immigration critic Jenny Kwan, who urged the Liberal government to pull out of the safe third country agreement. The safe third country agreement, which came into force in 2004, blocks applicants already in Canada or the U.S. from applying for refugee status in the other country. “All the parameters of that agreement are in place and there’s no change at this time,” Hussen said following a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill. A Syrian family sit outside their tent, at a Syrian refugee camp, in the eastern town of Kab Elias, Lebanon on Jan. 27, 2016. (Bilal Hussein / AP Photo) The immigration minister said the U.S. administration has just started allowing entry to... Read More

…Guided by our Shared Humanity

January 30, 2017

Weaving our Humanity was a NSIIP project hosted on November 19, 2016. Our hearts were warmed by stories and performances from our community. See the photos, enjoy a beautiful poem about the evening, read our final report on the project, and hear what a columnist had to say about it. Read More

Asian job seekers face disadvantage even when they have higher degrees, study finds

January 25, 2017

Toronto Star | By NICHOLAS KEUNG.  A new Canadian study found job applicants with Asian names and a master’s degree got fewer interview requests than counterparts with Anglo-Canadian names and only a bachelor’s degree. Job candidates with Asian names and Canadian qualifications are less likely to be called for interviews than their counterparts with Anglo-Canadian names even when they have a better education, a new study has found. Using data from a recent large-scale Canadian employment study that examined interview callback rates for resumés with Asian and Anglo names, researchers found Asian-named applicants consistently received fewer calls regardless of the size of the companies involved. Although a master’s degree can improve Asian candidates’ chances of being called, it does not close the gap and their prospects don’t even measure up to those of Anglo applicants with undergraduate qualifications. Compared to applicants with Anglo names, Asian-named applicants with all-Canadian qualifications had 20.1 per cent fewer calls from organizations with 500 or more... Read More


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