Metropolis conference: Immigration and diversity. Crossroads of culture, engine of economic development

The 12th annual Metropolis conference will be held March 18-20, 2010 in Montreal. The theme this year is Immigration and Diversity: Crossroads of Culture, Engine of Economic Development. is pleased to see so many workshops and roundtables addressing issues related to newcomer families and young children, including:

Transnational Families: Where race, culture and adoption intersect, by Susan Crawford, lead for the Halton Multicultural Council project “Transracial Parenting Initiative”. From the abstract: “This workshop presents research on transracial and transnational families created through adoption across Canada. Presentations examine cultural enrichment through adoption, gaps in delivering pre- and post-adoption services and the needsof transracial familites; and adult adoptees’ complex experiences and understandings of ethno-racial identity”.

Conflict and Violence in Immigrant Families, by Madine VanderPlaat, St. Mary’s University. From the abstract: “This workshop will examine issues related to gender, conflict and violence within immigrant families. Participants will discuss the factors that contribute to stressors as well as the challenges and opportunities for culturally competent social responses”.

Health and Access to it for Migrants after Birth, by Anita Gagnon, Denise Bradshaw, Marlo Turner-Ritchie. From the abstract: “Tri-city (Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal) data on the health and service needs of refugee, asylum-seeking, non-refugee immigrant and Canadian-born women and their infants during pregnancy, at birth and during the first four months after birth will be presented in conjunction with potential policy responses to these date”.

School, Community and Collaborative Practice: Fostering the Integration of Immigrant and Refguee Youth in the Canadian School Context, by Sophie Yohani, N. Ernest Khalema. From the abstract: “Creating welcoming communities in educational settings is vital for newcomer students who may have a history that hinders adaptation. This workshop brings together academic researchers, non-profit practitioners, a government program officer, and a graduate student who share expertise in community-based collaborative practice to address the adaptation of refugee and immigrant students in the Canadian school context”.

Taking Care into Consideration: Local and Transnational Implications for Families, Children and Youth, by Alexandra Dobrowolsky and Evangelia Tastsoglou. From the abstract: “Familial networks, local and transnational, are critical to immigrants’ decision-making processes. The accommodation of care concerns (care of children, elderly parents, etc). also becomes a key consideration for migrants, especially for women. This workshop explores the repercussions of familial networks, and the complex negotiation of care concerns vis-a-vis attraction and retention”.

For more details on the above, see the conference program page.

Call for papers: Caribbean mothering

From the Association for Research on Mothering (ARM) a call for papers on Caribbean mothering to be published Fall, 2012. From the call: “This anthology will examine the diverse and complex experiences of motherhood and mothering from a broad, interdisciplinary perspective. We welcome submissions that explore the major cultural, political, historical, and economic factors such as migration and transnationalism that influence the lives of Caribbean mothers. Further, we encourage writings that represent the relationships between Caribbean mothers and their children”.

Abstracts of 250 words and a 50 word bio should be sent by Aug 1/10 to editors D. Smith Silva and S.A. James Alexander at For more information, see the ARM website.

Feds seek input into changes to the live-in caregiver program

As reported in various media, the federal Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism has introduced changes to the live-in caregiver program (LCP). See for example, The Toronto Star’s “Good package of changes to live-in caregivers” (Dec 22/09). Briefly, changes being proposed include:

  • Four years of work to complete the two-year requirement for application for permanent residence
  • Overtime hours to be calculated in the above
  • One medical exam, at time of application to participate in the LCP
  • Travel costs to be paid by the employee
  • A telephone help-line for caregivers.

The details on proposed changes can be found in the Canada Gazette and/or the CIC website. Details were published on Dec 19/09. Comments will be accepted up until Jan 18, 2010 and should be directed to:

Maia Welbourne, Director, Temporary Resident Policy and Program Development Division
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
8th floor, Jean Edmonds Tower South
365 Laurier Avenue W, Ottawa ON K1A 1L1
Tel: 613.957.0001
Fax: 613.954.0850

Selected related items:

Temporary Foreign Workers and Non-Status Workers – Report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (May 2009)

Gender-based barriers to settlement and integration for live-in caregivers: A review of the literature by Denise Spitzer and Sara Torres (Nov 2009)

Filipino Child-rearing: Method’s Cafe session at the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies, UofT

The Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto is hosting a series of sessions to discuss innovative research methods. See the website for a full list of speakers. All sessions are held Fridays from 12 to 1:00 pm in the CDTS conference room, Jackman Humanities building, room 235 at the UofT. Refreshments.

Of interest to us at is the session scheduled for January 15, 2010 entitled “Archiving Intimacy: The Politics and Pragmatics of Investigating Colonial Interventions into Filipino Child-rearing Practices”, with guest speak Bonnie McElhinny.

Francophone female refugees separated from their children, a study

The Ontario Metropolis Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration Studies (CERIS) has released its latest Policy Matters issue. The Sept 2009 edition is a summary of a report entitled An Analysis of the challenges faced by francophone female refugees living in Ontario and separated from their chilren.

Authors Emile Greon, Michele Kerist, and Francosie Magunira examine the challenges faced by Francophone refugee mothers in Ontario who are separated from their children. The authors make several recommendations for policy change, including:

1) Allow children and spouses to join women refugee claimants, and have their paperwork process from within Canada.
2)  Improve the availability of legal information about family reunification in French.
3)  Ease the bureaucratic process.
4)  Create positions for case workers to follow individual cases and track delays.
5) Enact an “action plan” to systematically present the findings to all stakeholders within one year.

The study was funded by the Ontario Movement for Francophone Immigrant Women.

‘Waiting for my children’ art exhibit

Settlement Arts, a new Toronto-based organization established to raise awareness and increase education on immigration and settlement issues presents their first exhibit “Waiting for My Children”, a collaboration between Curator Lisa Wyndels, Photographer Anna  Hill and Editor, Sally Dundas.

From the description:

There are parents in our community who are forced to wait for many years to be joined by their children, after they first arrived in Canada as immigrants or refugees.

The impact of the separation of children from parents is profound, and increasingly so as the period of waiting becomes prolonged.  A period of separation of many years creates risks of children being exposed to multiple harms, including severe psychological damage. We know of instances of depression, suicide attempt, and even death.  Children who arrive in Canada after years of separation from a parent are often at real risk of not integrating well, either into family or into society.

The show runs from May 13-23 at 1080 Queen St. W. For more info, visit the website.

Mothering and migration: (Trans)nationalism, globalization & displacement

Call for papers for a conference from the Association for Research on Mothering (ARM), as posted on the mnchp-l listserv: Mothering and Migration: (Trans)nationalisms, Globalization, and Displacment. The conference will be held February 18-20, 2010 at the University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico.

Submissions are welcome from scholars, students, activists, government agencies and workers, artists, mothers, and others who work or research in the area. Cross-cultural, historical and comparative work is encouraged. Topics can include (but not limited to):

Representations/images of mothers and migration and (trans)national issues; globalization of motherhood; empowering migrant mothers; reproduction and movement of mother workers; migrant and (trans)national mothers and capitalism; migrant and (trans)national mothers and activism; public policy issues.

For more information, contact the ARM at or 416.736.2100 ext 60366. Or visit the ARM website. Abstract and bio deadline is Sept 1/09.

George Brown College summer institute 2009

Many workshops at the annual George Brown College Summer Institute this year (held in Toronto) address issues of diversity, including:

Listening to Families: Presenting findings from a research project that demonstrates effective strategies for service providers in meeting the values and priorities of diverse families. Presented by Dr. Mehru Ali, Ryerson University.

See the web page at George Brown for the full details of the 2009 Summer Institute.

The early years study ~ 10 years later

The landmark Early Years Study, subtitled The Real Brain Drain, was released on April 20, 1999.

See also a “very brief history” of the Early Years Study posted on the Health Nexus Santé (formerly the Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse) blog in March 2005, including links to the follow-up report The Early Years Study: Three Years Later, recounting how the early years initiative was rolled out in Ontario via the Ontario Early Years Centres.

Fraser Mustard and the Council on Early Child Development continue to work to raise awareness of and support for an early childhood learning and care program for all children and their families across Canada as the first tier to the formal school system.

See the upcoming conference sponsored by the Council on Early Child Development May 13-15 in New Brunswick, Putting Science into Action: Equity from the Start Through Early Child Development.

How responsive have the Ontario Early Years Centres been to immigrant and refugee families and young children?

TVO and HIPPY partner for immigrant children’s literacy and language development

Announced yesterday, TVO and HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) will partner to develop and deliver literacy programming for newcomer children. From the press release:

Phase I of the partnership, currently underway, involves the integration of new TVO resources for early learners into HIPPY’s in-home training programs for parents.HIPPY home visitors will now be using special epidsodes of Gisèle’s Book Club, helping kids and parents discover together the joys of reading and diversity as well as the complete Gisèle’s Big Backyard Get Ready for School DVD and CD-ROM, which helps demystify the transition from preschool to kindergarten.

For phase II TVO is creating a user-friendly online community set to launch in the Fall of 2009. The site will focus on two key areas of need: delivering skill-based literacy tools that parents can use with their children and addressing the challenges and opportunities related to instilling a sense of cultural identity in New Canadian children as they prepare for Ontario’s school system. Web content will include panel discussions on cultural identity; video profiles of New Canadians telling their stories; instructional videos on How to Read with Your Child … as well as a variety of interactive opportunities, research articles and multi-lingual resources.

My New Home, TVO documentary about immigrant children

From the press release:

TVO examines the immigrant experience through a child’s eyes in a special interactive event beginning with part one of the two part documentary, My New Home. The film is followed by a live, interactive webcast discussion on Your Voice at on the immigrant experience in Ontario. This event airs during Belong or Bust: Where Do I Fit In?, a week of premier documentaries, dramas and current affairs programs that explore a variety of viewpoints on the themes of culture and identity and our place in society.

My New Home premieres Sunday March 22 at 8pm and again on Sunday March 29 at 8pm on TVO. Directed by Daisy Asquith and produced by Ricochet Productions.

Gender-based barriers to settlement and integration for live-in caregivers: A review of the literature

The Ontario Metropolis Centre/the Joint Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration Studies (CERIS) has released a literature review on barriers to integration and settlement for live-in caregivers.

Authors Denise L. Spitzer and Sara Torres ask what is known about the women who migrate to Canada under the federal live-in caregiver program and the barriers they face in settling and integrating in a new community. The paper provides historical, economic and demographic information and concludes with several policy recommendations.