Your municipal government wants to improve the way we communicate with Torontonians. Accountability, openness and transparency are critical to the relationship between Torontonians and their government. In Toronto, the democratic process is central to how urban planning operates in the city. It cannot be ignored, delayed or influenced by wealth.
We are committed to upholding these principles by expanding on the democratic process to include residents in the decision-making process. That’s why the public’s input is so important in determining how the city grows, whether through transit projects like the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension, the growth of neighbourhoods such as North York Centre or street level improvements along the Eglinton LRT.
When a project is constructed in your area, there are four criteria that are considered: the details of the proposed development; planning policy; municipal planning laws (zoning & bylaws); and the input provided by those involved including YOU as a local community member, City staff and individual applicants.
Seeking a balance between community input, planning policies and laws helps Toronto achieve results that reflect the needs of the local community, while also helping us to achieve important goals like reducing sprawl, and creating more liveable, walkable communities.
For more information about Growing Conversations, check our website at www.toronto.ca/growingconversations. There, you can access all project materials, and under the “Have Your Say” tab, you can join the discussion and provide your feedback. We look forward to hearing from you!
MONTREAL–The Coalition Against Precarious Work, Monday, July 14, delivered a letter to the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion of Quebec Kathleen Weil regarding the recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP), in an effort to defend the rights of all workers impacted by them.
The Coalition, composed of the Temporary Agency Workers Association, Temporary Foreign Workers Association, PINAY, Immigrant Workers Centre of Montreal, Dignidad Migrante, Mexican United for the Regularization, and The Spanish Immigrants Collective of Montreal , wanted a response on “how the provincial government will be accountable in reacting positively to better protect migrant workers given that the federal changes to the program will entrench precarity even further for migrants and drive down labour conditions for all,” the statement said.
The Coalition said the changes are ambiguous and with unclear effects upon foreign worker rights and upon other Quebec workers.
“Some of the modifications include that the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is increasing from $275 to $1,000 for every temporary foreign worker position requested by an employer. This measure will decrease possibilities of migrant workers to find employment if they stop working with an employer.
This measure also increases their vulnerability and the pressure to accept work and labour conditions more and more hard and precarious. But also the new LMIA – which replaces the LMO – is more rigorous than their predecessor, then finding a new job or employer for migrant workers will be harder.
“At the same time, the duration of work permits will be reduced from the current two-year standard duration to one-year periods as set out in the Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) which means more reduction of migrant workers ́ possibilities to find a job in Canada. But also employers seeking to hire high-wage temporary foreign workers will now be required to submit transition plans to demonstrate how they will increase efforts to hire Canadians, including through higher wages, investments in training, and more active recruitment efforts to recruit Canadians within Canada. This measure obviously is creating worst conditions for foreign workers to compete and access to better paid jobs and with less precarity,” the letter said.
“In this sense, the new regulations worsen the work conditions and labour rights of foreign workers,” the letter added.
As Noé Arteaga says “The debate about the abuses made against foreign workers has been manipulated by the government and the conservative and traditional media. They make the people believe that the ‘abuses’ are committed by employers and enterprises resulting in foreign workers displacing and taking jobs from Canadian citizens. Actually the abuses are those committed by enterprises and employers against foreign workers inside the programs.”
In the case of the Live-in Caregiver Program, there is uncertainty among workers about the possible changes to come.
According to Jasmin Calzada, member of PINAY, “it is unclear which modifications the Live-in Caregiver Program will suffer and how workers of this program will be affected.”
The presentation of the Coalition’s letter was covered by mainstream media, including Global News.
After announcing changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program last month, Employment Minister Jason Kenney raised the possibility of removing the right to permanent residency to caregivers in the Live-In Caregiver, claiming that Filipino families were abusing the program for family reunification.
“Instead of being a program of family reunification, our study shows that the program is actually one of family separation,” says Dr. Ethel Tungohan, co-investigator of the Gabriela Transitions Experiences Survey. “Taking away these women’s right to permanent residency will create significant harms to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist.”
In a direct challenge to Kenney’s claims, the national study of 631 former and current live-in caregivers shows that the vast majority were recruited to Canada through employment agencies. Only one in ten recent caregivers were hired by relatives.
The study suggests that over half all live-in caregivers in Canada are separated from their children while they perform their caregiving duties in Canada. The study also reveals worsening processing times for permanent residency applications, and serious system-level barriers changes that have an impact on caregiver’s right to permanent residency would have serious consequences for the integration of live-in caregivers and their families to Canada.
“These women are highly educated, providing child and elderly care in the absence of a national care strategy and are often working in very difficult situations,” notes Dr. Tungohan.
“Canadian families and caregivers fought hard for live-in caregivers’ right to permanent residency years ago. Taking that right away would be a serious step backwards.”
The Gabriela Transitions Experiences Survey (GATES) is a national survey of current and former live-in caregivers in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The purpose of GATES is to gather information about the experiences of the Filipino women who are transitioning to life as a Canadian permanent resident from the Live-In Caregiver Program. GATES is a community partnership between Ryerson University and York University, and led by GABRIELA Ontario as its main community organization partner.
By Veronica C. Silva
Some Filipino youth groups in Toronto recently gathered for an afternoon of cultural presentations and talks to commemorate the struggles of Filipinos worldwide.
On the occasion of the third annual Diwa ng Kasarinlan event last weekend, Anakbayan-Toronto renewed their partnership with the Filipino Canadians Association at Ryerson (FCAR) to celebrate Philippine independence.
Organizers said Diwa ng Kasarinlan is held every July in time for the commemoration of the founding of the Katipunan, the revolutionary movement founded by Andres Bonifacio on July 7. The movement is considered the impetus for the Philippine Revolution that eventually led to the proclamation of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898.
Despite the distance from the Philippines and more than a century after the official declaration of Philippine Independence, the Pinoy youth in Toronto said they need to remind one another that they are still Filipinos by heart and the struggle for genuine independence back home still continues.
“We are trying to bring back the history of struggle of Andres Bonifacio at ng mga kasama niya sa Katipunan at ma-i-connect ito sa mga contemporary issues ngayon (and his companions in the Katipunan and connect these to recent contemporary issues),” said Rhea Gamana, chairperson, Anakbayan-Toronto, in an interview.
She also told participants: “We have to be proud of our history. We have to be proud of the struggles that our forefathers have done in the past and how are these connected to our contemporary times. We have to be proud of our history… that made Filipinos much stronger in advancing the struggles of today.”
Speakers at the event noted that the Filipino youth should continue to resist the exploitation and injustices that are still being experienced by our kababayans in the Philippines and abroad.
“Bakit pa rin tayo nag-re-resist? Dahil sa mga nangyayari sa Pilipinas, katulad ng kawalan ng edukasyon. (Why are we still resisting? Because of the struggles in the Philippines and what’s happening here (in Toronto), such as the lack of education opportunities.) Education is a right and not a privilege. This is what Anakbayan Toronto has always been pushing for,” said Gamana.
Speakers at the event raised some issues that should concern Toronto’s Pinoy youths, such as the exploitation of Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad, the struggles and challenges of immigrant Pinoy youths studying in Canada, and some health issues.
Christopher Sorio, vice-chair, Migrante Canada, noted that the annual event is significant for the youth in Toronto as the event is “one festival organized by the youth for the Filipino people.”
“A lot of Filipino festivals in Toronto are organized by old people for old people. So this is what makes Diwa a very meaningful and powerful message. Because we always say in the Philippines ‘Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating bayan.’ (The youth of the today is the future of the country.) And since we’re abroad, the future of the Filipino community in Canada.”
He urged the youth in Toronto to continue to resist the challenges facing Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad — challenges that include exploitation and the labour export policy of the Philippines that has seen almost 5,000 Filipinos leaving the country every day due to the lack of opportunities back home.
“This is why close to 600,000 Filipinos have gone to Canada – not for the snow, not for the CN Tower,” he added.
Paulina Corpuz of Philippine Advancement Through Arts & Culture (PATAC) also shared with the audience — composed of mature and Pinoy youths alike — some of the results of the study of Pinoy youths about their struggles about coping in Canada. The study was the Filipino Youth in Transitions in Canada (FYTIC), which revealed that Filipino youth are having difficulty successfully finishing post-secondary school.
Corpuz, a mother and candidate for trustee in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (Ward 12), said that as a parent, the study results are “alarming” since the study results show that among the different migrant groups, the Filipino youth are not doing as well as their counterparts in other migrant groups.
For its part, FCAR said it will continue to work with Anakbayan-Toronto to bring to the attention of Filipinos in Canada the ongoing struggles of the Filipino people.
“FCAR, we’re quick to jump on Diwa ng Kasarinlan. It’s a good way for us to show the youth, our students, the struggle (of the Filipino people), the history (of our people) in an engaging way,” said Willarie Maranan, cultural director, FCAR.
Cultural presentations included poetry reading from the literary anthology Akdaan, a song by Panday Sining, and hip hop songs by the Southeast Cartel.]]>
York U – Casj collaboration
By Philip Kelly and Catherine Mulas
On June 23rd the Filipino Youth Transitions in Canada (FYTIC) research project hosted a discussion of its results and recommendations at York University. Over 40 community leaders, social service providers and educators attended the event.
Some key findings from the project are available in a report presented to the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (http://tinyurl.com/pjkf7kw).
The event at York focused on the reasons for low levels of university attendance among Filipino youth, especially among boys.
With the collective expertise assembled at the meeting, some important insights were expressed. The following suggestions emerged:
Teachers and schools need to reach out to Filipino parents to encourage engagement and participation in schools. This needs to be done in ways that recognize their heavy work schedules. With so many parents finding themselves in low paid, precarious work, and holding down multiple jobs, school engagement and family time with children can be a challenge.
Extended families can play an important role, especially grandparents. Even those without grandparents in Canada could benefit from ‘volunteer lolos/lolas’ who could spend time to mentor them. Programs to facilitate these connections could help connect youth with their Filipino heritage.
Many Filipino parents are working in relatively low wage jobs, so financial support for post-secondary education is important. With this in mind, parents and students need to be made more aware of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), loans need to be made more accessible, and repayment terms need to be lengthened so that debt levels are not a deterrent to university education.
Filipino male youth have distinctive attributes – both problems and talents. Youth workers need more specialized training in order to be able to meet the needs of this community.
Role models need to be made available to Filipino youth to inspire them to aim high in their educational and career aspirations. Programs are needed to bring together young Filipinos with those from the community who offer examples of success. Such programs would also offer networking opportunities to make youth aware of a wide range of career options.
The Live-In Caregiver program leads, in many cases, to several years of family separation, thereby adding to the challenges faced by newcomer youth. Processing times under the program need to be minimized, or better still, caregivers should be given permanent residency upon arrival.
There is often a gulf between newcomer youth from the Philippines, and Filipino-Canadian youth who have grown up here. These two groups have a great deal to learn from each other and programs that bring them together should be supported.
Curriculum materials need to be available to teachers so that they can incorporate examples from the Philippines into their teaching of the Ontario curriculum, especially in schools with large numbers of Filipino students. This helps youth to identify with, and take pride in, their heritage.
The Filipino Youth Transitions in Canada project is a community-university collaboration between York University and the Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ). The project will continue to produce reports from its findings in the coming months. For more information, contact Dr Philip Kelly, Principal Investigator (email@example.com).]]>
FILIPINO-CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF BRANTFORD MARK
By Rachelle Abubo-Szenkowski
BRANTFORD, ON–In the early evening of July 2, it was all about folk dancing and devouring traditional Filipino food as Filipino Canadian Association of Brantford (FCAB) celebrated its fifth annual Brantford International Villages.
The four-day summer festival started as a salute to the 100th anniversary of the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1874. Since then it has continued as a successful annual multicultural festival that now celebrates its 41st year.
The board members of the International Villages proudly announced that the festival was voted a Top Festival in Ontario at the Festival and Events Conference in Toronto.
Nayong Pilipino or Philippine Village drew an estimated 800 plus people to United Church at 120 Sydenham St. The visitors were greeted with the sight of exquisite flower arrangement and exotic bougainvillea courtesy of the Village Mayor Inday Van Dyk. There were sari-sari store where visitors purchased their unique and beautiful handmade crafts, sorbetes cart, halo-halo station and a stage decorated with bamboo and colorful bandiritas.
The Honorable Dave Levac, MPP (Brant), Councillor Vince Bucci, and Brantford City Mayor Chris Friel were among the guests. Politicians were in awe as they witnessed the rhythmic clapping of bamboo poles of Tinikling, the regal dance of Singkil and the flower formation of bulaklakan to name a few. Other dances were Itik-itik, Salakot, Maglalatik, Sayaw sa bangko, Planting rice and Binasuan. Hats off to Lilia Baluyot’s and Jennifer Fabe’s cultural choreography.
Possibly the most entertaining village, every single evening was certainly the chicest. Volunteers and committee members were clad in traditional Filipiniana look, mestiza terno, kimona, abaca shawl, embroidered piña and barong tagalog for men.
Quiapo! Quiapo! of Mississauga served an array of delicious dishes for the duration of the festivities. Aside from their famous Lechon, their irresistible chicken adobo has been the village talk of the town. According to Cristina de Leon-Culp there was a mom and a little girl who were in line for food on Friday evening and the little girl had been nagging her since she woke up to take her to the Philippine Village for the chicken adobo.
In her concluding remarks, Attorney Cristina de Leon-Culp who is the epitome of beauty, brains and sophistication, said, “Apart from the performance we saw, there is an entire village of committed, dedicated, talented and hardworking volunteers including the parents of the performers, village committee. We thank everyone for their volunteer hours, amazing efforts, general services and contribution which made this program and the Philippine Village as a home possible, MABUHAY!”]]>
Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, as well as church and human rights groups on Mindanao, an island in the Philippines, invited KAIROS to organize the Philippines Learning Tour to review evidence of numerous alleged human rights violations associated with Canadian mining operations on the island. Documented violations include kidnapping, arrest, illegal detention, torture, displacement, loss of livelihood, intimidation, threats and harassment.
Delegates will visit mining-affected sites, meet with community members, including victims and their families, church leaders, local governments, and mining company representatives. They will also meet with officials from the Canadian Embassy in Manila.
First Nations representatives from Canada will include George Poitras, a member of Mikisew Cree First Nation and former Chief. Poitras lives in Fort Chipewyan in Northern Alberta where the community is calling for a comprehensive and independent review of the health impacts of oil sands development affecting its residents. Linda Wilson, an Indigenous leader from the Grand Valley reserve in Ontario, and Gloria Lepine, a Cree from the Meti Nation, will also join the tour.
“The information and stories we gather on the tour will be used to help Canadians better understand the impact of Canadian mining in the Philippines,” says Ed Bianchi, KAIROS’ program manager. “Canadians have a right to know.”
KAIROS Canada works with partners in the Philippines, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala and Colombia that are raising awareness of the ecological and social impacts of resource extraction operations.
KAIROS is a member of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), which launched the Open for Justice Campaign in October 2013. The CNCA and its members are pressing for federal legislation to hold Canadian companies accountable when they are complicit in human rights or environmental violations overseas. Specifically the CNCA is calling on Canada to create a mandatory extractive-sector Ombudsman and to legislate access to courts for people who are harmed by the international operations of Canadian mining companies.
Following the Philippines Learning Tour, KAIROS staff will attend the Mindanao-North America Solidarity Conference in Davao City in the Philippines, which will focus on human rights violations on Mindanao.
KAIROS Canada is a social justice organization of eleven Canadian churches and religious organizations. It focuses on Indigenous rights, international human rights and ecological justice. KAIROS deliberates on issues of common concern, advocates for social change and joins with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation. For more visit: www.kairoscanada.org.
While saying his administration would file a motion for reconsideration of the verdict, P-Noy directly aired to the public his frontal challenge to the SC and his criticisms against the ruling and the members of the court.
You are all in for a surprise. The first Halo Halo Festival is winding up for a great Sunday the 17th of August. It will be quite a ride.
The newly-formed Halo Halo Organization or H2O will be hosting the event at the Artscape Wychwood Barns (St. Clair West and Christie). If you haven’t seen this place, here’s your chance to see it. Bring the family. Hook up with your friends . Come and enjoy. We’ve laid out a whole day of song, art, dance, martial arts and games.
An outdoor mass is planned for 10am. National anthems follow, of course. We have invited Senator Jun Enverga, Consul General Junever Mahilum-West and Ward 21 Councillor Joe Mihevc to join us. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the celebration begins.
What are we celebrating in August?
H2O chose a date closest to the Ninoy Aquino national holiday of August 21 to remember the day Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr. was martyred in 1983. Ninoy is the latest in a long line of national heroes: Lapu-Lapu, Dagohoy, Gabriela Silang, GomBurZa, ‘Plaridel’, the Lunas, Rizal, Bonifacio, , Mabini, de los Reyes, Sakay, —to cite a few of them throughout our history.
When we celebrate our heroes, we rediscover in ourselves the best that Filipinos could be. I think that is what Ninoy meant when he said, ‘The Filipino is worth dying for.’ The Halo Halo festival is such a celebration. There are many things about the Filipino nation that are worth celebrating. But for me, it is our extraordinary acceptance of our cultural diversity. Think about it: we are all Filipinos from 7,100 islands. Our numbers are rising to 110 million at the end of this decade. Any one of us will speak at least one of 90 languages from as many tribal origins. You will see all that at the Halo Halo Festival.
There will be dances from the Igorot banga of the northern highlands of Ifugao , the Bisayan tinikling in Leyte to the itik-itik of Surigao in the far south island of Mindanao.
A Filipino Master will demonstrate the Filipino martial arts of Arnis.
Remember the games we played in our childhood. Our kids will learn them at the H2O Fest: sipa, patentero, tumba preso and ‘board games’ like the Sungka.
There will be vocal performers: rap, pop, rock. The Knights of Rizal, Toronto, will stage a very quick history of the Philippines. Filipino entrepreneurs will show you their wares: from insurance to beauty products.
And what is a Filipino festival without food: the easy adobo, perhaps lechon kawali … or how about a tapsilog. Treat your non-Filipino friends to dinuguan or a serving of balut.
There will be paintings by local Filipino artists on display. Who knows — one of them might just give you a few lessons on how to draw.
Our partner, the Philippine Consulate will run a workshop on gaining back your Filipino citizenship or getting one., give you a visual tour of contemporary Philippines so that you’ll be in Palawan in no time flat, show you how to vote here when the next Philippine election comes along.]]>