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A Memoir from Tanzania to Calgary

By Florence Hwang In Mansoor Ladha’s new book, Memoirs of a Muhindi: Fleeing East Africa for the West, he contrasts life in Africa to Canada, and how a person’s skin colour can make a difference. He writes about his journey from Zanzibar, Tanzania to Canada and the adjustments he had to make along the way. He hopes his book helps people deal with the problems and issues that immigrants encounter. He also hopes these problems and issues can be avoided. “Employers have
 
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Canadians Donate Gift Cards, Furniture for Syrians

by Florence Hwang in Regina With thousands of Syrian refugees expected to come to Canada over the next months, non-profit organizations have been inundated with donations of all kinds to help newcomers transition to their lives in the country. Various non-profit organizations across the country have received clothing, cash and even offerings of temporary housing.  Now, Canadians are finding different ways to help out the refugees, including donating gift cards and gently used furniture.  Gift card donations in B.C. Of the initial 25,000 the government promised
 
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Canadians Still Conflicted About Newcomers

by Florence Hwang in Regina, Saskatchewan Two independent surveys find that Canadians are positive about newcomers in theory, but they are not so agreeable when pushed out of their comfort zones. According to Immigration Partnership Winnipeg’s recent survey, Winnipeggers generally have positive attitudes about immigrants and refugees. Fifty-nine per cent said they felt newcomers had a positive effect on the city, with only nine per cent saying newcomers had a negative effect. Eighty-eight per cent said they feel good about the presence of
 
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Conference Discusses the Future of Canada's Chinatowns

by Florence Hwang in Regina Attendees from across North America gathered to discuss ways to revitalize Canada’s Chinatowns at the Edmonton Chinese Chinatown Conference, held on June 11 and 12. It’s possibly the first of its kind in terms of scale and scope, says one organizer. Topics included “Transforming Chinatowns: Social, Economic and Cultural Trends” and “Development Strategy and Planning and the Chinatowns of the Future: What Would This Look Like and How to Sustain Them?” The first conference on this topic was
 
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Documenting Muslim History in Saskatchewan

by Florence Hwang in Regina, Saskatchewan Ever since Muslims began settling in the Canadian prairies, they’ve built bridges with their new community while maintaining their ties with their traditional culture. A devoted Muslim couple who moved to Regina, Saskatchewan in the ‘70s were especially involved in establishing mosques, cultural schools and building bridges between their Muslim community and Canadian society.  History of the Muslims of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Their Organizations is their attempt to comprehensively document how Muslims formed communities and adapted to life
 
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Federal Government Shuts Door on Filipino Nannies

by Florence Hwang Canadian families looking for caregivers or nannies will have a harder time, thanks to the federal legislation that is capping overseas applications, according to Migrante BC. Between December 2014 and March 2015, the federal government only approved 92 of the 880 applications for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (which an employer needs to obtain before hiring overseas caregivers). “We say it looks like this because only three per cent of applications for overseas caregivers were approved by the federal
 
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Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Past and Present

by Florence Hwang in Regina  Skilled immigrants are more likely than Canadian-born citizens to be their own boss, according to the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. By the late 2000s, 19 per cent of Canada’s immigrants were self-employed. The report from the Metcalf Foundation and Maytree examines the challenges and opportunities immigrants face with regards to self-employment and entrepreneurship While in the past Canada has used immigration to fill its labour market needs — Chinese migrants who helped build the railway, temporary foreign workers
 
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Immigrant Youth Struggle with Parental Expectations

by Florence Hwang in Regina Cultural differences between young new Canadians and their parents can compound the struggles youth normally experience within their families during childhood and adolescence. A Guide to Overcoming Conflicts with Immigrant Parents (Qurtaba Publishing House) outlines how young first-generation immigrants can handle conflict with their immigrant parents. Hodan Ibrahim, an artist and entrepreneur, wrote this five-chapter booklet to guide young immigrants towards pursuing their dreams, with a particular emphasis on conflicts within Muslim families, based on her own experiences and
 
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Manitoba To Provide Skills Training for Refugees

by Florence Hwang in Regina Settlement agencies and other organizations are busy ramping up their services to prepare for the 10,000 Syrians that will arrive in Canada by the end of the year. According to Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, the province is preparing for 1,500 to 2,000 Syrian refugees in the next few months. The province already committed $1.4 million earlier this year for Syrian refugees. Executive director of the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council (MJMC), Stefanie Palmer, says it has an existing resettlement
 
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Niche Businesses in Smaller Cities

By Florence Hwang Starting a business can be hard. Startup capital, asset management, and just attracting customers; are all obstacles new small businesses must learn to overcome on the fly. But these challenges can be amplified for female immigrants, most especially for those in rural areas that are not accustomed to working with diverse populations. “It’s a constant battle with people questioning your qualifications because of your background and overlook[ing] your business,” says Tia Luangomba. A small business owner, who immigrated from the
 
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Online Resources Key to Integrating Refugees

by Florence Hwang in Regina Integrating new immigrants quickly and seamlessly when they arrive in Canada not only makes their lives easier, but benefits the rest of society.  For this reason, Garen Direnfeld, a social worker in Dundas, Ontario says that providing refugees and their sponsors with services that allow them to integrate into society is in everyone’s best interest. “The degree to which we can facilitate one’s transition to Canada and the quicker that transition, the sooner these folks can be productive
 
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Poet’s Raw, Direct Verses Confront Ideas of Race

by Florence Hwang in Regina  Vivek Shraya does not mince words. In even this page is white, her language is visceral, and even the form of her poetry helps to draw attention to the sensitive issue of racism.  Most of the poems in even this page is white are written in the style of spoken word poetry, and as such, the words can be quite shocking and blunt. Shraya’s debut collection of poems focuses on the physical entity of skin and racism,
 
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Prioritization Is Not Exclusion, Say Experts

by Florence Hwang in Regina, Saskatchewan The federal government recently released a statement that it was not slamming the door on unaccompanied male Syrian refugees, despite concerns after the government announced its resettlement plan on November 22. The plan stated that the government will prioritize the most vulnerable populations when resettling Syrian refugees. According to Shauna Labman, Assistant Professor with the University of Manitoba’s law department, prioritizing vulnerable people, particularly refugees, is not exclusion and is not new.  “This focus on vulnerability is
 
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Researchers Investigate Ways to Help Newcomers Adjust

by Florence Hwang in Regina With the current influx of refugees coming to Canada, academic researchers are studying immigrants’ resiliency — their ability to overcome hurdles and challenges — so that they can help future immigrants adapt to their new environment. Daniel Kikulwe is an associate professor at the University of Regina in the Social Work department. He and assistant professor Donalda Halabuza are working on a study about what factors help immigrants make the transition to Canadian life — specifically in
 
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Resettlement Agencies Prepare Despite Few Details

by Florence Hwang in Regina, Saskatchewan While the Liberal government announced this week that there would be 10,000 Syrians admitted to Canada by the end of 2015 and 15,000 by the end of February 2016, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration John McCallum failed to offer many specifics regarding housing the refugees. The ad-hoc committee did mention that 36 cities were slated to receive refugees and that the military was prepared to house up to 6,000 refugees on a temporary basis if necessary. “We
 
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Settlement Orgs Unite to Better Integrate Newcomers

by Florence Hwang in Regina  Communities across Canada are ramping up their efforts to link their local settlement services to meet the needs of newcomers through the federal Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) program.  The idea behind the program is to enhance existing partnerships by building networks upon existing networks to make sure Syrian refugees and other newcomers get connected with the resources they may need in their new communities.  Recently, the Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership in Ontario helped 20 families of Syrian refugees
 
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Spanking Kids: Culture is No Defence

by Florence Hwang in Regina  Cultural differences in childrearing require settlement organizations to provide newcomers with information and support in understanding Canadian laws on corporal punishment, also known as 'spanking', say experts.  Nothing is more indicative of culture than the process of raising children to become adults, explains Justin Ryan, public education and communications co-ordinator with the Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA).  He describes a rite of passage for boys of a Brazilian tribe as an extreme example. A glove
 
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Spanking Leads to Resentment, Say Parents, Experts

by Florence Hwang in Regina, Saskatchewan  Immigrants not only have to learn a new language when they arrive in Canada, but also adopt the values of Canadian society. This can often impact their parenting methods.  “This is part of how we should be settling new immigrants into our community,” says social worker Gary Direnfeld, who has 33 years of experience and works out of Dundas, Ontario. “I’m of the view that there should be a structured approach to that. More often it’s
 
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Spanking: Lots of Studies; Little Change

by Florence Hwang in Regina Experts say revoking the law that allows parents to spank their children can help clarify for newcomers the "mixed messages" they receive about corporal punishment in Canada. Parents want to understand the law in Canada and how it fits in with their parenting style, notes Jean Tinling, the family program director at Mosaic Newcomer Family Resource Network. “Their worries are reduced when they realize that they have a choice about keeping the best from their culture, adding in
 
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Students Lead Initiatives to Help Syrians

by Florence Hwang in Regina When the pledge was announced to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees, many Canadians wanted to help — university students being no exception. Using their resourcefulness and skills, students across the country have come up with tangible ways to help the new immigrants settle into their lives. This ranges from handling legal paperwork, to collecting cutlery sets, to simply befriending incoming refugees. More than just paperwork In September, Rosa Stall, a third-year law student at Queen’s University, read an Ottawa Citizen article
 
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Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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