by Danica Samuel (@danicasamuel) in Toronto

After months of defending carding, Toronto Mayor, John Tory has made a 360, calling for a permanent ban on the practice.

“It is my intention to see carding cancelled permanently and that we start fresh,” Tory told reporters at a news conference on Sunday, changing his position entirely.

Carding allows police officers to stop and question people to gather information — intelligence that is then stored indefinitely in a database. Several community members have criticized the police technique, calling it unfair and discriminatory, particularly towards men of colour.

Carding Injustice

In fact, Knia Singh, law student and President of the Osgoode Society Against Institutional Injustice, defines carding as “arbitrary detention.”

“We get stopped for no reason, carding is the actual gathering of the data and placing it in the database. It relates to our Charter of Rights in Section 9, Canadians are supposed to be free from arbitrary detention, when they stop me and card me for no reason it’s arbitrary.”

Singh is no stranger to the practice of carding and has also been stopped by police on 12 occasions.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“I would at least feel a little bit safer if what they recorded was true. But it’s full of lies.” - Knia Singh[/quote]

In 2013, he brought light to the situation with a friend Chris Williams; they openly shared their file in the Toronto Star series called Known To Police. The series showed that black people are 3.2 times more likely than white people to be stopped and documented by the Toronto force.

[youtube height="315" width="560"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEKsI80Uh_g[/youtube]

Video Source: Toronto Star YouTube Channel

In Singh’s file, he was recorded as having features that didn’t match his description and labeled him as an individual born in Jamaica, although he was born in Canada.

He was also recorded as being investigated for a possible immigration warrant.

Based off his file, Singh’s conclusion is that the process is “highly inaccurate.”

“Even if they think it’s a useful tool, most of [the information] is wrong,” says Singh.

“They can make up anything and write down whatever they want on people and claim it’s police information,” Singh continues. “I would at least feel a little bit safer if what they recorded was true. But it’s full of lies.”

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]With Mark Saunders – the first black Toronto Police Chief – leading the force, many were under the assumption that carding would finally seek its end earlier this year. Instead, he stood behind the controversial practice.[/quote]

Originally, carding was proposed as a process to help police officers build a connection with their communities in hopes of developing safer environments.

With Mark Saunders – the first black Toronto Police Chief – leading the force, many were under the assumption that carding would finally seek its end earlier this year. Instead, he stood behind the controversial practice.

In a sit-down interview with CBC reporter Dwight Drummond, Saunders said the practice was, “legal, and it does enhance community safety.”

He continued to defend carding by expressing the intelligence gathered helps police with getting insight to the 2,000 gang members in the city.

Singh contends that he didn’t think for a second Saunders would be the face of changing carding.

“Saunders was never about being an independent thinker,” says Singh. “Deputy Peter Sloly was another good candidate, which was a very good choice, but he was more independent in his thought process and wanted to fix the carding problem.”

Better Late Than Never

Tory stated that the carding system had to come to an end.   

“After great personal reflection and many discussions ... I concluded it was time to say, enough. It was time to acknowledge there is no real way to fix a practice, which has come to be regarded as illegitimate, disrespectful and hurtful,” said Tory on the weekend.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“If we stop carding, it gives a signal that racial profiling is not accepted. What’s next is police accountability. Police officers who violate their code of conduct have to be reprimanded and even kicked off the force.” - Knia Singh[/quote]

Singh says that this realization should have come a long time ago for the mayor.

“John Tory heard all of us speak clearly on this issue and how damaging it was to the community and how illegal it was,” Singh explains. “He went ahead with Chief Bill Blair and pushed through a policy that belittled our rights. For me, the only reason he’s doing it now, is because too many people are criticizing him and if they weren’t, he wouldn’t have changed his mind and that’s what’s disturbing. He already knew all the details.” 

Tory alluded to his speaking with journalist/activist Desmond Cole as one of the discussions that prompted his decision. Cole’s article in Toronto Life titled, “The Skin I’m In: I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times – all because I’m black,” stirred up a brewing pot within the city that’s never been cooked. 

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

The plot twist in the matter is that carding is not the root of the problem, but simply a tool that implements the real issue of racial profiling.

In 2012, it was noted that Toronto Police stop up to 400,000 people every year during non-criminal encounters, a practice that community activists and social justice lawyers say leads to racist policing.

An idea of receipts was proposed by former Police Chief Bill Blair, a process that asked officers to hand out a record of each carding interaction to the persons involved.

Three years later, no receipts have been issued and citizens are left to wonder what their files hold.

Singh says the whole process doesn’t need to be tightened, nor implemented differently – those in power just need to “get rid of it” completely.

“If we stop carding, it gives a signal that racial profiling is not accepted. What’s next is police accountability,” Singh stresses. “Police officers who violate their code of conduct have to be reprimanded and even kicked off the force. The problem is they’ve never really been disciplined for their actions.”

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Published in Top Stories

by Patrick Hunter (@pghntr) in Toronto

A huge wave, represented by about 50 high-profile Canadians, rocked Mayor John Tory’s proverbial boat this week. The “wave” consisted of a former chief justice of Ontario, three former mayors (one of whom is a former chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission), several former politicians and business leaders.

Identifying themselves as Concerned Citizens to End Carding, they held a news conference steps away from Mayor Tory’s office at City Hall to denounce the controversial police practice.

The result is that the mayor has changed his tune, reversing his position on “carding,” the controversial practice by the Toronto Police Service (TPS) of collecting and retaining information about individuals with whom they engage, but who are not being detained or under suspicion of committing a crime.

In his announcement, the Mayor said: “The issue of community engagements, or carding as it has become known, has eroded public trust to a level that is clearly unacceptable.As mayor, it is up to me to do whatever I can do to restore that trust . . . And so I am announcing today my intention, at the next meeting of the police services board on June 18, to seek the permanent cancellation of carding once and for all.”

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]"We believe carding violates the human rights of citizens, it goes against the principles of our Charter Rights ..." - Concerned Citizens to End Carding[/quote]

It is not often that political leaders reverse their positions so openly. Early reaction has been mostly positive. The damage, however, may have already been done. That will become clearer when Tory faces the electorate in another three years.  

The Use of Carding

The carding practice was revealed in a Toronto Star investigative report in 2012 under the banner headline “Known to police.” It uncovered the fact the majority of persons stopped by the police whose information was taken were young black males, and their information was being kept in a database, apparently for future reference when a crime is committed.

Earlier this year, the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) had approved a policy on community engagement, which required police officers to inform individuals who are not under suspicion of any criminal activity that they have the right to end the engagement. If officers took a person’s information, they would also be required to provide a “receipt” indicating why the person was stopped.

William (Bill) Blair, then the outgoing chief of police, had a problem with the requirement and managed to get a watered-down version – without the above requirements of the policy – approved. The reaction and subsequent heat from the black community increased.

Desmond Cole: A Catalyst

In May, Toronto Life published a cover story by Desmond Cole, “The Skin I’m In.” It catalogues his experiences with the police, and outlines the emotional impact that they had and have on him – an impact that is shared by many black men, young or old.

The article became a sensation and was, indeed, a catalyst for the Concerned Citizens group to declare its opposition to carding.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"][Saunders'] stance, if continued, will certainly erode any goodwill he may have earned from the black community, and the wider community, as demonstrated by the Concerned Citizens group.[/quote]

In its statement, the group notes: “We all need to oppose carding vehemently … We are offended by the notion of casually and routinely stopping citizens, outside of police investigations of actual criminal acts that have occurred, to question and record, and then store personal data in police files … We believe carding violates the human rights of citizens, it goes against the principles of our Charter Rights ..."

Last Friday, the chair of the TPSB, Dr. Alok Mukherjee wrote an op-ed piece in the Toronto Star: “We are at risk of turning into a surveillance society” in which he also declared a change of heart.

“I believe the Toronto Police Services Board must now declare unequivocally that information generated from informal contacts with members of the public, which are not related to any criminal investigation or likelihood of a criminal investigation, must not be recorded in any police database,” he wrote.

Where the Police Chief Stands

Mark Saunders, who is black, is the recently appointed chief of police, succeeding Bill Blair. He has picked up the ball, voicing support for carding as a legitimate investigative tool. He has tried to cushion this support by suggesting that there would be changes in implementing the policy by eliminating random stops.

The community is not buying it.

His stance, if continued, will certainly erode any goodwill he may have earned from the black community, and the wider community, as demonstrated by the Concerned Citizens group.

Adding to the community’s concern about Chief Saunders’ position, a recent report in the Toronto Star that revealed an internal memo prepared by Saunders while he was a staff superintendent.

In the memo, he essentially tried to debunk the notion of racial profiling and carding, suggesting that analyses did not support “notions or activities of racially biased policing practices.” According to the Star, his then-superior officer, Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, also black, took issue with Saunders’ analysis and conclusion.

Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, in the wake of Mayor Tory’s conversion, has also reaffirmed the association’s position, and that of the chief’s: getting rid of carding would have a negative impact on “community safety.” Exactly how is unclear.

It would appear that both Chief Saunders and the police association fail to make the connection that their defence of carding’s use and the fact that the majority of the carded residents are black imply that they believe that members of the black community are responsible for most of the crimes and criminal activities in the city.

If the black chief of police believes that, what chance do we have to change relations between the police and the black community?


Patrick Hunter is a communications consultant and a columnist for Share Newspaper. He is a former communications director at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and has worked in government and the news media.

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Published in Commentary

In this exclusive sit-down interview with New Canadian Media reporter Abbas Somji, Toronto Mayor John Tory addresses visible minority representation on city council, the carding controversy and improving settlement services. 

(Media Credit: Absolute Mediaworks/Abbas Somji)


by Abbas Somji (@AbbasSomji) in Toronto

John Tory walks into his expansive office, which looks directly out onto Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square. He says visitors (and even media) entering City Hall through the iconic rotunda’s main entrance sometimes look up and spot him through the clear window, hunched over his desk, scanning one of many reports scattered across it.

“They shoot pictures of me in the window and say, ‘Well, there he is. He’s at his desk,’” says Tory, quoting a television broadcaster. “They call it the ‘MayorCam,’” he adds, matter-of-factly.

It’s been half-a-year since Tory took office as Mayor of Toronto.

These days, he says he averages 15-hour days, spent partly at the office, and partly meeting residents, business owners, schools and community groups, all across Toronto – including in so-called “Ford Country”.

“I would think if you put on a map everywhere I’ve been in the six months – first of all, it’d be a lot of dots on the map, but secondly, those dots would be all over the city.”

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“I know [settlement agencies] have been the subject of debate and sometimes cutbacks,” says Tory, admitting there’s a need for more programs, particularly those that assist new arrivals and their children get acquainted with the school system in Canada.[/quote]

It’s the sort of insight he says he needs in order to learn about the concerns facing Toronto residents, especially in the case of newcomers. Issues surrounding integration often take precedence in these discussions – shoestring budgets mean recent immigrants have fewer resources available in adjusting to life in Canada.

“I know [settlement agencies] have been the subject of debate and sometimes cutbacks,” says Tory, admitting there’s a need for more programs, particularly those that assist new arrivals and their children get acquainted with the school system in Canada.

“People sometimes complain there’s too many of those programs. Wrong. There isn’t enough of that kind of initiative to help people to adjust themselves faster and better.”

Why City Council Doesn’t Look Like the City

There’s also the concern some community-related issues may get overlooked, simply because there isn’t anyone representing those groups in council. Tory is one of 39 White members of Toronto city council. Only six councillors who serve the GTA come from visible minority communities – a poor reflection of the city’s cultural make-up of the city, especially as more than half of its residents were born outside Canada.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"][T]he more the city council, the police service, the fire service, the different boards, the business community are representative of the population as a whole, the more legitimate they will be in being able to carry out their responsibilities and the more they will understand themselves about the challenges facing newcomers.”[/quote]

“You can’t just snap your fingers and say, ‘Lo and behold, the city council will look different,’” says Tory, determined to make progress on recruitment efforts.

“We’ve got to encourage more of that to happen because the more the city council, the police service, the fire service, the different boards, the business community are representative of the population as a whole, the more legitimate they will be in being able to carry out their responsibilities and the more they will understand themselves about the challenges facing newcomers.”

Tory says he led and initiated a program called “School for Civics” as part of Civic Action, geared specifically to people from visible minority community groups. The goal was to put them in a room with people from all parties, who could answer questions about what it was like to run a campaign, and to help them get comfortable with the idea of running for public office.

Tory says, “Even people who have been here for generations are afraid of running for office because they think, ‘Well, I don’t know about this,’ and ‘How will I be treated?’ and ‘Where will I get volunteers?’”

He says participants walked away with a fresh take on civic engagement.

“Even that provided a little bit of comfort to people who were feeling a little bit like, ‘I just came here 10 years ago and I really don’t know the political system here very well,’” Tory says.

The Carding Controversy

The mayor’s performance is being scrutinized now more than before, over the way he handles some contentious issues. The subject of “carding” – or random “street checks” police use to collect information about those who are stopped and questioned – has drawn the ire of many a resident, prompting public outcry from a number of visible minority communities.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]I take it as my responsibility, because I always said during the election, [carding] would be a policy that was in need of continuous reform, because as you add more and more people from more and more places and as policing changed over time and you learned more things, that you had to keep reforming it and improving it.”[/quote]

Tory says carding started off as “a well-intentioned policy” to help foster a good relationship between police and communities.

He says he thinks the policy “unintentionally” impacted a disproportionate number of young Black and Brown men, while aiming for it to be “bias-free policing.”

“I accept the fact that a lot of people are dissatisfied, especially in the Black community, with that policy,” says Tory.

“And so, I take it as my responsibility, because I always said during the election, this would be a policy that was in need of continuous reform, because as you add more and more people from more and more places and as policing changed over time and you learned more things, that you had to keep reforming it and improving it.”

Tory says he’s committed to working on the issue with Toronto’s new police chief, Mark Saunders, in coming up with reforms that better serve the community.

Toronto, A Beacon of Hope

Tory is effusive in the role immigrants have played in Toronto’s evolution to what it is today – so much so that he’s dedicated a day in their honour. Festivities for the first-ever “Toronto Newcomer Day” kicked off on May 29 at Nathan Phillips Square, celebrating all that new immigrants have done to enrich the cultural fabric of the city.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“I think it also reminds us that [when] we invite all these newcomers to come – this is an area we haven’t done so well – that we have an obligation to make sure they get better settled here and have easier access.”[/quote]

Tory says Torontonians have a long-standing history of embracing newcomers, an acceptance that dates back to the Underground Railroad, which brought enslaved African-Americans in the U.S. to freedom in Canada, as well as in the 1960s when the country took a strong stance against apartheid in South Africa.

“[Toronto] probably became a beacon of hope for the world,” says Tory. “We learned so much from each other and it brought this vibrancy to the city.”

Still, he insists there’s much work to be done.

“I think it also reminds us that [when] we invite all these newcomers to come – this is an area we haven’t done so well – that we have an obligation to make sure they get better settled here and have easier access,” says Tory.

“I think we owe it to people to do a better job than we have been doing at that.”


 

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Published in Politics
Sunday, 26 April 2015 13:15

A Black Chief of Police for Toronto

by Patrick Hunter (@pghntrin Toronto

The largest municipal police service in Canada has a new chief. A first for the City of Toronto, Mark Saunders is of African descent – born in England to Jamaican parents. A 32-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service (TPS), Saunders succeeds William Blair.

Saunders, of course, is not the first Black police chief in Canada. That honour went to Winnipeg’s Devon Clunis. But, for Toronto, it is still an historic achievement, as Saunders’ 10-year-old son noted.

That Toronto was in line to get its first Black police chief was not so much a big surprise.

Two of the leading contenders for the job were of African descent, Peter Sloly and Saunders. Both were two of the three deputy chiefs to retiring Chief Blair. What was most surprising, particularly to the Black community in Toronto, was that it was Saunders who got the job, not Sloly.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]The expectation was that the new chief should have a complete understanding of the challenges and tensions that exist between the police and the Black community in particular. The appointment of a Black chief could be a step in the right direction.[/quote]

Sloly was more known to the community, in a way that Saunders was not. Shortly before the announcement, the publisher/senior editor of Share, Arnold Auguste, wrote: “… our endorsement was based on our knowledge of Deputy Chief (DC) Sloly over many years and the expectation that he would bring, not only the right skillset, but the right attitude and sensitivity to this important job.

We couldn’t say the same for DC Saunders, because we don’t know him as well as we know Sloly. For all we know, he might make an even better chief, but we don’t know that.”

That, in many ways, summed up the general feeling of Toronto’s Black community.

The Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), a civilian oversight body, had launched what it called a “global search”, using a recruiting agency, to find the right fit for the City of Toronto. It would have been a serious error if the new chief were someone from another part of Canada, let alone another part of the world.

The expectation was that the new chief should have a complete understanding of the challenges and tensions that exist between the police and the Black community in particular. The appointment of a Black chief could be a step in the right direction.

And herein lies one of the main challenges facing Saunders.

The Black Community and the Police

In 2002, the Toronto Star published a series of articles that highlighted the racial profiling of Blacks by the Toronto Police. The chief of police at the time, Julian Fantino, denied that the Service, with the possible exception of “a few bad apples”, practised racial profiling. When Blair took over as chief, he was more forthcoming in admitting existence of racial profiling and a pledge to stop it.

In March, 2012, the Toronto Star published “Known to Police”, articles that showed that not only was racial profiling continuing, but it had morphed to the point where individual young, Black men were being stopped, documented and entered into a database, supposedly as part of future investigations. This practice is commonly referred to as “carding”.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Chief Saunders will have very little time to get comfortable in his new chair... he has to put this carding issue to rest. That will not be easy.[/quote]

Very shortly after the Star’s revelation, Chief Blair ordered an internal review of the service’s community engagement practices. This resulted in a 90-page report: Police and Committee Engagement Review (PACER). DC Sloly coordinated the review with contributions from several members of the service, including DC Saunders.

The PACER report was to form the basis of a policy that, among other things, would inform individuals of their right to “walk away” from an engagement if they were not under suspicion or being detained. That recommendation was dropped from the policy that has just been approved by the TPSB.

Hardest Challenge: Building Trust

Chief Saunders will have very little time to get comfortable in his new chair. Apart from finding ways to deal with an ever-increasing budget, assessing and dealing with the day-to-day activities of a 5,500 “uniform strength” service and adapting the organization to better suit his vision, he has to put this carding issue to rest. That will not be easy.

Fundamentally, it will be a case of trust. The police argue that engagement with residents is an essential part of “intelligence-led” policing.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“Being Black is fantastic, but it doesn’t give me superpowers.” - Mark Saunders[/quote]

The community – specifically, the Black community – is very suspicious of the police, and with good reason. Several reports over the years have acknowledged harsher treatments of Black people in the criminal justice system than their White counterparts.

Saunders comes to the office with the branding of being “a cop’s cop”, a well-respected officer among his fellow officers who has held, and excelled in, several critical command posts. As chief, he would be expected to defend and advocate for the men and women in his command.

But he is Black. As such, he should have an intimate knowledge and, perhaps, experience that none of his predecessors have. The community will therefore be watching closely to see how he balances those two realities. At his introduction to the public as the chief-designate, Saunders noted: “Being Black is fantastic, but it doesn’t give me superpowers.”


Patrick Hunter is a communications consultant and a columnist for Share Newspaper. He is a former communications director at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and has worked in government and the news media.

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Published in Commentary

by Peter Uduehi (@kogibobo) in Toronto

From the fight against radicalization and professional roadblocks to the question of whether a Black police chief would have any impact in Toronto, here are some recent headlines in the African-Canadian diaspora media.                             

Radicals Have No Chance With Our Youth: Toronto's Somali Community

Somalis in Toronto are not taking chances. Neither will they take a wait-and-see approach.

Tired of reports of how Jihadist terrorists have successfully recruited African youths in the U.S. state of Minnesota, Kenya and several European countries, community activist Jibril Muhammed told the African World News, “We cannot pretend that our children in Canada could not be influenced by these crazy people who call themselves Muslims. We are aware of how terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab and ISIS have poisoned the minds of innocent Somali and other African youths everywhere they can find them.”

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Canada has been good to us and any terrorist trying to harm this country has no chance to use our kids against it.” - Mohammed Abdi, community activist[/quote]

Muhammed, who is also a former coordinator of many Somali community groups, said several organizations and individuals in the Somali community are working with the RCMP, the police and their parliamentarians in the Toronto area. “We have to protect our children against these bad eggs,” he says.

Another community activist, Mohammed Abdi, concurs. “Canada has been good to us and any terrorist trying to harm this country has no chance to use our kids against it. On my part, I am constantly educating my teenage children about what is the right Islam,” he explains. “I tell them always that the ISIS and Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab people they see on television are practising the wrong Islam.”

Will a Black Police Chief Really Make a Difference?

Writing in Pride News Magazine, educator and community organizer Ajamu Nangwaya says that simply having a Black police chief at the helm in Toronto is no cure for the poor relations between the force and the city’s African-Canadian community.

The organizer with the Toronto-based Network for the Elimination of Police Violence argues it’s like saying that the soured relations between American Blacks and the police would improve just because a Black president, Barack Obama, was elected the president of the United States.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“For a sobering dose of reality about race, class and policing, we may look at the behaviour of the police in major American cities that have or had African-American police chiefs or at police violence in global South countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil, Haiti, Kenya and Jamaica.” - Ajamu Nangwaya, educator and community organizer[/quote] 

He adds: “For a sobering dose of reality about race, class and policing, we may look at the behaviour of the police in major American cities that have or had African-American police chiefs or at police violence in global South countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil, Haiti, Kenya and Jamaica,” stressing that police-versus-society issues are institutionalized matters. 

Taking a swipe at those who are now calling for either deputy chiefs Peter Sloly (pictured to the left) and Mark Saunders (two African-Canadians in the Toronto Police Service) to replace the outgoing chief,  Nangwaya doubts that any police office that has successfully gone up the ladder would not belong to the same systemic ideology from which they emerged. “To what extent are we realistically expecting an African-Canadian police chief to be more committed to fighting institutional racism than a white one? Deputy Chiefs Peter Sloly and Mark Saunders have not made it this far up the organizational ladder, because of their tendency to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,’” he writes. 

Why African Professionals Make Career Advancements Later in Canada

Many new African immigrants to Canada are often surprised to find themselves shut out of jobs in their professional disciplines.

So, not surprisingly, many African graduate and post-graduate degree holders end up driving taxis or taking menial jobs to make a living. The question is, why do newly arrived African professional immigrants to Canada make inroads to their chosen professions late?

Dr. Adeleye King (pictured to right), executive director of the Canadian Institute of Leadership and Development (Africa), told African World News the reasons are both professionally demanding and personal. He says when African professionals first come to the country as immigrants, they are shocked to learn that they must do more learning in their fields, “because Canada requires a different level of certification and designation from the ones in Africa.”

“Certain professions like engineering, for example, require a designation before you can be accepted for work as an engineer. It’s different in Africa where you are required only to be certified,” King explains. “[T]he same applies to other professions.”

King says that personal issues also prevent African professionals from making quick inroads into the Canadian marketplace. One issue is that many don’t do enough research about Canada before coming into the country. “If they did,” he says, “they would know exactly the type of skills needed to survive with their professional know-how.” He says it’s important to plan ahead before immigrating and, once here, “never lose concentration of why [you] are here, don’t straddle your life between here and the one you just left.”                                                                                                                            

Education Funding Cut May Negatively Impact African Nova Scotians

Recent cuts in funding to the Council on African Canadian Education (CACE) by Nova Scotia’s ministry of education may severely affect learning standards for Africans in the province, says the organization’s chairwoman Alma Johnston-Tynes.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“The lack of staff and resources will have a detrimental impact on CACE’s ability to identify and meet the needs of African Nova Scotian learners.” - Alma Johnston-Tynes, Council on African Canadian Education[/quote]

“The lack of staff and resources will have a detrimental impact on CACE’s ability to identify and meet the needs of African Nova Scotian learners and to fulfil its mandate under the Education Act, which is to monitor and continually analyze the policies of the Department of Education with respect to the needs of Black learners,” she said in a statement reported by the African Nova Scotian News.

The axe comes as education minister Karen Casey (pictured to left) announced that staff funding to CACE will no longer continue because of an audit that, “raised questions about the body’s governance and financial situation.” Casey described the findings as “very troubling.”

CACE was set up in 1996, after race riots in 1989, and following findings that not enough attention was being paid to improving standards for African and Black school children in the province. The council’s focus was to advise the education ministry on how to improve learning in African Nova Scotian communities, after a recent statistic showing that while reading comprehension test scores for third-graders in the Halifax regional school board was 70 per cent, it was particularly lower for African students at 54 per cent.

Immigrants Change Diet After Arriving in Canada

report by Statistics Canada cites studies that show immigrants who change their traditional diet after arriving in Canada tend to become less healthy later. Overall, the studies show, newly arrived immigrants to Canada had lower mortality rates than the Canadian-born, and also reported lower levels of fair or poor health. Those mortality rates tended to rise, the further removed immigrants were from their arrival in Canada, as did the reported levels of fair or poor health. 

Tanzanian-born Toronto resident Dr. Wasira Bokore, a family physician, told African World News that generally the African immigrant succumbs to, “a new environment where time is limited for cooking your meals and begins to adopt new eating habits, eating burgers, fast foods and fatty foods and these things are not good for your health.” She adds that matters are made worse when, “an exercise regimen is absent in one’s daily existence.”


Peter Uduehi is a journalist and publisher of the African World News in Toronto.

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Published in Africa

New Canadian Media provides nonpartisan news and views representing all Canadian immigrant communities. As part of this endeavour, we re-publish aggregated content from various ethnic media publishers in Canada in an effort to raise the profile of news and commentary from an immigrant perspective. New Canadian Media, however, does not guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views and opinions contained in content from such other sites. The views expressed on this site are those of the individual writers and commentators, and not necessarily those of New Canadian Media. Copyright © 2019 All rights reserved