- From refugee to immigration minister: Toronto MP Ahmed Hussem has been appointed to federal cabinet. Hussem, a former Somali refugee, is now overseeing Canada’s federal immigration policies. He takes over from another Toronto-area MP John McCallum.
- The Conservative Party’s fortunes hinge on immigration policy. The Conservative leadership campaign has become a debate over immigration. Resolving that debate could determine the party’s future because immigrants decide elections.
- Conservative leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch says she would charge immigrants for Canadian values test. The fee would not be applied to refugees – but refugees would still be required to take the test. A key component to Leitch’s campaign is a push to conduct interviews with every potential new Canadian.
- Conservative leadership hopeful Steven Blaney proposes reducing immigration and refugee targets. Blaney accused the current government of “breaking the dreams” of immigrants and refugees who have not been able to find work in their field or learn English or French.
- Ottawa’s new cap on refugee applications has upset private sponsors. The government’s policy, which came into effect on December 19 2016, places a limit of 1,000 sponsorship applications for the next year by groups of five or more and community sponsors such as organizations.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the plan to lift the visa requirement during a visit by President Enrique Pena Nieto to Ottawa on June 28, 2016. During that meeting, Mexico announced it would fully reopen its market to Canadian beef. U.S. President Donald Trump’s promise to deport illegal residents could drive more Mexicans north.
PROVINCIAL & LOCAL AFFAIRS
- OCASI published the Telling our Stories from the Frontline: Adverse Institutional Impacts of Cuts to Immigrant Settlement Funding in Ontario which came about because agencies in Ontario’s immigrant and refugee serving sector wanted to tell stories about how funding cuts had started to affect the sector and the clients they serve.
- Newcomers can enrol in a continuing education programs at Canadian universities to obtain validation for their foreign credentials. To support this process, the U of T works collaboratively with professional associations, ensuring that its courses are relevant to the needs of the industry, employers and the demands of a global economy.
- Newcomer Kitchen expands with a new Syrian pop-up brunch, prepared by refugees. After the success of The Depanneaur’s weekly dinners, Mirvish Village developer Westbank steps up to sponsor a Syrian brunch event at Butler’s Pantry in Toronto.
- A new report is one of the first looking specifically at newcomer youth homelessness in Canada. Until now, there is relatively little known about young new Canadians who find themselves without stable shelter. The report led by CAMH looks at 74 people new to Canada within the last 10 years – specifically youth aged 16 and 24 in the GTA.
SECONDARY MIGRATION WITHIN CANADA
- Syrian refugees to Canada are attempting second migration. In a move proving difficult for sponsors, Canadian Syrian refugees are leaving one location for another in an effort to find work or affordable housing.
- The Greater Toronto Area has been the preferred destination for immigrant entrepreneurs, but some suggest this could be changing. Don Curry is the founder of the North Bay and District Multicultural Centre and the Timmins and District Multicultural Centre and he discusses changes in settlement patterns.
PHYSICAL & MENTAL HEALTH
- Dr. Branka Agic is a Torontonian who will work to improve the city in 2017. Dr. Agic will change Toronto by helping refugees and immigrants find mental health resources they need.
- Mental health services for immigrants and refugees should be tailored based on cultural and language needs. A study from the Mental Health Commission of Canada warns that costs for crisis could spike, especially if cultural and language are not principally considered.
- A southern Ontario doctor who started a not-for-profit clinic for refugees in a local church basement has seen his infirmary grow from six to more than 1,700 in the span of four years. This increase underscores the need for more health-care options for refugees as Canada welcomes more people fleeing persecution and violence.
- Over 80,000 new permanent residents (PR) have arrived in Ontario and are required to wait for three months before they are eligible to receive publicly funded health care through OHIP. While a number of researchers have investigated the heath care experiences of PR during this wait period, a comprehensive scoping review of peer-reviewed literature has not been conducted.
- CAMH study finds possible link between migration and psychosis. A ground-breaking study has identified a plausible biological mechanism that links the effects of migration to the risk of developing psychosis.
PRECARIOUS IMMIGRATION STATUS
- Undocumented migrants in Toronto describe life in the ‘shadows’. In a new book, Seeds of Hope: Creating a Future in the Shadows, young people with precarious immigration status in Canada share their fears, dreams and struggles.
- An average of about 1,400 Canadian immigrants are intercepted at the border each year and ordered to be removed from the country for not fulfilling their residency obligations. The number of permanent residents issued removal orders at port of entry has risen from 605 in 2008 to 1,413 in 2014.
ADAPTING TO CANADIAN LIFE
- Thousands of Syrian refugees now call Canada home thanks to the efforts of small community groups across the country. The private sponsorship model is unique to Canada. A University of Ottawa law professor is hoping to export it to other parts of the world.
- One year on, Syrian refugees in Prince George, B.C., are still between worlds. First Syrian refugees to resettle in Northern B.C. love their new community, but challenges remain.
- Syrian refugees get help from not-so-new newcomers. The Ottawa Community Immigrant Service Organization has created a program to support new immigrant arrivals. The program connects Arabic-speaking volunteers with Syrian newcomers, to help refugees integrate into the community.
- Newcomers learn how to brave a Canadian winter. Learning how to layer clothing, where to find affordable winter gear covered in Sierra Club program.