Welcoming Communities Seminar, Ottawa

Metropolis Canada presents a seminar on Welcoming Communities on Jan 25/10 in Ottawa at Library and Archives Canada. The seminar is free, but an RSVP is required to project-metropolis@cic.gc.ca by January 11, 2010.

The seminar will address how Canadian communities can be more welcoming. From the announcement:

“In the years to come, the growth in multiculturalism will have a marked effect on the major urban centres of Vancouver, Montréal and Toronto (where within the next 10 years, 50% of the population will be visible minorities). The effects will also be felt in the smallest municipalities and in remote areas. Because social integration must be a two-way process, it requires an ongoing willingness on the part of both immigrants and the Canadian-born population to adapt. In order for this process to be successful, and for society to be strengthened as a result, Canada’s communities must be truly welcoming. Throughout the course of the day, this collective mission will be borne in mind as we attempt to clarify what “welcoming community” means. The notion of welcoming community will be examined under four themes: 1) the degree of which federal, provincial and municipal governments are proactive; 2) the role of non-governmental organizations; 3) the urban/rural divide; and 4) Francophone and Anglophone minority language communities”.

For more info, including registration, visit the Metropolis Canada website.

Make art, not war: Helping refugee children through art

An Iraqi/American mural project is a project of Iraq Art Mile (IAM)/Iraqi Children’s Art Exchange, (IACE) as part of The Art Miles Murals in support of the UNESCO Decade of Peace and Non-Violence among the world’s children. From the ICAE website, this description:

“IAM is sponsoring a series of murals to be painted both in the Middle East and in the US with the theme: Building a Culture of Peace: Who Are We/Who Are They. All the murals created for this project, along with documenting photographs, will be displayed in the US and in the Middle East. The exhibits will illuminate history and culture within the context of the lives, hopes, dreams and expectations of children and youth on both sides of the cultural and political divide that exists at this particular moment in history”.

In September, 2010, the murals will make their way to Egypt to mark the end of the Decade in a gala exhibition and celebration.

StatsCan study: Canadian immigrant labour market

Statistics Canada today released a study on the quality of employment in the Canadian immigrant labour market.

StatsCan finds that there were differences in indicators of quality between non-immigrants and immigrants, with immigrants experiencing, on average, lower wages than non-immigrants. But, for newcomers who made Canada their home for more than 10 years, the indicators “more closely resembled those of Canadian born”.

Again, immigrantchildren.ca finds that investigations into employment-related issues – and, especially, quality of employment experiences – neglects to include availability of high-quality, accessible child care as an indicator.

Child trafficking seminar, Toronto

The Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto presents a lecture on child trafficking by PhD candidate Antonela Arhin entitled “Children as Commodities: Human Trafficking, Transnational Flows and Markets”. From the announcement: “Explore the concept of human trafficking, its different forms and causes with an emphasis on child trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation within the context of supply and demand. Join us for a thought provoking discussion”.

The event will be held Thurs. Nov 26/09, 2-3:30 at the Jackman Humanities Building rm. 318 at the University of Toronto, 170 St. George St.. rsvp to claire.dunlop@utoronto.ca.

Multiple diversities: immigrant and refuge child identity, Toronto event

The Community Health Systems Resource Group, Learning Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children presents a symposium on Dec 1/09 on Multiple Diversities: Child/Youth Identity and Life Outcomes.

From the flyer: “How do the ways that we see young people affect the way they see themselves?  What are the impacts on their health and well being? How can we use existing knowledge to ensure optimal life outcomes for all of Canada’s immigrant and refugee children? This symposium will be of particular interest to:  educators, health care professionals, social service providers, policy makers, non governmental organizations, child/youth associations, researchers and students”.

The symposium will be held in the MaRS Discovery District, Toronto.

Conference call for papers: Children and war

Children and War: Past and Present is the title of an international, multidisciplinary conference to be held Sept 30-Oct 2/10 at the University of Salzburg, Austria.

An edited excerpt from the call:  “In recent years the volume of research on ‘Children and War’, by academics, governmental and non-governmental organisations and institutions as well as the media, has  continually increased. At the same time there has been a growing public interest in how children experience military conflicts and how their lives have been affected by war and its aftermath.

“Proposals which focus on any topic and theme on ‘Children and War’ are welcome, ranging from the experience of war, resettlement, trafficking, trauma and amnesia, the trans-generational impact of persecution, individual and collective memory, educational issues, films and documentaries, artistic and literary approaches, to remembrance and memorials, and questions of theory and methodology”.

Themes anticipated include children as witnesses and victims and child soldiers.

Abstracts of 200-250 words and bios of 50-100 words should be sent to conference co-cordinator Prof Johannes-Dieter Steinert, Modern European History and Migration Studies, University of Wolverhampton: j.d.steinert@wlv.ac.uk, as well as any requests for more information.

Britain apologizes to home children

Federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, The Honourable Jason Kenney, continues to get positive responses from media and, as translated by an Environics poll, average Canadians, for his revamped citizenship guide, released last week. The new guide, Discover Canada, outlines the rights and responsibilities of new immigrants to Canada, and provides a more in-depth look at Canadian history than the previous editions, including, much to Kenney’s (and his advisor’s) credit, some of the shameful ways immigrants have been treated in this country.

For example, the guide acknowledges that Chinese immigrants were welcome to build the national railway, but afterwards, “were subject to discrimination including the Head Tax, a race-based entry fee; the Government of Canada apologized in 2006 for this discriminatory policy” (p.20). The guide also acknowledges the “relocation of West Coast Japanese Canadians by the Canadian government, and the forcible sale of their property (during WWII)…The Government of Canada apologized for wartime wrongs inflicted on Japanese Canadians” (p. 23).

immigrantchildren.ca welcomed the release of the new revised guide last week and hoped that it would include acknowledgment of the treatment of the “home children” – the approximately 100,000 children who were sent to Canada in a child emigration scheme and who were, as history tells us, routinely neglected, abused and often worked to their deaths. The new citizenship guide did not include mention of these littlest immigrants.

immigrantchildren.ca was delighted to read that the British government has apologized to the home children it sent away (see, for example, this piece in the National Post). A spokesperson from the organization Home Children Canada welcomed the news and demands such an apology from the Canadian government. The apology is not forthcoming.

The “home children” represent another shameful period in Canada’s history and also merits acknowledgment – in the next edition of Discover Canada, in the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, in a permanent display at Pier 21, in history text books and in an apology.

In two days, Canada will celebrate National Child Day and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. To keep moving forward on child rights, Canada needs to admit to its historic wrongs.

York University (Toronto) annual summer course on refugee and forced migration studies

This year’s Summer Course on Refugee and Forced Migration Issues by the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University will be held May 8-16/10 at the Keele Campus. Fee is $975 Cdn, if you register before Feb 26/10 (fee goes up to $1100 after that date).

For more information, visit the conference course website , email summer@yorku.ca and refer back to previous postings at immigrantchildren.ca.

International Migration Studies at Georgetown University

Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies in Washington DC announces a certificate in International Migration Studies. The certificate program includes courses in:

Canadians are welcome to register. For more information, visit the Georgetown University website.

New citizenship guide for new Canadians

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism today released an updated guide to Canadian Citizenship. Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.

The launch of the “study guide” (last published in 1997) was held at the Terry Fox Centre, where Minister Kenney talked about inspiration, fortune and his vision for modern Canada. The announcement – and guide – provide a generous nod to Canada’s military history and major events (the 1997 edition skipped quite a bit of this, including Vimy Ridge, Juno Beach, Dieppe). The guide also does not shy away from some shameful periods in Canada’s past, such as the residential schools for Aboriginal children, the Internment of Japanese Canadians and the Chinese Exclusion Act, but I was disappointed to not see mention of the home children.

Canadian history must acknowledge the home children – some 100,000 children taken from their homeland and brought to our shores to serve labour needs that Canadians could not or would not take on (sound familiar?). A great many of these children were younger than 10 years old and lived lives of brutality. These children were not adopted in the sense of how we use the word today, but taken, often bought and treated as chattel.  I’ll be lobbying the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to include an exhibit on the home children. Who’s with me?

Consultation on child care for newcomer families

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has funded the organization CMAS (Childminding Monitoring Advisory Support) to conduct a national consultation of the settlement community, including immigrant serving organizations, Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) administrators and childminders, towards the development of a new child care model for newcomer families. The consultation process includes an online survey and teleconferences. See the CMAS website for information and details.