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April & May 2010 • Volume 3 • Issue 3 • w w w.thevoiceindiaspora.com • T:905.920.1752
“Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth integration for immigrants into the Canadian society.”
FE DRI T EI OEN
NEW PAGE! FYI Page (For Your Information) 14
Bill 94 (Quebec)
Equality Day & the Charter A Muslim Woman's Reaction of Rights & Freedoms, April 17
As a Muslim woman born and raised in Canada, I have been proudly wearing the hijab (headscarf ) ever since I first made the decision in grade seven. For me, that decision was personal and liberating. I wanted to be adorned in garments that reflected my love for modesty while conveying my whole-hearted commitment to the values of my faith. I have been blessed to adhere to this vital tenet of my religion for over a decade now, and, looking back, I can not possibly conceive of a fulfilled life without this otherwise simple garment. It symbolizes a lot more than my right of choice and freedom of expression. Meanwhile, an entire province has politically conspired to
rob these two basic, fundamental human rights from Muslim women within a driving distance of me. As a proud Canadian, I was simultaneously shocked and disgusted to learn that Muslim women in Quebec are about to lose some of their constitutional rights under the guise of “making them more Canadian". The right of religious expression is affirmed by Section 2A of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and it applies to all Canadians. Whether a Canadian’s fashion statement is dictated by religious belief or predicated on cultural practices, or whether they dress simply to impress others... ∞ Continued on page 3
777 7777 Has No Employment Arrangement with Cab Drivers Says Hamilton Cab Boss
Equality Day is celebrated to mark the coming into force of the equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on April 17, 1985. The Charter was signed by Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on April 17, 1982. However, Section 15 was not implemented for another three years, to allow federal, provincial, and territorial governments to analyze all their laws and amend them as necessary. Section 15 states: Equality Rights 15.(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal
protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. (2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantage individuals or groups including those that are disadvantage because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. Women from across Canada had gathered at the Women and the Constitution... ∞ Continued on page 4
New Law Affects Live-In Caregivers
Cab Company, Mr. Jagtar Singh Chahal on this issue of unionism amongst cab drivers, and he had these to say:
Serious differences of opinion are going on between Ontario Taxi Workers (Cab Drivers) on one hand, and Hamilton Cab Company (777 7777), and cab owners on the other hand. This is a case of cab drivers against cab owners and cab broker. The cab drivers took Hamilton Cab 7777777, and cab owners to the Ontario Labour Relation Board seeking rights to form a cab union within the operations of the 777 7777 Hamilton Cab company. The Voice in Diaspora sought the opinion of the Executive Director of the Hamilton
…People have the right to form a trade union as employees of a company. This is not new as we have many professions like teachers, steel workers, nurses and others come together under an umbrella to ensure their labour rights are not infringed upon by the employer. However, in the case of cab drivers, this is not the case as they are not employed by the cab companies or cab owners. Cab drivers are independent, self-employed individuals who rent a shift from cab owners and operate as much and as long as they want. It is like one renting a vehicle from Budget car rental to transport as many persons or goods as one wants, and at the termination of the rental, gives back the rented car back to Budget car rental company. He went on to say that it is the customers that pay the cab drivers, while the City regulates how much to charge as fares. ∞ continued on page 3
On March 22, 2010, the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act (Live-in Caregivers and Others), 2009 came into force in Ontario.
• You cannot agree to give up your rights and you cannot be punished by your employer or recruiter if you ask about or assert your rights.
As a live-in caregiver in Ontario, you now have additional employment standards rights, including:
Read more about your rights and how these changes affect you in these tip sheets from the Ontario Ministry of Labour:
• A recruiter cannot charge you any fees.
• Your Rights Under the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act (Live-in Caregivers and Others), 2009 ■ http://www.settlement.org Image Source: http://www.live-in.ca
• Your employer cannot charge you for hiring costs. • Your recruiter or employer cannot take your property, such as your passport or work permit.
Newcomer Family Centre
Another interesting edition of the Voice in Diaspora is here again, to inform our numerous readers about events and stories that have happened in our community these past months. It is flattening to hear many people commend the good work being done by the Voice in Diaspora in terms of providing quality information to the public. Many of our readers have shared their desire to see the paper published more frequently than is presently done, but, as much as we are honoured to hear this interest, we would not be able to do so due to many constraints. The Voice in Diaspora however remained grateful to our sponsors and readership, without whom this paper would not have seen the light of the day. This year’s winter is short-lived, and there is no apology for it, many are more than happy to move on to warm, beautiful summer months ahead. Good weather comes with parties, festivals and ceremonies. Thus, many celebrations are lined up for the coming months, chiefly among them being the Mothers’ Day celebration; World Day for Cultural Diversity; World Press Day; South Asian Heritage Month; and host of other events. The Voice in Diaspora would be more than happy to get invited to cover your events and share with the community. As our mission statement shows, we would continue to use the pen to help in the integration of new and not-so-new immigrants into our communities. While we thank our sponsors and readers for their continuous support, we solicit more adverts from businesses and organizations that would want to extend their services to the ethnic populations.
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one person or group squelch the choices of others simply because their opinions are disagreeable is to draft a recipe for failure in a multicultural society filled with contradictory beliefs and opposing ideas. Indeed, it is precisely our rich ability to negotiate these differences by offering a fair platform of expression for everyone that makes Canada one of the greatest democracies of the modern world. Sadly, however, it is becoming more and more obvious that this fair platform is but an illusionary plain that overlies a disturbing double standard. Even more sadly, the application of this double standard is becoming more and more exclusive to citizens of the Islamic faith.
Bill 94 (Quebec) A Muslim Woman's Reaction ...Continued from page 1 Whether a Canadian’s fashion statement is dictated by religious belief or predicated on cultural practices, or whether they dress simply to impress others or or express their identity, everyone should be free to wear what they please in a free democratic society. These are not my prosaic words. This is our constitution.
Introducing a law in Quebec against two or three dozen women is a classic case of political overkill. That this form of deep prejudice and racism is condoned, never mind legislated, under the overplayed pretences of security, gender equality, and self-identification is not only boringly unoriginal, but flatly incorrect. Regarding security, for instance, any practicing Muslim women in Canada wearing the niqab (who, believe it or not, also happens to be independent and cooperative), would be happy to remove it in front of a female official whenever the need arises. While Catholic and Greek orthodox nuns are commended and respected when they wear habits out of religious conviction, Muslim women are criminalized for doing the same.
As for the liberation card, it is a laughable bluff. I concede that there are some parts I hate tattoos. I despise painful mutilaof the world where the niqab is not worn tions of the human body that get passed by choice, and as such, it is regarded as a off as body piercings. Nevertheless, I would symbol of oppression. However, Canada is never translate these personal biases into not that part of the world. It is safe to say a social and political prohibition movethat the tiny band of oppressive Muslim ment. The reason is simple: just like I have men who distort the teachings of Islam to a sound mind and freedom of choice, so force women to wear the niqab do not redo those whose personal preferences conside in Quebec. Even if they do, their wives tradict mine. Nothing is, and nothing will are equipped with a constitution that emever be, universally liked. Thus, to make powers them to do something about it. Until today, I have not heard of a single Canadian niqabee who professed The Voice in Diaspora marriage to an oppressive husband or 571 James Street N. L8L 1J8 Hamilton, Ontario who objects to a niqab she neverthewww.thevoiceindiaspora.com less wears. Instead, I have heard from thousands of non-Muslim men and Our Mission women, who know nothing about the niqab or the values of these women. Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth inteAnd if these self-righteous individuals gration for immigrants into the Canadian society. are successful in their delusional quest for “justice”, their only achievement of Publisher/Editor ironically be oppressive. After all, it Veronica Chris-Ike seems clear to me that forcing these email@example.com women out of their niqabs unwillingly firstname.lastname@example.org constitutes an act of oppression.
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Contributors Nica Brown , Veronica Chris-Ike, Hussein Hamdani, SISO (Settlement And Integration Services Organization) The Voice in Diaspora Newspaper is free of charge. Publication will be done Bi-monthly. 10,000 copies will be printed and distributed as follows: 1000 copies mailed to stake holders, 6,000 copies dropped into personal mail boxes; 3000 copies will be distributed to businesses, shopping malls, churches, Non-profit organizations, adult learning Centres, etc, in Hamilton and environs. The views/materials expressed/used by writers/contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this newspaper. All rights reserved. The Voice in Diaspora is not responsible for accuracy of information provided by advertisers and contributors. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior permission is prohibited. Some graphic images may be used via flickr.com with respect to its rightful owners under the Creative Commons Licencing.
I could not agree more with John
New Brunswick makes changes to PNP to welcome more immigrants
The week of February 8th came with the province of New Brunswick making modifications to its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to allow it to attract a greater number of immigrants. Family members of current residents of New Brunswick are now eligible to apply under this PNP if they possess work skills that are in demand in New Brunswick. Before the changes, there were two categories under the New Brunswick PNP: one category for individuals with job offers in the province and one for those who planned to establish a business in New Brunswick. There are now three categories: • Skilled Worker Applicants with Employer Support, for those who have guaranteed job offers from New Brunswick employers;
working in New Brunswick for at least one year and who possess skills in demand in the province; • Business Applicants for individuals who wish to start a business in New Brunswick. A new requirement was added to the Business Applicants category to ensure that only those who intend to start a business in New Brunswick are nominated under this program. Applicants must now make a conditionally refundable deposit of CDN 75,000 prior to nomination. The deposit will be refunded if the applicant established a business within two years of landing in New Brunswick and operates it for at least one year. ■ http://www.gnb.ca/immigration/PDF/ Brochure_English.pdf
• Skilled Worker Applicants with Family Support, for those who have family members who have been living and Moore a National Post columnist who writes, "Canadian troops are now in combat in Afghanistan against forces that order women to wear something that we are prepared to order them not to wear here at home. The common denominator is choice, and a person should be free to wear what they want to wear." And so, we return to the double standard. I do not wish to see it normalized to other minorities. I do not wish to see our government’s next battle – fueled by our
777 7777 Has No Employment Arrangement with Cab Drivers Says Hamilton Cab Boss ...Continued from page 1 Jagtar went on to say that Hamilton Cab 7777777 plays the role of broker in the Taxi business. This role allows them to charge each cab owner $495 per dispatch fee per month. The cab owner could have as many drivers as he wants to drive the cab at any given time. Hamilton cab 7777777 helps to ensure new drivers meet the driving standards as required to operate a taxi. Jagtar went on to state that Hamilton Cab does not monitor any driver on how he or she operated the cab, the only exception is when a complaint is lodged against any driver, Hamilton Cab would try to resolve the issue with the driver and involve the cab owner as the case may be. Comparing the cab union under the United Steel Workers Union that used to exist in the early 90’s in the Yellow cab company with the present demand by 7777777 cab drivers to have a union, Jagtar was of the opinion that some legitimacy is missing. He shared the fact that cab drivers were many years ago employed by Yellow Cab Company as employees, and thus formed a union under the United Steel Workers Union. Jagtar served as the union’s General Secretary then. The Cab drivers made some demands to yellow cab owners about some labour issues, but the United Steel Workers Union did not file any grievance in support of the cab drivers demand. The only grievance the United Steel Workers Union filed was against the cab drivers to demand union dues payment. That led to the dis-
hard-earned tax dollars – to outlaw Italian widows from wearing only black or forbid Chinese women from suiting in their pajamas or deny orthodox Jewish women from shaving their heads. I wish simply for what we have all been promised by our Charter. I wish for justice. ■ Yasmeen Khattab
bandment of that union. Jagtar maintained that cab drivers do not like paying union dues and such led to the disbandment of the 90’s unionism with United Steel Workers Union. He went on to state that the new union had not even informed the drivers of the amount of union fees to pay. That the last union dues paid under the Yellow cab company was $30 in 1992, that the price would be higher now. Jagtar was of the opinion that some people wanted to create jobs for themselves, and thus started to organize some people to serve their purpose”. The Ontario Taxi Workers Union were allowed to cast their votes for or against unionism in February 5th, 2010, but Jagtar alleged that many cab drivers from other cab companies casted their votes when they were not part of the on-going conflict. As a result, 7777777 Hamilton Cab, and the cab owners are challenging the votes and requesting the Ontario Labour Relations Board to dis-regard the votes. However, the board maintained it would deliberate on who is eligible to vote or not later. Both parties would be going back to face the Board with their respective legal representatives around early May to iron out the issues. However, it is business as usual for all the parties. The drivers are still driving the cabs, and renting them per shift from the owners, while 7777777 Hamilton Cab Company is still playing the role of the broker. Jagtar concluded by saying that “7777777 Hamilton Cab Company will always work together with every one to make the company the best that it is, and that is my motto. 7777777 will keep providing excellent services to our numerous customers as usual”. ■ By The Voice In Diaspora
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Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
Canadian Immigration Minister proposes refugee reform
(March 30th) Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced a proposed set of changes to Canada’s refugee system that would see Canada accepting more refugees and allocating more funding to their resettlement. In addition, the proposed changes would streamline the application and appeal process for refugee claimants, ensuring that genuine refugee claims are approved more rapidly while false claims are denied more quickly. Each year, Canada accepts more asylumseekers than any other country. However, the country’s refugee program has come under some criticism for being too lax and allowing false claims to remain in the appeal process for years. “We must act to avoid a two-tier immigration system: one for immigrants who wait in line – often for years – to come to Canada, and another for those who use the asylum system, not for protection, but to try to get through the back door into Canada,” Kenney said. Under the proposed changes, refugee claims would initially be processed by government officials instead of members of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Applications from asylum-seekers would be sorted according to whether the applicants are from countries the Canadian government considers safe, or from countries the Canadian government recognizes as being dangerous, and then processed accordingly.
Kenney aims to have all eligible claimants first meet with government officials for an information-gathering interview within 8 days of being referred to the IRB, and have their cases heard within 60 days of that initial meeting. Applicants from safe countries would be returned to their countries of origin on an accelerated basis, while applicants whose claims are accepted would be given refugee status and be able to apply for Canadian permanent residence. In addition to accepting refugee claims from individuals, Canada also assists in the resettlement of refugees selected by the United Nations and other referral organizations. As part of Kenney’s proposed reform of the refugee program, Canada would accept 2,500 more refugees annually than it currently does. The Canadian government would also provide more funding to resettle newly arrived refugees under the pro-
Equality Day & the Charter of Rights & Freedoms, April 17 ...Continued from page 1 Women from across Canada had gathered at the Women and the Constitution conference on February 14, 1981 to lobby for the inclusion of these provisions. An additional clause included in the Constitution was developed at the women’s conference: an overriding principle for implementation of the decisions flowing from any constitutional legal activity. Section 28 states: 28.Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons. Section 15 and Section 28 are included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which forms part of the Canadian Constitution. They are there because of the activism of Canadian women. www.etfo.ca/AdvocacyandAction/WomensIssues/EqualityDay Women from across Canada had gathered at the Women and the Constitution conference on February 14, 1981 to lobby for the inclusion of these provisions. An additional clause included in the Constitution was developed at the women’s conference: an overriding principle for implementation of the decisions flowing from any constitutional legal activity. Section 28 states: 28.Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons. Section 15 and Section 28 are included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which forms part of the Canadian Constitution. They are there because of the activism of Canadian women. ■ www.etfo.ca/AdvocacyandAction/WomensIssues/EqualityDay
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posed amendments. “This is an encouraging move in the right direction that yet again demonstrates the humanitarian commitment of Canada to provide protection to needy refugees… The UNHCR remains grateful to the Government and people of Canada for their continued generosity and hospitality in making this possible,” said Abraham Abraham, Canadian representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The highlights of the changes Kenney is proposing were announced over the past two days, and include: • Shorter wait times for eligible claimants to have their cases heard;
• The development of a list of Safe Countries of Origin; • Faster removal for failed refugee claimants; • An increase of 2,500 refugees accepted under the Canada’s resettlement program of refugees selected by the United Nations and other referral organizations; • An increase in funding for social assistance for newly arrived refugees by $9-million annually. ■ http://www.cicnews.com
HCCI -Chairs and Executive Director The purpose was to sharer the diversity work happening in their respective organizations and to find how HCCI can support them in their diversity and inclusion journey. They all agreed that the ‘business case for diversity’ has been made, and now it is time to benchmark and to monitor progress.
The past year has been another of intense activity for Hamilton’s Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI ). In addition to our ongoing work with several local organizations on diversity in workplace culture, including the Hamilton Police Services, the Best Start Network, Hamilton Health Sciences -International Educated Nurses, HCCI staff and volunteers have also conducted: Network of leaders Training and the Ontario Community Builders Program, Community Mobilization Team training at St. Charles Adult Education Centre and have also taken part in ongoing youth engagement work through the Youth in Motion program. We also conducted Café Conversation throughout the City as part of our vision to create welcoming communities. We continued to work with the business community through HCCI’s Business Steering committee. Early in March, we facilitated a focus group co-sponsored by Trivaris for major employers in Hamilton, including Horizon Utilities, Arcelor MitalDofasco, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton Airport, Mohawk College, City of Hamilton Economic Development, Scotiabank and Bank of Montréal Bank to name few.
In addition, HCCI’s Governing Council also took part in a rigorous and exhaustive strategic planning exercise that focused on where HCCI has come from, what sort of organization we need to be and where we want to be three to five years from now. As a result, HCCI’s Governing Council endorsed a plan set forth by staff that will ensure the organization works within a strategic framework and maintains its core values. Strategic directions include: Extend the reach of HCCI and its message of inclusiveness to the whole community through expanded public education, communications and marketing; expand programs and activities, anchored in the areas of public education, enabling institutional change and community mobilization; position diversity and inclusivity as key strategies in Hamilton’s future economic development; strengthen the governing council and its role in areas including stakeholder engagement and recruiting community champions, and develop funding and revenue sources to sustain the continued growth of HCCI. HCCI was also seen by the community to be A Centre of Excellence for Diversity. HCCI has also agreed to act as co-convener with Hamilton’s Community and Social Services Department in the development of a “made-in-Hamilton” immigration strategy. Other community partnerships in-
clude the HCCI executive director sitting on the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction Steering Committee, Jobs Prosperity Collaborative, and the Economic Development Advisory Committee to ensure that issues around diversity and inclusivity remain front and centre. Hamilton secured the Pan Am games and Dr. Gary Warner and Tom Cooper presented to City Council on the importance of developing a social inclusion strategy as part of Hamilton’s participation in the 2015 games. City Council agreed that we need to think about an inclusive strategy and passed a motion for City staff to work with HCCI and the Poverty Roundtable around the development of a social inclusion strategy for the Games and beyond by by September. Continuity and sustainability continue to be key challenges, but we remain confident and we are building plan for financial sustainability. With your support, HCCI will achieve its strategic objectives and continue to be the community leader on issues of diversity and on helping to make Hamilton the best place to raise a child. As many reports in past weeks have indicated, as country we need to do lot of work in the area of social and economic inclusion. A recent Statistics Canada report projects that about one-third of the population will be members of a visible minority by 2031, while there’s still discrimination and inequality as Canada continues to grow in ethnic diversity, and visible minorities still face challenges. The UN report was critical, and given these projections of the Canadian population calls all levels of governments to:
ployment by various measures, including employment equity programs. • Adopt holistic and specific anti-poverty measures. • Address inequalities in educational outcomes facing minority children. • Empower minorities to participate in political process to improve the representation of minorities. In 2010, HCCI issues a call for action. As a community, we need to put in place concrete strategies so Hamilton can benefit from the wealth and the innovations that come with diversity. Our leaders must be champions and contribute in establishing inclusive workplaces and safe communities. We must do everything possible to tap into the pool of under-utilized talent, including Aboriginal peoples, those with disabilities, seniors, visible minorities and new Canadians. As we bring you our third Community Report, it is appropriate that we take time to reflect on the significant steps we are taking to building a strong and inclusive community for others across the world to emulate. With dedicated staff and committed volunteers and multi-sectoral partnerships, HCCI has successfully engaged institutions, governments, service groups and community organizations in dialogue on the need for transformative processes which promote equity across all sectors in our community. HCCI –Co-ChairsEvelyn Myrie and Howard Elliott & Executive Director -Madina Wasuge ■ The Voice In Diaspora
• Take actions to achieve equality in em-
SISO gets ISO Certification!
Settlement and Integration Standard Organization (SISO), had added yet another milestone to their many accomplishments, that of getting ISO certification. This is the first of its kind for a service organization in Ontario. Many would ask what this means for SISO. What this certification meant for SISO is that its programs and services and the day to day running of the organization were closely scrutinized and measured against strict organizational standards and the met the pass mark. This certification is recognition of the good work the staff, volunteers and Board of SISO put into their organization to make it the best amongst its peers. Congrats SISO! (Voice in Diaspora) What is ISO? ISO 9000 is a family of standards for quality management systems. ISO 9000 is maintained by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization and is
administered by accreditation and certification bodies. The rules are updated, as the requirements motivate changes over time. Some of the requirements in ISO 9001:2008 (which is one of the standards in the ISO 9000 family) include • a set of procedures that cover all key processes in the business; • monitoring processes to ensure they are effective; • keeping adequate records; • checking output for defects, with appropriate and corrective action where necessary; • regularly reviewing individual processes and the quality system itself for effectiveness; and • facilitating continual improvement A company or organization that has been independently audited and certified to be
in conformance with ISO 9001 may publicly state that it is "ISO 9001 certified" or "ISO 9001 registered". Certification to an ISO 9001 standard does not guarantee any quality of end products and services; rather, it certifies that formalized business processes are being applied. Although the standards originated in w w w.thevoiceindiasp ora.com
manufacturing, they are now employed across several types of organizations. A "product", in ISO vocabulary, can mean a physical object, services, or software. ■ From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia More photos of this event on Page 15 Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
Canadians worried about home prices, mortgage rates: Surveys OTTAWA - A pair of surveys on housing prices released recently show that many Canadians are worried about rising prices and interest rates, but that is not stopping many from entering the housing market sooner, or taking on more debt than they want to. According to a new BMO survey conducted by Harris-Decima, 71 per cent of current and future homeowners think house prices are too high and 33 per cent complained they have lost sleep due to the stress of trying to buy a new home. However, it was exactly this feeling that housing prices might spiral out of reach that has led first-time homebuyers to feel pressure to buy homes sooner, with onethird saying talk of rising house prices and rising interest rates have influenced their decision to enter the market. The online poll of 1,000 Canadians aged 25 to 45, who are either current homeowners or are
is expected to cool later in 2010 with rising interest rates expected and the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax in Ontario and B.C. "There's definitely a sense of urgency among home buyers," Lynne Kilpatrick, senior vice-president of Personal Banking at BMO said in the release. "The key when looking to buy a home is to have a clear understanding of your financial situation what you can afford today and in the near future, as rates and associated home ownership costs increase."
planning on purchasing their first home in the next 12 months, was conducted from Feb. 16 to 22. "Housing prices have risen 89 per cent since 2002 - vastly outpacing family income gains," Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets said in a release. Indeed, according to the Canada Real Estate Association, the average price of all homes sold through the Multiple Listings Service in February 2010 was $335,655, up 18.2 per cent from February 2009.
A separate survey by RBC showed that 64 per cent of Canadians expect mortgage rates to be even higher over the next year, with 66 per cent of mortgage holders saying they were concerned about higher rates. While 84 per cent of mortgage holders believe they are doing an excellent or good job of paying down their mortgage, 49 per cent said their mortgage is larger
Guatieri added the hot real estate market
that they thought it would be at this stage in their life. The survey was conducted online by Ipsos Reid between Jan. 8 to 13, 2010 and is based on a sample of 2,047 adults and is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. ■ http://www.harrisdecima.ca
St.Charles Celebrates International Women's Day in Style Thursday 18 March 2010
In celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day, St. Charles Adult Education Centre in partnership with Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO) organized a fantastic event that featured women from all cultural backgrounds. The day’s activities included speakers that highlighted the importance of celebrating the struggles and triumphs of women all over the world. Most touching is the heart rendering story of struggle, survival and hope for a better future in Canadian soil of a recent refugee that had their family refugee claim rejected. The highlights of the day included a fashion parade of different ethnic groups in Canada. The International Women’s Day celebration indeed renounces perfectly well with the HWCDSB ‘community prayer’ of blessing God for the ‘vision of inclusion, solidarity and compassion’. The generality of opinion of most women that attended the event were that they felt honoured to have a day set aside to celebrate the worth of women in our society. As for the students that took part in the fashion show, their remarks were in praise of St. Charles and SISO for organizing an event that helped them share their cultural identity with others. Many are looking forward to another celebration next year.
■ The Voice In Diaspora More photos of this event on Page 15
The SACHA Event
International Women's Day Celebration
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SWISH: Towards Positive Practices at Schools
SWISH, Settlement Workers In Schools – Hamilton, is a newcomer settlement program designed to foster student achievement, and facilitate the settlement needs of newcomer students and their families by linking them with school resources, and social and cultural services in the community. The result of a signed agreement between SISO, the Hamilton–Wentworth District School Board, the Hamilton-
sions and programs that assist schools with their curriculum, and more specifically with their ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. SWISH also addresses problems such as misbehavior and truancy, holding workshops for entire classes, for parents, or both. SWISH workers are present in the schools, and often serve as the link between students’ families and the school, working with parents, guard-
needs is essential in removing barriers to learning, and in promoting academic development. Through a comprehensive, developmental SWISH program, SWISH workers team up with the school staff, parents, SISO and the community at large to create a caring atmosphere by providing early identification, education, prevention, and intervention.
“The SWISH program plays an essential role within the ESL Department and our school. More specifically, the SWISH worker assists with and provides a great number of supports and services that are oftentimes much needed by newcomer students and their families,” commented Michael J. Cimba, Head of the Department of English as a Second Language at Barton Secondary School. The ELL (English Language Learners) population at Barton has grown to encompass nearly 20% of the total student population. These students immigrate from all corners of the globe, with each individual bringing their own unique experiences, skills, strengths and challenges.
Wentworth Catholic District School Board, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the program was established in May 2001. Operating at the elementary and secondary school levels, a SWISH team is currently an integral part of many Hamilton school. SWISH facilitates access to a variety of resources vital to the integration of newcomer students and their families. If a newcomer student is experiencing difficulties at school, SWISH workers can provide a myriad of options from matching the student with a mentor, to facilitating an interview between the teacher and the student’s parents, to breaking a language barrier by providing interpretation services. When the client is a newcomer parent facing family difficulties, SWISH workers can step in and find him/her a parenting class, support group, career training program, or even a place to live. SWISH workers can also provide information and referrals regarding advocacy, health care, immigration, family related financial assistance and Canadian law among other services. One of SWISH’s mandates is to devise and implement educational ideas, ses-
ians, teachers, and other school officials to ensure students reach their academic and personal potential. “SWISH workers are an invaluable resource at the school level,” said Mrs. Melissa Tadeson, the ESL teacher at Bennetto Elementary School. “[They] are accessible, committed and caring additions to the staff at any school. It would be extremely hard to return to a school which didn’t have access to a SWISH worker.”
“SWISH helps by promoting awareness and access to community services through in-house information sessions, workshops, and distribution of dual language literature,” said Cimba. “SWISH helps make Barton’s ESL program the best choice for all English Language Learners residing on the Hamilton Mountain.” Given the nature of the job, SWISH workers have a deep understanding of settlement needs. They provide counselling, talking to clients about their needs and helping them solve their problems.
SWISH workers’ transparency and sensitivity encourages clients to freely share their concerns, which in turn serves to broaden the workers’ knowledge of the issues that affect newcomers on a personal and social level on a daily basis. Mrs. Gwen Holsey, School Administrator at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School sees the SWISH presence and role at her school as an inseparable part of the school system. “SWISH workers at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School have become an important part of our ESL program delivery,” she stated. “Our SWISH workers often accompany newcomer ELLs and their families to their registration interviews as well as extend their support to the whole family beyond the school and classroom.” Priscilla Mochrie, principal of Mountain View Elementary School, reiterated the importance of the SWISH presence at her school. “I am a huge advocate for the SWISH program,” she said. “Peer pressure is powerful in a child's life and they are still at a stage in life where risk-taking is common. The parents need the same opportunities as they become acquainted with their child's community and school.” She further stated, “The SWISH program is the answer, one-on-one where parents can enter the school and connect with a caring adult to help them solve problems and understand the new world that they have moved to. It is the perfect partnership between school and community.” ■ The SWISH Team
Mojdeh Bostami remembers when he first came to Hamilton as a newcomer. “As a teacher who once was a newcomer to Sir John A. Macdonald [Secondary School], I believe this program removed all the fears and anxieties I once had as a new student in a new country. This program not only provided comfort for the students, it also provided comfort for the parents of the students. They could always rely on peer leaders if they needed to communicate with the teachers or the administration.” An essential part of the SWISH worker’s job is providing guidelines for putting a plan into action and working effectively with the clients. Early identification of a student’s academic and personal/social
African Liberation Day The first Pan-African conference to be held on African soil was on April 15, 1958, in the city of Accra, Ghana. It was the first Conference of Independent African States. African leaders and political activists gathered at this meeting that would change the face of African politics. At this conference they established African Freedom Day, a day to mark the liberation movement and the African people’s determination to end imperial domination. After the creation of the Organization of African Unity, African Freedom Day was renamed African Liberation Day and it is celebrated every year on May 25th. This day is very significant in that each year Africans celebrated their victory and freedom. Today we still celebrate this day but I have asked myself “what am I celebrating”? I think that it is important to take a step back and think about the sacrifices that our ancestors have made. In my native South Africa youth
younger than I am have given up their lives so that I can live in a free South Africa. A South Africa where all men and women are equal. A South Africa where children can realize their dream. I know that if it was not for their sacrifices I would not be here, in Canada, writing this article. I would not have had the opportunity to study and grow. I celebrate the people who dedicated themselves to Africa’s freedom struggles. I celebrate knowing that we are not the Dark Continent but in fact emanate rays of light. I celebrate that I have the opportunity to bring positive change to my beloved continent. I wish to challenge young people on this the 52nd celebration of African Liberation Day. I challenge you to continue the task of liberating Africa. It is true that we have cast off the shackles of imperial rule but we still struggle against poverty, disease, war and much heartache. We are still imprisoned with large debts and un-
fair trade regulations. We are still not playing on a level playing field. The wonderful thing about living in this day and age is that no where in the world is too far. You are always connected to the rest of the world. Your actions here can affect people all over the world. I challenge you to volunteer for a group like CARE or Shades of Grey who work tirelessly to improve the living conditions for our brothers and sisters back home. I encourage you to start your own charity and build a school or a clinic. There are many small steps you can take to make change. Give up eating McDonald’s one day a month and donate that money to UNICEF. You have the world on your plate and it would be great if you shared some of it with others.
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■ By Rabelani Makwarela
Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
Who is an Aboriginal Person?
istered Indian or belong to a registered band, you will be owed financial entitlements and or land. Furthermore, the government of Canada will be paying those entitlements which means it will want to weigh in on your ancestral journey.
Since the ABC miniseries Roots portrayed the story of African American from its roots in Africa. North Americans from all ethnic backgrounds, have been keen to trace the ethnic roots of their ancestors. The stories of immigrant families making their way to Canada are filled with challenge, conflict and triumph. Rebuilding those stories from scratch is a vital part of a process that tells us who we are, where we have been and where we are going as individuals, as a tribe and as a society. The task of tracing the roots of your family can be very complicated at the best of times depending on a number of variables, including available documentation, and living family story tellers who can and are willing to pass on the stories that have not been documented.
Who is an Aboriginal person? This is the questions that drives the issue. Who gets to decide who an aboriginal person is, is the question that will heavily inform the answer to the first question. As you might expect, the government will have the most restrictive definition of an Aboriginal person, while Aboriginal groups will come down in favour of a broader definition. Although the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of Aboriginal people are defined in section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act 1982, the phrase Aboriginal People is not defined in that document. Regardless of how the Aboriginal person in Canada is defined all Canadians have a vested interest in learning about the Aboriginal story. As I have said before, the story of Canada begins with the story of the Aboriginal peoples. Canadians cannot begin to understand themselves without delving into that story, and the story of the relationship between Aboriginals and other Canadians. Let Aboriginal Awareness Week be an opportunity for you to begin your Canadian ancestral journey by the resources available to you to ask the question: Who is an Aboriginal person? ■ Teresa Simms-Obidi
There can be a number of added complicating factors however for aboriginal people who want to trace their roots from their origins. Simply put if you are a reg-
Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
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Growing up under her care was a journey of joy, full of delightful moments I will cherish forever. The amount of love she was capable of bestowing upon her children was beyond measure. She sacrificed every moment of her life for us and she never hesitated to put our never-ending needs and wants ahead of her own. What’s more, she enjoyed every minute of that sacrifice.
offer, she gave me an hour long passionate lecture about the importance of fulfilling my potentials and getting into graduate school. Her speech made me decline the job offer and instead pursue a Master’s degree, a decision which took my career options to a higher level, as I came to realize later. When I went through a divorce, she stood by my side, consoled me, wore her best smile around me, and filled my mind with positive thoughts. Only the increasing wrinkles around her mouth and the red puffs under her eyes betrayed how she suffered for me.
I remember there were five of us, all school aged and in need of back-to-school supplies before September. She was so excited when she took us from store to store, trying to find us the best outfit within her rather limited budget. Then she would pack our bags with the new pencil cases and notebooks, giving an endearing remark to each of her “little scholars” while doing so. I remember I used to massage her sore back at nights, trying to rub a little bit of fatigue out of it, while she worried about my hands getting tired.
With her, I was capable of anything; I was clever, I was beautiful, and I was strong. With her, the world was a safe place and all problems were easily solvable. With her, my small achievements were great and my big mistakes were forgivable. With her, I laughed through the happy moments of life while she endured the sorrows for me. How much I still hope to call home and hear her eager voice at the other end of the line. She is not with me in body anymore, but her love reaches me from the sky and fills my life with heaven’s blessings.
She was a rock of support in our lives. We leaned on her with all our might and she never gave way. I remember the numerous times she had to come to my school to get me out of the scrapes I repeatedly fell into. Every time when she left the school, the school authorities felt a renewed respect and tolerance for me, despite my mischief, as if they were momentarily seeing me through my mother’s eyes. When I got my BA and received a well-paying job
Does this story sound familiar to you? Maybe after all, it’s not only my mother who is the best. Maybe it’s the unconditional love that comes with motherhood that makes all mothers so incredibly special. ■ By Marjan Bateni
When I was a kid, I believed that my mother was the best mother on earth. Now that I am an adult and a mother myself, I believe it more than ever.
The Faces of Poverty in Hamilton (Part 3) The Faces of Poverty can be seen through many lenses; in Part 2 of this series, we looked at single parents and how poverty impacts them. In this segment we will look at race and ethnicity and the impact of poverty on this group. The level of poverty in racialized groups is amongst the highest in Canada. The occurrence of poverty in visual minority groups is understated by the mainstream. There are many individuals and families who are working, and yet still not earring enough to survive. Recent immigrants who are well educated and have global experience and talent have the most difficulty in breaking through the cycle of poverty. When numbers are combined, recent immigrants and visible minority groups make up 42% of those living with poverty. Unemployment levels were far lower for Canadian born individuals who do not belong to a visible minority than that experienced by immigrants and visible minorities. Visible minorities and immigrants continue to experience higher levels of unemployment despite the fact that they have higher rates of having participated in post secondary education and have university degrees. This lack of credential recognition along with so called ‘Canadian experience” and other forms of systemic and social barriers contribute to an ever increasing disparity and further marginalization. Internationally trained professionals of which, a majority are racialized, face tremendous barriers. They are limited by the lack of opportunity and are pushed to live under the poverty line. The fact is that many of these families are not advised of the challenges they may face when they come to Canada. Often they are recruited to come to Canada for their expertise and education. They are presented with glowing stories of success and told that they too can live that dream. The only problem with this story is that it is a dream which is placed at such a high level, it is often unattainable. They find the doors of opportunity shut tight. They are told to give up a lifetime of education and experience; simply it is not good enough for various professional boards and organization. These devised barriers set up by the professional boards
have become the greatest impediments to integration into the labour force and consequently consigning immigrants and visible minorities to a life of poverty. To make matters even worse, these controlling organizations have imposed such high fees in order to access and gain their numerous licensing requirements. The question one may ask is, if a family is required to pay these exorbitant fees without the ability to obtain adequate employment, how can they be expected to break out of this cycle? In Canada, the situation is similar to that of other countries in Western Europe and the United States where visible minorities face disproportionate poverty levels. As result of this, many individuals end up in poor health and face potential mental health crisis. This is very concerning due to continuing the cycle and ever growing trend of poverty and despair.
The challenges are enormous. Today’s poor are most likely to be Aboriginal people and visible minorities. Poverty impacts different communities in different ways. It can be felt in education, health, and general living conditions. Because of lower levels of income newcomers and racialized groups are forced to live in low cost housing and neighborhoods were they are exposed to higher rates of crime and violence. Most of all higher levels of poverty contribute to the imprisonment of young people. The fact is, continued inequality in hiring practices, denied opportunities and sophisticated discrimination and preferential treatment contributed to the growing disparity and high levels of poverty. Social exclusion, poor health and lack of self-worth are the products of these barriers. There must be a real discussion and a political will to address serious concern in our community. Poverty does not only impact those who are facing it, but our society in general will pay the ultimate price in so many ways that the well being of our society is jeopardized.
“Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue; it is hard for an empty bag to stand upright” Benjamin Franklin
LSSP/SWISH Activities April/May 2010 April 8: International Roma Day The Globe (24 Main St. West), 6:00 pm April 9: Tobacco Awareness Barton Secondary School (75 Palmer Rd.), 12:30 pm April 13: Welcome to Canada! Get to Know Your Library and Your City Red Hill Branch (695 Queenston Rd.), 5:00 pm April 21: Oral Health Education for Parents Queen Victoria School (166 Forest Ave.), 3:00 pm April 22: Pathways – How to Choose your College and Career Planning, St. Thomas More School (1045 Upper Paradise), 3:00 pm April 23: Role of Parents to Help Solve their Children’s Behavior St. Peter and Paul School (49 Fennell Avenue E), 3:00 pm April 28: Oral Health Education for Parents Hess School (107 Hess St. N.), 3:00 pm
May 6: Kindergarten Orientation for Parents Queen Victoria School (166 Forest Ave.), 3:00 pm May 11: Summer Jobs and Summer Outdoor Activities Barton Secondary School (75 Palmer Rd.), 3:00 pm May 11: Welcome to Canada! Get to Know Your Library and Your City Red Hill Branch (695 Queenston Rd.), 5:00 pm May 17: Community Resources/ Summer Programs St. Patrick School (50 East St. South), 3:15 pm May 18: Information Session for NOW Peer Leaders Cathedral High School (30 Wentworth St. N.), 3:10 pm May 21: Financial Literacy St Thomas More Catholic Secondary School, 3:00 pm May 21: Chinese Seniors Program Series Central Library, (55 York Blvd, Dundas Room), 10:00 am
April 29: Understanding the Report Card Cathedral High School (30 Wentworth St. N.), 6:00 pm
May 25: Preparation for Exams Cathedral High School (30 Wentworth St. N.), 3:10 pm
April 30: Employment Session (Resume, Interview, Job Search) Sir John. A Macdonald School (130 York Blvd.), 3:00 pm
May 28: Summer Programs for Students Sanford Ave School (149 Sanford Ave, N.), 3:00 pm
May 5: 2009 NOW Participants/Parents Feedback Cathedral High School, (30 Wentworth St. N.), 3:10 pm
For more information and registration, please call: Nila at (905) 385-6192, Ext. 3418
■ By Liban A Abdi
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Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
Immigration and Diversity: Crossroads of Cultures, Engine of Economic Development in agreement with the comment that the work needs to start with the removal of bias from the language, through consistent replacement of “foreign” (= strange, not made in Canada, therefore not good enough!) with “international”, which brings a positive economic perspective to the whole issue to facilitate attitudinal change.
The National Metropolis Conference has always represented a forum for new and exciting ideas related to policy, programming and the need for change and customization This year’s conference, titled Immigration and Diversity: Crossroads of Cultures, Engine of Economic Development, and organized in Montreal (March 18-21, 2010) focused on immigration and inclusion with special attention to economic development and the role of communities in mediating cultural integration.
The role of host communities related to meaningful social and cultural integration has also been analyzed over an extended number of workshops, while challenges faced by immigrant youth and issues related to identity, intergenerational continuity and social change among immigrants, refugees and ethnic minority youth in Canada echoed the need to further delve into research and fully understand the changes needed in both policy and programming.
“The deterioration of economic conditions—high unemployment rates and low income among the latest cohorts of immigrants—coupled with the recent global economic crisis, has made economic development an issue that cannot be ignored. But economic development cannot be separated from labour force needs and the delicate balance between those needs and immigration policy.
All in all, the 2010 National Metropolis Conference showed important improvements related to the immediate relevance of academic research, mainly the result of an increasing number of partnerships between academia and community-based settlement sector.
Equally important are issues of inclusion and cultural diversity. Montréal has long been a crossroads of European and North American cultures, but co-existence, social interactions, pluralism in education, religious diversity and intercultural challenges are now more complex, involve new regions, and call for new perspectives.” (Metropolis 2010.net) This year’s priorities included: • Citizenship and social, cultural, linguistic and civic integration • Economic and labour market integration • Family, children, youth • The role of the host communities for newcomers and minorities • Justice, policing and security • Housing, neighbourhood, and the urban environment While some of the issues related to the economic realm were focused on the disconnect between labour force supply and demand; and the implications for the Temporary Worker Programs, some of the most intriguing questions were posed during plenary sessions: “What is integration?”; “Integration of whom and for whose ben-
Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
efit?” In his policy address, Minister Jason Kenney referred to “immigration as a source of strength and diversity as a source of richness”; as well as the need to “rationalize the labour market disconnect in Canada.” He mentioned as well the need to review the current selection system, as well as a commitment to increase the numbers in the humanitarian categories; and to improve the selection of asylum-seekers. Proposed reforms to Canada’s asylum system is now available from the web site of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Other areas addressed by Minister Kenney included: the review of the “underground industry” of so-called immigration consultants, exemplified through the denial of thousands of “fraudulent operations”; the review of residency requirements (Canada Citizenship Action Plan); and the
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Pan-Canadian Framework for Recognition of Foreign Credentials. On a different note, the discussions during plenary sessions and roundtables highlighted a number of areas, which need to be addressed at the policy level, through a concentrated effort of all 3 levels of government. The position of the representative from the Canadian Federation of Municipalities stirred the floor afterwards, as it seemed that municipalities, while continuing to advocate for a voice in this process, are not fully engaged in acknowledging the local benefits of immigration and the responsibility of local governments in allocating local resources to the process of both attraction and retention of global talent. One full day during the pre-conference was allotted to discussions related to Foreign Credential Recognition; many were
SISO was present with the findings of its recent Immigrant Youth Access and Success study which was included in a halfday workshop and roundtable reporting and discussion of findings from a variety of partners including: McMaster University, University of Manitoba, MOSAIC, Council of Agencies Service South-Asians, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto and the African Canadian Social Development Council. The Immigrant Youth Access and Success study is a joint initiative of SISO and Mohawk College, sponsored by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The study, which included over 800 participants in focus groups, interviews and questionnaires, is being finalized and will be available to the public as of April 15, 2010. Although funding for an implementation phase is not available, SISO and Mohawk College are determined to identify areas and initiatives that can be addressed quickly and with minimum associated cost while affecting change and improvement of the current system as early as September 2010 ■ By Aurelia Tokaci
Christ, The True Vine Called to be like Him ‘The end is the tree; but, the seed is the means.’ Dr.M.L. King
Indeed this sermon draws our minds back to who we truly are as Christians. We cannot do any thing without the help of He who called us to be. Our doings must be reflective of the character, qualities and nature of who made and called us. If at any time we divert from the path chosen for our salvation, we are doomed. Our existence is solely dependant on the grace of God, and not by whatever thing we do ourselves. Christ is the seed that grew to a tree and we are the branches that are being sustained through the roots of that tree. We are sustained through the nourishment from Christ made available in His word. Our rationalizations and imaginations cannot help sustain us, same way; the branches in a tree cannot be nourished if the root of that tree withers or the branches severed from the tree. (John 15v4)
God gave us laws that dictate how we should live our lives and yes Christ is the personification of how that life should be lived. Plainly speaking, we are to live like Christ lived, a life of selfless sacrifice and eternal goodness for others. We cannot pretend we do not know what that means. Justifying any aspect of our living that is in contradiction to Christ life is hypocritical. Some Christians try to use unhealthy means to achieve healthy ends. They know their actions or lack of actions is contrary to God’s laws, but they try to justify them any ways. That justification cannot work and is un-acceptable to God. God knows every thing, even the secret thoughts of our minds. Thus, God cannot be fooled into accepting our sinful ways because some rationalized that God knows our limitations as man and thus will accommodate our rebellious ways. Some of the sins we Christians know are wrong and still do them because we think the bible is not user-friendly, or is not relevant to today’s realities are : commonlaw marriage, homosexuality, divorce, marriage after a divorce, drunkenness, casual sexual encounters, and lack of com-
mitment to God. All these practices were un-heard of and privately and publicly abhorred years ago. As Christians, our point of reference is the bible, and no one can rightfully claim these practices are biblical. Now, through the mass media and governmental support, these practices are publicly glorified and even funded through our hard-earned dollars. What a contradiction. We cannot claim to be like Christ, when we do not live like Christ did. Questions to ponder are: was Christ in a common-law relationship with another? Was Christ ever drunk in His 33 years of life? Was Christ ever unfaithful to God? Was Christ divorced and re-married? If we answer no to all these questions, then we should say no to all these practices that do not reflect what we should be in Christ. The wisdom here is if Christ did not do these, I will not do them. After all, I am called by God to be like Him and His son who was revealed in flesh and lived amongst men. As branches, we should both remain in the tree and get all our nourishments from the tree, or we are cut off and discarded. The choice is simple, love Christ, be like Christ, and live like Christ! Nothing less!
‘The end is the tree; but, the seed is the means.’ On Christmas eve 1967, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a sermon from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. ■ Veronica Chris-Ike
First-Time Buyers -
Finding A House That You Can Afford Many first-timers underestimate the cost of having a home – it is more then just the mortgage payment. Other costs include property tax, utilities, repairs and accessories.
To see how much you can afford, you should take an honest, close look at your financial situation. The vast majority of home buyers lack the funds required to buy a home without assistance from a bank or other financial institution (com-
• The ongoing costs of paying back your mortgage, along with monthly operating costs for utilities, maintenance, insurance and annual property taxes. When lenders assess your ability to buy, they look at your ability to pay both types of costs in determining how much money they will lend you. Lenders will examine several factors when judging your ability to handle a mortgage, including your income, employment re-
I bought my first home a few years ago. I had a lot of great ideas about what I would like and what I would look for – such as several thousand square feet of living space, preferably along the lake, or backing onto a ravine, a two-car garage, large fenced lot, one or two fireplaces and a panoramic view. But when I looked in my wallet, I needed a reality check.
carry or afford. That’s why reputable lenders qualify potential borrowers before issuing mortgages. The housing crisis in the US had a lot to do with greedy lenders giving out loans to people who could not afford it. When people started losing their jobs, they could not afford their mortgages and their whole world collapsed around them.
I soon realized that I will not get my dream home right away. This is because my dream home likely cost several hundred thousand dollars more then I had and the down payment is more than I earn in two years. Not to mention the mortgage payments – which are three times my monthly take-home salary! Many first time homebuyers have unrealistic expectations of what they want to buy. They think that their first home should be their last home. They too, need a reality check. The best way to deal with this reality is to match your financial capabilities with the home that meets as many of your needs as possible. Many first-time buyers purchase what is commonly known as a “starter home”. There’s nothing wrong with this approach. In fact, it is good common sense to avoid buying a home that will stretch your budget to its breaking point. Remember, the starter home is just that – a way to get started in long-term real estate investment.
If you’re thinking of buying a home, talk to a realtor and a lawyer for more information. ■ Hussein Hamdani is a lawyer at SimpsonWigle Law LLP where he practices in the area of corporate/commercial and real estate law. monly called a lender). So for the vast majority of first-timers, buying our first home means combining our savings with money borrowed through a special type of borrowing arrangement called a mortgage. Borrowing to purchase is not only acceptable, it’s desirable. Even people buying million of dollars’ worth of real estate take this route. There are two types of costs in buying a home: • The amount of money you’ll need for the initial purchase; this consists of the down payment and other costs such as legal fees and taxes; and;
cord and credit worthiness. However, one way you can estimate the price range you can afford is to look at the amount of money you have available for a down payment. The most common mortgage is a conventional mortgage. In this type of arrangement, lenders will loan up to 75 per cent of the appraised value (estimated market value) of the property or the purchase price, whichever is lower. The remaining 25 per cent is the amount you will contribute as a down payment. This assumes of course that you have sufficient income to make the payments on the mortgage. Most lenders will not permit a borrower to take on a debt load the borrower cannot w w w.thevoiceindiasp ora.com
Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
Blacks hit hardest by lung cancer There is, first of all, the legacy of the Tuskegee (syphilis) and other medical experiments of the past, in which blacks were exploited by the U.S. healthcare establishment. That's made trust in the medical establishment an ongoing issue, the experts said.
the disease than white men. Only 12 percent of blacks will be alive five years after their lung cancer diagnosis, compared with 16 percent of whites, the ALA report notes. The report points to a number of factors that could explain the disparity, including differences in socioeconomic status, big business behavior and environmental exposure. Report finds they are more likely to develop, die from disease Blacks are hit the hardest when it comes to both developing and dying from lung cancer. A new report from the American Lung Association paints a grim picture of how environmental factors, biological factors, cultural attitudes and biases in the healthcare system conspire to make this deadly disease even deadlier among members of this minority group.
For instance, thanks to concerted marketing efforts by the tobacco industry, blacks have higher rates of smoking menthol cigarettes than other groups. Smokers of menthol cigarettes tend to have higher blood levels of cotinine, an indicator of how much nicotine a person is absorbing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue a report on the public health impact of menthol cigarettes in March of 2011.
"Despite lower smoking rates, AfricanAmericans are more likely to develop and die from lung cancer than whites. AfricanAmericans are more likely to be diagnosed later when the cancer is more advanced. Also, African-Americans are more likely to wait longer after the diagnosis to receive treatment or perhaps to refuse treatment and to die in the hospital after surgery," Dr. William J. Hicks, professor of clinical medicine at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute in Columbus, said during a Monday news conference.
Education and income levels also play a role. Not only do these factors impact lifestyle choices and access to health care, including health insurance, but they largely determine where blacks are likely to work and live.
Black men bear an even more disproportionate share of the burden, being 37 percent more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer and 22 percent more likely to die of
Meanwhile, blacks are less likely to have a gene variant that is targeted by a widely used cancer drug.
According to one study, predominantly black neighborhoods have noticeably higher levels of air pollution than other communities. And a greater proportion of blacks work in the transportation industry, where they are exposed to diesel fumes, known to contribute to lung cancer risk.
The good news is that if individuals, re-
And while doctors appear less likely to funnel black patients to the right kind of specialists, blacks are more likely to refuse gold-standard treatment even when it is offered and available, they added.
gardless of race, receive equal treatment for lung cancer, their outcomes are likely to be similar. However, as Hicks pointed out, "the sad truth is that not all patients receive equal treatment and for those who do not, their health outcomes are poorer." Blacks are also less likely to be seen by experienced or credentialed doctors and hospitals, less likely to have their disease staged, less likely to have surgery and less likely to undergo chemotherapy. These problems have to do with both patient and provider attitudes. "We're looking not just at system failures but also at issues that are deeply rooted in the history, culture and beliefs of AfricanAmericans," Hicks said. "This is not postracial America. For people of color in the United States, race and discrimination are facts of everyday life, and clearly take a toll both mentally and with regard to one's physical health."
"This is not an issue that can be solved overnight," said Chuck D. Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association. "We've made progress in reducing smoking rates and exposure to secondhand smoke, but there is still much work that needs to be done." Hicks said he hoped experts and community members could arrive at a new approach that will "hopefully render this very preventable form of cancer to its state of 125 years ago, when it was a very rarely encountered medical issue, primarily before the advent of widespread cigarette smoking." ■ SOURCES: April 12, 2010, teleconference with: William J. Hicks, M.D., professor, clinical medicine, Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Columbus; Chuck D. Connor, president and CEO, American Lung Association; Too Many Cases, Too Many Deaths: Lung Cancer in African-America
Image Source: Cyril Plapied via Flickr (CC Licencing)
Common painkillers might make you hard of hearing Loud music or noise isn't the only thing that can damage your hearing. A new study in men hints that popping over-thecounter painkillers regularly can also lead to hearing loss, especially in younger men. In the study, researchers found that men younger than age 50 who regularly took acetaminophen more than two times a week had roughly double the risk of hearing loss compared to men who did not take acetaminophen regularly. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and certain other pain relievers. The researchers also found that men younger than age 50 who regularly took ibuprofen (the main ingredient in Advil) or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) at least twice a week had a nearly two-thirds higher risk of hearing loss than men who took NSAIDs less often. Men who took aspirin twice a week had a one-third higher risk. So should middle-aged men empty the medicine cabinet of these pain relievers? Not necessarily, because each individual's actual, or absolute, risk of hearing loss with these medicines is likely fairly small. The overall absolute risk of hearing loss in the population is 1 percent per year. Those who take an analgesic have an increased risk beyond the 1 percent, Dr. Sharon G. Curhan, of Channing Laboratory and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston explained in an email to Reuters Health. "But if you consider that people continue to take the analgesic for years, then after
Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
10 years the risk would be 10 percent in the overall population and the risk in those taking an analgesic would be proportionately higher," Curhan said. "Even though these analgesics are available in the drugstore without a prescription, they are still medications and there are potential side effects," Curhan said. "If individuals find a need to take these types of medications regularly, they should consult with their health care professional in order to discuss the risks and benefits and to explore possible alternatives," she advised. The findings, published in the American Journal of Medicine this month, stem from nearly 27,000 men enrolled since 1986 in the Health Professionals' Follow-Up Study. As part of the study, the men, who were between 40 and 74 years old at the outset, provided information on analgesic use, hearing loss and other relevant factors every 2 years for 18 years, during which time 3,488 men were diagnosed with hearing loss. In the group as a whole, the risk of hearing loss, after factoring out relevant risk factors, was 12 percent higher in men who used aspirin at least twice a week relative to men who used aspirin less than twice a week. The risk was about 21 percent higher in those who used NSAIDs or acetaminophen at least twice a week. Among men younger than 50, the risk of hearing loss was higher by 33 percent, 61 percent and 99 percent with twice weekly w w w.thevoiceindiasp ora.com
use of aspirin, NSAIDs, and acetaminophen, respectively, compared to risks in men of the same age who used these painkillers less often. For NSAIDs and acetaminophen, the risk of hearing loss increased with longer duration of use. In contrast to the findings in younger men, regular aspirin use did not increase the risk of hearing loss in men aged 60 and older, and the ties between hearing loss and regular use of NSAIDs and acetaminophen were weaker in the older men. Curhan's team points out that very high doses of aspirin are well known to have toxic effects on the ear. These effects include reversible hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). On the other hand, low-dose aspirin has been reported to protect against hearing loss caused by certain antibiotics and excessive noise. Very high doses of NSAIDs are toxic to the ears of animals, and there have been a few
reports of very high doses of NSAIDs causing hearing loss in humans. In their study, the researchers did not have information on dosages taken by the men or why they were regularly using these medicines -- only how often they took them. They also did not have information on lifetime exposure to loud noise, a common cause of hearing loss. "Hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder in the US and factors other than age and noise might influence the risk," the researchers note in their report. Aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are the three most commonly used drugs in the US and they could be "one of the few preventable causes of hearing loss," Curhan said. ■ The American Journal of Medicine, March 2010.
Shahnaz – A story of courage
Shahnaz Shahbazi is a native of Iran. She left her country in 1985 and travelled to Germany with her husband because of war with Iraq. Her arrival in Germany was met with so much sadness as she felt very lonely and sad leaving all her relatives behind in Iran. Germany was new and strange in many ways to her, the culture, people, food, language and even environment was different from what she was used to. Shahnaz shared that ‘the worst time of my life was spending days in Germany because I could not adjust myself to the new environment, and I refused to learn the German language’. Shahnaz now narrates her story. As we were about to settle in Germany, my husband who always wanted to immigrate to Canada decided it was time to embark on our journey to Canada. It was the worse news for me that I had to leave this country again and move to another country which is much more further from my own birth country. I had no idea that this move was the best thing could happen to me. I came to Toronto on a very cold night on Feb, 14/1987. I remembered when they said welcome to Canada, you are free to go, it was the middle of the night and I could hardly understand any word of English, nobody could help us, I was crying most of the time. That night, when we arrived at our hotel room, I resolved within myself that crying is not the way to go, that I would live my life, learn the English language and stay here for good. Today, that is now history.
right between my husband and I. We got separated when my twins were only a few months old. I remembered sitting down and crying my heart out, but I told myself again that you can sit here and cry all you want or take away your tears and get on with your life in a positive way. It has been 20 years since then, I can say I believed in myself and made it. I went to college, finished my post secondary education as an early child educator from George Brown College, and started working as a kindergarten teacher in a private school. I helped my uncle and his family to arrive in Canada in 1991 and made sure they settled well in Toronto. After, I sponsored my mother and father to come to Canada, and they are now Canadian citizens. My sister and her husband arrived soon after that and settled in Toronto and are running their own successful Iranian restaurant in Richmond Hill, Toronto. Later on, my older brother who is an Engineer migrated here with his wife; they are both very successful in their field and happy being in Canada.
Canada is a good country if you choose to be a positive and active person. Canada made me the strongest woman I could ever imagine to be. I am not only a single mother of 3 children now, but also dealing with everyday life challenges. Every challenge in your life will make you stronger and stronger. I know I had a lot of bumpy roads in my past and I may get more in the future, but I will be strong enough to deal with them. Almost every weekend when my family and I get together, I do cherish the moments and remember how much I needed them in the past. So cherish every little moment in your life. I moved to Hamilton when my twins started university in McMaster. They both took life sciences and would like to go to medical school. They are both great stu-
dents with lots of hope for the future. My youngest daughter will soon be going to High school. Being an immigrant woman in Canada has never been easy, but I like the opportunity of calling Canada my second home. I have the opportunity of visiting 15 different countries since I came to Canada. My goal now is to continue exploring different countries and cultures. I am currently working for SISO and have this incredible opportunity of working with new immigrants, and trying to help them as much as I can. My advice to new immigrant women out there is that you can make a difference if you believe in yourself and have the confidence to be strong and take initiative. ■ Veronica Chris-Ike
Finally, my youngest brother came to Canada as well and is now settled. When I looked back and reflected on how I see myself being here alone for 15 years and having nobody in this country, (being the first member of my family to settle here), now we have about 40 members of our family and relatives over here. My story is to tell those mothers and single people who come to Canada alone and helpless to believe in themselves and have confidence.
Within some few months, I started learning English, from there; I started working in a daycare centre. Working with children gave me a lot of confidence, and helped me overcome my sense of loneliness. I put in time and effort to learn the language and to get to know the city. After a while, I got hired as an assistant teacher in a busy daycare. Truly speaking, my English improve much faster and better because of my involvement with children in the daycare centre. As time went by, I started settling down in Canada, and it has been so ever since. I was blessed with twins in 1990, so not only was I an immigrant, but also a new mother of two babies. The hardest part for me in this transition was to get used to being alone. In Iran, I had all the family around me, but here, it was only me and my babies. It was very sad, but I did not give up the hope that I will reunite with my family again. Things did not go
Ontario Graduation Rates Rise Again Over 52,500 More High School Graduates Since 2003-04 More Ontario high school students are graduating. Last year, 79 per cent of Ontario stu-
dents graduated with a high school diploma. Since 2003-04, increases in the graduation rate have resulted in over 52,500 more young Ontarians earning a high school diploma. The Ontario government has been
working hard since 2003 to increase graduation rates through a number of initiatives such as specialist high skills majors, expanded co-op and dual credits. Higher graduation rates are part of the province's new Open Ontario Plan, which is about creating jobs and opportunities for more Ontarians and building a welleducated workforce. Working with students, teachers and parents, the government has reduced class sizes, raised test scores and created thousands of new
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spaces in colleges, universities and apprenticeships. QUICK FACTS • The province remains committed to achieving an 85 per cent graduation rate by 2010-11. • Studies from the U.S. and U.K., Ireland and Canada show that an additional year of education increases annual earnings by about 10 to 14 per cent. ■ http://news.ontario.ca
Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
Liberation of Holland 65th Anniversary by the Dutch Canadian Legion
Elect More Women Lecture Series
Highlights of the key note address by John Tory include; leveraging diversity to increase innovation, engagement and sustainability, which is the theme of his presentation. Mr. Tory explained the advantage Hamilton enjoys as a welcoming
Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
7 P.M.. Cost None. Moderator Nick Dixon. What is a Story meeting?
Probus Club Ancaster
Preparing for Debates – April 13th, 2010 YWCA McNab Street 6 P.M. Nervous about debating? Join us in this interactive workshop that will provide participants with an opportunity to prepare for and participate in an election debate. We will videotape the debate and provide feedback to future candidates in this session. Media for Candidates – April 20th, 2010 YWCA McNab Street 6 P.M. A reporter sticks a microphone in your face – now what!?! This workshop will assist you with how to attract media attention, public speaking, and building a rela-
HCCI-Report to the Community (Advantage Diversity) Event
Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) hosted community leaders and the general public on April 8th, to an event that evokes the collective conscience of well-meaning Canadians to reflect deeply on their commitment to inclusion of diversity in all walks of lives in our community. In attendance and the keynote presenter was former MPP and the leader of the official opposition in Ontario, John Tory from Toronto. Also in attendance was Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberg; Hamilton City MP David Christopherson; Hamilton Police representatives; leaders from the business and service sectors in Hamilton, and students from Barton High School in Hamilton. HCCI presented key aspects of the inroads their services had made in trying to make Hamilton a more diverse city.
Elect More Women Conference May 15 YWCA McNab Street 9 – 3 Series of workshops and panel discussions on how to get more women elected to office ■
We have a church service at St. Elizabeth village at 11.00am with laying of wreaths.
This is the 65th anniversary of the Liberation of Holland. The Dutch Consulate is coming and the Dutch Defence Attaché out of Ottawa. Fly pass of the Air Force out of the U.S. ■
Frid Street, Hamilton (Main and Dundurn)
The program for May 5 is as follows:
In the afternoon we have a dinner for the Veterans at RCL branch 163 Upper Wentworth and Limeridge Rd. This is by invitation only. We need veterans from WW 11 who were in Holland. Name and address so we can send them invitation. 905-6486155
tionship with the media.
destination to new immigrants into Canada, and its proximity to Toronto and the presence of great universities and other important industries that helped made Hamilton what it is and becoming. He advised that businesses and other sectors should tap into the skills and qualifications of new comers in order to remain competitive in this ever-changing global economy. Mr Tort called for the empowerment and inclusion of ethnic minorities in higher ends of jobs in order to reflect the diversity the population of Canada has come to be. HCCI Board members, the Mayor, and other important speakers all gave their supported to Mr. Tory’s suggestion of inclusivity of diversity in all walks of life. Students from Barton High School and schools from within Hamilton were also in attendance at this event, and showcase their creativities in drawings and poems. ■ The Voice In Diaspora, 2010 More photos of this event on Page 15
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Probus Club Ancaster – meets at Marshall Memorial Church April 28 @10 a.m Pastpresident John Babcock of Ancaster has been named as convenor of the proposed Probus Club of Ancaster. The club will meet monthly so retired and semi-retired persons can enjoy fellowship, entertainment and talks by guest speakers. A few times a year, theatre visits and other outings may be arranged. Probus clubs are not service clubs; they are non-fundraising and nonprofit. ■
Story Meeting Thursday May 27, 2010
The Hamilton Spectator Auditorium 44
This is when each respective media outlet assemblies their news and current affairs teams to review and discuss what stories, segments or features they are going to cover and why. This is YOUR opportunity to pitch your story to the mainstream media in our community. Representatives from CHCH News Cable 14 AM 900 CHML Hamilton Community News and CFMU 93.3 The Hamilton Spectator Material should relate to media coverage of under-represented communities as well as race and immigration related coverage. Presenter has 5 minutes or less to present your idea so come prepared focused and be concise. Subject matter must be respectful of others. Alternative views or perspectives are welcome but decorum and courtesy is mandatory. Prepare a onepage take away or handout to leave with media members (include contact names, numbers and credentials). Expect to reply to questions, rebuttals, challenges and probing (no more than 5 minutes). Pre registration is suggested email@example.com ■
HCCI-Report to the Community (Advantage Diversity) Event
"Chimezie Bezaleeh ChrisIke, Your Sixteenth Birthday came so quickly, no one knew you would grow as fast as you did the last year. May all your dreams come through, Amen. Wishing you more happy years ahead. From Mom, Nkechi, Whitney, Naomi and Michael Chris-Ike"
SISO gets ISO Certification!
St.Charles Celebrates International Women's Day in Style, Thursday 18 March 2010
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Apr & May 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 3
Paul Andrea Miller Horwath
MPP, Hamilton East-Stoney Creek 289 Queenston Road (905) 545-0114
MPP, Hamilton Centre
20 Hughson St. S., Suite 200 (905) 544-9644