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newcomer

BULLETIN SERVING THE NEWCOMER COMMUNITIES IN DURHAM, NORTHUMBERLAND AND PETERBOROUGH SPRING 2014 | VOL. 3 | NO. 3

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STUDY, WORK, STAY

If you’re an international student in the right study program, you could be the one Peterborough is looking for


WELCOME TO FLEMING COLLEGE

YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE IT HERE! Our campuses: Safe. Urban. Typically Canadian. Fleming’s main campuses are located in Peterborough and Lindsay, two vibrant communities that offer all the advantages of urban life with more affordable living expenses than a metropolis. You will be in a close-knit community of Canadians, which gives you an outstanding opportunity to practice and improve both your academic and conversational English skills. Real world, real work experience Canadian employers look for Canadian experience. Depending on your program, you’ll have many options to gain experience and apply what you’ve learned to your chosen field of study.

work placements internships lab or clinical settings co-op employment applied projects Contact us:

We’re here for you

SASIA@flemingc.on.ca flemingcollege.ca/international

Many of the services at Fleming College are also offered specifically tailored to international students, such as Student Orientation, assistance in finding accommodation, educational support and Career Services.

Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/flemingcollege

“It’s an advantage that Fleming is not a huge college. You really become part of the community here. My teachers know me by my name, not my ID number. And in the hallways I always see familiar faces who like to stop and say hi.” – Obokhela Singogo (Zambia), Pharmacy Technician Program

Dive into language and culture At Fleming, you will experience true Canadian culture and an intensive immersion into the English language in a safe and friendly student-centred environment. Throughout the year we will organize fun day trips and events for International students to showcase Canada’s culture and tourism points of interest.

Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/flemingcollege Watch us on YouTube: www.youtube.com/flemingcollege

FEATURED PROgRAMS

• Biotechnology – Advanced (Forensics) Diploma

• Health Information Management Diploma

• International Business Diploma

• Pharmacy Technician Diploma

English Language Proficiency Requirements

TOEFL: 79 and IELTS: 6.0 for all programs except Pharmacy Technician, which requires scores of: TOEFL 90 and IELTS 6.5.

• International Business Management Post-Graduate Diploma

• Project Management Post-Graduate Diploma

ESL Bridge

• Wireless Information Networking Post-Graduate Diploma

If English requirements for the academic program are not met, Fleming provides five levels of English language training on campus in Peterborough. Intakes: summer, fall and winter.

For all our programs, visit: flemingcollege.ca/international


CONTENTS

24 CLICK Hep-C Info

8 NEWS FEATURE A Peterborough couple, who have been ordered to leave Canada after their refugee-claim application was denied, are hoping they can come back soon. Their work-permit application is in progress.

COVER STORY 14 SKILLS GAP

Despite long queues of unemployed, employers in Peterborough are having a hard time filling their open positions. An initiative will try to help employers find the right candidates from the international student populations at Trent University and Fleming College.

NEWS DIGESTS PETERBOROUGH 10 New NCC staff

The New Canadians Centre has announced the appointment of Kemi Akapo as interim Employment Services Coordinator, looking after its Workplace Integration Program.

NORTHUMBERLAND 11 Immigrant women

Northumberland United Way has received funding for a project that seeks to enhance the economic outcomes of immigrant women in Northumberland County.

NATIONAL 12 Admissions surge

China, India and the Philippines accounted for about 40% of the total permanent-resident admissions in 2013. 4

  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

ADVERTORIAL 21 Diverse campus

Fleming College has seen a tremendous growth in its international student population in the past few years. Students from India, China and Brazil have helped to create a more vibrant and diverse campus community.

FEATURES 22 Newcomer issues

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Northumberland County are in talks to form into a group to deal with newcomer challenges.

26 LCP review

A new study raises alarm over the live-in requirement component of the Live-in Caregiver Program, saying that it has led to inequitable working conditions and even exploitation.

Q&A 28 Faith practice

As a Muslim, Mohamed Widaatalla appreciates that people not only respect but also support the practice of his religion. Along with his parents, he immigrated to Canada from Saudi Arabia.

25 CLICK NCC Gala

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Sacred Heart of Peterborough 19 Skills for Change

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UPFRONT

FROM THE EDITOR BEVERLY LOMOSAD

newcomer

BULLETIN

SERVING THE NEWCOMER COMMUNITIES IN DURHAM, NORTHUMBERLAND AND PETERBOROUGH

MEDIAPLUS VILLAGE Unit LL5, 311 George Street North Peterborough, ON K9J 3H3 Phone: (705) 772-7172 marketing@mediaplusvillage.com www.mediaplusvillage.com EDITORIAL

SEEKING A LITTLE HAVEN B y now, more people in Peterborough, or perhaps even outside, must have known or heard about Robert and Mihaela Zaveljcina, the couple whose request for refugee protection was recently refused. They must, therefore, leave Canada. As of Newcomer Bulletin’s press time, Canada Border Services Agency has not set a departure date for them and their two kids, who are ironically both Canadian citizens, aged two years and eight months. In the aftermath of the refusal of their case, people weighed in, some making incendiary comments grounded mostly on the misunderstanding that Robert and Mihaela are staying illegally in Peterborough and, accordingly, are a strain on the government tax purse. Nothing is further from the truth. There are obviously many ways one can apply to enter and gain permanent residence in Canada, and Robert and Mihaela have chosen to come through the refugee stream, which is a perfectly legitimate immigration pathway and is also quite unlike the economic stream, the road the majority of Canada’s immigrants take. While economic immigrants are assessed based on their economic potential, refugee claimants are evaluated based on humanitarian grounds. And, of course, the circumstances under which claims for humanitarian assistance and protection are anchored vary vastly from one case to another – so much so that 140 states worldwide, including Canada, have signed an agreement, called the 1951 Refugee Convention, which not only grants rights to refugees but also provides an orderly system to adjudicate refugee claims. 6

  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

Consider this: On April 5, 2013, the Supreme Court of Finland, a signatory to the convention, issued a precedent-setting ruling in that country in a case involving a young Afghan, who arrived at Helsinki Airport using a phony British passport. The high court reversed a lower-court decision and said the Afghan cannot be punished for forgery because he was a presumptive refugee, protected by Article 31 of the convention. I suspect that if that young Afghan had landed in one of Canada’s international airports, he would have been given the same protection. Canadian law prohibits removing illegal residents who could face cruel and unusual circumstances back home. A manual developed by Toronto-based FCJ Refugee Centre, titled Refugee Help in Refugee Hands, advised refugee claimants travelling with a false document, such as a fake passport, to show the document and tell the truth about it when they enter Canada. “According to international law,” the manual states, “you cannot be punished for entering a country illegally if you go to the authorities as soon as possible.” LEEWAY The rules allow some latitude for refugee claimants, some of whom might be fleeing life-threatening situations in their country of origin, making them unable to prepare for a proper transition to where they intend to seek refuge. The onus, of course, is on the refugee claimants to substantiate their claim for humanitarian assistance and protection. n CONTINUED ON Page 9

EDITOR Beverly Lomosad CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chen Rao Naser Miftari Olga Doktorova PHOTOGRAPHER Bob Laing MARKETING AND CIRCULATION MARKETING MANAGER Ramon Valles ART DESIGN AND LAYOUT Jun G. Dayao ADVISER CONSULTANT Carmela Valles ENQUIRIES EDITORIAL editor@mediaplusvillage.com ADVERTISING marketing@mediaplusvillage.com SUBSCRIPTIONS marketing@mediaplusvillage.com ISSN 1929-8846 Publications Mail Agreement No. 42456027

MEMBER

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication. However, Mediaplus Village regrets that it cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publicatio n, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the reader’s particular circumstances. The concept, content, style and design of this publication remain the exclusive property of Mediaplus Village. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publisher in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

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LETTERS

We welcome your comments. Write to us at editor@mediaplusvillage.com. All submissions must include name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for length, clarity and style. Submission constitutes permission to use.

IT’S HEARTENING TO KNOW THAT CANADA WAS ONE OF THE FIRST COUNTRIES THAT CAME TO THE AID OF THE PHILIPPINES

Appalled by comments

learn to read the news critically, objectivity and with a little bit of fair-mindedness.

I am appalled by the comments I have read online about a family facing deportation. (picture below) I do not know the family, but I know the emotional trauma involved when one faces uncertainty in Canada. I am of the opinion that most of those who wrote comments and cast aspersion on the couple do not know the real story. I wish that before we write comments and foment racism, we aim to know the facts first. I wish that we

Debbie Carlson Peterborough

Robert and Mihaela Zaveljcina with their kids – eight-monthold Alexander, left, and twoyear-old Michael

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Turning a blind eye So what happens to the temporary workers who are now in limbo with the moratorium placed by Jason Kenney on the food industry? Placing a moratorium on LMOs (Labour Market Opinions) for the food industry is a quick-fix solution to save face and to uphold a certain level of integrity for the program. The whole program should be scrapped and workers, when they come to Canada, should be given permanent status if they qualify. The temporary-worker program has only portrayed Canada as a consumer of productive labour from other countries, especially those in the Third World. And when the

worker is past their prime, or are no longer seen as productive, they are sent back. They are only used to prop up our economy, and when they have rendered their service, they are not welcomed anymore. Canada has always prided itself to be genuinely concerned about human-rights exploitation and abuses in other countries. But when the injustice occurs in our own backyard, in what can only be described as modern-day slavery, we conveniently turn our head away. Paul Ricketts Oshawa

Grateful for aid Thank you for featuring how Canadians rallied together to help typhoon victims in the Philippines. I am a member of the Filipino community in Toronto, and I know quite a few Filipinos in Cobourg and Port Hope. I am very grate-

ful that we have Canadian friends who are generous and kind-hearted. My friends, relatives and family in the Philippines told me that the foreign aid that came immediately after the typhoon struck made them feel as if the world was watching and looking after them. It’s heartening to know that Canada was one of the first countries that came to the aid of the Philippines. Mabuhay ka Canada (Long live Canada), and may your people be blessed forever. Amelita Turda Toronto

SPRING 2014 | NEWCOMER BULLETIN

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NEWS FEATURE

Immigration consultant Carmela Valles, left, meets with Robert and Mihaela Zaveljcina to discuss the process to apply for a work permit

COUPLE FIND SILVER LINING A

car-repair company in Calgary, Alberta is willing to apply for a work permit for the husband of a Peterborough couple who have been ordered to leave Canada after their permanent-residence application was denied. If successful, the work-permit application could pave the way for Robert Zaveljcina, 41, and Mihaela, 34, along with their two kids, to be able to return to Canada potentially within months of their exit. For years, the couple have been on a temporaryresident permit and open work permit, which allow them to stay legally and seek employment or establish a business while Citizenship and Immigration Canada determines the merit of their claim for refugee protection. They sought refuge in Canada, claiming that they had been subjected to repeated harassment and discrimination in Slovenia because of their inter-ethnic 8

marriage. He is Slovenian, and she is Crotian. They came to Canada separately and within months apart: Mihaela arrived in December 2004 and Robert in March 2005. He stayed briefly, returned to Slovenia and came back in June 2005. They settled directly in Peterborough, where a friend had also lived. Although their intention was to seek refugee protection soon after arriving, no refugee-claim application

  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

had actually been filed until March 18, 2008. “We did not know where to start the process and neither did the people that we solicited advice from,” Mihaela told Newcomer Bulletin. On April 22, 2014, CIC thumbed down the couple’s request to make their temporary-resident status permanent on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, citing a lack of evidence. CIC said the couple had not provided enough proof to support their claim that, if sent back to Slovenia, they would suffer discrimination to a degree that could result in their personal hardships. With the CIC decision, a deportation order against the couple, which was issued on March 26, 2008 but had been stayed while an appeal is pending, becomes enforceable. Although their children are both Canadian citizens, having been born in Canada, CIC ruled that, “as they are of a young enough age and have not entered the Canadian school system,” they would not face a difficult transition. “Moreover, they would be

returning with a support network in the form of their parents,” the ruling states. As of Newcomer Bulletin’s press time, Canada Border Services Agency has not set a departure date for them. The CIC decision quickly elicited mixed reactions from the Peterborough community, where the couple had lived for more than nine years, established businesses and raised two Canadian-born kids: two-year-old Michael, and eight-month-old Alexander. Roman Catholic priest Bill Moloney, who pastors St. Anne’s Church, calls the CIC decision “unfair.” Other comments, particularly in online discussion forums, were less sympathetic and concentrated mostly around the misunderstanding that the Zaveljcina couple are staying illegally in Canada. Robert and Mihaela have established themselves fairly well in Peterborough. In May 2010, they started a food-catering business, offering ethnic food that combines distinct culinary traditions of the states and www.newcomerbulletin.com


NEWS FEATURE regions of southeastern Europe. Two years ago, Robert also began a sub-contracting business, which receives job orders outsourced by car-repair companies based in Alberta. One of the companies has assured him it is willing to do everything it can to support his application for a work permit. Carmela Valles Immigration Consulting is helping to see the application process through. Although they could appeal the CIC decision to the federal court, Mihaela said, “We are under so much stress, we do not have the energy anymore to go on. We have come to terms with it already; it is what it is. We will leave, and we will miss the people most. The people are so positive. The whole community is amazing.” On the ensuing Saturday after their case received

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press coverage, Robert and Mihaela went about their usual business of selling food at the Farmer’s Market at the Peterborough Memorial Centre grounds. On that day, a lady stopped by their food stall, chatted with them briefly and handed an envelope. As they were busy with customers, they did not get a chance to open it until they were home. To their surprise, the envelope contained a cheque for $1,000; it also had a card, which reads, in part: “Hoping that the winds of change blow away the clouds and rain – and that very soon, the sun will shine on you again. May you return safely to Canada.” The card-giver calls herself, “a friend.” Reflecting on the years that they have been living in Peterborough, Robert said, “those were the best years of our lives.” n

“WE DO NOT KNOW WHERE TO START” n CONTINUED FROM Page 6

Robert, a Slovenian, and Mihaela, a Croatian, had fled Slovenia, where they said they suffered harassment and discrimination because of their inter-ethnic marriage. They came straight to Peterborough, where a friend used to live. Mihaela arrived in December 2004, and Robert in March 2005. He left and returned in June 2005. While they said they had planned on making a refugee claim when they reached Canada, they had not actually done so until March 18, 2008. “We do not know where to start the process and neither did the people that we solicited advice from,” Mihaela said. Meantime, while Canadian authorities determined the merit of their refugee claim, Robert and Mihaela were granted temporary resident permit and work permit, which allow them to make a living and stay legally in Canada. They worked hard and made their best effort to become good and productive residents. On April 22, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada determined that Robert and Mihaela had not sufficiently proved their claim that, if sent back to Slovenia, they would suffer discrimination to a degree that could result in their personal hardships. Case closed. Sometimes, a piece of evidence, or the lack of it, can make or break a case – but that’s a whole different story. n

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NEWS DIGEST

Kemi Akapo, left, and Liana Honsinger

New NCC appointments

T

he New Canadians Centre has announced the appointment of Kemi Akapo as interim employment services coordinator, replacing Michael VanDerHerberg, who is on parental leave, returning in March 2015. She will assist newcomers to Peterborough find work as well as connect with local employers looking to hire new Canadians. Ms. Akapo also acts concurrently as international student liaison. Originally from Nigeria, she moved to Canada in 2005 to attend Trent University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in English Literature and International Development Studies. She is currently taking a post-graduate certificate from York University in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. NCC has also announced the appointment of Liana Honsinger as outreach and community assistant. n

Former NCC boss in the race for Top 25 immigrant honour

C

FINE COUNTRY DINING 10

  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

armela Valles, the former New Canadians Centre executive director who now runs an immigrationconsulting business, has been included in a field of 75 candidates from whom the 2014 RBC Top 25 Immigrant Awards will be selected. She has been nominated by the NCC in recognition for “her passion, dedication and tireless efforts in building diverse and Carmela Valles inclusive communities.” The 25 winners will be announced in June 2014. Winners will receive a commemorative plaque and $500 toward a charity of their choice. One winner will also be selected for a special recognition: the Chevrolet Ingenuity Award. The award recognizes and celebrates the achievements of outstanding Canadian immigrants who inspire newcomers and Canadians alike. Some of the previous winners include NBA star Steve Nash and former Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson. More than 31,000 votes from across Canada were cast in the 2013 awards. n www.newcomerbulletin.com


NEWS DIGEST

FROM LEFT: Lynda Kay, Northumberland United Way CEO; Rick Norlock, MP for Northumberland-Quinte West; Dindin Villarino, Northumberland County Immigration Portal Coordinator; Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Labour and Status of Women Minister; Paul Allen, Northumberland United Way Board Chair; and Linda Thompson, Nothumberland County Warden

New Northumberland project supports immigrant women

T

he Northumberland United Way has received funding for a project that will evaluate how well services in the seven townships of Northumberland County meet the needs of immigrant women, with the aim of enhancing their economic prosperity. The organization will develop a community action plan and form an Immigrant Women’s Council to continue the project’s work over the longer term. “Immigrant women in our community face unique barriers as they strive to establish themselves and achieve financial security. This Government of Canada funding will allow us to examine the services now available in Northumberland County and to invest strategically where needs exist,” said Lynda Kay, CEO of Northumberland United Way. Status of Women Canada is providing $165,730 over two years for the project. “The number one priority of our government is

jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. That is why we continue to support new projects that will help expand and promote greater economic opportunities for women in communities across Canada,” according to Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, minister of labour and minister of status of women. Since 2007, the government has provided more than $53 million through the Women’s Program at Status of Women Canada for projects that promote women’s economic security and prosperity. “As a government, we are proud to partner with the Northumberland United Way and Northumberland County to help immigrant women participate fully in the local economy. This investment will position women who are newcomers to Canada to seize economic opportunities as they arise, enhance their prosperity and strengthen the economy,” said Rick Norlock, MP for Northumberland-Quinte West. n

Canada offers express entry to economic immigrants

C

itizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has announced an “Express Entry” immigration system – “one that is fast, flexible and focused on meeting Canada’s economic and labour needs.” The program, formerly known as “Expression of Interest,” launches in January 2015. “Express Entry” candidates who receive a job offer or nomination under the Provincial Nominee Program will be quickly invited to apply for permanent residency – a key distinction between “Express Entry” and the www.newcomerbulletin.com

Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which is only used to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. Qualified applicants can expect faster processing times of six months or less when invited to come to Canada in four key economic streams: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class, and a portion of the PNP. Employers will have a key role in selecting economic immigrants and providing advice to the Canadian government. n SPRING 2014 | NEWCOMER BULLETIN

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NEWS DIGEST

Arrivals from China, India, the Philippines keep steady climb

C

hina, India and the Philippines have remained the major source countries for immigrants to Canada in 2013, accounting for about 40% of the total permanent-resident admissions. Since 2006, Canada has welcomed a yearly average of 250,000 permanent residents. In 2013, Canada welcomed as permanent residents more than 33,000 Indian citizens, 34,000 Chinese and 30,000 Filipinos, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada numbers. Admissions for students from China and India have also sharply increased. Canada received nearly 14,000 students from India in 2013, nearly four times more than in 2008, and 29,000 students from China, up 225% since 2006. In March 2014, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander visited China “to position Canada as a destination of choice for leisure travel, business and study.” In Hong Kong, he met with business leaders, particularly those involved in research and development,

venture capitalism and angel investing. In Shanghai, he spoke at academic institutions and underscored China’s position as one of the top source countries for students coming to Canada. Tourist arrivals also rose. In 2013, Canada issued more than 270,000 visitor visas to Chinese citizens, up nearly 120% since 2006. In 2010, Canada signed an Approved Destination Status agreement with China, which allows Chinese travel agents to promote and arrange tour groups to Canada. Visaprocessing times averaged less than one week and approval rate was 95%. Visitor visas issued to India and the Philippines were 130,000 and 47,000, respectively. In June 2009, Canada created the Worker Express Program under the Business Express Program to allow for faster processing of visa applications for businesspeople sent to Canada by India-based companies. More than 7,200 Indian citizens have since benefitted from the program. n

New caps set for skilled workers

C

itizenship and Immigration Canada will begin accepting applications under new caps for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) starting May 1, 2014. CIC said a new cap of 25,000 applications under the FSWP will support expected admissions in 2015. The list of eligible occupations – reflecting the latest labour market needs – will be more than doubled, from 24 to 50 occupations.

QUICK FACTS CHINA

1.5 million

Canadians with Chinese ancestral roots

270,000

Number of visitor visas issued to Chinese visitors in 2013

29,000

Number of Chinese students in Canada in 2013

INDIA

130,000

Number of visitor visas issued to Indian visitors in 2013

14,000

Number of Indian students in Canada in 2013

The FSTP cap will be increased to 5,000 applications. All 90 skilled trades designated under the program regulations will now be eligible for consideration, although sub-caps remain in order to ensure appropriate representation of occupations. The CEC cap will be re-set at 8,000 applications, as of May 1, 2014, to cover the transition period leading up to the rollout of the Express Entry immigration system in January 2015. n

33,000

Number of Indian citizens who became permanent residents in 2013

THE PHILIPPINES

650,000

Canadians with Filipino ancestry

6%

Increase since 2012 in number of visas issued to Filipino visitors

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THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF CANADA VISIBLE MINORITIES INCREASINGLY BECOMING THE MAJORITY MUNICIPALITY n n n n n n n n n n

% of VISIBLE MINORITY

VISIBLE MINORITY POPULATION

73% 66% 57% 54% 53% 53% 32% 30% 27% 24%

Markham Brampton Mississauga Vancouver Surrey Toronto Montreal Calgary Edmonton Ottawa

244,112 380,461 428,617 343,164 269,795 1,451,912 531,504 346,339 230,189 220,396

Source: Environics Analytics, 2013

CANADIAN POPULATION GROWTH FORECAST 12.8M

2011

2031 Caucasians

29.2M

Source: Statistics Canada 2010 Medium Growth Scenario, 2011 Immigration & Ethno‐cultural Diversity in Canada

PERMANENT RESIDENTS ADMITTED IN 2012 n n n n n n n n n n

China The Philippines India Pakistan United States France Iran United Kingdom Haiti South Korea All Others

800K

6.3M

ase

incre

6.2 2013 2014

2015 Year

2016

$4.7B incremental

2017 $34.2B

Source: Statistics Canada, 2010; Homescan data, 2012

CANADA POPULATION BY VISIBLE MINORITY (Visible minorities account for about 20% of Canada’s population in 2013)

12.8% 12.7% 43.4% 11.2% 3.9% 3.7% 2.1% 3.2% 2.2% 2.5% 2.5%

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada www.newcomerbulletin.com

6.6

$29.5B

10% Growth

n

7.0 Canadians (Millions)

6.3M

26.5M

7.1M

Visible Minorities

Visible Minorities

Caucasians

SPENDING GROWTH BY VISIBLE MINORITIES

1,775,426 1,560,677 589,428 427,898 406,914 343,409 236,611 216,659 169,783 100,695 90,930

South Asian Chinese Filipino Latin American Arab Southeast Asian West Asia South Korean Multiple Japanese All Others Source: Environics Analytics

SPRING 2014 | NEWCOMER BULLETIN

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COVER STORY

STUDY, WO

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Peterborough has one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada. Yet, at the same time, local employers are unable to fill their open positions. Perhaps international students could help close the widening skills gap.

W

hen Bobby Yan was in senior year, he recalled sitting through each one of the presentations from as many as 40 Canadian universities at his high school in Shenzhen, China. With its increasing affluence, China is a fertile recruitment ground for international students by universities in Canada as well as worldwide. China has been the world’s leading source of international students. In 2012 alone, nearly 400,000 Chinese went to study abroad, according to the Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange under China’s education ministry. About 74% of Chinese overseas students are in the United States, Australia, Japan, Britain and Canada. Mr. Yan, now 21, is at Peterborough’s Trent University. In March 2014, he finished a two-year ESL program, which prepares him for his university study. He will start his computer science undergraduate program in the fall. 14

  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

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ORK, STAY

Photo by Trent University

Canada is not only stepping up its attraction campaign for international students, aiming to double their number to more than 450,000 by 2022; it is also looking at international students as a pool of potential immigrants. In Peterborough, the Workplace Integration Program, the employment-services arm of the New Canadians Centre, is taking the lead in a provincially funded international student-retention initiative, which involves creating a framework as well as a relationship-building process to transition international students into the local labour market. “The idea is to engage local employers whose needs are related to the programs that are being offered at Trent University and www.newcomerbulletin.com

Fleming College,” said Cath D’Amico, deputy director of Trent International Program, who sits at the steering committee of the WIP-led initiative. Becky Rogers, who heads the city’s immigration portfolio as manager of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Division and also a steering committee member, said that “with concerted effort, there can be contacts made with employers that will assist students in meaningful ways – by that, what I mean is we know that there are employers who are seeking skilled employees with the right educational qualifications.” The initiative will make critical connections so that international students in the right programs are aware of employment opportunities in Peterborough, and businesses are also aware of the skills set that students graduate with. “And, of course, the big advantage, I think, for employers – if they’re hiring students who have lived in Peterborough for two or four years – they know that these students have overcome the shock of the weather, the shock of the culture, and some of the language issues as well,” she said. Over a 12-month funding period, ending March 2015, the initiative’s goal is to match 15 international students with and place them in career positions – jobs that qualify them under immigration rules to apply for permanentresidency status. “We definitely intend to exceed the 15-student mark,” Ms. Rogers said. Kemi Akapo, the interim employment coordinator charged with the WIP, will hold information sessions with international students, network with employers and work to make the WIP a potential source of vetted candidates for specific disciplines or areas of work. An important piece of the initiative is getting international students in early, identify barriers and develop plans to overcome them to achieve better placement outcomes. A significant number of international students go home after graduation. Many others pursue graduate school either in Canada or abroad. Only a small number stay in Peterborough if they can secure work, according to Ms. D’Amico. Airin Aguilera, an international student at Trent University from Venezuela who graduates in June 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international development studies, plans to go into graduate school. Meantime, she said she would momentarily stay in Peterborough. “I have been in Peterborough for four years, and I have somewhat established some roots and created a great support network in Peterborough. Also, being a recent grad, a lot of things are unknown, and I’m trying to establish my footing, and maybe Peterborough might be the place to do that – the whole process of applying for a post-graduation work permit and getting some work experience before uprooting myself and going SPRING 2014 | NEWCOMER BULLETIN

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COVER STORY FOREIGN STUDENTS AT TRENT UNIVERSITY

2.60%

2.52%

3.86% 3.23% 9.99%

2.52% China Saudi Arabia Japan Russia Germany Pakistan Malaysia United Kingdom USA Nigeria

22.03% 2.75%

6.37%

2.68% 280

127 81 49 41 35 34 33 32 32

International students at Trent University come from 117 countries. The top 10 sending countries represent 58.54% of the total international enrollment at Trent University. Source: Trent International Program

BOBBY YAN: “I will study, gain some work experience and go back to China”

BECKY ROGERS: “With concerted effort, there can be contacts made with employers and students”

off in an adventure to Ottawa or Toronto,” she said. “I would love to live permanently in Canada, but it would also depend on other factors – for example, graduate programs in Canada are very expensive for international students, so I might need to look at my other options. So, that might take me to Europe or the US. But, yes, I love Canada.” 16

  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

CATH D’AMICO: “The idea is to engage employers whose needs are related to the programs at Trent and Fleming”

Jesus Leopoldo Venegas Villanueva, an international student at Fleming College from Mexico, said he, too, will apply for a post-graduation work permit and seek employment in Canada. The post-graduation work permit program grants international students who wish to work in Canada after they graduate an open work permit, issued for the length of their

study program up to a maximum of three years. Mr. Villanueva completed a one-year post-graduate program in Wireless Information Networking in April 2014. He is setting his sights on applying for a job in southern Ontario, which he considers an important technology hub in Canada. The international-student retention initiative dovetailed with the priority goals reached during a regional economic meeting organized by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and hosted by the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce in May 2012. The No. 1 priority goal identified in the meeting, which was attended by about 60 business and community leaders in Peterborough, was to “build bridges between the business community, Trent University and Fleming College to encourage and develop younger workers.” Engaging Trent and Fleming students was deemed an important step www.newcomerbulletin.com


COVER STORY ECONOMIC IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, 2010

*Territories

$623,000

Newfoundland & Labrador

Manitoba

$40.67M

$153.78M Quebec

$1.01B Alberta

$486.64M Prince Edward Island British Columbia

$27.76M

Ontario

$1.86B

$2.90B Saskatchewan

$120.50M

New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

$93.58M

$217.17M

*Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut

Total Spending

86%

10% 4%

$6.92 billion

Long-Term Students Short-Term Language Students

$788.16 million

Tourism

$336.40 million $8.05 billion

Total Newfoundland & Labrador

370

$1.48 million

Prince Edward Island

60

$621,400

Nova Scotia

New Brunswick

Quebec

Ontario

Manitoba

Saskatchewan

Alberta

British Columbia

*Territories

1,890

$12 million

1,030

$3.43 million 8,000

$81.23 million 29,970

1,640

$202.98 million $10.83 million

1,050

$4.48 million

4,770

$13.25 million 21,460

$66.90 million

0

$8,000 *Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut

Employment

Tax Revenue

Source: Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

toward closing a widening skills gap in the labour market. Peterborough currently grapples with a burgeoning unemployment issue – at 8.7%, the unemployment rate in Peterborough was the highest in Ontario and Canada as of February 2014, Statiswww.newcomerbulletin.com

tics Canada data showed. Employers who attended the May 2012 meeting, however, said that the skills sets available locally are not exactly what they need for their business. Even as the federal government has announced an ambitious goal to

AIRIN AGUILERA: “Peterborough might be the place to initially establish my footing”

more than double the size of the current international-student population in Canada by 2022, planned amendments to the Citizenship Act, which are expected to become law before end-2014, are raising some eyebrows. One of the amendments will scrap a provision that benefits international students and other temporary residents because it credits them with a half day of residence, up to a maximum of one year, for every day spent in Canada as non-permanent residents when they apply for citizenship. Additionally, the government is simultaneously increasing residency requirements for citizenship from three out of four years to four out of six years. “We’re taking away one of our major selling points,” said Debbie Douglas, executive director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. “We usually have laws to address a problem. I don’t know what the problem was. It was a win for Canada, and it was a win for the people coming to Canada.” The impact of the amendments could be significant. The government estimates that recruiting more international students could generate some 86,000 new jobs in Canada and add an additional $10 billion to the economy annually. International SPRING 2014 | NEWCOMER BULLETIN

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COVER STORY INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN CANADA

4.27% 4.57%

30.38%

5.36%

Others 37.33%

7.19%

10.90%

Top 6 combined: 62.67%

Top Sources

China India South Korea Saudi Arabia United States France Others

Yukon Territory

80,638 28,929 19,079 14,219 12,142 11,334 99,063

Northwest Territories

JESUS VENEGAS: “I will seek employment in southern Ontario, one of the technology hubs in Canada”

Nunavut

0.03% CANADA

25.74% 2.14% 14.36% 0.77% 6.98% 2.73% 41.89% 0.30% British Columbia

Alberta

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

Quebec

Newfoundland & Labrador

Ontario

Prince Edward Island

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

New Brunswick

1.42% 3.64% Nova Scotia

By Province Newfoundland and Labrador 2,050 Prince Edward Island 804 Nova Scotia 9,655 New Brunswick 3,773 Quebec 38,114 Ontario Manitoba 7,243 Saskatchewan 5,675 Alberta 18,521 British Columbia Territories* 73

111,171

68,321

* Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut

Levels of Study

Gender Other post-secondary

University

54.6%

20.9% Other 3.0%

Secondary or less

14.2% Trade 7.3% Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

18

  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

Females

Males

43% 57%

students pay an average of $19,500 in tuition each year, whereas full-time Canadian undergraduate students pay an average of $5,700 every year. Ms. Rogers acknowledged that there might be some challenges, while also pointing out that the amendments now allow international students to work off campus. “The government is aware that there is a competition among countries to attract the best and the brightest. Over time, I think, we are seeing changes for the better,” she said. “I think as we move through periods where there are high rates of retirements, and the quest for employees is going to become more of a priority, we may see some of the immigration policies change again to reflect that.” Obviously for some international students, their goal was simply to get an international education and go home. Since 1978, when China, today’s second-largest economy in the world, began introducing an open-door policy, nearly three million Chinese have gone abroad to study. In 2012, 72.38% of Chinese students have since gone back home. Mr. Yan said he plans to stay for two or three more years in Canada after graduation to better his Englishspeaking ability and gain some overseas work experience. After that, he will go back to his family in China. n www.newcomerbulletin.com


ADVERTORIAL FLEMING COLLEGE

Fleming College welcoming more international students

F

leming College has seen a tremendous growth in its international student population in the past few years. The students, from countries such as India, China and Brazil, have helped to create a more vibrant and diverse campus community. The college strives to ensure that its international students experience true Canadian culture and an intensive immersion into the English language in a safe and friendly studentcentred environment. Students attending Fleming have their choice of diploma, certificate or graduate certificate (post-graduate) programs. Most programs offer real-world experience for students through work placements, internships, lab or clinical settings, co-op employment, or applied projects. Small class sizes ensure more contact with instructors and classmates and a better overall learning environment for students. So which programs are Fleming’s international students taking? Graduate certificates, which build on diplomas or degrees students have earned in their home countries, are popular. These include Project Management, Wireless Information Networking, and International Business Management. Within Fleming’s diploma programs, international students are taking Pharmacy Technician, Biotechnology – Advanced, and Electrical Engineering Technician. Fleming also offers opportunities to fast-track through some of its diploma programs such as Accounting, Human Resources, International Trade, Business Administration, Marketing, and Computer Engineering Technician/Technologist. All of Fleming’s programs require English language proficiency scores of 79 for TOEFL or 6.0 for IELTS (except Pharmacy Technician, which requires scores of 90 for TOEFL and 6.5 for IELTS). For those students who do not meet these requirements, Fleming offers a newly-designed ESL Bridge. This English-language training is determined on www.newcomerbulletin.com

the first day of arrival through a placement test and interview. The curriculum is tailored to the student’s individual needs. It also features weekly field trips to integrate culture and community into the studies, weekly private tutoring, and workshop electives in topics such as pronunciation, study skills or social conversation. Beyond language, international students at Fleming receive additional supports – everything they need to succeed in their new home away from home. The college offers free airport pick-up, and soon after arriving Fleming’s International Education Officer provides students with a detailed orientation that includes tips on Canadian culture, an orientation to the campus and the city, and help with setting up their new home. For registered students arriving in late

International-student population at Fleming College on the rise

Fleming recognizes the rich cultural diversity international students bring

August, Fleming provides up to five days of free accommodations in the college’s student residences. Fleming’s Office of International Education then connects with students regularly to ensure they are adjusting well in all aspects of college life at Fleming. Students are enrolled in a healthinsurance plan and also receive a free membership to either the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre or the Lindsay Athletic Recreation Complex. This is in addition to Fleming’s athletic and recreation programs, which cover both varsity and intramural sports. Career Services, tutoring and student advising and the opportunity to network with potential employers are all ways Fleming further supports its international students. Throughout the year, the college organizes fun day trips and events for international students to showcase Canada’s culture and tourism points of interest. These activities have included ice skating and skiing. Fleming recognizes the rich cultural diversity international students bring and ensures that they are fully welcomed and supported during their time on campus. Their presence truly creates a dynamic and globally focused learning environment for all students. n SPRING 2014 | NEWCOMER BULLETIN

21


FEATURE

Northumberland immigrant business owners in talks to form group mmigrant entrepreneurs in Northumberland County are exploring the possibility of forming into a group not only to create their own network opportunities but also to lobby with government and other agencies on issues and challenges that are specific and unique to newcomers to Canada. Immigrant business owners gathered on May 2, 2014 to set their agenda going forward. Organized by Northumberland County’s Economic Development and Tourism office, the meeting was also attended by representatives from Northumberland Community Futures Development Corp., Northumberland Central Chamber of Commerce and New Canadians Centre. “We know that newcomers face a lot of challenges in the process to start a new life in Canada,” said Dindin Villarino, the county’s coordinator for its Immigration Portal project. “We want not only to hear them out but also to be able to discuss with them some potential solutions to newcomer

BULLETIN

Photo by Thelma Dillon

I

Immigrant business owners in Northumberland County discuss newcomer challenges

their unique challenges – particularly with immigrants who have come to Northumberland County to start a business. We want every business owner in the county, including immigrants, to succeed.” Access to credit facilities is a particular challenge to a newcomer, who has no established credit history in Canada. Mario Pareja, who owns a Kia franchise in Cobourg, however, said banks have now started offering loan packages specifically tailored for newcomers. “I’ve seen how things

have changed; it used to be very difficult for newcomers to apply for a car loan,” he said. “Banks are now serving newcomers as well.” Dan Borowec, director of economic development, said “newcomers come to Northumberland County because they know that support services are available for them as they start a new life.” With the addition of the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre, the county is in a better position to attract more investors and entrepreneurs, he added. n

ONE YEAR (4 ISSUES) $10

SERVING THE NEWCOMER COMMUNITIES IN DURHAM, NORTHUMBERLAND AND PETERBOROUGH

INFORMATION.

INSPIRATION.

INSIGHT.

PAYMENT ENCLOSED (PLEASE MAKE CHEQUE PAYABLE TO MEDIAPLUS VILLAGE) BILL ME LATER

Net proceeds from the sale of magazine subscriptions are earmarked for donation to organizations that provide services to newcomers. To subscribe by e-mail, write to marketing@mediaplusvillage.com. Unit LL5, 311 George Street North Peterborough, ON K9J 3H3 Phone: (705) 772-7172 E-mail: marketing@mediaplusvillage.com www.mediaplusvillage.com

NAME ADDRESS CITY/PROVINCE/POSTAL CODE

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  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

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CLICK

Allison Hector-Alexander, UOIT diversity officer

Oshawa Councillor Bob Chapman

Oshawa Mayor John Henry

Larry Johanson, MCOD president

Audrey Andrews, Durham senior policy advisor

MCOD HERITAGE GALAXY

O

n May 8, 2014, the Multicultural Council of OshawaDurham organized a “getting-to-know-you” event, showcasing diversity, heritage and the work of civic agencies and cultural groups. Nearly 20 regional agencies, associations and groups, including Mediaplus Village, have set up a table or sent a representative to the event.

The Oshawa “Tatry” Polish Song and Dance Ensemble Sabrina Young, left, and Charlene Johnston of Durham Libraries Multicultural Alliance

Aneesa Hussain, left, and Deanna Joyce of Northern Lights

Mediaplus Village showcases copies of Newcomer Bulletin

CARMELA VALLES IMMIGRATION CONSULTING Get your friends and family to study, work, live and invest in Peterborough and Northumberland.

Bethany Cleghorne interprets a song with sign language

AREAS OF SERVICE The Hummingbird Dances of Oshawa (Club Carib)

• Family Sponsorship • Canada Experience Class • Federal Skilled Trades Class • Federal Skilled Worker Class • Canadian Citizenship Visitor, Student, Work Visas and • Visi Extensions P: (705) 761-2244 F: (705) 743-2331 E: info@carmelavalles.com www.carmelavalles.com

Part of the crowd that attended the event www.newcomerbulletin.com

175 George Street North Chamber Business Centre Peterborough, Ontario K9J 3G6

Member: Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council SPRING 2014 | NEWCOMER BULLETIN

23


CLICK

Filipino workshop participants

Kim Abis, from CATIE, facilitates

HEP-C INFORMATION SESSION

O

n February 28, 2014, Toronto-based CATIE (Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange), an information provider on HIV and Hepatitis C, conducted an information session on Immigrant Health and Hepatitis C in Cobourg for the Filipino communities in Peterborough and Northumberland County. The event, part of the Skills for Change’s Leaderin-Residence project by Dindin Villarino in Northumberland County, drew more than 30 participants.

Mona Rendon-Weatherbee, Gracie Lawrence and Susan Macalintal

Alma Lagman and Sophie Velasco

BJ Igloria

Georgina Arcilla and Geraldine Valles

24

Josephine Valles

Mildred Delfin

  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

Tita Green and Teresa Lang

Tita Green, Teresa Lang, Ping Hoskin and Welly Murdoch

Ilji Berbisada, Ramon Valles and Oliver Tongcos

Carmela Valles

Ping Hoskin and Welly Murdoch

Nita Spohn

Dorie and Ernie Centeno www.newcomerbulletin.com


CLICK

Catherine Hanrahan and Phil

Janet Hunter and Jean-Luc Charron

Bretton Clark and Briagh Hoskins-Hasbury

ONE NIGHT IN MEXICO

O Mounira Benallou and Dominique Turina

n March 1, 2014, the New Canadians Centre and the Peterborough Partnership Council on Immigrant Integration hosted One Night in Mexico, an annual gala intended to raise funds to support programs for newcomers to Peterborough and Northumberland County. The event has raised more than $9,500, Jason Stabler, the NCC interim executive director, reports. Liam Walsh and Lauren McGee

Photos provided by New Canadians Centre

Ed Segura and Christina DiCosmo

Aleks de Oliveira and Alex Muir

Mayor Darryl and Jewell Bennett

Richard and Debbie Daley

Ron and Sondra Egan

Lou and Catherine O’Hara

Barb and Larry Jinkerson

Rob Howard and Elie Rath

Laura Keresztesi and Andy Cragg

www.newcomerbulletin.com

SPRING 2014 | NEWCOMER BULLETIN

25


NEWS FEATURE

NEW STUDY LOOKS AT LCP C

ase No. 1: Sheila (not her real name) is an immigrant live-in caregiver, looking after a child with a disability at a family in Peterborough County. She came to Canada through the Live-in Caregiver Program. Consistent with the program’s requirements, she must live in her employer’s home for the first 24 months of her employment, that is, until she qualifies to apply for permanent-resident status. A new research study raises alarm over the live-in requirement component of the program, saying that it, coupled with a caregiver’s temporary immigration status, has led to inequitable working conditions and even exploitation. The study finds that caregivers of children deal more often with employers who fail to comply with their contracts than do caregivers of older adults. Sheila makes a good example. She often works long hours with no extra pay for overtime. She was also only allowed to take the weekend off and leave her employer’s home after a two-week prior notice. Case No. 2: Melinda (not her real name) is also a live-in caregiver. She was recently told by her employer that her employment contract was ending sooner than its termination date. The reason: she is pregnant. The study, carried out by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, looks at the economic and social integration of live-in caregivers, finding that the LCP’s live-in requirement not only makes them vulnerable to inequitable and exploitative working conditions but also hinders their ability to earn a decent living wage and engage in mainstream Canadian society after completing the program. Conducted by Jelena Atanackovic of McMaster University and Ivy Lynn Bourgeault of the University of Ottawa, the study recommends a key fundamental change: provide caregivers the option to live outside 26

  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

BEBSIE LEGO: Relationship between a live-in caregiver and an employer evolves over time

their employer’s residence. There are some indications that the government is considering such an option. In late 2013, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander was quoted as saying that his department was “studying whether it was necessary to keep the live-in requirement.” The study’s other recommendations include allowing caregivers to apply for permanent residency upon arrival to Canada in order to diminish the disruption their families face, better

enforcement of employment standards, and removing the requirement that caregivers obtain a study permit for credit courses longer than six months to encourage them to improve their credentials while in the LCP. Other previous researches cited by the IRPP study have reported cases in which live-in caregivers worked overtime without being compensated and requested to take on additional tasks not stipulated by their job contracts, such as housewww.newcomerbulletin.com


NEWS FEATURE keeping or taking care of additional family members or even pets. Although some caregivers may have had some rough experience with their employers, others are satisfied and happy with their live-in arrangement. Bebsie Lego, who received her permanent-resident status in April 2014, explained that the relationship between a live-in caregiver and an employer evolved over time. Soon, a bond develops and melts their employer-employee relationship, and they become family, she said, citing her own experience. She acknowledged that she had assumed a few tasks, which are not necessarily stipulated in her job contract, but that she had done so on her own volition. When she first came to Peterborough in November 2010, her employer drove her to the New Canadians Centre so that she could socialize with other Filipinos. Angelie Lim-Villegas, who is currently on parental leave to care for her own two-month-old baby, said her employer went an extra mile so that she can connect with the Filipino community in Peterborough. Soon after she arrived in June 2012, her employer searched online for a Filipino living in Peterborough, contacted the Filipino and arranged to take her to the Filipino’s home on a weekend. Looking ahead to the day when her employment contract as a live-in caregiver winds down in a year or so, she said she is chiefly counting on her employer, who assured her of support in finding work for her. Although she has a bachelor’s degree in psychology in the Philippines, she said she will jump at the first career opportunity that opens up for her. Although significantly fewer people come to Canada through the LCP compared with other Temporary Foreign Worker Program streams, it is still a popular immigration path for thousands. At its peak in 2007, 12,955 people were admitted through the program. By 2011, annual admissions had fallen by more than 50% to 5,884. In 2012, the numbers increased slightly to 6,242. In 2009, 90% of LCP workers were from the Philippines. The number of live-in caregivers who became permanent residents increased from 3,433 in 2007 to a high of 7,664 in 2010, dropping sharply www.newcomerbulletin.com

ANGELIE LIM-VILLEGAS: Support for caregivers from their own ethnocultural communities is vital

to 3,690 in 2012. The decline was attributed, in part, to the effects of the post-2008 economic downturn. CIC expects that in 2014, as a result of efforts to reduce application backlog, a

record will be broken with the admission as permanent residents of a total of 17,500 caregivers, their spouses and their dependents – close to double the 9,012 admitted in 2012. n

LIVE-IN CAREGIVERS WHO GAINED PERMANENT RESIDENCY 15000

13,911 12,455

12000

9,012

9000

6,895

6000 3000 0

11,247

10,511

3,305

7,664 6,118

4,292 4,552

5,033

6,157 6,273

3,690

3,063 3,547 3,433 2,230 2,496 2003

2004

2005

2006

Live-in Caregiver

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

With Spouses and Dependents

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada SPRING 2014 | NEWCOMER BULLETIN

27


Q&A MOHAMED WIDAATALLA

YOUTH FINDS HIS PASSION e speak with Mohamed Widaatalla to W learn about how he and his friends have harnessed their collective energy for a social

cause that connects youth in Northumberland County with the people in Nicaragua. He also tells us an inspiring story about how a welcoming community has helped his family ease into life in Canada. NEWCOMER BULLETIN: Tell us about your immigration story? MOHAMED WIDAATALLA: My father had wanted to work in the field of hydrogeology, so my parents immigrated to Canada in 1997 from Saudi Arabia. Why did they choose to settle in Northumberland County? Originally, we settled in Toronto. We moved to Northumberland County in 2005, when my father received a job offer as a hydrogeologist for the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority. As an immigrant, what social and cultural adjustments did you have to make? I came to Canada at a young age, so I was practically raised in Canada. I cannot really say that I have made any social adjustments. As for my parents, we were close to other Sudanese Canadians in Toronto, and that helped them to gradually adjust to the Canadian lifestyle and to become fully integrated in the larger community. Does your family observe cultural and other traditional practices? Yes. As Muslims, we observe Ramadan and Eid. Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam in which fasting is observed; it is meant to be a time of self-reflection and increased prayer and worship. Ramadan is also a time when families come together in the breaking of the fast at sunset. How is the community supporting the practice of your religion? I would say that the general community is always supportive of my fasting during Ramadan. At work, when I’m on a closing shift, I was allowed to change my break times during the month of Ramadan. The community is very respectful toward my beliefs and religious practices. Whenever people learn of things that I do differently such as Ramadan or praying one of the five daily prayers, they always attempt to accommodate my needs as best as they can. They also ensure that nothing they do has a negative effect on my cultural practices. Tell us what you want to accomplish with CEIPA (Cobourg East International Partnership for Agriculture)? 28

  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

Mohamed Widaatalla

CEIPA, which I co-founded with Milton Calderon, is a youth-led project that involves the Student Council and the Environment Club of CDCI (Cobourg District Collegiate Institute) East. The project aims to fight hunger and malnutrition associated with poverty through small-scale organic gardening initiatives. Locally, CEIPA partners with Cobourg-based Horizons of Friendship, although it is also seeking other local partners for financial support. Internationally, CEIPA works with CCOAR (Centro Comunitario Oscar Arnulfo Romero), a youth centre in Nandaime, Nicaragua. The project provides low-cost, fresh, organic and locally grown produce. CEIPA will also foster cross-cultural relationship between Cobourg and Nandaime. Why should the youth be involved in CEIPA? I believe that the youth in Northumberland County represents a significant part of its future. The investment that we put in our youth today will help to determine our level of adeptness at cross-cultural awareness, understanding and acceptance in Northumberland County 10-15 years down the road. n www.newcomerbulletin.com


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  NEWCOMER BULLETIN | SPRING 2014

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Newcomer Bulletin Spring 2014  

Newcomer Bulletin is a magazine resource for newcomers and immigrants to Ontario, Canada.

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