Oct 15 2012

MENARAI just returned from a conference organized by Spanish think tank MENARA, a project of Fundación Tres Culturas. This transnational conference was one in a series of meetings this year that examined themes like the relationship between entrepreneurship or citizenship and diversity.

At the conference, I learned about the inspiring work of others, and shared what we’re doing at Maytree, in Toronto, across the country, and beyond.

Here are five Toronto ideas that inspired MENARA participants in Spain.

1. The idea of immigration, and the diversity that comes with it, is enshrined in Canadian laws, but it’s also embraced in our culture. We consider diversity and immigration Canadian values, like politeness. As a defining feature, immigration doesn’t become part of a political campaign. Canada has no political party running on an anti-immigrant platform.

2. We frame immigration and diversity as assets, not as a problem. They are not a social ill that needs to be managed, and immigrants aren’t viewed as an additional strain on resources. We quantify the contribution of immigrants, as we do the loss that results when they are not able to contribute professionally to the best of their abilities.

3. Immigration and diversity are not exclusively the concern of governments or the social sector. Solutions are proposed by business champions, making the work of immigrant integration and inclusion multi-sectoral.

4. We recognize that integration requires participation and interaction. That means ensuring that diverse voices and representatives are present in public spaces, able to make connections within society, and be active in civic life.

5. We know that within each community or neighbourhood there are potential leaders who can provide both representation and role models. Enhancing their development is a key strategy in our work.

But, of course, there is always more to learn.

Unlike most other OECD countries, Canada has no national housing, transit, child nutrition or child care strategies. While these would not be aimed exclusively at immigrants, they would certainly contribute to their integration and success.

We also have much to learn from each other – city to city. That is a my key take away from the MENARA conference. Government officials, foundation partners, students, academics and immigrants want to be connected to each other and to good ideas in immigrant integration. They will continue to look at Cities of Migration, in particular, as a platform for exchange.

Expect more stories and more connections from Andalucia.

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Sep 25 2012

HRcouncil-recruitment-immigrantsThe HR Council for the Nonprofit sector conducted research to explore issues that prevent nonprofit sector employers from accessing the skills and expertise of immigrants and visible minorities.

What is this research about?

The report, Recruitment and retention of New Immigrants  and Members of Visible Minorities in the  nonprofit sector’s workforce (PDF), describes the demographic challenges that affect the nonprofit labour force, reasons organizations need to take action, and provides five areas of focus for employers (note: the report refers to “ethnic diversity,” encompassing visible minority and under-represented immigrant communities).

Why is this research needed?

In Canada, the nonprofit sector employs 7.2% of the workforce, or 1.2 million paid employees.

While visible minorities and immigrants make up 16% and 20% of the population, respectively, previous studies show that only 6% of nonprofit employees are visible minorities, and 11% are immigrants. Moreover, 93% of executive directors identify themselves as white.

The business imperatives for hiring from non-traditional labour pools are clear: filling skill shortages, better service provision, and the increase in innovation and diversity of thought. It’s up to nonprofits to enhance their hiring and employment practices to put values of diversity and inclusion into practice.

What did the researchers do?

The researchers reviewed previous studies and literature. They surveyed 350 nonprofit employers, and conducted eight focus groups with a total of 89 nonprofit employers and 26 individual interviews with immigrants and visible minorities who work or have worked in the nonprofit sector.

What did the researchers find?

Compared to other sectors, the employee make-up of Canada’s nonprofit sector lags in its immigrant and ethnic diversity. However, the majority of employers surveyed believe that hiring immigrants and visible minorities is important, and expect to see an increase in the number of immigrant and visible minority employees.

Both employers and employees indicated that discriminatory practices and biased approaches remain a reality for immigrants and visible minorities. Indeed, participants reported that the business case for an ethnically diverse workforce is not well understood at higher levels of their organization.

As well, turnover rates for immigrants and visible minorities in the first year of employment are higher than for other groups. This suggests that nonprofit employers must also invest in integrating and retaining these staff. While the report focuses on immigrants and visible minorities, many of the issues reflect those facing all employee groups. In particular, the report suggests that nonprofits pay specific attention to orienting new employees to the values and norms of the organization, and how they shape workplace behaviour.

Recommendations

The report contains a number of practical and specific recommendations for attracting, hiring, retaining, and promoting immigrants and visible minorities.

Five core recommendations aim at supporting ethnic diversity in organizations and in the sector:

  1. Promote your organizations and the nonprofit sector as viable and vibrant career destinations.
  2. Learn about barriers and best practices for hiring and integrating immigrants and visible minorities.
  3. Articulate the benefits and strategies for ethnic diversity, specific to your organization’s context, sphere of activity, and objectives.
  4. Increase diversity on your board, specifically with board directors from visible minority and under-represented immigrant communities.
  5. Create an ethnically diverse pool of volunteers as a potential source of new employees.

How can you use this research?

Each section of the report contains specific recommendations or practices that might be useful to your organization.

In addition, the report explains the business case for ethnic diversity, which might be useful to share with the leadership in your organization.

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More from the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector:

More information and resources:

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Apr 20 2012

hireimmigrants logohireimmigrants.ca, provides businesses with the tools and resources they need to better recruit, retain and promote skilled immigrants. The site also profiles good examples and innovative practices of employers across the country. Each week we bring you a round up of the useful resources posted there.

3 Ways to Prepare Skilled Immigrants for Promotion (eTip)
Three ways managers can be proactive and encourage all employees, including skilled immigrants, to apply for promotions.

Finding and Keeping Top Talent Big Concern for Employers (article)
Immigrants accounted for two-thirds of Canada’s population growth from 2006 to 2011 and are one solution to the skills shortages facing many Canadian organizations.

Cultural Competency Training Makes College an Award-Winning Employer (video)
Denyse Diakun, Director of Workforce and Personal Development at Algonquin College talks about the college’s cultural competency training and the effect it has had on employees.

In the news

Feds Propose Expediting Skilled Workers’ Transition from Temporary to Permanent Residence
Changes would allow skilled temporary foreign workers to apply for permanent residence after 12 months of full-time work experience down from 24 months.

Canada Immigration: Jason Kenney’s Reforms Will See Employers Selecting Newcomers
Proposed immigration reforms will better align Canada’s immigration system with labour market needs and address the skills mismatch, says Minister Kenney.

Stay updated with hireimmigrants.ca.

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Jul 29 2011

Hema Vyasby Hema Vyas, School4Civics alumnus

What does the transformed political map mean for urban issues? What does the changing face of Parliament mean in our increasingly diverse city region? Warren Kinsella, one of Canada’s most prominent political strategists and commentators led a multi-partisan discussion with members of Maytree’s School4Civics alumni. Many thanks to the School4Civics alumni for organizing this excellent and inspiring event!

On a steaming hot Wednesday in July, 60 people gathered to discuss one of the more shocking events of this past spring.

Warren Kinsella, Toronto-based lawyer, head of Daisy Consulting and Liberal spin doctor, led a discussion exploring how the federal election resulted in a Tory majority, New Democratic Official Opposition and a historically low number of seats for the Liberals. Depending on your party stripes, you were cheering, jeering or devastated in May, but I know of few people who were not stunned.

Kinsella’s insights regarding the power of (negative) campaigning, the extent to which election timing really is everything, and our party leaders’ styles led to a lively discussion.

One of the central themes that emerged was the alienation of Canadians from the democratic process. With voter turnout at 61% and youth voting estimated to be even lower, Kinsella mentioned that the lack of young voters determined federal election results.

Warren Kinsella at S4CBut why were voter numbers so low?

Even with the high turnover of Members of Parliament this year, Ottawa is far from representing today’s Canada. In demographics, experience and style, there is often a gap between what we find compelling and who we see speaking to our needs in Parliament.

An unusually high number of us in the room had been candidates and campaign organizers but still talked about how tough it is to have influence without the usual establishment credentials. The heart of the issue is about getting your foot in the door and then stubbornly remaining in the arena long enough to make a change, any change in politics.

This past election has broadened the appetite for change: It will take both the political establishment’s willingness to adapt and our own determination to get involved for federal transformation.

Will politicians sacrifice outdated traditions to restore their own relevance in Canadian homes?

To a great extent, that’s up to us.

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Jun 24 2011

Kay BlairCongratulations to Microskills Executive Director and DiverseCity onBoard roster member, Kay Blair, who was named Chair, Board of Directors, William Osler Health System. This influential appointment is the most recent in a long and impressive list of leadership positions for Kay which recognizes her wealth of experience and many achievements.

Kay’s profound impact on the community, her dynamic leadership, entrepreneurial and innovative acumen have and continue to make a lasting and indelible imprint on our city region. Here are just a few examples:

  • growing Microskills, which helps at-risk youth, women and new Canadians establish themselves by teaching them the business and life skills they need to be successful, from four employees and two desks when she first started in 1988, to over 136 employees and a client base of close to 30,000 annually (see video below);
  • launching the first Women’s Enterprise & Resource Centre and the first Women’s Technology Institute in Ontario, both of which focus on immigrant and racialized women;
  • Chair, United Way Toronto Campaign Cabinet for Member Agencies; and
  • lead for a partnership of community agencies to address the concerns of immigrant racialized youth which led to the creation of Dixon Neighbourhood Youth Centre, now Dixon Youth centre.

In recognition of her contribution to the community, Kay has received many awards including the 2007 Premier’s Award in the Community and Social services category, the Women of Colour Community Award, the Ontario Race Relations Award, the Innovations Canada Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award – Trailblazer, and the YWCA Toronto 2006 Women of Distinction Award: Community Leadership.

Kay has also served on a number of boards including two terms as President of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI); the National Visible Minority Council on Labour Force Development, the Laidlaw Foundation; and President of Peel Police Race Relations Committee. Currently, she is an executive member of the Board of Governors at Centennial College.

A tireless advocate for under-served communities and for challenging systemic barriers, Kay notes that she is “looking forward to meeting with front-line Osler employees, the community and with healthcare partners and stakeholders as we continue to strengthen Osler’s presence in the community.”

 

 

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Jun 02 2011

Interested in tools to enhance diversity in your organization? Need to pitch diversity to your management, board, or leadership? Let us help.

DiverseCity logoYour strategic starting point

Ask yourself:

  • How can you build diversity in leadership where you are?
  • Who is represented within the corridors of power?
  • Who is able to lead organizations, make decisions and shape the future?

Diversifying your leadership is not just the right thing to do, but it’s also a tool to fuel the region’s prosperity.

Ratna Omidvar – Why you need diverse leadership
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Leaders signal who belongs and who does not. They provide role models. They are a powerful symbol, for future generations, of what they can and cannot aspire to become.

Diversity in leadership won’t happen by accident. We need to be deliberate and systematic. We need to develop and deploy strategies for making change. Networks matter. Who you know can even become what you know. Deliberately sharing networks expands opportunities in a key way.  Networks and training programs make core leadership skills accessible to the best and the brightest.  Those with access to power can transfer this to new, emerging leaders by becoming mentors.

Making the case for diversity in leadership

DiverseCity

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Through the DiverseCity Counts project we dig deeper into relevant data to better understand the extent to which some organizations have made diversity a priority. The research and results may be useful for you.  Download Year 1 and Year 2 full research reports, summaries and video links for DiverseCity Counts – The Importance of Diverse Leadership in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Conference Board of Canada report The Value of Diverse Leadership (PDF) measured the impact of more diverse leadership and found that the benefits include:

  • improved financial and organizational performance;
  • increased capacity to link with new global and domestic markets;
  • expanded access to global and domestic talent pools;
  • enhanced innovation and creativity; and
  • strengthened social cohesion and social capital.

Learn more about making the business case for diversity.

Don’t reinvent, learn from the leadership of others!

We’ve got 10 practical tips for diversifying organizational leadership (PDF). Each tip briefly tells the story of how one organization took advantage of diversity to become stronger, more representative of their community and better.

Dive a little deeper into some promising practices of organizations diversifying their leadership.

Download Diversity in Governance: A Toolkit for Nonprofit Boards (PDF) a comprehensive toolkit for you to use when working with boards on issues around diversity and governance.

Maybe you’re interested in going even further, replicating DiverseCity onBoard (a matching service for boards and diverse candidates), or you just want to learn more about how it all works? We’ve created a replication website with resources, a toolkit and more. The site includes a free toolkit and answers the following questions:

  • How can I connect qualified members from under-represented communities to agencies, boards, commissions and nonprofits?
  • What can I learn from Maytree’s DiverseCity onBoard program?
  • Where can I find up-to-date resources and sample tools?

Maybe you need more research?

We’ve compiled some research, newspaper articles and other resources that explore various facets of diversity in leadership. This is a new but growing area for exploration. You’ll find research on why diversity matters and some specific research for business, nonprofits and governments.

Long live the conversation

Would it be useful to facilitate a conversation about diversity in leadership in your community or organization?

We’ve got a great starting point for you: Diversity Perspectives – A Manual for Leading Dialogue on Diversity in Leadership (PDF).

Find out more and watch some great leadership stories on the DiverseCity Toronto site. You can watch the growing series of videos on their own  or within the DiverseCity blog.

Get inspired with some DiverseCity stories

Alejandra Bravo, on DiverseCity School4Civics

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Tina Edan, on DiverseCity Voices

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Cathy Winter, on DiverseCity onBoard

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Mar 31 2011

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.

Social cohesion, inclusion, diversity

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.”

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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.

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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?

Immigrants, Innovation, Integration. Inclusion?

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.

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Feb 17 2011

Imagine the flow of creative solutions if we could tap into the wealth of ideas and experience that our diversity offers? How many new jobs might we generate if we mined all the international networks at our disposal? What if we became the top choice for the best and brightest from around the globe? What would happen if our public institutions truly reflected all of us? And what a shining future we would have if every young person had a role model to point them forward and prepare them to lead. Innovation, world markets, global talent, social cohesion – all of these are within our grasp.

In 2008, Maytree and CivicAction launched DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project. We knew then that accelerating the diversity of our region’s leadership will create a city region where we all prosper and thrive. Today, we know it’s an essential piece of our region’s prosperity.

As you can see from our just released Year 2 Review (PDF), we have already accomplished many of our original goals ahead of schedule.

Highlights include:

  • DiverseCity onBoard, a program to match diverse individuals to governance positions on public and nonprofit agencies, boards and commissions, has surpassed its goal of 500 appointments (with 524 to date!);
  • DiverseCity Fellows has just announced its 2011 cohort of twenty-five rising leaders poised to take action on issues critical to the health and prosperity of the Toronto region;
  • DiverseCity Voices spokespersons have shared more than 400 media stories from new sources and perspectives with mainstream readers and audiences; and
  • School4Civics has trained 100 individuals who have volunteered in an election, by-election or nomination process. Twelve participants ran in the recent municipal elections and several are considering nominations in the upcoming provincial election.

But we’re not resting on our accomplishments. After the recent CivicAction Greater Toronto Summit, we are invigorated to work even harder and with even more partners and networks.

We have worked over the last two years to realize the promise of a stronger and more prosperous Greater Toronto region through a more diverse leadership. It makes good business sense. It builds community. It feeds innovation. It puts us at the forefront of global efforts to acquire, integrate and value the diverse leadership that will ensure our  region’s future.

We could not have done all this without the valued help of our Steering Committee and our 166 partners, all of whom are working towards our mutual similar goal of a strong, healthy and prosperous city region:

  • building stronger public and private institutions through diversified leadership and governance;
  • expanding our networks to attract and retain the best global talent;
  • advancing our knowledge of the benefits of diverse leadership; and, finally,
  • tracking and measuring our region’s progress towards these goals.

The Greater Toronto Summit showed us that many, many more of you share these goals. Find out where you fit and join us!

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Feb 08 2011

Tomorrow, February 9, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi will be speaking in Toronto. Are you excited? We’re excited.

Many of us won’t be able to join Mayor Nenshi as he shares his remarks at the Canadian Club (don’t worry, a video of his presentation will be out soon). We thought we’d put together some background information about Mayor Nenshi, so you can feel like you’ve had a chance to see him, in his own words.

On Saturday, the Globe and Mail wrote a story that’s a great read for you to get an overview of Naheed Nenshi’s challenge: Making Calgary a livable city. This section is key:

“Seldom has a Canadian mayor come to office with such a deep understanding of urban issues. Now, after years on the outside as a business professor, activist and newspaper columnist, he suddenly has a chance to put those ideas into action….

‘When did Jane Jacobs write the Death and Life of Great American Cities? We’re getting there, just 40 years later,’ says Mr. Nenshi. When a project called Imagine Calgary asked residents what they wanted from their city in the future, it found most wanted to live in a place where they could walk to the store, walk their kids to school, get by with only one car and be surrounded by different kinds of people. ‘If everyone wants that, why aren’t we building that?’ says the mayor. It’s a good question, and not just for Calgary. Cities across Canada are trying to reinvent themselves on denser, more modern lines. If Naheed Nenshi has his way, Calgary will show them how. “

Tomorrow, perhaps Mayor Nenshi will share some of this vision with Toronto.

Mayor Nenshi, his words and insights

TEDxCalgary – Naheed Nenshi – Calgary 3.0
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Using insights drawn from his work in business, entrepreneurship and social change, as well as modern GIS data, Naheed Nenshi explores the challenges of how a modern city like Calgary grows, and what some of the implications are for creating inclusive communities.

Key to current discussions in Toronto is this campaign video – Better Idea #9 – Traffic, Transportation, and Transit and related video about making transit affordable for newcomers.

Interesting information

Mayor Nenshi was the lead author of Building Up: Making Canada’s Cities Magnets for Talent and Engines of Development. “Building Up” contributes to the national debate on cities by (1) encouraging dialogue; (2) suggesting policy directions to help Canadian cities become magnets for talent; and (3) identifying specific initiatives to translate talk into action.

Here are a couple of articles about what we can learn from his campaign:

  • Lessons from Naheed
    “The real success of Nenshi’s social media campaign was that it broke free of the political echo chamber. To have a tangible impact, you need to reach the non-political crowd…the kind of people who will actually change their mind based on a news story or video they see online. So the Nenshi campaign reached out to the non-political, spreading their message to places like hockey forums and online discussion boards.”
  • Congratulations to Naheed & other fabulous people
    “What really matters about Naheed is that he is smart, he is about ideas and he’s progressive. That he’s managed to capture the imagination of a place like Calgary speaks volumes both about how hard he campaigned and how cosmopolitan Canada’s urban centres are becoming.”

Background and bio

Bio - Naheed Nenshi is a passionate Calgarian, an accomplished business professional, and a community leader with a solid track record of getting things done.  He’s run a large nonprofit, he’s been a trusted advisor to corporate leaders in Canada and the US, and he literally wrote the book on Canadian cities.

As we know, Mayor Nenshi ran a great campaign, and a very web/social media savvy campaign. See for yourself:

Biography Overview

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How do you say Naheed?
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Jan 21 2011

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.

Refugees – A bit of summer déjà vu

The week saw announcements of “yet another ship of migrants” coming to Canada (Hundreds more Tamil migrants may be headed to Canada, Human smugglers organizing more Canada-bound ships: Minister) with some fear mongering and a response from refugee and human rights advocates.

Coincidentally, but perhaps importantly timed, this week also saw the revealing of Daniel Libeskind’s “Wheel of Conscience” reminding us of our past indifference to the plight of refugees.

Perfectly timed to set the stage for our summer déjà vu is the new BC Metropolis report, Mystery Ships and Risky Boat People: Tamil Refugee Migration in the Newsprint Media – PDF. The report “examines how the Canadian newsprint media portrayed this event and in which policy context this coverage occurred.” The “results show an overall negative representation of the Tamil refugees. The press emphasized issues of criminality and terrorism and constructed the refugees as risk. Established security, rather than human rights, was the focal point and the immigration system was portrayed both as ‘failing’ and ‘abused’ by ‘bogus claimants.’ This security-oriented framework provided a discursive background for the refugee reform Bill C-11 to be ushered through parliament later that summer.”

An article in the Toronto Sun opens with a sensationalistic headline, Feds link Tamil boat passengers to terrorism, but then includes a more reasonable story: “Canada is a nation of immigrants with a proud tradition of welcoming refugees,” said McCluskey. “Canada will continue to opens its doors to those who work hard and play by the rules. At the same time, every sovereign country has a responsibility to protect its borders.”

While Minister Toew’s suggests that the Canadian public is less supportive of refugee system, refugee advocates suggest that Tories’ tough talk on immigration is “destructive for our society”.  Worth perusing is the Canadian Council for Refugees 2010: A Year in Review, which includes the relevant article: Refugees arriving by boat and Bill C-49: anti-smuggling or anti-refugee?

And, in case we needed the reminder (which, it seems, we certainly do), From Daniel Libeskind, a machine of shame. “George Orwell described in his novel 1984 a bleak vision of the future as ‘a boot stamping on a human face – forever.’ The author had been left shaken by totalitarian violence made possible by bland bureaucrats and fanned by hateful ideologies. It’s those underlying factors that Daniel Libeskind says he was seeking to highlight as he designed a memorial to the St. Louis that is to be unveiled on Thursday in Halifax. The ship carrying nearly 1,000 refugees, mostly German Jews, was turned away from Cuba, the United States and Canada before returning to Europe in 1939.”

If you are looking for some additional depth on the refugee issue, The Refugee Experience Series (TRES) is hosting a lunch discussion with Refugee Sandwich author Peter Showler. Not in Washington, DC? You can join the live web stream – Saturday, February 19, 1-3 pm.

Employment Mobility

This week saw a great deal of press about various forms of labour mobility. In general, mobility refers to the actual movement of labour, but we’re going to look at labour mobility in a broader scope this week.

You’re leaving already? indicates that “more than six out of 10 of the coveted business-class immigrants who declared Quebec as their destination during the early 2000s quickly fled to other provinces, taking their investment dollars and entrepreneurship potential with them. The big winners? Ontario and the two westernmost provinces. B.C. saw a 22 per cent net gain in the number of business-class immigrants who called it home, due to migration from other provinces. Ontario enjoyed a 14.5 per cent bump while Alberta saw a 9.5 per cent increase.”

A new report reveals “a big financial gap among recent immigrants. University research shows that immigrants at the lower edge of the spectrum have experienced wage drops of 30 per cent in recent decades, worse than other Canadians at the bottom end.”  Another report reveals the brain gain, drain & waste of Internationally Educated Health Professionals in Canada.

A new TIEDI report (PDF) indicates that “[w]hile labour market outcomes improve with educational attainment, foreign education may not lead to the same outcomes as a Canadian degree.” Which is to say that “[t]he wage gap between Canadian-born and immigrants is larger for adults with more education.”

The Urban Times pulls this discussion together with a warning about Closing the Borders of the Mind in an Age of Globalization: “What, then, can we expect from 2011 and indeed the rest of the decade, as we experience the ever advancing aging of the population, and the expected increasing diversity of the population and the labour force? Just as the globalization of capital is meeting renewed resistance and pressures for protectionist trade policies in response to the recession, so too is the globalization of labour meeting social resistance as the impact of global labour markets is experienced by societies that are challenged by the new diversity this reality entails. This is resulting in a rise of ‘cultural protectionism’.”

But, lest you begin to think that all is lost, on the diversity and employment mobility front, we saw some promising stories emerge this past week: Indian-born immigrant gets top job at Canada Post – “Indian-born immigrant Deepak Chopra, former president and CEO of Pitney Bowes Canada and Latin America becomes the President and CEO of the country’s government-owned postal service.” And, Korean-born Jeffrey Min expands Galleria grocery chain, creating 120 jobs, wins New Pioneer Award: “Min has earned plenty of recognition: Grocer of the Year awards from the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers in 2009 and 2010, a Business Leader of Character Community Award in 2007 and the Ontario Newcomer Champion Award in 2008.” Awesome news.

The Toronto Star reports that “Toronto 2015 has adopted a diversity policy to encourage opportunities for visible minorities, aboriginals, people with disabilities” for the 2015 Pan Am games. BC Local News reports on a new project that will help make BC business more competitive: “Embracing Cultural Diversity in the B.C. workplace.” The British Telegraph covers a Canadian report that Expat workers ‘shouldn’t hide foreign origins’.

Perhaps you’ve wondered about the importance of diversity leadership and strategy in the workplace? Well, the Conference Board of Canada has some reports, case studies and stories for you read up on.

We’ve bundled all the report/presentation links for you in one handy spot.

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