We follow a lot of sources and send out links to many articles every day. But we know that your time is limited and you may not be able to follow them all. At the end of each week, we pull out some themes from the week’s headlines that are worth your time. If you’re interested in our daily news coverage (and more), follow us on Twitter.
The past week marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and Wellesley Institute released a new report Canada’s Colour Coded Labour Market that found that “Despite an increasingly diverse population, a new report on Canada’s racialized income gap shows a colour code is still at work in Canada’s labour market.”
See the release from CCPA and Wellesley’s blog coverage.
The report received some media coverage, including the Toronto Star, Skin colour matters in access to good jobs: study, the Montreal Gazette, Discrimination to blame for prosperity gap: study and the Toronto Sun, ‘Colour code’ keeps Canadian workforce inequitable. A related opinion piece from the Hamilton Spectator, Oh, Canada: Diverse but not inclusive, wondered: “We are becoming more diverse as a society. But we need to ask the question: Are we more inclusive?”
During the week, the Regina Leader-Post asked: Racism: has it changed? and suggested that “Canadian institutions and organizations are now less likely to engage in overt discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnicity.” The Government of Canada, meanwhile, applauded talented youth working to build acceptance and fight racism.
The Toronto Sun wondered and rejected the notion that there are too many white people on city council.
It was perhaps timely that a review of Brokering Belonging: Chinese in Canada’s Exclusion Era should be published. “During the Exclusion Era (1885-1945), a series of increasingly draconian immigration laws limited Chinese immigration to Canada and the United States. Mar’s book illustrates the gaping holes in the immigration policy of the era and provides new insight into who filled those holes.”
In some ways, diversity and multiculturalism are, for many, still about markets and marketing. Who Are You? The Census Helps Demographers Know: “Some Canadians might balk at being thought of purely as consumers rather than citizens… [but] that’s how one of Canada’s most sophisticated geodemographic statistical systems, Environics Analytics PrizmC2, sorts all of us. We all fit into one of 66 neighbourhood-lifestyle clusters.”
In terms of neighbourhoods, Samuel Getachew’s big dream for a Little Ethiopia makes us ask, what is the tipping point when a neighbourhood officially becomes “little” something?
Supplier and employer diversity had some interesting coverage. As the Diversity Business Network discussed how Canada Needs Supplier Diversity Mentorship, word came of the 2011 Diversity Procurement Fair and that RBC Supports Diversity (OK, we totally knew that one already, but this story comes from Halifax, which is great!). As well, a diversity conference is being held in Burlington, ON and in British Columbia, Richmond celebrates businesses nominated for DIVERSEcity awards.
Also in BC, the Metropolis conference took place, which the Vancouver Sun told us was going to grapple with thorny immigration issues. “How can Canada stop immigrant groups from turning out religious radicals, with some bent on terrorism in the name of God? Given that many newcomers arrive from countries where homosexuality is illegal, how can Canada support immigrants who feel forced to hide that they are gay or lesbian? Are Canadians being too laissez-faire about whether fresh arrivals know English or French? Some believe the limited expectations Canada places upon new arrivals lead to ethnic enclaves. These are some of the long-disputed topics that will be debated at a massive Vancouver conference on immigration sponsored by Metropolis B.C., one of five Canadian think-tanks financed by governments to research and create dialogue on multicultural issues.” Woah, that’s a heavy load.
One of the first reports from the conference asked the provocative question: So just how valuable are our immigrants? According to the Vancouver Province, “UBC professor David Green said what few participants expected to hear. ‘The net economic impact of immigration is in fact zero,’ Green told the packed Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Wall Centre on Thursday. ‘I’m very pro-immigration, but not for economic reasons. If you’re looking at it to be a major driver of economic growth, I think you’re looking in the wrong place.’ ”
We’re not entirely sure we’d agree, but this certainly brings the issue of nationhood more to the forefront, which we’ve certainly touched on before here: Building the nation – the value of family reunification and Build the City, Build the Nation – Part 1, Part 2.
Also from Vancouver came a piece suggesting that some immigrant and first-generation teens can’t define what it means to be Canadian. “They turn to buzzwords like multiculturalism, tolerance and acceptance. Some say it’s a passport or a card. Some say it’s ancestral. Others just don’t know. But while they can’t always express it, they live it.”
All of this raises an important discussion that isn’t happening enough. At what point do we start to see these not only as “thorny immigration issues” but also important inclusion issues? Definitely worth spending some time thinking on that.
An interesting question about inclusion came from the Canadian Education Association – Mandated Community Involvement: A Question of Equity: “A study involving 50 current and recently graduated Ontario secondary school students from widely divergent socio-economic settings found that, while students may donate equal amounts time, they do not have equal access to meaningful community involvement placements. Socio-economic status influences the time, resources and social networks available to students, and therefore the types of community involvement open to them.” And from across the pond, the Inequalities blog mused about social cohesion, diversity, and poverty, finding that “in deprived areas, diversity has no effect on trust among people that know lots of people in their neighbourhood. The largest effects are in non-deprived areas, for people that know no-one in their neighbourhood.”
Some great starting points for an important inclusion issue focus, don’t you think?
Some parts necessity, some parts inherent, innovation is always around us when we look at the newcomer story and experience. Mentoring new immigrants is important, we think that internships offer employers low risk with big return, employer-community partnerships can definitely help create innovation, but as is also always the case, immigrants create networks to help them help themselves. Really, why should our talented newcomers just wait for the Canadian system to move from “thorny immigration issues” to important inclusion issues? Supporting newcomer innovation and network-building is an important part of our leadership work.
Along the lines of innovative leadership, an age-old truth is confirmed again: Immigrants are on the digital vanguard, New Database Reveals Social Media Habits of Canadians. Download a PDF of the full survey findings. And, well-timed, a story about DiverseCity Voice Ray Cao, a local digital innovator, was featured in the Globe and Mail: Big name advisors championing start up businesses.
Finally, in a bit of a brain re-gain, CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network launched their Toronto Homecoming 2011 campaign to lure expat talent back to the GTA. It’s important to note that some of this talent is made up of people who immigrated to Canada, found a frustrating settlement and integration process, and took their globally valued skills elsewhere.
It’s great to see a project that can bring needed talent home, and re-welcome those who tried, but weren’t initially welcomed the first time around.