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“Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth integration and assimilation for immigrants into the Canadian society.”

Hamilton – Home to Ethno Cultural Population


face of Hamilton today like the rest of Canada reflects the face of diversity. Looking back more than eight years ago when yours truly settled in Hamilton, it was difficult to run into so many different cultural and ethnic diversities that are replicate of what we see now. In every nooks and crannies of this city and its environs, one beholds Hamilton’s diversity in the different facial features, the many different skin colors,

the beautiful linguistic expressions, even, in the aromas emanating from the various ethnic kitchens that are catering for the culinary desires of our communities. Many ethnic/cultural communities have called Hamilton home, and many more will follow suit in the near future. Hamilton is home to 80 ethnic groups and 90 languages. More professionals and skilled trade workers are settling here in droves. According to Stats Canada 2001, ‘nearly one-quarter of the population in

the ‘census metropolitan area’ of Hamilton was foreign-born, the third highest proportion amongst such urban areas like Toronto (44%), and Vancouver (38%)’ The total number of visible minorities for ‘Hamilton city’ according to the same census is 52,705, comprising: Chinese 7,470; South Asian, 11,000; Blacks, 10,455; Filipino, 4,415; Latin American, 4,250; Southeast Asian, 4,465; Arab, 3,700, West Asian, 2,065; Korean, 1,485; and Japanese, 760.


you’re like most Canadians, however, you are not sure where to look to find the extra money needed to invest. Page 4


time has come, and that time is now for ethnic communities to arise and avail themselves of thousands of opportunities that abound in this great nation. Page 5


mmigrants that arrive in Canada are reportedly a healthy group. True as that might sound, it is not sufficient to make that kind of general statement without substantiating the facts. Page 10

The community profiles for 2006 census would be released in December of 2007, while the 2006 Ethnic Origins and Visible minority profile will be released in April 2, 2008. (Statistics Canada). There is no better time than now for ethno/cultural communities residing in Hamilton and environ to get involved in community building through participatory efforts in all spheres of civic engagements. continued on page 

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aving said this, it remains that there ar e real and perceived brick walls preventing ethnic communities from rising up to the challenges they face in our communities. As rightly stated by Ian Donaldson, of the Multiculturalism and Human Rights Program, Department of Canadian Heritage in “Canada’s ethnocultural composition in 2017”, … “ Canada faces a number of challenges with respect to its evolving ethno-cultural composition. Some of these include reducing labour market and workplace inequalities, responding to the need for multicultural access to health and social services, balancing the social geography of cities, ensuring the representation and participation of all Canadians in public institutions, among others. Thus, once these issues are properly addressed, immigrants from ethno cultural communities in Canada would start feeling and displaying a sense of belonging as citizens of this great country. is an un-deniable fact that Canada depends on immigration as the most viable source of population growth given the aging population and declining


birth rates (Canadian Labour Force Survey 2006). More so, If according to projection that in year 2017, visible minorities would make up approximately 20% of the population, and given that the population of recent immigrants in Canada were much younger than those born in Canada and those who landed in Canada more than 10 years ago (Canadian Labour Force Survey, 2006), it remains that Hamilton and Canada as a whole should start making changes that would in the interest of equity and natural conscience be beneficial for better assimilation of ethnic communities in this country. The earlier good integration of ethnic/cultural populations into the main stream of this society, the better outcomes would be realized in terms of community building and patriotism.

interesting facts about this great city.

 History traced the origins of Ham-

ilton back to George Hamilton, a settler and local politician who settled in the northern portion of Barton Township around 1815.  George Hamilton named the streets of ‘James, John. Catherine and Mary after his biological children.  First railway line in Hamilton community was built in 1850s connecting Port Dover and Lake Erie.  Allan Napier MacNab built this first railway, and the Dundurn Castle as his stately residence (1837).  Hamilton was in corporated as a city in 1846.  Hamilton nearly went bankrupt in1860s when the bailiffs seized the furniture of city hall and portraits of past city mayors, until a good Hamiltonian came to their rescue by buying the seized items and donating

them back to the city Hamilton’s first mayor was Colin Campbell Ferrie (1808-1856). He was one of the founders of Hamilton’s first bank – ‘Gore Bank’ Hamilton was an industrial hub on SouthCentral Ontario around the 1890s because of its strategic location with its harbour, and the coal supplies in the states and the iron ore coming from Northern Ontario.  First bank established in Hamilton is the Gore Bank of Hamilton in 1835, located on King Street West, between Macnab and Charles Street. The bank opened for business on Monday May 2, 1836. First departmental store to open in Hamilton was the Right House in 1893, closed in January 1983. Distance from Hamilton to:

 Toronto is 68Km or 42m Montreal 607Km or 377m Ottawa 467Km or 290m Buffalo 102Km or 64m Niagara Falls 75Km or 47m Detroit 322Km or 200m

mean depth, 25 meters maximum depth; 45 kilometers shoreline length; volume of water is 2.8 x 10 to 8th cubit feet of water, navigational season is April through to mid December.  The first supervised playground opened in July 26, 1909, on the Hess street school ground. It later moved to Wilcox playground.  Hamilton’s tallest building is Century 21, with 42 stores and about 450 feet high.  The first named streets in Hamilton are King Street, named after King William IV; Mountain Road (now John street).  Hamilton Automobile Club was the first in Canada in April 29, 1903; first race was August 8, 1904.  There is one doughnut shop for every 5,721 people in Hamilton.  Currently a city of over half a million people (500,000) (From Library and Archives Canada) ■

 The official flower of Hamilton is the yellow Chrysanthemum.  Hamilton’s harbour m e a s u re s 2,160 surface area; 13 meters

Some Historical Facts about Hamilton: How well do you know Hamilton? Many of us have been here for over ten years, others are still very green. We are all very busy chasing the mighty dollar to learn the history behind this great city. The question then is, ‘What historical facts do you know about Hamilton? History being the record of past events enables us to take a peek into the far gone past and experience if not appreciate what those before us had done. Some historical knowledge about Hamilton would instill some sense of pride in you as a resident of this city, and at the same time, invoke a sense of gratitude for the pioneers whose great sacrifices at city building have brought honor and greatness to Hamilton. For thousands of old and new immigrants who chose this city as a place of abode, read on to either refresh your memory, or learn new w w w.thevoiceindiasp

Nov 2007 • Volume 1 • Issue 1

Four ways to find “hidden” investment R

EBO ESSILFIE-AMOAH (Financial Consultant)


nvesting regularly is important. If you are going to achieve your retirement and

other financial goals, you should consistently contribute to your RRSPs and nonregistered investments. “Paying yourself first” through monthly contributions is an excellent strategy to build an investment portfolio.


you’re like most Canadians, however, you are not sure where to look to find the extra money needed to invest. There is a way – in fact, there are four good ways to perhaps uncover “hidden” money you already have, which you can use to start an investment plan on a regular basis. All it takes is a bit of smart money management using the strategies set out below.

eview your household budget.

Carefully reviewing “how”your family spends its money and making changes can free up cash flow. Start by determining if expenses are essential, including your mortgage and utility payments, or if they are non-essential such as buying lunch at a restaurant every work day. Then ask you rself, what can I do differently? Small and simple changes like ensuring you turn off lights when you leave a room can make a major difference in how much money you have left to save each month.


ebt consolidation can increase your ability to invest.

Debt consolidation is a means of paying off a number of higher interest rate loans or other high-cost debt by taking out a single loan at a lower interest rate for a consolidated overall lower monthly payment. One can choose to consolidate debts such as car loans, education loans, credit cards or lines of credit and benefit through a single, more affordable monthly payment which is lower than the sum of the many monthly payments one is making previously. Debt consolidation can be an effective way to regain control of your finances, manage

your monthly cash flows, free up money for other purposes and reduce stress. Additionally, any repayment plan that can allow you to move from simply servicing your debt balances to actually eliminating them is positive as well. If you own a home, you can also consider consolidating your debt using a home equity loan. Your loan is secured by your home at usually a much lower interest rate than you currently pay on most credit cards, which can often range from 19 percent to over 28 percent. By paying less interest monthly, you’ve created additional cash flow that can be used towards your retirement, other financial goals or paying down your principal.


estructure your mortgage.

Sometimes, changing the structure of your mortgage can help you find the money you need to make regular investment contributions. Many individuals set their mortgage repayment at the highest amount they can afford in order to minimize interest payments and pay off their mortgage as quickly as possible. Although these are two important goals, other goals like building an investment portfolio to prepare for retirement and protecting against uncertainty through insurance products also needs to be taken into consideration.

Does it make sense to pay off your mortgage over a different term to provide you with the cash flow you need to start an investment portfolio or to fund the monthly premiums on a life and/or disability insurance policy? If you have built up extra equity in your home, does it make sense to use the equity to cover your RRSP contribution or to start an RESP?


et tax back now, not later.

Getting a tax refund cheque from the government each year might seem like a “windfall” profit – but it’s not. By having too much tax withheld from your pay each month, you are actually giving the government your money to use throughout the year – and they are not paying interest to you for your kind gesture. Instead, if you are an employee and your employer make tax deductions on your behalf, you can reduce the amount withheld from your pay cheques each month by filing a T-1213 form with the Canada Revenue Agency (the CRA). The CRA will then issue a “letter of authority” to your employer, authorizing your employer to reduce withholding taxes. You can then invest part of your usual year-end tax refund immediately each pay period.

Hamilton’s Centre for Civic Inclusion – (HCCI) Strengthening Our Community Hamilton’s Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) is a community-based network, mobilizing all Hamiltonians to create an inclusive city, free of racism and hate. HCCI will assist the City, major institutions, business, service providers, and others to initiate and sustain transformative processes to create racism-free and inclusive environments. It will develop and share training and education resources, and enable easier access to relevant research and information. HCCI will also be a source of support and information to newcomer immigrant and refugee communities, diverse ethno-racial and ethno-cultural groups and Aboriginal communities. It will help build community leadership and enable productive dialogues and partnerships between marginalized and ‘centralized’ communities, organizations and institutions. Our Vision: A united community that respects diversity, practices equity, and speaks out against discrimination. Our Goal: To create in every sector, and among youth, effective and sustainable ways of integrating all Hamiltonians into the civic life of the community, using their contributions to create a strong and vibrant city Strategic Directions: • Promote the safety and security of all Hamiltonians. • Develop broad-based strategies to eliminate racism and hate. • Foster inter-faith and inter-cultural understanding and respect. • Foster civic leadership across the diverse communities, particularly youth. • Facilitate youth leadership and engagement.

Ken Ruffell , Regional Vice President 800 Queenston Rd. Suite # 306 Stoney Creek , ON L8N 1K4 Phone : 905-594-9828 ext 222 Fax : 1-877-653-5421

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Approaches: • Build relationships across the community • Challenge and respond to incidents of discrimination • Foster inclusive, equitable and enduring civic participation. • Facilitate opportunities for on-going public education and aware ness. • Set strategic priorities using community input and sound research. Madina Wasuge Executive Director

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Report By Philip U. Okpala


May 24, 2007 the Ontario government finally launched its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The Ontario Pilot Provincial Nominee Program (Pilot PNP) is Ontario’s first-ever nomination program. The Pilot PNP is designed to contribute to job creation, job retention and economic development by attracting new investment, and by helping employers in targeted sectors to attract and retain qualified employees for jobs for which there are currently labour-market needs. The Pilot PNP also supports government priorities by facilitating the immigration of professionals in the health care and education sectors.


the first year, the Pilot PNP will nominate 500 individuals, many of whom are expected to be accompanied to Ontario by their family members. Ontario will nominate individuals by issuing a Provincial Nomination Certificate for applicants intending to work and live in Ontario after meeting all Pilot PNP requirements. The Pilot PNP is employer-driven. This means that as a prospective nominee, you can only apply if your employer is prescreened, the position is approved, and your employer provides you with a nomi-

The Ontario Pilot Provincial Nominee Program: An Overview Part 1 nee application package from the Pilot PNP. Ontario’s PNP is limited to nominate 500 individuals in the first year. Approximately 50% will be targeted to areas outside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and 50% within the GTA. The Pilot PNP has two Categories: an Employer Category which has been allotted 450 of the 500 positions and a Multinational Investor Category which gets the remaining 50 positions. Applications are processed on a firstcome-first-served basis subject to program criteria; therefore, the earlier that a qualifying employer applies, the greater the likelihood of securing a position The Employer Category: The Employer Category will account for 90% of the 500 prospective nominees in the first year. This is employer driven and allows eligible Ontario employers to fill labour needs in only 20 specific occupations. An eligible employer is one with business premises in Ontario that has a minimum of $1,000,000 in gross revenue and five fulltime employees. The specific occupations are limited to those in health, education, manufacturing, and construction and are

in sectors that are presently experiencing labour shortages. The specific occupations range from physicians, registered nurses, pharmacists, university professors, and lab technicians to machinists, industrial electricians, bricklayers and drywallers. The Employer Category has three streams: Professional, Skilled Worker and International Student. The Professional stream: consists of eight occupations in the health care sector. It also includes two occupations in the education sector and accounts for a maximum of 200 nominations. The Skilled Worker stream: consists of 10 occupations in the manufacturing and construction sectors and accounts for a maximum 200 nominations. The International Student stream: targets recent graduates from Ontario colleges and universities in eligible occupations on the Pilot PNP Occupation List and accounts for a maximum 50 nominations. Only occupations on the Occupation List are eligible for positions in the first year of the Pilot PNP. They are subject to change in the future, based on labour-market needs and government priorities.

Employer eligibility To be eligible for the Pilot PNP, a company must meet the following criteria: Employer criteria: Companies applying to the Pilot PNP must: Have been in continuous corporate existence, and active operation, for a minimum of three years Have a minimum of $1,000,000 in gross revenue for the previous fiscal year Have a minimum of five permanent fulltime employees Have a business premises in Ontario where the prospective nominee will work. Job criteria: Jobs being considered for approval within the Pilot PNP must: Be directly related to, and necessary for, the company’s core operations Be permanent, full-time positions Be among the eligible occupations included in the Pilot PNP Occupations List. continued on page 

THE VOICE EDITORIAL The Voice in Diaspora

Subsidiary of Venike Investments Inc. P.O. Box 417 Hamilton, Ontario Tel: 905.20.1752 - Fax: 905.769.5483

Our Mission

Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth integration and assimilation for immigrants into the Canadian society.


Veronica Chris-Ike

Art & Creative Design Jihan Aydin www . A4AMEDIA . com

Advertising & Marketing

Stella Chris-Ike, Avesta Tokhai, Justina Mensah, Terry-Ann Hasting


Philip U. Okpala, Fevel Toledo, Ebo Essilfie-Amoah, Jahan Zeb, Pastor Fynn-Sackey

2,000 free copies for first time publication. Publication will be done Monthly. These free copies will be distributed to businesses, shopping malls, churches, Non-profit organizations, adult learning centers, etc, in Hamilton and environs. The Voice in Diaspora Newspaper is published and distributed monthly free of charge. The views expressed by writers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Voice in Diaspora Newspaper. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior permission is prohibited. The Voice in Diaspora Newspaper is not responsible for the accuracy of information provided by the advertisers & contributors.


elcome to the first edition of the voice in Diaspora, a newspaper established to fulfill

a void for equitable representation amongst immigrant ethnic population in this great city of Hamilton and beyond. This month of November 2007 is witnessing a history in the making, as immigrant voices would be heard loud and clears in matters pertaining to all sectors of their livelihood. Hurray!!!! A time has come, and that time is now for ethnic communities to arise and avail themselves of thousands of opportunities that abound in this great nation. The Voice in Diaspora is here to ensure yours voices are heard, be it in politics, business, academics, and other spheres of life. Invite us to your community/cultural gatherings, marriage ceremonies, graduation ceremonies, funerals, political gatherings, educational events, business openings, etc, and we would publish your story. The Voice in Diaspora offers you wide range of interesting features like local, national and international news and entertainments; classified and display advertising spaces; health corner; personality profile; community happenings /events photo shots; guest columnist corner; Religion/spiritual corner, etc. Take advantage of this excellent newspaper that speaks and represent ethnic /cultural communities to set your business and occasion apart from the crowd. Your advert will catch the attention of many prospective audiences and give you an edge above your contemporaries. Remember, when daily newspapers are read and discarded, The Voice in Diaspora would still remain in many homes for one full month. Choose the best, choose The Voice. We the editorial board of The Voice in Diaspora are urging all ethnic/cultural populations in Hamilton and environs to support us in this exciting new venture.

Thanks Veronika Chris-Ike (Editor/Publisher)

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Nov 2007 • Volume 1 • Issue 1

Nov 2007 • Volume 1 • Issue 1

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Smile for the Camera! :) (Islamic

School of Hamilton)


lamic School of Ha

(Is One of the Classes

Break for a Snapshot (Islamic School of Hamilton) w w w.thevoiceindiasp

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Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life (By Pastor Fynn-Sackey)


the Gospel of John 14:6 Jesus declares “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Finding the way to inner peace, purpose and joy in this stressful world is crucial to every living soul. Many are looking for the way to God. Jesus says He is the way to God. He is the way to God because He is God and came from Heaven to show us the way back to the Father. Man lost fellowship with God through the disobedience of Adam and Eve hence the Bible says in Romans 3:23 that for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross. If you are sincerely looking for the way to ...continued from page 

Meet current wage levels for the profession or skilled occupation, or entry level wages for the occupation, where the job is to be filled by an international student. Not affect the settlement of any labour dispute or affect the employment of a person involved in such a dispute, or adversely affect employment or training opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Ontario. Address one or more of the objectives of the Pilot PNP Be offered to individuals who meet the criteria for the offered employment. A permanent full-time job consists of 1,950 hours of paid employment in a 12month period. The following are not considered permanent, full-time employees, even if they work 1,950 hours in a 12-

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God open your heart to Jesus and He will surely show you the way. It is important to note that no other person has been able to make this claim of being the only way to God. Jesus confirmed this claim by His resurrection from the dead on the third day and His ascension to heaven. There is only one way to God and Jesus is the way.


ruth is a key ingredient in life. We all want our spouses, friends, associate; love ones, etc to be truthful to us because truth establishes trust, credibility and integrity. To be deceived is a very painful thing indeed and deception is not easy to detect. It takes truth to uncover deception. Deception is a lie which is carefully covered up to mislead. Jesus declared that He is the truth. In Him is the truth of God and truth in life. The Bible says in John 8:32 that “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free” True freedom from the power and penalty of sin is by knowing Jesus Christ and living for Him. The truth of the matter is that the thief (the devil) comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus gives abundant life, life in its fullness. John 10:10.

month period: Seasonal, cyclical or part-time employees regardless of their working hours Subcontractors or agency workers Employees who do not work on the company’s premises, such as employees who work from home, or employees who work in a ‘virtual’ location and serve the employer by telecommuting. There are special criteria for international students to apply under the Pilot PNP. International students have the option to apply for an approved position from within or outside Canada and must apply within two years from the date they received their degree or diploma or in the last semester of their studies. Students must show that they have completed at least half of their total studies in Ontario and graduated from an eligible University or College in Ontario. Their job offer must be in one of the 20 specific occupations and related to their field of study at the Ontario College or University they attended. The benefit for International Students, it appears, is that they do not have

If you are tired in life, confused, been lied to or looking for the truth about God and life, turn to Jesus and you will never be disappointed. He says “Come unto me all ye that labor and are of heavy laden and I will give you rest. There is sweet and wonderful rest in Jesus Christ. This is surely the truth. You cannot give what you do not have. It takes a living person to give life. Jesus says “I am the life’, Jesus is alive and can give you life. He has the ability and the power to give you abundant life here on earth and eternal life in heaven if only you surrender to Him. We are all security conscious. We take various insurance policies to protect our properties, but the sad thing is that we forget about the security of our souls. The Bible says in Mark 8:36 &37 that “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul. Or what shall a man give in exchange of his soul”. Dear friend, your soul is the most valuable and most important possession you have. The best and only true security for your soul is Jesus Christ. He died for our sins and He

to show one year of continuous full-time work experience, as required under the Skilled Worker Category. International students that are new graduates or just about to graduate and have the relevant education can potentially qualify for permanent residence under the Pilot PNP. To start the process, the employer makes an Employer Pre-Screen Application to the Ontario PNP with necessary supporting documents. Upon approval, the Ontario government will issue nominee materials. The foreign national must then apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for permanent residence, who conducts background medical and security checks. The Ontario PNP nominee approval replaces selection under other immigration classes, such as the federal Skilled Worker category and nominees receive priority processing from CIC. The Ontario Pilot PNP will charge a non-refundable processing fee payable with each nominee application. The fee is $2,000 for all applicants, except for the International Student stream where the fee is $200. The most interesting aspect to the Ontar-

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rose again. HE IS ALIVE TODAY and He can give you life today if you call on Him. He is ready for you; He will never reject you if you come to Him. His amazing love and grace awaits you today. Friend, Jesus Christ has made you the best offer ever. He is the way, the truth and the life. Would you accept this wonderful offer today? I pray you do. Kindly pray this prayer if you are willing to accept this offer and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for your word. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. Thank you for dying for my sins. I repent of all my sins and accept you as my personal Savior and Lord. If you prayed this prayer or would like to know more about Jesus Christ kindly contact me at 905-296-5278. We also invite you to join us at 1047 Barton street East, Hamilton for fellowship on Sundays at 10am. A warm welcome awaits you. Jesus loves you. May the Lord richly bless you, Amen. ■

io Pilot PNP program is that it will support work permit applications for nominees to allow the nominee to begin working for the nominating employer while the permanent residence application is in process with CIC. This will certainly help employers address labour shortages in Ontario. Ontario employers and foreign nationals have waited a long time for an Ontario nominee program. The Pilot PNP which was published on May 24 is somewhat promising although the occupations are very limited and the eligibility criteria for employers may exclude many small businesses looking to employ foreign nationals. It may however set the course for the development of a more robust Ontario PNP in the future. be continued on the next issue ººº

Developing Countries and Maternal Death, A call for quick action!!!


the 2000 UN summit, world leaders set the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) which is aimed at reducing the number of maternal deaths by three-quarters by 2015. However, this goal would be very difficult to achieve going by the slow progress to curtail unnecessary maternal deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some thing urgent has to be done to prevent further loss of precious lives in the region.


October 12th 2007, a new report was released that paints dim picture on maternal death especially in SubSaharan Africa. This new report on maternal death is a 48-page report, entitled “Maternal Mortality 2005,” and is based on estimates by the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO), the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank. Below is the Joint News Release by WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/World Banks on ‘Maternal Deaths’ While an annual decline of 5.5% in maternal mortality ratios between 1990 and 2015 is required to achieve MDG 5, figures released today by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and

the World Bank show an annual decline of less than 1%. In 2005, 536 000 women died of maternal causes, compared to 576 000 in 1990. 99% of these deaths occurred in developing countries. The maternal mortality ratio in 2005 was highest in developing regions, with 450 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births, in stark contrast to nine in developed regions and 51 in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Moreover, the small drop in the global maternal mortality ratio reflects mainly the declines that have taken place in countries with relatively low levels of maternal mortality. Countries with the highest initial levels of mortality have made virtually no progress over the past 15 years. Annual decline rate below target The new maternal mortality estimates show that while gains are being made in middle-income countries, the annual decline between 1990 and 2005 in subSaharan Africa was only 0.1%. No region achieved the necessary 5.5% annual decline during the same period, although Eastern Asia came closest to the target with a 4.2% annual decline and Northern Africa,

South-Eastern Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean experienced relatively faster declines than sub-Saharan Africa. Slightly more than one half of the maternal deaths (270 000) occurred in the subSaharan Africa region, followed by South Asia (188 000). Together, these two regions accounted for 86% of the world’s maternal deaths in 2005. Eleven countries accounted for almost 65% of global maternal deaths in 2005. India had the largest number (117 000), followed by Nigeria (59 000), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (32 000) and Afghanistan (26 000). The probability that a 15-year-old girl will die from a complication related to pregnancy and childbirth during her lifetime is highest in Africa: 1 in 26. In the developed regions it is 1 in 7300. Of all 171 countries and territories for which estimates were made, Niger had the highest estimated lifetime risk of 1 in 7. Indicator of death risk during pregnancy The maternal mortality ratio indicates the risk of death a woman faces with each pregnancy. In settings with high fertility,

such as sub-Saharan Africa, women face this risk many times in their lifetime. To achieve MDG 5 and reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters before 2015, improving health care for women and providing universal access to reproductive health services must be prioritized. This includes access to family planning, prevention of unplanned pregnancies and provision of high-quality pregnancy and delivery care, including emergency obstetric care. However, health services can only help when women are able to make use of them. When obstetric emergencies arise during pregnancy and delivery, the importance of recognizing danger signs and seeking care quickly is critical. Transportation must be available, and appropriately staffed and equipped facilities must be within reach. Increasing female education, improving gender equality, and strengthening empowerment for making decisions about seeking care are essential elements of strategies to reduce maternal mortality. ■ (Report from WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/World Bank, October 2007-Independent Source)

Immigration Strategy for Hamilton - An Opinion

Jahan Zeb - Hamilton Media Advisory Committee Member


mmigrants’ issues are not on priority list of our various levels of governments and the mainstream political parties in Canada while various sectors of Canadian economy are beginning to experience skills shortage. We in Canada have the world in our hands in form of new immigrants – with rich cultures and higher level of education. Our economy needs 2.1% population growth while our current growth is only 1.5%.


Immigrants are living under the axe of the directionless successive governments at all levels who are controlling programs and formulating policies regarding the immigrants and their integration and reintegration without including immigrants in decision making process. Hamilton has a unique position and opportunity to be the leader for other Canadian cities as it provides a sense of community to immigrants and refuges. Hamilton’s proximity to Toronto and a relatively less expensive cost of housing and living, Hamilton is becoming more and more an important centre receiving newcomers as well as a noted destination for secondary migration. While Statistics Canada’s 2001 Census shows that more than one-quarter of the population of the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area were foreign-born (26.5%). It means that one out of four Hamiltonian is foreign-born. This represents the third highest proportion of foreign-born resi-

dents among such urban areas in Canada, surpassed only by Toronto and Vancouver. This notion is further confirmed in HTAB Top report that Hamilton is the third largest concentration among its population of immigrants.

provinces, municipalities, settlement and integration agencies and the new emerging communities for their input in formulating policies and lunching programs based on input from all the stakeholders including immigrants.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2006 report, the Hamilton’s population is 504,559. It has grown by 2.8% since the last census in 2001. According to HTAB, immigration accounts for 82% of our labour force growth. HTAB’s TOP report also shows that 81% of employers believe that immigration is the solution to labour shortage. The report further says that approximately 8,000 professionals and trade people immigrated to Hamilton between 1996 and 2005. The report also says that the first language of at least 24% of Hamiltonians is other than English and French.

The immigrants, refugees, new-Canadians and the immigrant settlement agencies in Hamilton are hoping for a needed change. They are not only hoping for a paradigm shift in governments’ policies but also in the socio-economic and political structure of their new home – Canada in general and Hamilton in particular. Many local and national policy forums consider immigrants as prime contenders to fill this social-economic and political void.

The Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement will provide an additional $920 million in federal funding for newcomer services over five years. The Ontario Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006, which became law in March 2007, will ensure a fair, open and transparent process for obtaining registration and licensing in regulated professions for internationally trained individuals. Ontario is creating a Foreign Trained Professionals Loans Program providing up to $5,000 per person to cover assessment, training and exam costs. Ontario has launched an immigration web portal, to support newcomers both in Ontario and abroad, and prior to arrival. On the other hand, both Ottawa and Toronto intend to raise the number of immigrants coming to Canada. But integrating immigrants successfully into the Canadian labour market and society is a challenging task. It requires bold steps, expanding existing programs and mechanisms, creating new opportunities, and putting in place robust and innovative partnerships with

City of Hamilton has taken the coming of immigrants for granted. According to City’s Vision 2020, we need to eliminate all types of barriers to employment to contribute to our local economy. However, city needs to address the issues of immigrants’ settlement, integration, security, credentials recognition; training, employment and equity on priority basis and to provide them fair access to employment. Are there policies, procedures, planning and strategies in place to retain and attract immigrants? How the immigrants and the city jointly use the opportunities that will not only determine immigrants socio-economic fortune but might have a significant impact on our Hamilton economy and community. A three prong strategy can be adopted for this purpose: 1.

First a reliable and more effective strategy should be devised to conduct a statistically representative survey of immigrants and refugees in Hamilton to identify the basic strength, capacities and needs of immigrants and refugees.


The second step of the strategy is to have a thoroughly researched, profes-

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sionally prepared immigration strategy and business plans to address the concerns and problems identified in the survey and to build on the strength and capacities of our new immigrants. Equally important for immigrants is a blueprint to socially and economically integrate them into our shared new home Canada. 3.

The third step is to muster political will in order to adopt and propagate immigration strategy through a broad based social, economic and institutional discourse.

It is a good omen that immigrants are engaging themselves in the mainstream social, economic and political discourse to take advantage of their strength, capacities and education. They are offering their advice to our City to use their skills and get a fair amount of over $300 million from Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, which will provide an additional $920 million. The immigrants and refugees will have to go a long way to realize their visionary thoughts into realty and make Hamilton a better place where every immigrant is welcomed and integrated according to their skills, education and dreams. If the city agrees to bring robust made in Hamilton immigration strategies and do advocacy with the province, we will make Hamilton a vibrant, prosperous and visionary city. ■ References: 1. McGuinty Government Enriches Ontario Schools With Global Experience Of Internationally Educated Teachers, http://ogov.newswire. ca/ontario/GPOE/2007/06/07/c2043. html?lmatch=%E2%8C%A9=_e.html on July 2, 2007. 2. SISO’s Homepage, http://www. on July 2,

Nov 2007 • Volume 1 • Issue 1

Immigrants Health Status: The Canada context


health of a nation is the wealth of that nation. It is no longer news that immigrants constitute a large proportion of Canadian population. Historically, Canada has been an immigrant destination as far back as when the first explorer set foot on the shores of this great country. This discourse is not to explore health status of ancient immigrants, but to understand the trend of recent immigrants’ health status in Canada.


urveys/studies conducted over the years to ascertain the health status of new immigrants into Canada had shown that most recent immigrants are healthier than their Canadian-born counterparts. The findings noted that recent immigrants health start to deteriorate the longer they reside in Canada. This trend is very disturbing for concerned immigrants and should be for the general population. Thus, the findings reveal some factors must be the cause of immigrants’ health deterioration after residing many years in Canada. What those negative factors that negates the healthy immigrant health status in Canada need to be explored more closely and corrected.


Precepts from the 1994/95 National Population Health Survey (NPHS): The 1994/95 National Population Health Survey is based on self-reported data that examines health status in terms of chronic conditions, disability and health -related dependency (Health Reports, 1996). The indicators of health care utilization are hospitalization, contact with physicians and dentists, and unmet needs for health services. The health-related behaviours ana-

lyzed in the survey are smoking and leisure time physical activity. (Health Report 1996; Chen et al 1996). The above mentioned are indicators used for data collection for the survey. The result is very interesting and revealing. Below are some of the findings of the survey: The “healthy immigrant effect” observed in other countries also prevail in Canada. Immigrants, especially recent immigrants, are less likely than the Canadian-born population to have chronic conditions or disabilities. The effect is most evident among those from non-European countries, who constitute the majority of recent immigrants to Canada. However, among immigrants who have lived in Canada for more than 10 years, the prevalence of a number of chronic conditions and long-term disability approaches levels in the Canadian-born population. As their time in Canada lengthens, immigrants’ lifestyles and health-related behaviour also come to resemble those of the Canadian-born. Immigrants that arrive in Canada are reportedly a healthy group. True as that might sound, it is not sufficient to make that kind of general statement without substantiating the facts. There are a number of factors that ensure healthy immigrants are admitted to Canada in the first place. All these are related to the immigration process. It is factual to note that people in good health are generally more inclined to emigrate than those in poor health. More so, Canadian immigration policy requires a certain level of good health to be considered admissible to Canada. Finally, it a well known fact that potential immigrants undergo screening processes that ensures they do not suffer

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS LONELINESS - What You Need To Know!!! “The biological impact of social isolation reaches down into some of our most important basic internal processes - the activity of our genes” Dr Stephen Cole, UCLA


chose to write on this interesting topic because of certain experiences I had as a new immigrant/refugee to Canada in 1998, and how loneliness negatively impacted my life. I am sure many of you readers would definitely relate to some of my experiences if you came to this country as a refugee claimant or landed immigrant. It does not matter how educated, wise, or well traveled you were before settling here, most of us went through months, if not years of social isolation before we finally became integrated into the Canadian system. My question before I proceed with this write up is “Do you know that loneliness could be a contributing factor in your illness?


oneliness is not a new phenomenon for me. I have experienced it over and over again in my journey through this life. If it was not when I arrived newly here as a starry-eyed refugee claimant with five little children, living in my newly furnished high rise apartment in downtown Hamilton, with no family or friends to come over for a visit; it was when my dearly beloved passed over many thousand miles away 10

Nov 2007 • Volume 1 • Issue 1

from serious health conditions that would tax the health care system in Canada. Hence, those that succeed to immigrate to Canada are the carefully selected healthy bunches, not weaklings. No wonder they are all healthy at arrival till years later.


Dynamics of Immigrants’ Health in Canada: Evidence from the National Population Health Survey (1994/95 to 2002/03. This is a new study that followed the initial healthy individuals across five waves of longitudinal data from the National Population Health Survey (NPHS). This study shows that “between 1994/95 and 2002/03, immigrants in general were more

likely than the Canadian-born population to report a shift towards fair or poor health. Moreover, recent immigrants from nonEuropean countries who arrived in Canada between 1984 and 1994 were twice as likely as Canadian-born to report deterioration in their health during the study period. This new shift towards poorer health for immigrants in the country after many years of residency, calls for more attention to be paid towards the health and well-being of immigrants as their overall welfare his practice.

from my present abode, and I could neither afford the expenses nor the required travel documents to go home and bid him everlasting farewell. Loneliness was also present at many Christmas dinners I had with my children. Christmas dinners made possible through kind gestures of total strangers that spared their hard-earned, highly -taxed incomes to provide the elusive turkey for my family’s delight. Loneliness was there at the many father’s day celebrations, when my children brought home carefully made father’s day cards for their departed daddy. They gave me those cards made especially for their father, and I kept them, but those cards always brought up subdued feelings and emotions, and all the more made me lonelier. Loneliness was present at the children’s Holy Communion celebrations, school trips, hospital emergency visits, etc. It was always me, yes, always me alone, with the children. Recounting how lonely I felt when I newly arrived in Canada without sharing the negative impact of this loneliness on my health would amount to concealment of facts from my readers. It is not enough to say that my children and I were always at our physician’s office for one health problem or the other. My significant medical visits could rightly be attributed to social isolation which lead to tremendous stress in my life and contributed to weekly episodes of generalized health complaints that made my doctor want to fire me from

Being a nurse and looking after new immigrant/refugee population that present with the same complaints as mine years ago, has helped me understand and appreciate the experiences these new comers are going through. I was once like them. Their present predicaments mirror my foregone sufferings as a new comer in Hamilton. In support of how loneliness could put one at risk of developing health condition is a new study by United States UCLA, which was published in Genome Biology. These researchers discovered certain genes were more active in people who reported feelings of social isolation than others. Many of the genes identified have links to the immune system and tissue inflammation - which may be damaging to one’s health There are other studies that have shown clear links between lack of social support and developing illnesses such as heart disease. These researchers noted that quality, not quantity, of friendships, appeared to be important. Having a good close friend is one of the things you need to say goodbye to illness. The UCLA research took 14 volunteers and assessed their level of social interaction using a scoring system. They then looked at genetic activity in their white blood cells and tried to compare the results. In their “lonely” volunteers, various genes tended to be “over expressed” compared with those at the opposite end of the scoring

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tie closely to the positive growth of this country. The hypothesis regarding the waning off of the once “healthy immigrant effect’ is that maybe “these recent immigrants from non-European countries who were initially healthy in 1994/95, adopted some unhealthy lifestyles in the process of adapting to a new culture” (NPHS, 1994/95 TO 2002/03). The study indeed found that these immigrants were almost twice as likely as Canadian-born to have a 10% or more increase in their body mass index, which reflects weight gain that might be harmful to one’s health (NPHS). However, what is not explored in my humble opinion is to find out the other contributing factors that could militate against immigrants’ health status the longer they reside in Canada. There is no smoke without fire. Worthy to explore are impacts of: racism and discrimination on one’s health; powerlessness; poverty, loneliness; and even post traumatic life events. It is factual that lower socio-economic status negatively affects one’s health and well-being. It is equally important to appreciate the negative consequences an aftermath of un-resolved traumatic event could have on one’s health. Equally damaging to a person’s health are, constant feelings of powerlessness; and depressed feelings that could result from racism and discrimination. All these factors together with adopting unhealthy lifestyles could militate against better health status for recent immigrants in Canada. Indeed, “The healthy immigrant effect paints a discouraging picture of the price to be paid for resettling in a new country” ■ scale. These often had known links to the body’s mechanisms for fighting off disease, such as producing inflammation. Too much inflammation can damage tissues and cause disease. Other genes, including those thought to be important in fighting viruses and producing immune antibodies, were less active compared with the non-lonely volunteers. Dr Steven Cole, who led the study, states: “What this shows us is the biological impact of social isolation reaches down into some of our most important basic internal processes - the activity of our genes. These findings provide molecular targets for our efforts to block the adverse health effects of social isolation.” Close friendships Dr Steven Cole states the differences he found were not connected to other factors such as the age, wealth or healths of the people involved, but were specifically connected to their feelings of social isolation. They were unconnected with the size of the person’s social network. Dr Cole went on to state that “What counts, at the level of gene expression, is not how many people you know, it’s how many you feel really close to over time”. He noted that in future, the gene profile he had identified might help doctors work out whether therapies to ease loneliness were effective. What is your response to this research? ■

HCCI ensures improvment of lives of immigrant and refugees in Hamilton

(Madina Wasugi)


is about integration, fighting discrimination and creating a good environment for new immigrants in Hamilton”. These are the very reasons Hamilton Center for Civic Inclusion was founded and stand as the mission of the organization says Madina Wasugi (Executive Director of Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion – HCCI) in an interview with our reporter at her office recently. Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, which is located at SISO office at Liuna Station, has various programs for immigrants and refugees to help make them civic participants of Canadian life. Madina reveals that the organization has mobilization teams whose task is to train people in civic engagements and participation in community affairs. She also went on to state that “HCCI works closely with other stake holders in the health, education and housing sectors, to ensure these targeted populations become well integrated and assimilated into the community”. Some of the issues commonly addressed with input from other organizations include: anti-racism training; enabling institutional change, capacity building, and youth empowerment programs and poverty reduction strategies.


goal is that newcomers are integrated into the community, and participate in community mobilization and become part of decision-making processes in Hamilton. With such a humongous vision, one would expect a full house of employees working hard to ensure these tasks are met. Not so, HCCI has only 3 personnel together with the ED working tenaciously to fulfill their organizational dreams.

racial and ethnic groups living in our communities. In partnership with Hamilton roundtable for Poverty Reduction a mentorship program was developed wherein Community Mobilization team Members will be serving as committee members for several Hamilton’s roundtable for Poverty Reduction working groups. HCCI has also formed an Anti racism network that meets biweekly to discuss and formulate important strategies to help make racism a thing of the past in Hamilton. More so, Madina revealed that workshops are held in various schools here in Hamilton focusing on ‘identity and conflict’ as well as strategies for challenging stereotypes, prejudice and racism (systematic/ institutional and overt hate.) The story of HCCI cannot adequately be narrated without taking a glimpse into the life of the person behind its existence – Madina. She is not new to difficulties and hardships faced by Canadian immigrants and refugees. She is un-assuming and very gentle in manner and approach. She makes people even total strangers feel very well at home in her presence. To her, life should be simple, no complications. That’s what she reflects, that’s what one beholds. Having a background similar to hundreds of immigrant/refugees she had helped over the years makes her the best candidate for her present position. Madina is not ashamed of her humble start in Canada, and the experience s h e had as a one t i m e refugee in Canada h a s made h e r v e r y

resilient in ensuring others coming behind her do not pass through difficulties and road blocks enshrined into the system. In her words, she stated” I came to this country as a refugee, left Somalia in the early 90’s. I left my job as the head of Anesthesiology department in a hospital and I came here as ‘a nobody’. But I later got a postgraduate education in Canada” Many individuals came to this country the same way Madina did and after succeeding in establishing themselves here feel un-perturbed to help others who are new and struggling to make it. However, this is not the case with Madina. She wants to give back to the community, and she is doing it the best way she could. She is un-tiring in her efforts with help from staff and stake holders to ensure better opportunities for thousands who left their home countries to make Canada their new homes. Madina expressed her frustrations at systemic issues that hinder the progress of immigrants/refugees advancement in Hamilton and Canada as a whole. She noted that finding a job here in Canada is difficult for immigrants and refugees. She expressed her exasperation on the hiring process that refugees and immigrants go through. “Unbelievable how people are hired!!!” She lamented. To ad-

dress this issue of hiring process, HCCI has developed an EMPLOYER RESOURCE STEERING COMMITTEE, which consists of key business leaders, and employers from various sectors, whose role is to engage other groups to share experiences and success stories in an effort to mobilize others. The committee will also serve as a working group for employers to share information and to be champions in the business community. Madina went on to say that HCCI is in the process of conducting ‘Diversity Scans’ and review the HR Policies and Procedures at several businesses with the aim of working closely with Hamilton’s businesses and employers to create more inclusive and diverse workplaces. HCCI was founded more than a year ago and is funded by City of Hamilton, Trillium Foundation, Department of Canadian Heritage and Settlement and Integration Services Organization. ■

Madina clarified that HCCI is not dealing specifically with the immigration issue only; however the trend in today’s immigrants are visible minorities therefore HCCI is working in partnership with other institutions to enable institutional change with community participation and action to find viable solutions for the systematic barriers that visible communities are facing in Hamilton. Madina hopes that the city of Hamilton will have immigration strategy that will expedite the process of integration through a system that can help people utilize their talents more efficiently here. In so doing, Hamilton can compete effectively with other communities to bring the best of the best to come and reside in this city. In tune with working with other stakeholders in Hamilton to addressing issues affecting the targeted population, HCCI is a member of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction. At the Poverty Reduction Planning Session held August 21, 2007, HCCI discussed its role in helping alleviate poverty in Hamilton. The session enabled HCCI to address the issues of poverty affecting the city, especially as it affects the members of the marginalized w w w.thevoiceindiasp

Nov 2007 • Volume 1 • Issue 1


The Voice In Diaspora Vol 1 Issue 1  

The Voice in Diaspora offers you wide range of interesting features like local, national and international news and entertainments; classifi...

The Voice In Diaspora Vol 1 Issue 1  

The Voice in Diaspora offers you wide range of interesting features like local, national and international news and entertainments; classifi...