Blog Action Day ’08 – Poverty is participating in today’s Blog Action Day ’08 – Poverty

Blog Action Day is an annual non-profit event that unites the world’s bloggers, videographers, writers and activists to take action on the same issue on the same day, and “trigger a global discussion”.

For immigrant children and their families in Canada, poverty is certainly an issue. In their annual report on the state of Canada’s children, Campaign 2000 last year highlighted that children of recent immigrants are more likely to live in poverty in their report, It Takes a Nation to raise a Generation.

Community Foundations of Canada annual report card Canada’s Vital Signs 2008 also highlights the issue of poverty among immigrant families. 

A related upcoming event: The Canadian Council on Social Development is holding their first Canadian Social Forum on poverty in Calgary May 19-22/09. Delegates might consider raising the issue of poverty among immigrant families with young children.

Chronic disease among immigrants: Call for evaluations

As posted on CLICK4HP:

Evaluation reports/papers of chronic disease prevention and control programs/interventions targeted to immigrants and ethnocultural groups are being requested to contribute to the Canadian Public Health Agency, Chronic Disease and Prevention Best Practices Portal. Published as well as unpublished evaluations of both Canadian and international programs are welcome. Programs that may influence chronic disease are also of interest. Questions/information: Henna Aslam –

Right to Play at the OPHEA conference

Right to Play will be presenting their curriculum Learning to Play, Playing to Learn at the Oct 17-18/08 Ontario Physical Health and Education Association (OPHEA) conference

It is heartening to see the description of the session highlighting the rights of the child:

“Activities feature an exploration of children around the world, the countries they live in and a study of our rights and responsibilities in the world community”.

Attending to the health of immigrant children, the online Q&A site from the Hospital for Sick Children, posted a piece about immigrant children’s health on August 8/08. An excerpt:

“Immigrant children may arrive with health problems that went untreated in their native country; they may speak neither English nor French; they may have different beliefs about health and illness and different expectations of the health system. Even the climate may be completely unfamiliar. For refugees, often fleeing hunger, violence, and chaos in their home countries, the challenges are still greater.

“After they arrive in Canada, immigrant children may find themselves living in an area with high crime rates, poor public transportation, and few stores that sell familiar, affordable food. Their parents may have to work long hours for low pay, sometimes at more than one job, meaning less time spent together as a family. The family must adjust to a new school system and find health care providers they trust. In all cases, there is an intense period of adjustment in their new country during which less than optimal attention may be paid to routine health issues.

“Despite these challenges, many immigrant children adapt and do well. But still, too often, immigrant children’s needs are not adequately met”.

The piece is co-authored by Denis Daneman, MB, BCh, FRCP(C) and Elizabeth Lee Ford-Jones, MD, FRCP(C).

Sick Kids Hospital paediatric health conference

Toronto-based Hospital for Sick Children is holding a conference on September 19th entitled Everyday Diversity: Better Paediatric Health Outcomes. Conference goals are to: increase awareness of diversity within a paediatric health care setting; identify issues that influence practice and patient outcomes; develop strategies to address diversity and enhance the quality of care for children.

A call for posters has been issued. Poster themes are to address diversity and its influence on relations, practice and patient outcomes in relation to:

Clinical excellence and strategies promoting: a healthy work environment; family centered care

Education innovations addressing patient and family or staff needs

Research innovations addressing vulnerable patient populations and staff needs

Health policy imperatives that build capacity: for health HR; for patients and family health; for the broader health care system.

Send 250 word maximum abstract to Deadline is August 19.

Canadian Public Health Association conference: Sessions on immigrant children and families

The Canadian Public Health Association is holding its annual conference this year in Halifax, Nova Scotia from June 1-4. Sessions on or related to immigrant children and families include:

Immigrant and Migrant Health – I

Development of a framework to examine the determinants of health among Canadian immigrants, with Marie DesMeules

Studying intra-metropolitan health disparities in Canada: how and why globalization matters, with Ted Schrecker

Migration, Health and equity issues for Canada in the context of global migration, with Janet Hatcher Roberts

Using administrative data to analyze the health experience of African Nova Scotians, with Mikiko Terashima

Focus on Children’s Health

Children immigrants’ risk of physical inactivity according to family origin and length of residency, with Mathieu Bélanger

Immigrant and Migrant Health – II

Meanings of health, illness and help-seeking strategies among punjabi-speaking immigrants, with Beatrice McDonough

Migration and perinatal health surveillance: An international DELPHI survey, with Anita Gagnon

Migration to industrialized countries and perinatal health: A systematic review, with Anita Gagnon

Childbearing migrant women and equal access to research participation, with Amy Low

For more information, see the PDF program.

Multilingual parent resource sheets from, (see blog entry here March 19/08), has published a series of parent resource sheets in ten languages, including: Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Hindi, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil and Vietnamese.

Topics include: Building active habits, Family routines, Parents at play, Promoting positive behaviour, and Supporting children’s play. is a collaboration of the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs and settlement agencies across Canada.

Call for presentations: Diversity and well-being conference, Calgary

The Calgary Health Region has issued a call for presentations for its 5th annual Diversity and Wellbeing Conference. This year’s theme is The Diverse Faces of Mental Health and will be held Nov 20-21/08 at Mount Royal College in Calgary Alberta.

The conference brings together health researchers, practitioners, policy makers and community members/organizations to share best practices in addressing the mental health needs of individuals, families and communities. The conference is an ideal place to raise issues of immigrant/refugee children and families and acknowledge/address the conditions under which they emigrate to Canada.

Topics welcome include:

  • innovations in mental health services to populations
  • mental health needs of diverse communities
  • the role of spirituality in mental health
  • the implications of current health policies and practices in diverse communities
  • incorporating the lived experiences of diverse populations in research and decision making.

Deadline for submission is June 27th 2008.

Contact for a copy of the application form.

April 17-18 York U conference: Rethinking the mosaic: Immigration, settlement and the lived experience

At the end of February, this blog posted notice about and a call for proposals for the York University Graduate School Conference, “Rethinking the Mosaic: Immigration, Settlement and the Lived Experience”. The conference program has now been posted. I am happy to report that children and families are addressed in this conference, including:

The opening plenary includes Mehru Ali, CERIS domain leader in Family, Children and Youth, and Professor at the School of Early Childhood Education, Ryerson University

A day 2 workshop in the Health and Well-Being section includes Fatima Kediye, School of Early Childhood Education, Ryerson University on the topic of “Somali-Canadian mothers of young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder”. 

Also on day 2, a series of workshops on the Experiences of Immigrant/Transnational Families, including:

  • Christina Parker, OISE/UT on the topic of “Canadian children, immigrant parents: Young ‘Canadians’ research their cultural identity”.
  • Lan Zhong, University of Windsor on “The role of the father in Chinese immigrant families”. 
  • Yvette Michele Gnanamuttu, McGill University, on “Inter-ethnic adoption: In whose best interests?”. 
  • Marina Morgenshtern, Wilfrid Laurier University, on “Witnessing the socio-political stories of immigrant couples”. 

The conference takes place this upcoming week – April 17-18/08. See the CERIS website for more information and to download the complete conference program.

War, immigration and trauma: Sick Kids Hospital conference

The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto is hosting a two-day conference May 16-17/08 on the theme of War, Immigration and Trauma. Features speakers are:

Dr. Cecile Rousseau, Head, Transcultural Child Psychiatry Clinic, Montreal Children’s Hospital, on “Trauma as a Transformation Process” and Olara A. Otunnu, UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, on “Protecting our Children from the Scourge of War”.

Also featured will be 3 expert panels:

• Child Development: Interactions with Armed Conflict and Migration
• Therapeutic Interventions: Talking with Children, Talking with Parents
• Moving to the Next Level: Implications for Policy & Practice.

For more information, see the conference website or contact Cathy Ditizio, Conference Administrator at:

Through the eyes of a child: Refugee children speak about violence

The Child Rights Information Network regular e-bulletin has announced the availability of a new resource entitled Through the eyes of a child – refugee children speak about violence.

From CRIN: “Life for any refugee can be difficult; life for a child refugee is doubly difficult. As one young refugee told the UN refugee agency: ‘We are always living in fear’.”

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees organized a series of workshops over 3 years on the issues facing refugee children in 8 countries in Southern African. The workshops involved refugee children, honouring the United Convention on the Rights of the Child article 12 on the child’s right to participate.

UNHCR used a participatory assessment approach, involving children through art, asking children to express themselves through drawings.

“UNHCR sought to give refugee children a voice in defining and resolving their problems, and to ensure that their voice was heard by adults. Thus an important outcome of the participatory assessments was that the attention of camp and related personnel, as well as parents and caretakers, was drawn to the needs and rights of children and their obligation to fulfil them,” the report said.” The study concluded that the greatest impact of the participatory assessments was to give a voice to the children, which increased their self-confidence and the respect they received from adults. Field staff report concrete improvements in the lives of children and the approach is now being used by UNHCR in other areas of the world”.

For more information, contact: United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Case Postale 2500, CH-1211 Geneva 2 Depot, Switzerland, Tel: +41.22.739.8111.