Call for expressions of interest: Ontario region of Canadian Heritage

The Ontario Region of Canadian Heritage is calling for expressions of interest that align with the recently released guidelines for funding from the Multicultural Program.

The Multicultural Program in Ontario will focus on initiatives that promote:
– Civic participation
– Cross-cultural understanding
– Institutional change.

Projects should align with the following priorities:
– Support the economic, social and cultural integration of new Canadians and cultural communities
– Facilitate programs such as mentorship, volunteerism, leadership and civi education among at-risk cultural youth
– Promote inter-cultural understanding and Canadian values (democracy, freedom, human rights and rule of law) through community initiatives with the objective of addressing issues of cultural social exclusion.

Funding preferences will be given to projects that involve multiple partners and that:
– Focus on action and measurable results leading to sustainable and lasting changes
– Involve the broad community (community-based, neighourhood-based and/or coalitions that are inclusive)
– Include other sources of funding, including cash and in-kind contributions.

Interested parties are invited to submit a pqa1 by Fri. May 23/08 to or to the attention of Rocky Serkowney, Program Officer, Department of Canadian Heritage, Ontario Region, 150 John St., Suite 400, Toronto ON M5V 3T6.

Need more info? In the GTA, contact Rocky Serkowney at 416.952.2651. Outside of the GTA, contact Mimi Lo at 519.645.5190.

On new shores: Int’l forum on issues of immigrant and refugee children, youth and families

The 2008 On New Shores: International Forum on Issues of Immigrant and Refugee Children, Youth and Families conference program is available. This is a tentative program, but we are thrilled to see so many sessions devoted to young immigrant children and their parents/families.

The conference will be held Nov 6-7/08 in Guelph, Ontario and is sponsored by Dr. Susan Chuang, Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph

Some of the events, sessions and workshops with Canadian content include:

Thurs. Nov 6th, Session 2:

Z Sonia Worotynec, Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth, Valerie Rhomberg, Canadian Mothercraft Society and Ken Setterington, Toronto Public Library on The Children’s Picture Book as Immigrant Literature

Poster sessions:

Alka Burman, Early Literacy Consultant, Peel Region: Providing an Anti-Bias Environment.

Fri. Nov 7th Keynote:

Janice MacAuley, Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs, Dr. Susan Chuang, FRAN, University of Guelph, Christopher Friesen, Canadian Immigration Settlement Sector Alliance: The Canadian Way: Welcoming Immigrant and Refugee Families

Fri. Nov 7th Session 4:

Judith Bernhard, Ryerson University: Por necesidad: Challenges of Multi-Local Parenting.

Mehru Ali, Ryerson University: Loss of Self-Effacacy among Immigrant Parents

Roma Chumak-Horbatsch, Ryerson University and and Z Sonia Worotynec, Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth: Immigrant Children in Toronto Child Care Centres: A Language Profile.

Visit Dr. Chuang’s webpage at the University of Guelph for more information.

BC literacy program for immigrant families/children

As part of WelcomeBC (the provincial immigration initiative) the Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, the Honourable Wally Oppal, announced last week funding for a literacy program for immigrant families with young children.

The Immigrant Parents As Literacy Supporters (Immigrant PALS) program is targeted to parents and preschool children who have been in Canada for at least 3 years. Immigrant PALS will be piloted in 7 neighbourhood schools in North Vancouver, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Langley and Surrey BC.

Programs will be tailored to specific languages, including Farsi, Karen, Mandarin, Punjabi and Vietnamese. Programs will run for 3 years and accommodate 25 families in 10 workshops a year.

From the press release:

“The language and literacy abilities of refugee and immigrant families impact every area of their lives, said Oppal. This program is another creative approach that WelcomeBC is taking to ensure the successful adaptation and integration of newcomers and their families to British Columbia”.

Immigrant PALS complements the province’s ReadNow BC and the StrongStart BC early learning programs. Visit this site to learn more.

Graduate student awards from CERIS

The  Joint Centre of Excellence in Immigration and Settlement (CERIS), the Ontario Metropolis Centre, is accepting applications from Ontario graduate students (Masters and Doctoral levels) for a graduate student research award. The award is to support research related to immigration and settlement that is Greater Toronto Area or Ontario-focused. Ten awards of up to $500 are available. 

See the CERIS website for information and the application form.

Deadline is May 20/08.

Diaspora and immigration: Fieldwork course in San Diego & Tijuana

In the summer of 2008, a special fieldwork course in immigration will be conducted by Edward M. Olivos, Department of Teacher Education, University of Oregon. The focus of the course (open to non-US citizens and non-Education majors) is how the US has responded to immigration and developed its immigration policy. Students of the course will travel between the US and Mexico. Of special interest to the Early Childhood Working Group, as part of the course, students will visit and meet with immigrant families in the US and in Mexico.

For more information, call 541-346-2983 or contact Edward M. Olivos.

Demography is destiny: New report by Canadian Centre for Policy Studies

The Canadian Centre for Policy Studies released a report yesterday, authored by James Bissett, titled Demography is Destiny: Towards a Canada-First Immigration Policy. In the report, Bissett, former Director-General of the Canada Immigration Service, outlines what he sees as the problems in the current immigration system and provides recommendations for improving it. He challenges the notion that immigration policy is not (good) population policy and allowing more immigrants into Canada will not solve the aging population ‘problem’ in Canada.

Does the report say anything about children? Yes. Bissett views the forming of ethnic enclaves as problematic for children and contributing to isolating children from (developing) Canadian culture:

“Children are being effectively cut-off from broader Canadian society, making the medium and perhaps even the long term prospect of successful integration much less certain. Strategies to encourage integration and assist in the process have not kept up with these changes”.

Some other comments on family reunification. Bissett’s recommendations include a call for a Royal Commission to examine this issue and – as he sees it – problem of integration. Other recommendations generally align with the proposed changes by the federal government. No surprise from the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies. updated, hosted by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre has updated its digital library and added the 2007 report by Save the Children UK, Legacy of Disasters: The Impact of Climate Change on Children. From the report:

Overall, natural disasters are likely to lead to unprecedented numbers of ‘environmental refugees’ or ‘environmentally displaced people’. Regions that rely most heavily on agriculture will be most affected; environmental migration is already most acute in sub-Saharan Africa, but millions of people in Asia and India are also on the move.

“The UN estimates that by 2010 there will be 50 million such people worldwide. Given the demographics of the countries most likely to be affected and the traditional composition of displaced populations, most environmentally displaced people will be women and children”.

Visit or Save the Children UK to read the report.

Refugee children in school

The National Post ran a story on refugee children in this weekend’s edition. The story is entitled “Refugee in a classroom“. A few quotes about learning in an environment where refugee students feel safe:

The teacher of the class, says: “It goes beyond just teaching…You’re dealing with the whole child, and you’re changing lives“.

A student comment: “We discuss things like racism, like religion, topics that create a lot of tension“.

One classroom teacher’s vision for equity for students in her school is realized. Let’s hope that this kind of understanding, analysis and action can be applied across the country so that all refugee and immigrant children (and their parents) are welcomed into schools.

Poll on demographic data and visible minorities

The Globe and Mail and CTV commissioned a poll through the Strategic Council on demographic data and visible minorities/immigrants. Dated April 14/08.

Some of the findings:

Question: Is accepting new immigrants of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds a defining and enriching part of our Canadian identity?

  • 30% agreed that “Accommodating so many new Canadians of such diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds means we have less in common as Canadians and that this weakens our sense of national identity”
  • 61% agreed that “Having all this diversity is actually a defining and enriching part of our Canadian identity and strengthen our sense of national identity”.

Question: Do Canadians feel new immigrants hold on to their customs and traditions for too long?

  • 45% agreed that “New Canadians hold on to their customs and traditions for too long when they come to Canada”.
  • 47% agreed that “New Canadians integrate into Canadian life at a natural and acceptable pace”.

& other findings:

  • 28% strongly agree that Canadians make too many accommodations to visible minorities in Canada
  • 22% strongly disagree that Canadians make too many accommodations to visible minorities in Canada

See more at the Strategic Council website.