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

Immigrants will comprise a growing share of Canada’s population: Statscan

January 25, 2017

Globe and Mail | Canada will increasingly be a nation of immigrants, new population projections show. Nearly half of the country’s population will likely be immigrants or children of immigrants by 2036, a Statistics Canada study estimates. If current immigration levels continue in the years ahead, immigrants and the second-generation population could comprise nearly one in two people in the country, with estimates ranging from 44.2 per cent to 49.7 per cent – up from 38.2 per cent in 2011. Immigrants have accounted for a growing share of Canada’s population since the 1990s, amid steady immigration levels, increasing numbers of deaths and low fertility rates. The share of immigrants in the population will likely “continue to increase until 2036 and could be almost twice as high as in 1871,” the agency said. For the first time, Statscan also released detailed language projections. They show that by 2036, more than a quarter of the population will have a mother tongue other than... Read More

B.C.’s Syrian refugees face income squeeze with switch to provincial welfare

January 23, 2017

Vancouver Sun | By Tara Carman.  Syrian refugee family Bassam Sua’Ifan and Yousra Al Qablawi with their son, Karam. ‘If I could work without English, I would have worked a long time ago,’ says Sua’Ifan, who has settled in Surrey. MARK YUEN / PNG For Bassam Sua’Ifan and Yousra Al Qablawi, money was already tight. Rent, utilities, car insurance and the cost of feeding and caring for seven children account for the family’s entire budget. Now the Syrian refugee family must make some hard budget choices as their income been reduced by close to $500 a month, Bassam says, with the transition from federal support to B.C. welfare. Hundreds of Syrian families who arrived in B.C. between December 2015 and March 2016 are experiencing the same thing. Government-assisted refugees are supported by Ottawa for their first 12 months in Canada. Although federal refugee support rates are tied to provincial welfare, there are a couple of differences that translate into as much as... Read More

Journal: Canadian Diversity Fall 2016 – Association for Canadian Studies

January 20, 2017

Canadian Diversity is an research journal that focuses on questions of diversity, immigration, integration and multiculturalism. Summary: Table of Contents: Introduction: A Defining Moment in Responding to Refugees Howard Ramos Resettling Syrian Refugees: A National Project John McCallum Pathways into the Syrian Refugee Crisis and Some Escape Routes Out Elke Winter and Benjamin Zyla Focusing on Refugee Children and Youth will Make a Difference Howard Ramos and Michal Ungar When it Comes to Migrant Belonging and Trust, It’s not About the Money, Money…: A comparison of Canada’s Refugees and Economic Immigrants Jack Jedwab and Lori Wilkinson Attracting, Retaining and Integrating Newcomers in Smaller Centres Naomi Alboim Employment Pathways for Refugees: Barriers on the Pathway to a Good Job and the Importance of Getting There. – Part 1 Micheala Hynie and Tina Changoor Employment Pathways for Refugees: An Approach for Overcoming Barriers for Government-Assisted Refugees in Ontario – Part 2 Ashley Korn and Phillipe Raphael Involuntary Minorities Among Francophone Manitobans: Resistance,... Read More

Information: Housing Financial Literacy – Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

January 20, 2017

CMHC has published an information sheet about the tools available to increase newcomers’ financial literacy. Summary: This information sheet contains links and information on: CMHC’s calculators and app CMHC video for newcomers Information on renting and buying in multiple languages Homebuying step by step CMHC websites with further information HousingFinancialLiteracybyCMHC-2017 Read More

About 1,400 immigrants a year ordered removed from Canada for residency non-compliance

January 18, 2017

Toronto Star | by By NICHOLAS KEUNG. The number of permanent residents issued removal orders at port of entry has risen from 605 in 2008 to 1,413 in 2014. An average of about 1,400 Canadian immigrants are intercepted at the border each year and ordered removed from the country for not fulfilling their residency obligations, the Star has learned. Although these newcomers can appeal to a tribunal to restore their permanent resident status under humanitarian considerations, only one in 10 succeeds in the process, according to government data. “The tribunal is supposed to be immigrants’ last resort as the Parliament has given it the discretionary power to give immigrants a second chance if they breach the law,” said immigration lawyer Lawrence Wong, who obtained the data through an access to information request. “But that second chance in reality is hard to come by. The national sentiment is pretty much the same. If you are an immigrant, don’t make a mistake. If... Read More

Federal government reaffirms commitment to bring Yazidi refugees to Canada

January 16, 2017

CBC News | by Peter Zimonjic. ‘More can always be done, and we’re always looking at ways to integrate and settle refugees better’ Canada will meet its commitment to bring an unspecified number of persecuted Yazidis to Canada by late February, according to the federal government’s new immigration minister. In an interview with CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, newly minted Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen said his government would soon provide a detailed update on its Yazidi efforts. “We intend to fully meet that commitment,” Hussen told host Rosemary Barton. “That is still on track and we will make sure that we communicate the ongoing nature of the meeting of that commitment in due course.” The minister said he could not provide details now, because doing so could possibly endanger Canadian staff on the ground working with Yazidis. The Yazidis are a religious minority with a 6,000-year-old culture, and are based mainly in northern Iraq. ISIS launched brutal attacks targeting the Yazidi community... Read More

B.C. volunteer connects Syrian women refugees through love of homeland’s cuisine

January 2, 2017

Globe and Mail | By: Wendy Stueck When Syrian refugees began arriving in Vancouver in early 2016, Nihal Elwan wanted to help. Born in Cairo, Ms. Elwan speaks English, French and Arabic and has worked for government and non-governmental organizations in the Middle East for more than a decade on issues including domestic violence and child marriage. So she was particularly attuned to challenges facing women refugees, including language and cultural barriers that can make it more difficult for women to look for work or make new friends. But she also knew many newly arrived refugee women were superb cooks, steeped in the intricacies of Syrian cuisine and accustomed to cooking for large numbers of people at family or community gatherings. That became the seed for a fledgling food venture that is now spreading its wings. Ms. Elwan arranged startup funding of $500 through the Vancouver Foundation’s Neighbourhood Small Grants program. Ms. Elwan does not receive any compensation and is... Read More


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