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U N I T Y

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D I V E R S I T Y

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

‘The Voice of of a Migrant The Voice a Migrant (Rabe Worker Rabe Worker’ Makwarela, 27)

“For Hamilton to remain and compete with the rest of the country in the global marketplace, it has to honestly embrace the culture of globalization” “For the past 2 years, Canada Immigration Laws have changed in my favour” says Rabe Makwarela, a migrant worker, originally from South Africa. “I wished the laws were changed earlier than now, I would have saved a lot of money”. Rabe like thousands of other migrant workers in Canada has seen the recent transformation of ... ∞ continued on page 

The Underground

A Nanny’s Experience

This story would not have been told if not for creativity. Several attempts for a live interview failed simply because of lack of trust and fear of the known – being captured by authorities. Here we have a public pay phone interview with a faceless immigrant under the category of an “underground worker” The Voice needed this story to reveal the struggles of a man who like many have lost hope for a better life in Canada. Read on.

She came as a nanny, with big dreams, something happened half way through that shattered her dreams and broke her heart. Read on…

The Underground Wotker Worker

I came to Canada from Southern Europe in the late 90’s with a girlfriend who later left me for another guy... ∞ continued on page 6

Liberians in Hamilton Call for Peace and Unity

September - Canada Labour Day Celebration

The messages from all speakers at the presentation of the movie “Women of Liberia: Fighting for Peace” were centered on peace and unification of Liberians every

Labour Day is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world that resulted from efforts of the labour union movement, to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers... ∞ continued on page 

where they are. Three women travelled all the way from Liberia to share their stories about the conflict that saw man’s brutality against another in the once glorious nation called Liberia. The project was the brain child of Amnesty International, a human rights group that help the marginalized in all nations of the world to experience freedom. The three women shared their touching stories which were elaborated in the movie with gory pictures of the war zones that saw thousands killed ∞ continued on page 

Income of Canadians Page 3 Ontario Works... Page 4 My Canadian Experience Page 5 The Independence of India Page 8 Kid’s Voice (New) Page 15 Hamilton’s Labour Strategy Page 17 Alberta Welcomes Immi grants Fast-No Job Required Page 20

A Nanny’s Experience

I feel exploited and used by my last employer; she has no right to treat me the way she did. I served this woman and her child with all humility and humanity, but she fired me close to my 3 months stay with her so as to avoid her obligations under the labour law of Canada. I was made to carry a puppy, even though that was a cultural shock to me... ∞ continued on page 17

Diversity in Action – Mardi Gras, August 2008 Mardi Gras festival opened this year with a bang. Despite the anticipated rainy weather with its characteristic thundering and lighting, Hamiltonians and visitors came out in droves to participate and watch this year’s colourful event. James Street North was packed with merry go dancers dressed in spectacular costumes that got on-lookers excited. It was incredible to see diversity in action in our Hamilton. ∞ continued on page 


The Voice in Diaspora

EDITORIAL

P.O. Box 417 Hamilton, Ontario Tel: 905.920.1752 - Fax: 905.769.5483 www.thevoiceindiaspora.com

Welcome back to another edition of the Voice in Diaspora Newspaper. Hope your vacations allowed you free un-stressed moments to relax with loved ones. This edition has many interesting well-chosen topics written for your enjoyment. The key event this month is celebrating the labour movement. Is it worth the celebration, one might ask? Labour unionism is not a new set of idea; it has been there ever since visionary men and women utilize their collective energies to fight all forms of oppressive and repressive governance that militated against the welfare of the workers and others in the society. Governments had been removed by strategies of organized labour; powerful political and social reforms had been established in countries the world over by actions of labour movements. When churches and businesses kept their golden silences in the face of tyranny and oppressive regimes, labour movement had been more vocal in addressing the ills plaguing the society. As a result, many labour unionists had been imprisoned for being vocal, and many lost their lives as a result. The state of our labour movement has evolved rapidly, from one of non-compromising social and political catalyst, to mere observatory collaborative team player with governments and businesses. This is not right. Now than ever, our society especially workers, need strong labour union representations that would uplift the plight of many suffering workers. Very crucial is the plight of many un-documented underground workers and migrant workers whose lives and livelihood lie in the hands of their mean spirited employers. This group of workers need a voice; they need their plights understood by powers that be in this country. As the world we live in is changing rapidly due to globalization, the time is here for Hamilton to play the game well in order to remain competitive with the rest of the country. In a world where Canadian phone subscribers have their trouble shooting problems managed by technical operators in far away India shows how small the world has become. The term “global village’ is not just a phrase, it is the reality. Canada is still very lucky because many immigrants chose to come here and make this place their new homes. Research shows that many of these immigrants came with skills and knowledge that could easily be transferred to the Canadian job market. What is lacking is the attitude of many employers to give the new comers chance to prove themselves in their chosen fields. More so, many Canadians are very slow in accepting their ethnic/cultural colleagues into their circles. I wonder how much longer it would take for Hamilton to open up and be more embracive. No more of the lip service, today calls for action. Thanks

Veronica Chris-Ike (Publisher/Editor)

Our Mission Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth integration for immigrants into the Canadian society.

Publisher/Editor Veronica Chris-Ike venike@thevoiceindiaspora.com

Art & Creative Design Jihan C. Aydin www . A4AMEDIA . com

Advertising & Marketing Shelley Prince 905.385.6192 ext:408 sprince@thevoiceindiaspora.com

Contributors Nica Brown, Veronica Chris-Ike, Priya Verma, Ndinda Msiska, Jihan C. Aydin, SISO (Settlement And Integration Services Organization)

The Voice in Diaspora Newspaper is free of charge. Publication will be done Bi-monthly till March 2009. 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 centers, etc, in Hamilton and environs. The views expressed by writers do not necessary 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.

Feedback venike@thevoiceindiaspora.com We Need Your



Aug-Sep 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 10-11

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Income of Canadians

Identity Fraud

Low-income rates stable but family low income gap declines: The incidence of low income in Canada remained relatively stable in 2006. An estimated 3.4 million Canadians (or 10.5%) lived in low income (after-taxes) in 2006.

Identity fraud has become one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada, with 1 in 15 Canadians having been victimized. Identity fraud occurs when someone steals your personal information with the intention of gaining access to your finances, making purchases and incurring debts, or commit-

About 760,000 children under 18 years of age, or 11.3%, lived in low income families in 2006, also unchanged. About 307,000, or 40%, of these children lived in a loneparent family headed by a woman. In fact, about one in three children living with a single mother were in low income.

ting other crimes in your name.

An estimated 633,000 Canadian families, 7.0% of the total, were below the low-income cutoff, unchanged from 2005. Families in low income needed on average $7,000 to climb above the low-income cutoff. This is an improvement over the 2005 low income gap of $8,000.

• A November 2006 Ipsos Reid survey indicated that 73 per cent of

Senior families, who had the lowest incidence of low income in 2006, saw their rate remain relatively stable at 2.3%. About 29% of unattached individuals lived below the low-income threshold. This rate varied between age groups; 34% of non-seniors were in this situation compared with 16% of seniors. (For more information, or to enquire about concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-888-297-7355 or 613-951-7355 income@statcan.ca), Income Statistics Division). ■

Fast Facts • In 2006, the Canadian credit bureaus received approximately 1,400 to 1,800 Canadian identity theft complaints per month.

Canadians are concerned about becoming victims of identity theft, and 28 per cent say they or someone they know has already been a victim of identity theft. • The Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus estimates that identity theft may cost Canadian consumers, banks and credit card firms, stores, and other businesses more than $2 billion annually. Useful Resources If you suspect or know you are a victim of fraudulent scams (including telemarketing fraud, advanced fee fraud, and identity theft): • Contact your local police service, report fraud online through www.recol.ca or contact the Canadian Anti-fraud Call Centre (PhoneBusters) at 1 888 4958501 or www.phonebusters. com. • For more information about consumer fraud, visit www.competitionbureau. gc.ca or www.rcmp-grc. gc.ca. • For information about your credit rating, contact Equifax Canada at 1 800465-7166 or www.equifax.com/EFX_Canada; Trans Union Canada at 1 800 663-9980 or www.transunion. ca. • Go to Public Safety Canada: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/ prg/le/bs/consumers-en.asp

• Go to Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada: www.privcom.gc.ca/keyIssues/ki-qc/mc-ki-idt_e.asp http://www.bankofcanada. ca/en/bank notes/fraud/ fact_sheet_1.pdf

More supports for kids in care of children’s aid societies McGuinty Government expands opportunity for vulnerable youth News Children and youth in care will now have

Canadian Community Health Survey (2007) Statistics Canada on June 18, 2008, released extensive new data on more than 20 health indicators from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), a comprehensive survey of more

more opportunities to build the skills and confidence they will need when they leave care.

than 65,000 Canadians conducted between January 2007 and December 2007. Read on.

The province is providing new funding that will help kids in the care of children’s aid societies participate in learning and recreational programs that support their healthy development so they are able to achieve their full potential. This new fund will provide supports that include tutoring, skills building and recreational activities for children and youth in care based on each child’s individual plan of care.

Most individuals who do not have a regular doctor use clinics

In addition, youth 15 to 17 will have savings of up to $3,300 at full implementation that will be held in bank accounts they can access when they leave care. They will be provided with money management training so they will have the skills necessary to manage their savings responsibly. The new funding is equivalent to the maximum Ontario Child Benefit payment for each child and youth, totalling approximately $11.5 million in 2008-2009, growing to $16.2 million in 2011-2012. Helping young people who are making the challenging transition out of care is part of the McGuinty government’s commitment to tackle poverty. The government will continue working with its child protection partners, including young people in care, to ensure that the appropriate support and opportunities are in place. Quotes “This initiative is another way the government is providing more opportunities to vulnerable children and youth so they gain the education, skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential,” said Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews. “Lessening the risk that kids in care may experience poverty later in life is another important step in the government’s poverty reduction strategy.” “It’s essential that we close the gap in student achievement in order for our youth to have the best future possible,” said Education Minister Kathleen Wynne. “We are committed to looking at the needs of particular groups of children in order to raise the bar of achievement for all of Ontario’s students.” “We know from talking to youth that financial support is really important and youth worry about living in poverty.

For the first time, the CCHS sheds light on where Canadians without a regular medical doctor go when they are sick or need advice about their health. In 2007, 15% of Canadians aged 12 or older, about 4.1 million people, reported that they did not have a regular medical doctor, either because they were unable to find one, or because they had not looked. This proportion was up 3 percentage points since the 1996/1997 National Population Health Survey (NPHS). Of these individuals, 78%, or 3.3 million people, reported that they in fact had some place to go. Of these estimated 3.3 million people, 64% sought treatment in a walkin or appointment clinic. Another 12% went to a hospital emergency room, while about 10% went to a community health centre. The remaining 14% chose to use other types of health care facilities or services such as hospital outpatient clinics, telephone health lines or doctor’s offices. The type of facility varied across the country. In Ontario and most of the western provinces, the choice was a clinic. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, nearly one-quarter of residents without a regular doctor sought help in a hospital emergency room. The use of community health centres by those who did not have a regular medical doctor was significantly higher in Quebec and in Newfoundland and Labrador than in the rest of Canada. In the case of Quebec, this reflects the availability of such centres, known as CLSCs (Centre local de services communautaires). The health service individuals used in the absence of a regular medical doctor varied by the size of their community. Nearly half of rural residents reported that they usually went to a clinic when they needed advice or treatment, compared with 7 in 10 urban residents. Almost one-quarter of rural residents reported going to an emergency room, compared with 8% of urban residents. Generally, men and women who needed medical treatment but did not have a regular doctor sought care in similar types of facilities.

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Ontario Works Reality Check? The harsh economic realties in Canada call for a quick overhaul of this province’s assistance programs that are presently doing so little to ease the hardships people are going through. Ontario Works over the years has helped and is still helping people in Ontario that meet their eligibility criteria to receive financial and other services. Ontario Works Act 1997 provided for two forms of assistance, employment assistance, and basic financial assistance. Employment assistance is provided to help a person become and stay employed and includes: (a) community participation; and (b) other employment measures, as prescribed under the 1997 Act. Basic financial assistance includes, (a) income assistance provided for purposes of basic needs and shelter; (b) benefits; and (c) emergency assistance (1997, c. 25, Sched. A, s. 5). Also, the Act provided for certain conditions to be met before an applicant is considered eligible to receive financial assistance, and these conditions include: (a) Satisfy community participation requirements (b) Participate in employment measures; (c) Accept and undertake basic education and job specific skills training; and (d) Accept and maintain employment (1997, c. 25, Sched. A, s. 7). Having stated the above, the issue at hand is not what Ontario Works is doing, but how minute their assistance has been in the light of present un-bearable economic hardship being faced by all and sundry. The reality is that the so-called financial assistance from Ontario Works is far from meeting the basic needs of the recipients. Understanding the cost of living index shows how much the cost of living has gone up in this country since the inception of the Ontario Works Act of 1997. The government of Canada uses the cost of living index to “offset a change (usually a decrease) in the purchasing power of income”. Cost-of-living adjustments modify future benefits, typically on an annual basis, to keep pace with inflation. These adjustments are usually linked to changes as measured by an index of movements in prices; the most widely used is the Consumer Price Index . The questions that come to mind with the explanation above are: (1) Is the government using the same cost of living index to provide basic financial assistance to our most vulnerable Ontarians? (2) Is cost of living, especially prices of commodities, the same as it was over the years? (3) Are different citizens treated differently because of their socio-economic status? The right answers to these questions are quite obvious and not far fetched. It is factual that those receiving Ontario Works are mostly new comers to Canada especially refugees, who are grappling with the shocks of a new culture, and stark reality of un-imaginable economic hardship. In support of this fact is the new research by Social Research Council (2006) which reported that most new comers to Canada are very poor compared to those born in Canada. Why is this so? Even those born in Canada who happen to belong to the lowest social and economic ladders in this country are not spared the same economic hardship. According to Statistic Canada on the Consumer Price Index “Fuelled by higher gasoline prices, consumer prices rose 3.1% in the 12-months ending June 2008, com-



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pared with the 2.2% gain recorded in May. June’s increase was the largest since September 2005. Consumer prices excluding gasoline rose 1.8% in the 12 months to June.” (CPI July 23, 2008), Simply put, higher natural gas prices pushed up consumer prices, coupled with this is the loss of manufacturing jobs through out-sourcing, liquidation and closures. The average retail prices of essential consumer commodities like diary products, vegetable and fruits, and grain products have quadruplet in cost. Typically in Ontario as in the rest of Canada, the percentage changes in prices of food items are rising each year. However, the poor especially those receiving government assistance have not seen any significant increase in the amount of assistance they received. A single person receives a total amount of $560 monthly from Ontario Works; $211.00 is for basic needs, while $349 is for shelter. This amount is a joke. Where in Ontario can one find a functional accommodation with $349 per month? The cases of families with young children are equally pathetic. One wonders how these families struggle each and every month to make ends meet. Statistics show that “about 760,000 children under 18 years of age, or 11.3%, lived in low income families in 2006” . We are not proud of these pitiable figures of children starting their early childhood in povertystricken homes. We have to be perturbed of the long time negative effects of growing up poor and deprived could have on the lives of these children. Helping Ontarians in times of need does not mean punishing them through economic sanctions that could be interpreted from the mere stipends these families receive as monthly expenses. Those responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Ontario Works Act should truly search their consciences and provide honest answers to these questions” Could you and your family survive on the same stipend you give to disadvantaged families each month? Are you really being your brother’s keeper? Do you honestly believe the 1997 Ontario Works Act has accomplished its mandates? Thanks for reading. ■ (Submitted by Veronica Chris-Ike)

Are you an ethnic/ cultural artist? Do you want to showcase your work and talent?

The Voice in Diaspora wants to hear from you to participate in a cultural artistic exhibition taking place fall next year.

905-920-1752

for more information. Also visit our website at

www.thevoiceindiaspora.com

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September-Canada Labour Day Celebration The majority of countries celebrate Labour Day on May 1, and it is popularly known as May Day and International Workers’ Day. The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

public art events. Since the new school year generally starts right after Labour Day, families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, which traditionally begin their new year the day after.

In Canada, Labour Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September

An old custom prohibits the wearing of white after Labour Day. The explanations

since the 1880s. The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to April 14, 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union’s strike for a 58-hour work-week. The Toronto Trades Assembly (TTA) called its 27 unions to demonstrate in support of the Typographical Union who had been on strike since March 25. George Brown, Canadian politician and editor of the Toronto Globe hit back at his striking employees, pressing police to charge the Typographical Union with “conspiracy”. Although the laws criminalizing union activity were outdated and had already been abolished in Great Britain, they were still on books in Canada and police arrested 24 leaders of the Typographical Union. Labour leaders decided to call another similar demonstration on September 3 to protest the arrests. Seven unions marched in Ottawa, prompting a promise by Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald to repeal the “barbarous” antiunion laws. Parliament passed the Trade Union Act on June 14 the following year, and soon all unions were demanding a 54hour work-week.

for this tradition range from the fact that white clothes are worse protection against cold weather in the winter to the fact that the rule was intended as a status symbol for new members of the middle class in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

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The Toronto Trades and Labour Council (successor to the TTA) held similar celebrations every spring. American Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labour, was asked to speak at a labour festival in Toronto, Canada on July 22, 1882. Returning to the United States, McGuire and the Knights of Labour organized a similar parade based on the Canadian event on September 5, 1882 in New York City, USA. On July 23, 1894, Canadian Prime Minister John Thompson and his government made Labour Day, to be held in September, an official holiday. In the Unites States, the New York parade became an annual event that year, and in 1894 was adopted by American president Grover Cleveland to compete with International Workers’ Day (May Day). While Labour Day parades and picnics are organized by unions, many Canadians today simply regard Labour Day as the Monday of the last long weekend of summer. Non-union celebrations include picnics, fireworks displays, water activities, and

A Labour Day tradition in Canada is the Labour Day Classic, a Canadian Football League event where rivals like Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts, and Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers play on Labour Day weekend. ■ From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Liberians in Hamilton Call for Peace and Unity ...Continued from page 1

and maimed for life. Many Liberians re-

siding in Hamilton and surrounding areas attended the event. Gracing the occasion were also Dr. Gary Warner who helped to organize the event, and Dave from Amnesty International who was the project co-ordinator. The president of Liberians in Hamilton, Mr. Rosler Wleh was on hand to share the activities of the association with invitees. Mr Henry Cooper on giving the final remarks called all Liberians in Hamilton and other surrounding areas to unite and emulate the examples set by the three ex-soldiers who united for a cause they

30,000 of all the fighting forces. The majority of women were forced to participate although it is also estimated that significantly more women opted to participate in the second conflict than in the first. They chose to take up arms to protect themselves from sexual violence, to avenge the death of family members, because of peer pressure, for material gain, and for survival. Women played roles as commanders, porters, spies, sex slaves, cooks and mothers. The consequences of the violence and human rights abuses perpetrated against women and girls during the conflict are devastating. Many continue to suffer both

result of rape. Many are uneducated, jobless, with few skills and dependent on friends for accommodation. Girls, especially young mothers without any assistance, are particularly vulnerable. A greater understanding of this context is needed to ensure that disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration (DDRR) and other post-conflict programmes in Liberia succeed in helping women and girls become productive

Dr. Warner (left) and Mr. Cooper

Liberian nationals in Hamilton

physically and mentally from the harsh and inhumane treatment they endured during the war. Few have access to appropriate medical care particularly where long-term care is required. WAFF and GAFF face significant discrimination and may also carry their own burden of shame for having played roles or carried out acts that are seen as unacceptable for women by their society. Often widowed or abandoned, they are alone to shoulder overwhelming conditions and responsibilities, and with little help to ease the burden, they have full responsibility for their children, some having had children as the

Guests with some Liberian nationals in Hamilton

see favourable for nation building. Below is an excerpt from Amnesty International regarding the Liberian war experiences and issues presently dodgging the country as it goes through reconstruction and re-building of all parties involved in the conflict. Read on. Liberia experienced conflict between 1989 and 1997 and again between 1999 and 2003. Estimates of women associated with fighting forces (WAFF) and girls associated with the fighting forces (GAFF) were in the range of 30-40 per cent of all fighting forces or approximately 25,000-

My Canadian Experience Edgar Saenz’s Story Ten months ago, I came to Canada from Columbia with my wife and a daughter as a refugee claimant. I was an accountant in Bogotá Columbia for many years. I have had all kinds of experiences since being in Canada. My family came during the fall season last year, it was very beautiful and nice weather, but we had bitter experiences looking for accommodation. Since I barely spoke fluent English and phone conversation was impracticable, I had to walk from street to street looking for vacant houses and apartments to rent. I even walked through the snow covered streets, fell and rose several times that I got frost bite in my legs and hands. Life was very difficult for me those early days in Hamilton. Now I have an accommodation and is concentrating my energy learning English in St. Charles Adult school. I am now in the 5th level and have an ability to write and to read English language. Through St. Charles, I became involved with HCCI Community Mobilization Team Program. I attended it for four months and graduated with a certificate. Through St. Charles again, I have met many people from around the world who came to Canada to live better lives. My training in community mobilization has made me a change agent. I have the

skills and knowledge to integrate better into the Canadian society. I signed up for the HCCI housing help committee to help both newcomers and other poor people in terms of getting housing. I consider myself a newcomer but, there are new people that came after me. These are the individuals I help through sharing information about the location of important places like the food banks, shelters; subsidize housing/ apartment, schools, churches, etc. I also volunteer my time to organise events, especially sports events. There are a lot of poor people in Hamilton, and helping the children get active in sports will help shape the future of these children, so I volunteer to affect positive changes in the young ones. Without the Community Mobilization Program (CMT), I would have been isolated, just going to St. Charles and coming back home. Now, I use my time to help others. Thanks to the CMT program. My goal for the future is to improve my English language skills. This will help me get the CMA licence to work as an accountant in Canada. That apart, I like helping people especially newcomers like me. Like Christ said “I did not come to be served, but to serve’’ ■

members of their society. In 2003, following the end of the conflict, a DDRR programme began. Officially, by the time the disarmament and demobilization phase had ended in late 2004, more than 103,000 ex-combatants, significantly more than the 38,000 originally planned for, had been disarmed and demobilized, of these approximately 22,000 were women and 2,740, girls. Although this number is high compared to other DDRR programmes, it is believed to represent only a fraction of the total number of women and girls that participated in the conflict.

Mr. Rosler Wleh President of Liberians in Hamilton

Liberia where economic and social structures are in ruins. While DDRR programmes are not designed to rebuild Liberia, but if done well they will provide an opportunity for at least a segment of the population to acquire skills and have options for reintegration. If the programs are not done well, as in the case of Liberia, there could be serious implications for Liberian society as a whole, with the threat of greater social problems and a possible return to conflict.

■ By Nica Browns (Taken from: www.amnesty.org)

Amnesty International fully recognizes the challenging post war environment in

A Refugee’s involvement in community mobilization The dream of every new comer and refugee to Canada is that of a better life. So was Edgar’s when he left the shores of El-Salvador. Edgar came to Canada in August of 2007 as a refugee, with his wife and 4 children. His background was in Engineering where he has 15 years experience. Edgar’s life experience is just like most refugees and immigrants who left established careers back home to start from scratch in Canada. Not speaking the English language fluently has been one of the most frustrating aspects of his integration into the Canadian society. Another is not finding a job, any meaningful job to adequately cater for his family needs. That and other little frustrations he faces each day in the quest to integrate into the Canadian society makes Edgar’s story similar to other new comers here. However, Edgar is not one that shies away from community engagements and civic responsibilities. Despite his limited English language skills, Edgar jumped on board with Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI), to become trained in the Community Mobilization Training Program. HCCI’s Community Mobilization teams ensure ordinary citizens are engaged in community political, social, civic, volunteer, and other public affairs. Edgar is a recent graduate of the Mobilization training, having heard about the program from St. Charles school w w w.thevoiceindiasp ora.com

where he takes English classes. Edgar proudly shares the importance and the need of community involvement with whoever cares to listen. To him, “Is either one gets involved with the community, or one lives in isolation” Edgar volunteers with HCCI and other organizations to ensure smooth integration of other new comers in Hamilton. He readily volunteers his time to train future community mobilization members. To Edgar, the training he received from HCCI has helped broaden his knowledge about his civic rights and responsibilities. He noted that before taking part in the community mobilization program, he was not aware of the Canadian governmental structures; legal systems, and civic obligations. His advice to new comers and others alike is to get involve in community affairs and contribute valuable time to any worthy cause that would benefit people irrespective of who they are. Edgar looks forward to learning the English language fluently in order to get back to his field of engineering. For Edgar, he could not wait to get back to his field, after all, work and hard work is what he has been doing all his life. ■ Aug-Sep 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 10-11




Diversity in Action - Mardi Gras, August 2008 ...Continued from page 1

People from different cultural/ethnic backgrounds took part in the parade that ushered participants into the venue of the

...Continued from page 1

The Voice of A Migrant Worker Canadian migrant laws into something more favourable for them. Rabe sees Canadian immigration laws changing to fit well into the rapid globalization sweeping all continents. It is either Canada changes with the changing times, or they are left behind, she reasons. Rabe is a product of colonialism and globalization. Rabe came from a country that went through foreign occupations and rules. She and her sister were sent abroad to acquire foreign education that their country needed to remain competitive in the global economy. She is expected to come back with her knowledge and skills to improve the lots of many of her country people. However, as things are turning out to be, Canada is going all out to retain her to the chagrin of her home country South Africa. In the days of post colonialism, Rabe who left her country in search of knowledge would have been pressured to come home to join the freedom and liberation movement fighters for independence. Now, there is still pressure for her to come home, in terms of mouth-watering incentives. As for globalization, Rabe, a product of South Africa is contributing to the well being of the Canadian people and their economy. Rabe reasons that globalization affects every one irrespective of where the person resides in this planet. Rabe sees herself as the ‘perfect immigrant’ because she has gone through the Canadian educational and employment system; and knows and understands the system very well. She figures out that the Canadian system works very well for her, and the government knows that as well, that is why they are changing laws rapidly to accommodate her. Rabe reports that Canadian immigrant laws for migrant workers like her have changed the work permit they usually get from 1 year, to 2 years, and now



Aug-Sep 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 10-11

festival in Bayfront Park. One observer described this year’s event as better than other years because of the turn out of people and the increased number of cultural

to 3 years in less than two year period. Also, the once restricted work permit is now an ‘open’ one. People can look for jobs in any given field. Also, Rabe points out that the processing time for the work permit is shortened – now less than 14 days. This she sees as incredible. That Canada is opening all avenues to retain and recruit skilled workers is not the issue for Rabe, but the amount of brain drain from developing countries as a result of globalization worries her the most. No matter how beneficial the recent immigration laws for skilled workers might be to Rabe, there are still challenges to face as a migrant worker. Rabe feels that one does not always land that ‘dream’ job no matter one’s qualifications. You are still treated as an immigrant worker. Many people in her category are working for the money, and not in their specialized fields. Though Rabe is fluent in English and French, she still feels being a female and a person of color has been an impediment in landing her the dream job. She feels less optimistic for people who have Language barriers in this country and wonders how they would make it in the face of swift competition for quality jobs. Another challenge Rabe is facing here is trying maintain the same quality of life she has back home with the salary she is making in Canada. This and the expectations from some families back home to remit money to them has made many people dependent on pay day loans. Thus, many people are in the trap of pay day operators. As for Labour Day celebration, Rabe thinks that she is enjoying a day off from work. She reasons that labour unions have done very little for workers in general to warrant such recognition or support. Rabe feels that many workers are working poor, and as a result going through horrible times. Most workers she points out have the qualifications and skills, but are not being employed because of discrimination. As a result, she has seen many of her friends and associates move out of Ontario to other provinces in search of better opportunities.

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population that took part in the event. Many groups from the Philippines, China, Scotland, Poland, and Pakistan among others were present with their traditional attire and other cul-

...Continued from page 1

The Underground Worker I settled here in Hamilton and have never left since then. I claimed the refugee status because of the discrimination my people face back in Europe. We were not treated fairly as a race; there were no educational opportunities for us. My people were mostly institutionalized and labelled as “lunatics” by the police and as such, prevented from going through formal education and trainings. My community has very high illiteracy rates compared with others in Europe. I managed to come to Canada with the hope of changing my life course and those of my future generations, but that also never materialized. After three years as a refugee claimant, I lost my claim and had seen been given a removal notice from Canada. I went into hiding in order to stay in Canada. Life has not been the same for me since then. I work under the table for a greedy employee who pays me $5.50/hr. I will not reveal the kind of job I do because I do not want the authorities to target my industry. The job I do is very hard and back breaking, but I have no choice than to do it. I feel it is better than going back to my country. I have not been to any doctor in ages, and feel the need to do so because of strong family

tural identities. Though the festival was slightly marred by heavy downpour, the festival was a success not withstanding. Below are some of the pictures taken during the Mardi Gras parade. ■

history of early deaths. Honestly I don’t know what my parents died from, but, I fear I might die early like them. I have no medical coverage, no insurance, no sick or vacation entitlements, and no say on my working conditions and hours. I am grateful to have a job. My employer wants me to work 7 days a week, I did that before, but cannot any more. I am getting old, not because of age, but due to stress. I work with many people in the same or similar situations like mine. We try to make our selves happy after work by drinking and smoking, hoping the problems will disappear for a moment. I injured my self at work last year, right on my left pinkie toe, and that injury is still there, even getting worse. I cannot seek medical help. I use the old remedies from back home, but it seems the wound will never heal. I am afraid. I live 3 in a room, and share a small kitchen and a toilet with them. I fear any time I see the police vehicle, thinking they will apprehend me and send me back to Europe. I am mostly afraid of altercations because I do not want to be arrested. Many of my people have been sent back to Europe because they failed their refugee claim. Who knows when my turn will be to be deported? I will continue working as long as I am able to do so, and not caught. Thanks for allowing me tell my story. ■


Work stress among health care providers Nearly half of all health care providers in 2003 suffered a high degree of work stress, with nurses, doctors and lab technicians reporting the highest levels, according to a new study. Among health care providers, 45%, or 413,000, reported that most days at work were “quite” or “extremely” stressful, according to the 2003 Canadian Community Health Survey. By comparison, 31% of all other employed people reported this level of stress. The study, published today in Health Reports, compares work stress among various types of health care providers. Besides physicians and nurses, the study included occupations such as ambulance attendants, technicians and therapists. In 2003, health care providers comprised 6% of the work force aged 18 to 75. Head nurses report high stress Two-thirds, or 67%, of head nurses and

nurse supervisors reported high work stress, among the highest of the health care occupations, the study found. Others with high work stress were medical laboratory technicians, specialist physicians, general practitioners and family physicians, and registered nurses (other than head nurses and supervisors). In these groups, the proportions reporting high work stress ranged from 58% to 64%. Even when influences outside the job were taken into account, nurses and physicians were significantly more likely to report high work stress than all other health care workers. Dental hygienists were among the least likely to report high job stress, at 19%. Other health professionals relatively less likely to report high job stress included physiotherapists (29%) and nurse aides and orderlies (34%). Life stress related to work stress

Among health care workers who reported high levels of stress in their daily lives, 78% also reported high work stress. Similarly, 75% of health care providers who reported being “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with their lives reported high work stress. There was no statistically significant difference between the proportions of men and women in health care occupations who reported high work stress. Age was a factor, however, with about half of health care providers aged 35 to 54 reporting high work stress, the highest among age groups. In comparison, the proportions were lower, at 41%, among those aged 55 to 75, and 31% among those younger than 25. Longer hours, higher work stress

per week to report high stress. As well, those who had a schedule other than a regular daytime shift were more likely to report high work stress. The study, “Work stress among health care providers”, part of Health Reports, Vol. 18, no. 4, is now available from the Publications module of on the website . ■

Health care providers who worked 35 or more hours per week were much more likely than those working fewer than 35 hours

Earnings inequality and earnings instability of immigrants in Canada The study, “Earnings inequality and earnings instability of immigrants in Canada,” published in Statistics Canada’s Analytical Studies Research Paper Series, provides further insights into the changing fortunes of immigrants in Canada by focusing on the volatility of their earnings.

Earnings volatility, or earnings instability, refers to year-to-year deviations of individual annual earnings from the average earnings of this individual in a given time period. The study found that instability in earn-

ings for immigrants usually declines substantially after they have spent several years in Canada. This is consistent with the view that during the first several years in Canada, immigrants move more frequently from one job to another, or have part-time or temporary jobs. As they gain experience in Canada, immigrants are likely to find more stable employment. The study is also the first to compare the earnings instability of immigrants who arrived in Canada in the 1980s with that of immigrants who arrived in Canada in 1990s. For example, based on the earnings in the four years after landing, the earnings instability of immigrants who came to Canada between 1998 and 2000 was substantially higher than the earnings instability of those who came to Canada between 1980 and 1982. It was also higher than the earnings instability of those who came to Canada between 1983 and 1985. Another finding concerns the impact of business cycles on earnings instability for immigrants. While instability generally decreased during the first several years in Canada, it rose rapidly during the recession years in the early 1990s and fell in subsequent years. Although almost all cohorts in the sample were affected by the recession in the early 1990s, the timing of its impact relative to the entry varied from one cohort to another. This made the comparison of the earnings instability of immigrants who arrived in Canada before and after the recession more difficult. In the past, immigrants who came to Canada in their 40s had higher earnings instability than young immigrants. However, the earnings instability of young immigrants who came to Canada in the late 1990s was almost as high as the earnings instability of immigrants in their 30s w w w.thevoiceindiasp ora.com

and 40s who came to Canada during the same period. The study found that earnings inequality rose among recent immigrants over the last two decades, consistent with previous studies that documented the evolution of earnings inequality for all Canadian workers. Although foreign education, the ability to speak one of the official languages and birthplace accounts for a large part of immigrants’ earnings inequality (up to 44% depending on the cohorts considered), much of it remains unexplained by these factors. The birthplace of immigrants seems to have had a stronger impact on earnings inequality than other factors considered in the study, such as foreign education and ability to speak English or French. The study “Earnings inequality and earnings instability of immigrants in Canada” is now available as part of the Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series from the Analytical Studies module of our website. Related studies from the Business and Labour Market Analysis Division can be found at Update on Analytical Studies Research, which is also available on our website. For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this article, contact Yuri Ostrovsky (613-951-4299, yuri.ostrovsky@statcan. ca), Business and Labour Market Analysis Division. ■

Aug-Sep 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 10-11




The Independence of India: A Canadian Context

famous speech titled Tryst with destiny. By Priya Verma This August 15thwill mark India’s Independence Day and is celebrated to commemorate its independence from the British rule and its birth as a self-governing nation in 1947. It is hard to imagine that a flourishing nation such as India has only been independent for the last 62 years. It has a rich history and extraordinary customs. Being a South Asian myself, I can recognize the journey and be grateful to my ancestors who fought the front lines for freedom and to make India was it is today. On June 3rd, 1947, Viscount Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last British GovernorGeneral of India, announced the partitioning of the British Indian Empire into India and Pakistan, under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947. At the stroke of midnight, on August 15th, 1947, India became an independent nation. This was preceded by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s

“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance..... We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again.” India did wake to a new life and paved the way for a bright futurewhere it could step out from the shadows of the British. India began to carve a new identity for itself. Indians moved forward and never looked back at the life of oppression, tyranny and ill fate that began not so long ago. This is a national holiday in India and is celebrated all over the country with flaghoisting ceremonies and no celebration is ever complete without the distribution of sweets. The main celebrations take place in New Delhi, which is the nation’s capital. The Prime Minister raises the Indian flag at the infamous Red Fort and tributes are paid to all leaders who were a part of the movement for freedom. There were many leaders who were a part of the freedom movement such as Mangal Pandey, Gandhi and Subash Chanderbose who gave up their lives to fight against the British rule. Their

names will be forever remembered and their struggle marked an end of the oppression of Indians, however, there were others who were fighting on the other side of the world. As Indians battled, many of them began to move overseas to escape the British. They heard about great lands and opportunities in North America and saved up their money to set sail to a new world. Indians were coming to Canada and were so eager to start over and embrace the land. This was a one-sided welcome, as Canada and its government were not at all ready to embrace Indians and all they had to bring. The fight for India’s independence continued, but within a Canadian context – the brown invasion. There were numerous attempts made to stop this “brown invasion” in Canada. Many came with the dream of finding work in order to improve their economic situation. Upon arrival in Canada, they encountered numerous hardships and discrimination. Canada felt that the increasing number of South Asians would take over their jobs and through these uncertainties; British Columbia passed strict laws discouraging the immigration of Indians to Canada. These laws were unfair and the Canadian government pressured steamship companies to stop selling tickets to Indians. In 1907, a bill was passed denying all Indians the right to vote. They were prohibited to run for public office or serve on juries.

Thank You! The Voice in Diaspora wishes to thank all our readers and customers for their continued support every month 

Aug-Sep 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 10-11

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In 1914, the Komagata Maru was an absolute challenge to such exclusionary laws. The Komagata Maru was a Japanese steam liner chartered by an affluent businessman, Gurdit Singh, to bring Indian immigrants to Canada. The ship departed from Hong Kong and the passengers included 376 Indians. The ship was eventually turned back at Vancouver where landing was refused. The ship upped-anchor that very day with 150 Sikh passengers. When the Komagata Maru made it to Shanghai, a German cable company had sent a message to the German press and announced that the Komagata Maru was leaving from Shanghai for Vancouver on April 14th with “400 Indians on board”. In turn, the news was picked up by the

British press. A Vancouver newspaper, “The Province”, published this news report under the heading of “Boat Loads of Hindus on Way to Vancouver” and “Hindu Invasion of Canada,” hence the name the “brown invasion.” The news of its departure reached the British Columbian authorities. Their instant reaction was that “Hindus would never be allowed to land in Canada.” The Indians who had already settled in Canada had also started to prepare for the arrival of the Komagata Maru. There were meetings held in the Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) around what to do. The community collected money and such to help the passengers upon their arrival in Vancouver. On May 23rd, 1914, the Komagata Maru reached Vancouver and anchored near Burrard Inlet. The Canadians wanted to send the ship back to where it had originated. The Indians on the other side had lawyers, money and other provisions ready to help the passengers in any way they could. The Canadian authorities did not let the passengers leave the boat claiming they had violated the exclusionist laws. The claim was that the ship had not arrived via direct passage and most passengers did not have the $200 that would have allowed them to enter British Columbia. Following this, for two months the passengers of the Komagata Maru, the Indians in British Columbia and the authorities of British Columbia were involved in an intense legal battle. In the end, only 24 passengers were given permission to legally stay in Canada. Finally, on July 23rd, 1914 the Komagata Maru was forced to leave Victoria harbour and return to Hong Kong. The stories of the fight of India and its people have shown how strong they truly are. The community is tightly-knit and is a backbone for one another. They did not back down against the British or the Canadians and today we can see that India is a country with so much to offer and has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In Canada, Sikhs and Hindus both have one of the highest populations and more specifically, the largest Sikh community resides in British Columbia today. So, mark August 15th on your calendar and let’s all join in the celebration of India’s independence both across the world and right here at home. ■


Business Profile of Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area

In December 2007, there were 41,503 business establishments registered and operating in the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA).

Hamilton (66%) ranked first as the city with the highest number of business establishments within the Hamilton CMA, followed by Burlington (33%) and then Grimsby (4%).

From the total number of business establishments in Hamilton CMA, 56% were self employed. 94% of all business establishments in the Hamilton CMA had 19 or fewer employees. The majority of business establishments in the Hamilton CMA were micro, small and medium sized enterprises in 2007. The four most representative business

Table #1: Hamilton CMA, Business Establishments, by Size. Hamilton CMA

Total

Self employed

1–4

5–9

10 – 19

20 – 49

50 – 90

100 +

Burlington

12,621

7,317

2,667

1,105

709

482

184

157

Hamilton

27,452

15,310

6,397

2,625

1,532

983

336

269

Grimsby

1,430

811

350

122

70

49

18

10

41,503

23,438

9,414

3,852

2,311

1,514

538

436

Total

Source: Statistics Canada,Canadian Business Patterns, 2008. Table #2: Hamilton CMA: Burlington, Hamilton and Grimsby by Industry Sector Industry Sector Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction Utilities Construction Manufacturing Wholesale Trade

Burlington

Hamilton

Grimsby

Total

53

506

70

629

6

16

0

22

10

25

5

40

1,147

3,740

183

5,070

623

1,141

73

1,837

934

1,279

84

2,297

1,122

2,881

122

4,125

Transportation and Warehousing

472

1,742

70

2,284

Information and Cultural Industries

180

264

14

458

Finance and Insurance

847

1,356

64

2,267

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

1,086

2,710

139

3,935

Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

2,488

3,264

201

5,953

Management of Companies and Enterprises Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services Educational Services

700

1,119

46

1,865

585

1,374

59

2,018

179

358

19

556

Health Care and Social Assistance

579

1,562

75

2,216

Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

180

387

33

600

Accommodation and Food Services

471

1,298

57

1,826

Other Services (except Public Administration)

957

2,426

114

3,497

2

4

2

8

12,621

27,452

1,430

41,503

Retail Trade

Public Administration Total

Source: Statistics Canada,Canadian Business Patterns, 2008.

Host Program By: Natasha Petit This summer, the Host Program organized three family trips, various social activities and built meaningful friendships between newcomer families and SISO volunteers through our matching program. The first trip took place on Friday July 18th for Karen newcomer families when forty-three newcomers visited Puddicombe Farms and the Devils Punch Bowl. Everyone enjoyed an excellent morning at Puddicombe Farms picking cherries and seeing a variety of farm animals. The afternoon brought cooler weather and a beautiful view of Stoney Creek and the Niagara Escarpment from Devils Punch Bowl.

The second trip was organized on Monday, July 29th for newcomers with Francophone background. On this trip fifty-one newcomers visited Niagara Falls. The bus left early in the morning to ensure a full day at The Falls. Everyone enjoyed the impressive views as many of them had not been there before. The weather was beautiful and we all managed to stay cool thanks to the mist of The Falls. This was an excellent opportunity for newcomer families to have a day filled with fun and adventure!

establishments by industry sector were a) professional, scientific and technical related enterprises (14%), b) construction (12%), c) retail trade (10%), and d) real estate, rental and leasing (9%).

From the total number of business establishments in the construction industry in the Hamilton CMA, 73% or 3,740 were operating in the city of Hamilton. In Burlington, the industry sector with the highest number of business establishments was the industry of professional, scientific and technical services. A similar situation was observed in Grimsby. As of April 2008, all business establishments in the Hamilton CMA generated over 347,485 jobs. From this number, business services created 62,750; manufacturing 56,810; retail trade 41,750; health care and social services 39,885; educational services 27,780; finance and real estate 23,285 and construction 22,475. Even though business establishments played an important part in generating employment within our region – the Hamilton CMA, much still needs to be done to overcome barriers of job seekers. 369,700 residents in the Hamilton CMA were in the labour force. From this number, 94% were employed. The Hamilton CMA’s unemployment rate reached 6% in 2007. Although, this percentage was below the provincial rate (6.4%), this was higher than other CMAs such as Ottawa Gatineau (5.8%), Barrie (5.9%), and Kitchener (5.6%). Within the analysis of the three cities that formed the Hamilton CMA, Burlington (4.6%) had the lowest unemployment rate, followed by Grimsby with 4.8% and then Hamilton with 6.5%. During the last intercensal period (2001 – 2006), Burlington (9%) and Grimsby (12%) experienced higher population growth rates than Hamilton (2.8%). Glossary:

mation on businesses profiles in Canada, number of business establishments by province and territory, industry sector, employment, industry size. CBP uses data from Business Register. Census Metropolitan Area (CMA): according to Statistics Canada a CMA is an area that is formed by a major urban core surrounded by neighboring municipalities. To be considered a CMA, this area must hold a population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more live in the urban core. Industry sector: classification done based on the primary’s production oriented activity of the business. This classification is set by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Medium sized businesses: businesses that have more than the cut off of small sized businesses but 499 or less employees. Micro sized businesses: businesses with fewer than 5 employees. Profile: a representation indicating the main features of an object, subject or an organization. Small and medium sized enterprises: according to Industry Canada, SMEs are the businesses with 499 or less employees. Small sized businesses: businesses in the goods producing sector with 99 or less employees, or businesses in the service based sector with 40 or less employees. Reference: 1. Statistics Canada. 2008. Canadian Business Patterns. CD-ROM Beyond 20/20. Released in March 2008 2. Statistics Canada. 2008. Community Profile, Hamilton (CMA); Burlington, City (CSD); Grimsby, City (CSD) and Hamilton, City (CSD) http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/ data/profiles/ct/CTdata.com (accessed August 23, 2008) 3. Wikipedia. www.wikipedia.org (accessed on August 18, 2008) 4. Industry Canada. http://www.ic.gc.ca/ic_ wp-pa.htm (accessed August 24, 2008) 5. Statistics Canada. Census 2006: Population and dwelling counts. Released in March, 2007

■ Employment, Career & Business Development Department - SISO

Business: (also called firm or enterprise) legally recognized organizational entity that

Email: gmorency@sisohamilton.org

Canada Business Patterns: CBP provides infor-

Phone: 905.385.6192 Ext: 412

backgrounds. The trip included a guided tour of over thirty five historical buildings set in over three hundred acres of natural

Prepared by Gudelia Morency

Volunteer Coordinator at 905-667-7496. Since May 2008, the Host Program has welcomed nine new Canadian families to the city of Hamilton. Welcome Circles are attended by a wide range of SISO staff, volunteers and members of various ethno-specific communities and community organizations. Welcome Circles take place bi-weekly, on average and provide an excellent opportunity for our community partners to extend their support and assistance to Hamilton’s newest citizens. ■

The third trip was organized on Monday, August 18th when the Host Program arranged a fun day at Westfield Heritage Village in Rockton. The bus was full with newcomer participants of all ages and woodlands and meadows and several well marked hiking trails. The Host Program has also been busy fostering new friendships thorough our various social activities and our matching program - where newcomer families are matched with SISO volunteers in a spirit of friendship and support. Over the past three months, SISO has matched fifty newcomers with volunteers in the Hamilton area. There are seventeen families waiting to be matched with Volunteers. To be one of these welcoming families, contact our w w w.thevoiceindiasp ora.com

Aug-Sep 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 10-11




From Refugee to Member of the Board

Every year, on June 20th, we celebrate World Refugee Day. It is a day to remember and recognize the plight of refugees around the world, their simple need for protection, security, freedom and respect. According to the most recent estimate from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are approximately 10 million refugees worldwide today. Another 26 million is estimated to be internally displaced due to conflict alone. Through the resettlement program, Canada selects 10,000 to 12,000 refugees annually from around the world, making it a global leader in resettlement efforts. SISO is a forerunner organization in resettlement programs, serving more than 3,500 clients annually. Yet, SISO’s efforts go beyond basic needs of shelter, safety, and education. SISO encourages and supports refugees and immigrants in their pursuit of successful resettlement in Canada, as their success in turn contributes to Canada’s success as a whole. Hussein Hamdani, SISO Board Member and Lawyer by profession, is a perfect example of a successful refugee story, and how investing in refugees today can only contribute to a better Canada tomorrow. Born in Kampala, Uganda to Yemeni parents, Hussein Hamdani immigrated to Canada with his parents as refugees, and

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Aug-Sep 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 10-11

settled in the Niagara Region. With a farming background in Africa, his father decided to buy a farm in Fort Erie and later moved on to other business opportunities. Hussein’s parents worked long and hard hours for many years to support their large family. Their hard work paid off and they became very successful as they mastered the dry cleaning business. Hussein was the first one in his family to graduate and become successful in his profession. Attending McMaster University to complete his studies in Political Science and History, he then attended the University of Toronto to obtain a Masters of Art in International Relations, and finally the University of Western Ontario to attain a law degree. Currently he is a Lawyer at Simpson Wigle LLP, where he practices corporate/ commercial and real state law. He is Chair and Board Member of the North American Spiritual Revival, a non-denominational organization that encourages spirituality in daily life. In March 2005, Hussein was selected as one of 15 Canadians to sit on the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security, where he advises the federal government on security-related issues. In May 2005 he was selected to sit on the Board of the Ontario Special Investigations Unit, a civilian body that overseas police conduct. Hussein is also one of the founders of the Dialogue Committee of Hamilton Muslims, Arabs and Jews, and was appointed to sit on the Hamilton Chief of Police’s Community Advisory Committee. He speaks often on social and religious issues. Hussein’s involvement with SISO began as a volunteer in early 2000. At the time he was volunteering as a translator speaking 5 languages. In 2004, he was approached to be interviewed as a Board Member and

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has been active since then. Being a Board Member has been beneficial to Hussein on many levels. It has given him exposure as a lawyer while meeting people from various backgrounds. Hussein greatly enjoys helping people buy homes, and start or incorporate their own business. He believes it is extremely important to invest in one another as by giving to newcomers they will contribute more in return. This opportunity was once given to his father and he hopes that it will continue for the coming generations of immigrants and refugees. In his own words: “If we try to understand the difficulties faced by refugees while eliminating some of their stress, they can focus on contributing back to society. It is an investment put in people and you get that in return. Even if they don’t have Canadian experience it will benefit us in the end.” Hussein believes the situation has gotten better but we still have a long way to go he says. He believes mastering the language to be extremely important since without proper English immigrants will not succeed in this country. Focus should be placed on English and French as this will open many doors for immigrants; there should be continuous and dedicated funding to ESL programs for immigrants. We asked Hussein if he had any advice for newcomers as well as Canadian employers. In his reply he encouraged employers to take the risk of hiring newcomers to Canada while promising that they will greatly benefit in return. These benefits include a fresh perspective, different insight, and tapping into a different market. Hussein himself has clients from many backgrounds and enjoys the fresh perspective and different ideas that they bring in.

As for newcomers, he asks them to be patient and steadfast. He understands it is very tough as the Canadian reality is not to their expectations. Just continue working hard, master the language and try to match up the credentials he suggests. “Unfortunately doctors end up driving taxis as they have to feed their families and they give up hope. I encourage them to continue the quest and write the exams, and lobby the federal government to put pressure on the regulatory bodies.” Again, he encourages the importance of mastering the English language. Hussein remembers and acknowledges how difficult it is for newcomers and that if given the chance they can become very successful. His family was given a chance during their beginnings in Canada and now he is giving back to society and this is where his passion lays. Somebody was willing to take the risk and invest in his family and he hopes that others will be given the same chance. Lastly Hussein expressed a desire to help others in his network learn about and participate in the many activities at SISO. Hussein has been actively recruiting others to join him as SISO board members. He feels passionately about the work that SISO has been doing to help newcomers start their lives in Canada. It is his hope that one day there will be more organizations like SISO meeting the needs of newcomers by not only serving them, but by also employing them in a meaningful way. ■ By Lina El-Ahmed & Simin Abassi


NOW (Newcomer Orientation Week) 2008 in Hamilton For many newcomer students, high school in Ontario can be very different from their previous school and the first few months may be stressful. But NOW is a new program which promises to give them a better start. Newcomer Orientation Week (NOW) was piloted in eight secondary schools in Ontario and in Barton secondary school in Hamilton in the summer of 2007. The overwhelming success of this pilot project leads to the expansion of NOW to many other communities across Ontario. In Hamilton the expansion included Sir John A. MacDonald, Sir Allan MacNab, Barton, Glendale and Cathedral secondary schools in 2008 NOW activities, with the assistance of Peer Leaders, SWISH workers and Teachers in the schools, orient students to the people and activities that can help them settle in their new school. Activities include scavenger hunt to help them learn the layout of the building, skits about the challenges of school in a new country, visit to the local library, and introduction to the school system and the sources of help and support in their schools. Activities are run by the Peer Leaders, with the support of the SWISH workers and ELL teachers. This year Hamilton has 43 trained Peer Leaders who came from the HWDSB & the HWCDSB schools. NOW – Key Features are ➤ Peer Leaders (PLs) ■ PLs are fellow students who were newcomers in previous years ■ PLs lead the activities and share their own challenges about when they arrived

and how they succeeded ■ PLs have 4 days of intensive training in the week before the program from August 18 – August 21 ➤ Settlement workers and Teachers work collaboratively with NOW Schools 2008 them as they deliver Barton the pro- Glendale gram.

The SISO youth team is excited to have completed their first summer program as The Globe. During the months of June, July and August we offered a plethora of activities. We were fortunate to have an in kind contribution from the Hamilton Wentworth District school Board. They offered us the use of three of their schools as the locations of our activities. We offered photography, dance, girls club, English conversation, soccer, basketball, badminton. In addition to the activities that were held in schools we were able to make several field trips. Our aim was to acquaint the youth with different sites of interest

■ Begin to understand the differences in

Settlement Workers Mizgene Tayyaba Simin Azeem Kim

Contact Numbers 289-244-2306 289-244-2307 289-244-5294 289-244-2301 289-244-2305

NOW “not Sir John A. MacDonald only prepares newc o m e r youth for Ghada 289-244-2304 entry to Sir Allan MacNab Dana 289-244-2303 school, it also unLeticia 289-244-2302 leashes and Cathedral Rosalia 289-244-5296 enhances the leadership skills the culture of the Ontario educational sysof the Peer Leaders, an important second- tem and discussing strategies for adapting ary benefit of NOW.” to it, NOW - Objectives

■ NOW prepares newcomer youth for smooth entry to school ■ NOW reduces newcomer youth stress and anxiety about the transition ■ NOW prepares newcomer youth for earlier participation in the life of their new school. NOW- Expected Outcomes Newcomer students will: ■ Know how to navigate the layout of the school, ■ Understand the routines of the schoolbells, morning announcements and routines, locker usage, lunch times, School Code of Behaviour, etc.,

Engage in the Globe By Rabe Makwarela

■ Learn some basics about the Ontario School System including the credit system and the importance and availability of extra curricular and club type opportunities,

in Hamilton. We took a trolley ride along the Bayfront, visited the Gage Park Greenhouse and went to the Museum of Art. The summer would not have been complete without visiting Marine Land and Canada’s Wonderland. Our attendance increased exponentially over the summer and attendance was consistent. We were so excited to see the youth as they improved their English language skills in the English Conversation Circle and when they overcame their language and cultural barriers and made friends. We have always had the soccer program but this summer our soccer teams grew beyond our wildest aspira-

■ Link to their local library and community centre for support, and ■ Make friends and acquaintances who can continue to support them once school starts. NOW is part of the Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS), a successful program that helps newcomer students and their families settle in their school and community NOW is fully funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada through local settlement agencies such as SISO. ■ Souhaila Dihaini , SWISH Manager

Celebrating Ramadan By Samira Awad Once every year we celebrate our fasting month Ramadan in Sudan and all other Muslim countries. This is celebrated during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, and fasting for Ramadan is one of the five pillars in Islam. It is an order from God to all adult Muslims, unless the Muslim is exempted for special reasons, namely, illness, traveling, women during pregnancy, if she is nursing a child. Fasting starts after dawn and continues to sunset. During this time Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink anything. Ramadan is the month of giving, doing good deeds, and forgiving others. During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam. Purity of both thought and action is important. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate, and it is also intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable. Muslims can eat after the sunset. Pregnant women, the elderly, ill and children younger than 12 years of age are all exempt from fasting as lack of food could damage their health. In each community Muslims enrich their fasting by including special habits and certain meals. In Sudan, a mainly Muslim country, homemade drinks are very popular as they help to overcome thirst and the hot weather. Here is a description of two of these special drinks. The Hillo-morr is a Sudanese homemade drink not found in any other country.

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tions. The summer has come to a close: our youth have acquired new social skills, increased language proficiency and for some of them they made their first friends in Canada. As this summer closes we are looking forward to the rest of the year. We wait with bated breath for the opening of our new youth centre. When the youth centre opens we will entertain, engage and educate. We will continue to offer activities that entertain the youth and engage them at educational and recreational level. The new youth centre will be equipped with a resource centre, library, pool table and a staff that is dedicated to the advancement and elevation of newcomer youth. The Globe will have 24 dedicated and competent staff that will continuously contribute to the adjustment and development of the youth. Our ongoing pro-

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grams will also cater to those of our youth who are already professionals and are not looking for recreational activities but in fact need professional development and career guidance. We will provide the services that these youth need through the resource centre, career counselling and much more. We will be unveiling our dynamic services in September and invite all newcomer youth between the ages of 13 and 24 to come and utilize these priceless services. Join the Globe if you are a Government Assisted Refugee or a Permanent Resident and between the ages of 13-24, call us and register for programs and services. Email rmakwarela@sisohamilton.org or phone 905-667-7476 and ask for Rabe Makwarela. ■

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History of the English Language By Maria Crapsi A short history of the origins and development of English: The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what today are Denmark and northern Germany. The Angles came from Englaland and their language was called Englisc—from which the words England and English are derived. Old English (450-1100 AD) The invading Germanic tribes spoke similar languages, which in Britain developed into what we now call Old English. Old English did not sound or look like English today. About half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. Middle English (1100-1500) In 1066 William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, which was part of modern France, invaded and conquered England. The new conquerors (called the Normans) brought with them a kind of French, which became the language of the Royal Court and the ruling and business classes. For a time there was a kind of linguistic class division, where the lower class spoke English and the upper class spoke French. In the

14th century English became dominant in Britain again, but with many French words added. This language is called Middle English. Modern English / Early Modern English (1500-1800) Towards the end of the Middle English period, a sudden and distinct change in pronunciation started. It was called the Great Vowel Shift with vowels being pronounced shorter and shorter. This, and the Renaissance of Classical learning, meant that many new words and phrases entered the language. The invention of printing also meant that there was now a common language in print. Books became cheaper and more people learned to read. Printing also brought standardization to English. Spelling and grammar became fixed, and the dialect of London, where most publishing houses were, became the standard. In 1604 the first English dictionary was published. Late Modern English (1800-Present) The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. Late Modern English has many more words, arising from two principal factors: firstly, the Industrial Revolution and technology created a need for new words; secondly, the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the earth’s surface, and the English language adopted foreign

words from many countries. Varieties of English From around 1600, the English colonization of North America resulted in the creation of a distinct American variety of English. Some English pronunciations and words “froze” when they reached America. In some ways, American English is more like the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is. Some expressions that the British call “Americanisms” are in fact original British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost for a time in Britain (for example trash for rubbish, loan as a verb instead of lend, and fall for autumn; another example, frameup, was re-imported into Britain through Hollywood gangster movies). Spanish also had an influence on American English (and subsequently British English), with words like canyon, ranch, stampede and vigilante being examples of Spanish words that entered English through the settlement of the American West. French words (through Louisiana) and West African words (through the slave trade) also influenced American English (and so, to an extent, British English). Today, American English is particularly influential, due to the USA’s dominance of cinema, television, popular music, trade and technology (including the Internet). But there are many other varieties of Eng-

SISO Annual Picnic August 16 at Gage Park

lish around the world, including for example Australian English, New Zealand English, Canadian English, South African English, Indian English and Caribbean English. ■ http://www.englishclub.com/english-languagehistory.htm

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Celebrating Ramadan It is made from cereal serum. It is soaked in water and left over a blanket for there to four days, watering it from time to time until the seeds grow about one centimetre. It is then collected and put in the sun to dry, and then ground until it becomes a soft flour. Certain spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and ginger are added till its colour becomes brown. Water is added to the flour and kneaded to make dough, which is then baked on a flat iron plate. After it is ready, it is then cut into thin slices and kept for future use. This may be made into a drink by soaking the baked slices in water overnight. Later it is strained, sugar is added, and the drink is ready. The second drink which is very well known in Sudan is called Abra. It is made from sorghum (a special flour made from corn and other flour). It is made by grinding the sorghum until it becomes flour; water and salt are added to make a dough, baked and then cut into thin slices. Afterwards it is dried and kept for later use. To make a drink, plain water is simply added, as well as lemon juice and sugar. It is served over ice. At sunset, Sudanese Muslims get together with their friends in front of their houses or at other places like the mosque or a club so as to break the fast. Food is brought from houses so they eat and drink and enjoy themselves. After they have finished the meal they have tea, coffee and other hot drinks until the time for prayers in the mosque. During the night everybody is free to eat or drink until dawn but before dawn there is another meal called Sahoor, which should be light so as to be able to allow one to fast next day without extreme hunger or thirst. ■

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“New comers to Canada today have a lot of support than people who came here years ago” Says Radenka Lescesen, a Career development worker with SISO, who has lived in Hamilton for the past ten years. Radenka went on to reiterate that “There are many programs and services specifically catering for new comers like the host program; child minding centres, foreign credentials certification programs, and a host of volunteer programs tailored to new comers needs”. Radenka maintained that new comers to Canada have incredible amount of support from the government, but what is still lacking is help from the private sector. However, Radenka thinks that many new comers are not fully utilizing the help out there for them. She believes that what is holding many new comers back is that many of them are still getting settlement information from friends and family members who were here before them. Most of the old folks came when there were drought of settlement programs and services. Many new comers are being told by friends and family members who were here before them that they cannot do this or do that. As a result, many new comers waste valuable times doing nothing and not tapping into opportunities that present themselves. Radenka had similar experiences like recent new comers to Canada. When she

left Bosnia ten years ago as a refugee with her husband and 2 children, people she met here told her how difficult it is to succeed in Canada. Radenka spoke no word

of English then, and that was a big problem to others than her. For her, life is what you make out of it, and nothing was going to stop her. Some people advised her to forget about school for at least five years and raise her young children. Others told her to go into sales instead of schooling; at least, that guarantees her a pay cheque. Radenka’s husband who was a nurse from

Bosnia was advised to forget that and look for a construction job. All those advices were the product of the Hamilton society then.

Radenka chose to listen to her inner voice instead of people. She researched, found St. Joseph Immigrant women centre and enrolled with them. Radenka was fortunate to be taught by a teacher who shaped and changed her life for the better. The teacher was Kathy Brown, who taught her and her fellow new comer friends to believe in themselves and reach out for excellence. Radenka believes “the role

of a teacher to shape the perspectives of any person especially new comers in any given society is very crucial and important” When others ignore and belittle what qualities one has, the teacher’s insightful urging and support can make all the difference. Radenka through the support of her teacher went to Mohawk college, got a diploma in career development, and now co-ordinates two programs for SISO; The Hate Crime program, and Career development and Bridging for Engineers. Though Radenka could not finish the Law program she dropped when the war broke out in Bosnia in the early 90’s, she still feel her work with victims of hate crimes brings her closer to her first dream – being a lawyer. Her advice to new comers is to be patient but persistent. Radenka call on all foreign trained to tap into all opportunities as they present themselves. She calls on Hamilton to utilize the skills and educations new comers bring with them to this city. To her, lack of utilization of foreign trained credentials is a personal as well as a societal loss. ■

Every month the Voice in Diaspora will try to publish articles from different faith groups

Assumption of Mary August 15 of Joseph of the House of David and awaiting their imminent formal home-taking ceremony (the concluding Jewish wedding rite).

Mary (called since medieval times Madonna (My Lady), was, according to Christian tradition, a Jewish resident of Nazareth in Galilee and known from the New Testament as the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. The New Testament describes her as a young maiden – traditionally, Greek parthénos signifies an actual virgin – who conceived by the agency of the Holy Spirit whilst she was already the betrothed wife

Blessing by Rev. Apostle Anthony Miah (National Head) ‘Church of Penticost Intl. during Pastor Fynn-Sackey’s send-off service

The Roman Catholic Church teaches as Dogma , that the Virgin Mary, “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” This means that Mary was transported into Heaven with her body and soul united. The feast day recognizing Mary’s passage into Heaven is celebrated as The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Roman Catholics. This doctrine was dogmatically and infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on 1 November 1950 in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus. The Assumption of Mary into heaven is also taught by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Oriental and Coptic Orthodox Churches, where it is known as the Dormition of the Theotokos. In those denominations that observe it,

Thank you speech by Pastor Fynn-Sackey during his send-off service in Hamilton

the Assumption is commonly celebrated on August 15, a Holy Day of Obligation in Roman Catholicism. Some Protestants, including certain Anglicans, Methodists and Lutherans, embrace veneration of Mary and also hold some of these doctrines. Others, especially in the Reformed tradition, question or even condemn the devotional and doctrinal position of Mary in the above traditions. Mary also holds a revered position in Islam. The Feast of the Assumption is a Public Holiday in many countries, including Austria, Belgium, Cameroon, Chile, Croatia, France, some predominantly Catholic states (such as Bavaria and Saarland) of Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Vanuatu. In Guatemala it is observed in Guatemala City and in the town of Santa Maria Nebaj, both of which claim her as their patron saint. Also, this is the celebration of Mother’s Day in Costa

The Fynn-Sackey’s family being blessed by Apostle A.K.Miah National Head) Church of Penticost Intl.

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Rica. In many places, religious parades and popular festivals are held to celebrate this day. In Anglicanism and Lutheranism, the feast is kept, but without official use of the word “Assumption”. Her feast day is Fête Nationale of the Acadians, of whom she is the patron saint. Businesses close on that day in heavily francophone parts of New Brunswick, Canada. The Virgin Assumed in Heaven is also patroness of the Maltese Islands and her feast, celebrated on 15 August, apart from being a public holiday in Malta is also celebrated with great solemnity in all the local churches. In New York City, alternate side of the street parking rules are suspended. ■ (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Pastor Joseph Fynn-Sackey & Wife Mercy (Pastor of the Hamilton Church of Penticost, during their sendoff service August 10, 2008)

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Canadian Community Health Survey (2007) However, males aged 12 to 44 were more likely than females of the same age to go to an emergency room. More men than women did not have a regular doctor Almost one-fifth (19%) of men aged 12 or older did not have a regular doctor in 2007, nearly twice the proportion of 10% among women. As well, males were twice as likely as females to report that they had not looked for a regular doctor. Respondents were considered not to have looked for a regular medical doctor if they reported “Have not tried to contact one” or “Other reasons.” All other respondents without a regular medical doctor were considered to have been unable to find one. Their responses included various combinations of the following: “No medical doctors available in the area,” “Medical doctors in the area are not taking new patients,” and “Had a medical doctor who left or retired.” People rating their health as excellent or very good were the most likely not to have a regular doctor and not to have looked for one. This was especially true for individuals of both sexes aged 20 to 34. Among adults, the likelihood of not having a regular medical doctor decreased with age. Only 5% of seniors aged 65 or older did not have a doctor, the lowest proportion of all age groups. Only 2% had not looked for one. A small minority of Canadians (6%) who had heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or arthritis reported not having a

doctor. This compared with 18% of those without any of these chronic conditions. This information is important because the involvement of appropriate primary health care in the management of these chronic conditions is important in reducing further progression of disease, as well as in reducing the overall burden on the health care system. Having a doctor also appears to be linked to socio-economic status. Individuals living in the households with the lowest incomes were less likely than those in higher-income households to have a regular doctor. Individuals in low-income households were also more likely not to have looked for a doctor. Immigrants, that is, those who have been in Canada for no more than five years, were considerably less likely to have a regular medical doctor than were Canadian-born persons or immigrants who arrived more than five years ago. Also, aboriginal people were less likely than non-Aboriginal people to have a regular doctor. Nationally, 1 in 15 people could not find a doctor Just under 1.7 million Canadians (6% of the population aged 12 or older) reported that they could not find a regular doctor in 2007. Among people under the age of 65, males in every age group were more likely than females to have difficulty finding a doctor. Among seniors 65 and older, just 3% of both sexes had been unsuccessful in finding a doctor. Provincially, 10% of the population in Prince Edward Island and Quebec said they could not find a doctor, significantly higher than the national average of 6%.

Smoking: Rates stable among young people aged 12 to 19  Nationally, over one-fifth (22%) of the population aged 12 or older smoked either daily or occasionally in 2007, the same rate as in 2005. After several years of declines, rates of smoking among youth aged 12 to 19 did not change during the two year period. About 400,000 Canadians in this age group, 12% of the total, reported that they smoked daily or occasionally. Rates remained highest among adults aged 20 to 44, 28% of whom smoked either daily or occasionally. One-third of men in this age group smoked, as did onequarter of women. Smoking rates were similar for both sexes under the age of 20. However, in each successive age group, a higher percentage of men than women smoked. About one-quarter of adults smoked in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan, all significantly above the national average. Smoking rates were below the national average in Ontario (21%) and British Columbia (18%). Obesity: Rates of self-reported obesity highest among middle-aged According to the 2007 CCHS, 4 million people aged 18 or older, 16% of the total, reported data on weight and height that put them in the obese category. Another 8 million, or 32%, were overweight. The percentage of Canadians who are overweight or obese rose dramatically between 1985 and 1994/1995 but appears to have stabilized more recently. Between 2005 and 2007, rates of both overweight and obesity generally changed little. During that period, there was a slight increase in the proportion of women aged 18 to 24 who were obese, and a decrease in the proportion of senior men who were overweight.

generally highest among individuals aged 45 to 64. One-fifth (20%) of men in this age group were obese, as were 18% of women. The proportion who were overweight also tended to peak in middle-age. Rates of overweight and obesity were lowest among those aged 18 to 24 both for men and women. However, men aged 25 to 44 were considerably more likely than their female counterparts to be obese. Among the provinces, rates of obesity were highest in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Atlantic Canada, ranging from 18% in Alberta to a high of 22% in Newfoundland and Labrador. The lowest rates were in British Columbia where only 11% of adults were obese. Being overweight is a risk factor for chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Not surprisingly, individuals who were overweight or obese were more likely to have these conditions than were individuals whose Body Mass Index was in the normal range. Similarly, overweight and obese adults were less likely to rate their health as excellent or very good than were adults not carrying excess weight. For more information about the Canadian Community Health Survey, 2007, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (613-951-1746, Health Statistics Division. ■

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More supports for kids in care of children’s aid societies Helping set up bank accounts and getting help with budgeting are things that youth need,” said YouthCAN provincial program coordinators Amanda Rose and Adam Diamond. “The minister’s announcement is a step in the right direction as a good parent for youth in the care of children’s aid societies. We are glad that the minister has listened to our voices and hope to have the chance to help make more opportunities for youth in care.” Quick Facts • Research shows that youth formerly in the care of children’s aid societies are: • o

Up to three times more likely to be unemployed

o Up to three times more likely to drop out of high school. • All children and youth in care will have individual plans in place that identify supports that will assist their healthy development. • Ontario has other types of supports in place for youth leaving care, including the Ontario Access Grant, counselling, preparation for independence programs and access to aftercare workers. • Funding for this initiative is based on the maximum Ontario Child Benefit for every youth in care. This amounts to $850 over the next year, which includes the $250 down-payment from 2007. The amount will match the OCB in future years, growing to $1,100 per child by 2011. ■ www.gov.on.ca/children/english/news/releases

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WHAT DO YOU LIKE OR MISS MOST ABOUT

SCHOOL?

Jacob Kibaara 5 years SK Gatestone Kindergarten ‘I am five years and five weeks old. The thing I like most about school is playing with my friends.’

Ruby Mboya 9 years GR 4 Ray Lewis Elementary School ‘The thing that I miss most is having fun with my friends. My favorite subject is gym because you get to do a lot of fun things’

Sanyu Rashford 8 GR 3 Norwood Park ‘I like playing dodge ball at school because it is active and fun.’

Naomi King’ori 8 GR 2 Earl Kitchener Elementary School ‘The best thing about school is …math, recess, and we will be having a new teacher.’

Ttisa Rashford 6 GR 2 ‘I like recess because you can do whatever you want.’

Nadine Nyaga GR 4 Ray Lewis Elementary School

Mutugi Kibaara 12 GR 7 Gatestone Elementary School

“I love being able to switch classes in between lessons and taking trips to different places.’

‘Last year I went to Camp Wanakita. It was awesome. We stayed there for three days: cross country and sledding.

Miika Rashford 4 years JK Norwood Park Kindergarten

Edi King’ori 8 years GR 4 Earl Kitchener Elementary

Justice Aura 8 years GR 3 R. L. Hyslop Elementary School

‘I like doing activities like tracing numbers and playing with my friends. ‘

‘When we are in music, we sometimes watch movies and sing songs’

‘My friends because some of them are moving away in the summer and I do not know where they are going.’

Nakua Lobalau 8 GR 4 Sts Peter & Paul ‘My teacher, Mme Versace, she is very nice.’

Naya Lobalau 7 GR 2 ‘Playing in the gym.’

Mackenzie Tsaura 11 GR 6 Ray Lewis Elementary School ‘I like gym because we have no class.’ w w w.thevoiceindiasp ora.com

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Diabetes and being over or underweight can have a negative effect on male fertility (AGEs) in the male reproductive tract. These are formed as the result of glycation (the addition of sugar),” Mallidis said, “and accumulate during normal aging. They are dependent on lifestyle, diet, smoking, etc., and in many diabetic complications are centrally implicated in DNA damage. We believe that they play a similar role in the male reproductive system.” The researchers plan to now determine how AGEs cause and contribute to DNA damage. Obesity, which often plays a factor in diabetes, and being too thin, was also found to cause problems with sperm. In a separate study, scientists found that men with a higher body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) had less seminal fluid and more abnormal sperm.

That’s the conclusion of two reports presented July 9 at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology, in Barcelona, Spain. While semen samples from diabetics look normal under the microscope, a closer examination revealed DNA damage, Dr. Con Mallidis, of Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said in a news release issued by the conference sponsors. “Sperm RNA was significantly altered, and many of the changes we observed are in RNA transcripts involved in DNA repair,”

he said. “And comparison with a database of men of proven fertility confirmed our findings. Diabetics have a significant decrease in their ability to repair sperm DNA, and once this is damaged, it cannot be restored.” Sperm DNA quality is known to be tied to decreased embryo quality, low embryo implantation rates, higher miscarriage rates and some serious childhood diseases, including cancers. “We found a class of compounds known as advanced glycation end products

Researchers found that among women between the ages of 42 and 52, those in the early stage of menopause commonly had shortened intervals between periods -- fewer than 21 days. Often, these periods were “anovulatory,” meaning the women had bleeding but did not ovulate. In contrast, longer intervals between periods -- more than 36 days -- were more common later in menopause, the study found, the researchers report in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. On the other hand, heavy bleeding appeared to be unrelated to ovulation, according to the investigators, led by Dr. Bradley J. Van Voorhis, of the University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City. Instead, heavy bleeding was more often seen in women who were obese or had uterine fibroids -- non-cancerous growths that can cause pain as well as heavy menstrual bleeding. The findings are based on 804 U.S. women who were followed for three years. During that time, they periodically gave urine samples so the researchers could determine whether they were ovulating; they also recorded their monthly menstrual patterns on calendars.

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At the outset, the women were separated into groups based on their current menstrual patterns. Those who’d had unpredictable periods for the past three months were considered to be in the early phases of menopause; those who’d skipped two periods or more were considered to be in the late phases. In general, the researchers found, short intervals between periods were common among women in early menopause, and 44 percent of their periods were anovulatory. Longer intervals were more common in late menopause, and two-thirds of those periods were anovulatory. Women who had short or long periods -fewer than four days and more than seven days of bleeding, respectively -- also commonly had anovulatory cycles. In contrast, the study found, women with heavy periods had relatively few ovulationfree cycles -- suggesting heavy bleeding is not typically related to hormonal changes. The findings, according to the researchers, suggest that if a woman in early menopause starts to have abnormal timing in her periods -- short or long intervals, or a short or long duration of bleeding -- anovulation should be suspected as the cause. “In contrast,” they write, “if the complaint is only heavy bleeding, anovulation is less likely and careful evaluation for structural lesions including polyps and fibroids is warranted.” ■ Obstetrics & Gynecology, July 2008.

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“Our findings were quite independent of any other factors,” scheduled presenter A. Ghiyath Shayeb, from the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland, said in the news release from the conference, “and seem to suggest that men who are trying for a baby with their partners should first try to achieve an ideal body weight.” “Adopting a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, and regular exercise will, in the vast majority of cases, lead to a normal BMI,” he said. “We are pleased to be able to add improved semen quality to the long list of benefits that we know are the result of an optimal body weight.” ■ www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus

The findings showed that men with an optimal BMI of 20 to 25 had higher levels of normal sperm than those who were either overweight or underweight. They also had higher semen volume.

Doctors ‘miss early HIV symptoms’ HIV is being spread because doctors overlook symptoms which could reveal the infection, a charity claims.

A study in Brighton found that 48% of HIV patients who had sought medical advice with their early symptoms had not been diagnosed. ‘Stereotype’ Deborah Jack, the chief executive of NAT, said: “It is very worrying that GPs and other healthcare professionals are often missing the signs and symptoms of HIV infection.

Shorter time between periods can signal menopause A new research from the Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed that ‘A shorter-than-normal time between menstrual periods may be the first sign of menopause for many women, while heavy bleeding may have other causes, a new study shows’.

The researchers did not look at DNA damage in the sperm, though.

“This can mean they become seriously ill in the longer term and respond less well to treatment.

The National AIDS Trust said as many as half of all early-stage infections, often marked by severe flu-like symptoms, are being missed. Spotting them and carrying out an HIV test would prevent further infections, it said. A GP specialising in sexual health said doctors should always be open-minded to the possibility their patients had HIV. There are approximately 7,000 new HIV infections in the UK every year, and as many as 50% are estimated to be passed on by people who are in the early stages of their own infection. In the first few weeks after infection, there are massive levels of the virus in the blood, and in most cases, this causes symptoms such as sore throats, fever and rashes. A person with HIV is at their most infectious at this point. However, after six weeks, these symptoms generally recede and the infected person will feel back to normal, even though they still have HIV. However, the National AIDS Trust (NAT) said that people visiting a doctor, either their GP or in A&E, complaining of these symptoms were often told it was a trivial viral infection, and to return if it did not improve.

“It also means they are likely to be putting partners at risk of infection as they may live undiagnosed for a number of years.” Dr Martin Fisher, a consultant in HIV medicine, said that this brief period was a “golden opportunity” to spot new cases. He said: “HIV testing needs to be more widespread and routine. It’s reasonable to expect doctors to be able to make this diagnosis.” Dr Christian Jessen, a GP specialising in sexual health medicine, said that doctors were still guilty of being influenced by the stereotypical notion of the “gay man with HIV”. “I have seen so many cases come to me which have been missed, and people with HIV are not just gay men, they are heterosexual men and women as well. “Doctors need to always be alive to the possibility that the person in front of them may have HIV.” Lisa Power, of the HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said it was important that those of particular risk of HIV, and those who give them healthcare, needed to know the signs of early infection. “Sore throat, fever and a rash? Go and get it checked out, and make sure the check includes an HIV test.” ■ Story from BBC NEWS


Hamilton’s Labour Strategy: What’s Next? By Morteza Jafarpour

On Labour Day while we are celebrating the contributions of many women and men to our economy and communities, we should also pause to reflect on the changing face of the workforce. The demographic changes that we have witnessed in the labour force in the last few years are not just a temporary adjustment. A combination of a mass exit of baby-boomers from the workforce and the globalization of the labour market will drastically accelerate labour force demographic changes in the near future. The changes that are occurring are not just about the diversity in the work place but are also about the kind of workforce that the new economy requires.

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A Nanny’s Experience Back where I come from, we do not carry puppies or sleep with them, but my employer made me do all these. I was made to walk the dogs every time the domestic works are done. My employer told me she did not want me to stay idle at any time. I walked the dog to and from her son’s school. I notice neighbours opening their blinds to spy on me each time I passed with the dog. I kept wondering what thoughts were passing through their minds as they saw me and the puppy. May be, they discerned from my looks that I did not enjoy walking the puppy. My employer bought the puppy, but never had the time to stay with it. Before I got fired, the puppy had gotten used to me that my madam was jealous of its close attachment to me. It was not my fault that my attachment to the puppy happened, my employer caused that. The puppy story is not the experiences I would like to share today. I like many other nannies in Canada are going through unspeakable hardships that would make the freedom in this country look more like a joke. To me, there is no freedom. I am at the mercy of my employer. It is either I keep quiet and get my landing papers through this employer, or I quit and get kicked out of Canada for nothing. I chose the first, to serve and get my papers to stay in Canada. I lost my first employer that brought me to Canada because they did not require my services any more. We parted amicably and I used my work permit to look for a new employer. Through the nanny employment services, I got employed to a lady in desperate need of a nanny for her school aged son. The lady being new to this part of the region needed someone to mind her son while she adjusted to her schedules at work. I worked for her with the old work permit which was

not expired. There were no complaints initially, things were going very smooth between us. But as soon as she settled at her new work and seeing that I would soon renew my work permit under her, and that my three months probation is around the corner, she started making life miserable for me to leave. She questioned me for very little things. She even asks her son in my presence if I spank him in her absence. She went as far as making schedules for walking the puppy so as to keep me occupied all times. I am sure if the puppy could talk, she would have asked it how many times it was walked each day. My employer fired me with no just cause. I could not find another employer for over a year. She used my services and discarded me so as not to get into a contract. There are no unions to defend me. People told me that if she does not want me anymore, that I should leave her home. Life was very depressing and humiliating since I depended on friends for my existence for over a year. I went into depression because I never knew things would turn badly for me just because some body does not like my face. Thank God immigration did not send me back but rather asked me to look for another employer. After one year, I found another employer and I pray she does not treat me like this last one. I could have been filing for my landing papers after two years, but because of the setback, I lost a year. I have to wait for another year to file for my papers. Lessons learned from this experience are many. Nannies in Canada have no say in terms of job conditions. There is no health coverage at all. When I get sick, I pray to get well because I cannot afford the medical bills. I think there should be a kind of protection for this vulnerable group of workers. Sorry, I cannot reveal my name or who I am.

Early in 2001, Hamilton’s Economic Development Department commissioned a study to examine the long-term implications for the city’s economy arising from an aging population, and to recommend actions to counter any negative consequences. The report produced as the result of this study later became known as the HR Matters Report. This study measured the impact that the convergence of escalating baby-boomer retirement and dwindling youth population are likely to have on Hamilton’s labour force and its economy. It recommended actions to combat unprecedented declines in the labour supply, and identified opportunities the community can exploit, and resources the community will need. The study concluded that Hamilton’s population growth is slowing rapidly and it is becoming much older; and without immigration, Hamilton would suffer a net loss of population due to migration patterns. More people leave Hamilton for other locations in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada than come the other way. At the time of the study immigration accounted for approximately 85% of Hamilton’s total population growth and the study projected that soon this could rise to 100%. Immigration to Hamilton has fuelled its population growth for the past two decades. Based on data from Statistics Canada, the Canadian Business and Labour Centre released a report in 2003, which showed a retention rate of 130% for immigrants in Hamilton between 1996 and 2001. Since then, however, Hamilton has continued to attract immigrants at a lower rate, from an annual 4,264 in 2001-2002 to 3,836 in 2005-2006, while the total net migration has slipped from an annual 6,600 in 2001-2002 to 1,249 in 20052006. The overall population growth for Hamilton has dropped to a low of 2,763 in 2005-2006 from 8,701 in 2001-2002. Losses in the manufacturing sector after 2001, coupled with lack of incentives to keep skilled immigrants here, leave many to face the decision of moving to other cities, going back to their own countries or living in poverty, with the hope of better opportunities in the future. Low net migration numbers in 2006 are not a surprise. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area’s economy slumped in 2006, posting its worst performance in five years.

grow” on the provincial agenda, while our own Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy (GRIDS) identifies a target population of 700,000 by 2031 and an added 100,000 jobs the same year. While almost everyone agrees that the right workforce will be the key factor for the city’s future prosperity and economic growth yet we have failed to develop and execute a plan to attract and retain the required workforce. The competition to attract global skills and talents, coupled with a general tendency to “regionalize” immigration, has resulted in a highly competitive environment for our provinces and for our cities-regions to attract and retain immigrants. Hamilton is currently losing in this game. Regardless of these negative trends, however it is still not too late to put Hamilton back on the right track. Almost everybody agrees that Hamilton has all the right components to become an economic success. During the last year there have been several developments which indicate steps are being taken in the right direction. One of the most significant steps was the “Hamilton Economic Summit” led by the Chamber of Commerce. This conference titled “Leaders Moving Forward Together” was a major step forward in an attempt to develop a comprehensive framework for Hamilton’s future economic growth. Political and civic leadership and collaboration between both sides is the other important issue which needed to be fine-tuned. Under the banner of collaborative leadership there have been attempts to bridge the gaps and heal the wounds. Specifically the Economic Development Advisory Committee, formed by the Jobs Prosperity Collaborative (JPC), will provide advice on fostering and advancing economic opportunities and the promotion of Hamilton by tapping into knowledge and information from JPC members. The JPC hopes this initiative will build stronger bridges and foster collaborative leadership between civic and political leaders. More work still needs to be done to define boundaries and build trust between the two sides. One other issue is the development of a Hamilton immigration strategy which after four years is still in the embryonic stage. While there is no doubt about the importance of the workforce in economic development, and every study shows that at least 80% of the shortage in the workforce will be overcome by immigration. But developing immigration strategy which is in line with the city’s economic development plan has not been shown to be a high priority for people in charge of this matter. Finally, although during the last few years there have been many initiatives to promote diversity in the work places, including in the public sector, at best the achievement has been bordering on the level of tokenism. Building a thoroughly inclusive workplace and communities require overcoming tokenism. Only a real inclusive environment will bring together the most talented and innovative people. Innovation will be the engine of the new economy. ■

What is most disturbing is that this is happening in the context of Hamilton being one of the designated “places to w w w.thevoiceindiasp ora.com

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Community Mobilization Graduates

July 27, 2008; Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) organized its 3rd graduation ceremony for Community Mobilization Graduates at St. Charles Adult Learning Centre Mountain at 5th street. HCCI started 6 module training program at 3 locations of St. Charles Centers and one location at Riverdale Community Centre. A cohort of 107 grads received their certificates from Patrick J. Daly – Chairperson St. Charles, Bob Goodwin – Principal St. Charles Mountain, Remo Presutti – Superintendent St Charles, Suzan Friscolanti St Charles and Brian McHattie Councilor Ward 1. Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion trained the members from diverse communities to develop leadership skills through the CMT program. The aim is to engage them to address chronic issues and challenges faced to diverse immigrant and visible minorities. The module comprised of topics like understanding the ‘isms’, Hate and Bigotry, Understanding and Implementing Community Structure, Understanding the Community Structure, Strengthening and Building Communities, Leadership in Community and Engaging Communities. HCCI has earlier trained two cohorts of CMT graduates in year 2007. An AfroFrancophone group has already started its CMT training which will be graduating in September 2008. HCCI has started registration for CMT fall 2008 for Ethnoreligious groups in Hamilton. To learn more about HCCI, Community Mobilization Programs and other training programs and youth initiatives please contact at 905 667 3088 or visit at www.hcci.ca or ask for literature to mail you.

6th Community Picnic of Hamilton Downtown Mosque August 9

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John C Holland Institue for Leadership Information Session


HAPPY BIRTHDAY NAOMI! Naomi Chris-Ike is Eleven years old. May all your dreams come through, Amen. Happy Birthday! From Mum, Nkechi, Chimezie, Whitney and Michael Chris-Ike.

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Alberta now welcomes family members for fast-track immigration – No job required The Alberta provincial government recently announced that residents of Alberta can now sponsor their close relatives for fast-tracked Permanent Residency under a new section of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP). The expansion of the program seeks to stimulate population and labour force growth and to create more welcoming communities for newcomers. Though it has the fastest growing population in Canada, Alberta continues to struggle from labour shortages across many sectors. International migration has become the most important driver behind Alberta’s population increase, and the AINP is helping to assure that it remains so. The new Family Stream will open the door to a new category of applicants who can contribute to the provincial workforce. Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents who have resided in Alberta for at least two years can sponsor a parent, child, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew for provincial nomination. Though applicants do not need a job offer, they must possess certain minimum criteria to ensure that they will integrate into the workforce well. They must have a post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate, work experience, and be between 21 and 45 years old. They, or their spouse, must have accessible funds of at least $10,000 CAD and another $2,000 CAD for each accompanying dependent. “Albertans have family members with skills and knowledge Alberta needs,” stated Alberta Minister of Employment and

Immigration, Hector Goudreau. “Adding this family stream to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program will help us meet our workforce needs while creating more diverse and welcoming communities for all our families.” Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and more recently, Newfoundland and Labrador have established family reunification categories within their Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP). Immigrants that come to Canada under these programs often have an easier time adjusting to the community and the workforce because they have the added support of family. Alberta expects the new AINP Family Stream will foster similar success, considering the large immigrant population in the province. ■ CIC News

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Alberta Welcomes Immi grants Fast-No Job Required August-S e p te m b e r 2 0 0 8 • Vo l u m e 1 • I s s u e 1 0 - 1 1 • w w w. t h e vo ice...