Connect with us


Pilot project aims to bring refugees to Canada as skilled workers



Call it a global job recruitment agency for refugees.

A Washington-based NGO has built a refugee talent pool and is matching candidates with employers from around the world. Not only does it help pull displaced migrants out of poverty, it alleviates labour shortages in western countries by providing them with skilled workers.

Syrian refugee Mohammed Hakmi has been offered an IT job with Kitchener-based tech firm Bonfire Interactive.
Syrian refugee Mohammed Hakmi has been offered an IT job with Kitchener-based tech firm Bonfire Interactive.  (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Since its 2016 inception, Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) has vetted and developed skill profiles for more than 10,000 refugees now in Lebanon and Jordan — 30 per cent of them with an undergrad degree or above and half with intermediate to full English proficiency.

The talent pool includes people from 200 professions, the majority with a background in engineering, health care, IT, teaching, accounting and university education.

“We need to change the narrative of the way we view refugees as unskilled and uneducated,” said Bruce Cohen, a former counsel in the U.S. Senate, who co-founded the organization with his wife Mary Louise Cohen, also a lawyer. “This is not to undercut the existing refugee resettlement effort but to open up new pathways to add to the solution.”

With an established — and still expanding — talent pool as well as backing from the United Nations Refugee Agency, the project has reached out to Canadian employers and is using Canada as the testing ground to bring in skilled refugees on work permits and maybe even as permanent residents.

Funded by the U.S. State Department, the World Bank and other private foundations, TBB is partnering with the Canadian government, the UN and RefugePoint, an agency that promotes refugee resettlement and self-reliance, to divert refugees in Kenya and the Middle East to Canada through a pilot program. The pilot has the support of Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and the Yukon. All candidates must go through the same stringent requirements to qualify.

To date, across Canada, job offers have been made to six refugee candidates, including Mohammed Hakmi, who fled to Beirut with his family in 2011 when war broke out in Syria.

The native of Homs has a degree in information technology and more than five years of experience as a web developer and in computer networking. After responding to a post on Facebook by TBB, Hakmi was interviewed in English and assessed by experts in IT. Staff helped build his resumé to highlight his skills, experience and achievements.

“Being a refugee doesn’t mean a person is uneducated, that he or she is not innovative and effective in society. Many of us had good careers. No one chose to be a refugee and get trapped in these really terrible circumstances,” said Hakmi, 26, who, in September, applied for a work permit with a job offer from Kitchener-based tech firm Bonfire Interactive, with pro bono help from Toronto’s Segal Immigration Law.

“Refugees are not a liability but actually a good investment for the future. When you have been through so much, you value every opportunity you are given because you know how much of a gift it is. Refugees are the most dedicated workers you will find.”

Kris Braun, Bonfire’s director of engineering, said the company is looking to double its size and would require a number of talented software developers, who are in short supply.

“Canada’s tech industry is growing at a fast rate and we struggle to find good (job) candidates,” he said. “Refugees are trying to rebuild their lives after fleeing wars and conflicts. Part of it is to hold meaningful work. This is a win-win for us.”

Cohen said skilled worker and economic immigration policies are not designed with refugees’ circumstances in mind and requirements such as recent work experience and minimum settlement funds make it impossible for skilled refugees to qualify. It limits their migration options to humanitarian consideration only, he said.

Currently, fewer than 1 per cent of the 20 million UN-registered refugees around the world are resettled from a temporary host country in the developing world to the west.

“If you are a refugee or displaced person, you either run without your passport or your passport has likely expired while you are in another country,” said Cohen. “It’s these kinds of things that we need some flexibility and adjustments to make a difference.”

Cohen said he hopes to resettle as many as 25 refugees to Canada under the joint pilot with Ottawa and if successful, expand it to other countries.

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based reporter covering immigration. Follow him on Twitter: @nkeung

Source link

قالب وردپرس


‘It’s devastating’: Barge cancellation taking a toll on Kugluktuk business, residents




The community of Kugluktuk, Nunavut, received its first freighter flight of goods on Saturday from the recently cancelled Marine Transportation Services (MTS) barge — a relief for residents, but one that has not alleviated concerns or confusion in the community.

Earlier this month, the Northwest Territories government, which owns MTS, announced the annual barge would not make it to Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and Paulatuk, N.W.T., because of poor ice conditions. The barge was scheduled to arrive in mid-August.

For extremely remote communities like Kugluktuk, the annual barge is a lifeline that brings in much needed goods, food and vehicles.

After several emotional meetings with affected communities, MTS management agreed to fly in a portion of the goods. The rest will sit in a heated warehouse in Inuvik, N.W.T., until they can be brought in on a barge next year.

Delays put businesses at risk, say owners

For some of Kugluktuk’s local business owners, that announcement was heartbreaking. The community’s locally-owned hardware store, JMS Supplies — Kugluktuk’s main source of lumber, tools, paint, and snowmobile parts — had about $850,000 worth of stock on the barge.

« It’s devastating. You have to wonder if your business is going to survive, » JMS manager Gladys Joudrey says.

« Can it survive if we don’t get our stuff in? I don’t know. We’re just starting to run out of stuff that we sell all the time. It’s starting now to really impact us. »

JMS Supplies manager Gladys Joudrey and owner Joanne Klengenberg. About $850,000 worth of stock for their store is currently stuck in Inuvik, N.W.T., after the barge it was on was cancelled. (Hilary Bird/CBC)

On Saturday, MTS flew up a very small amount of the store’s goods from Inuvik. A local hotel, the Enokhok Inn, also received a portion of its supplies.

Even after the stock flown in on Saturday was unpacked, many of the shelves in the small hardware store still sit bare. Almost all of the racks in their lumber warehouse are empty.

« Right now, we’re losing money. People come in asking for supplies and obviously we don’t have it. Every time, we’re losing a sale, » Joudrey said.

Those lost sales are beginning to add up. Joudrey said she has had to cut down on her hours in order to help keep the doors open.

Lack of communication

The Northwest Territories government got into the shipping business when it bought the Northern Transportation Company Limited (NTCL) assets for $7.5 million in December 2016. The company filed for bankruptcy protection after racking up about $140 million in debt.

The deal included 82 barges, eight tugboats, a shipyard in Hay River, and a number of other vessels, buildings, and equipment.

What Joudrey said is most frustrating about the dilemma is the lack of communication between MTS and the community. Joudrey said she only found out about the freighter flight three hours before it arrived. She said she had no idea what stock would be coming in, or how much.

« [At a community meeting] MTS said: ‘Oh, we’re reaching out to people,' » Joudrey said. « And we’re all looking at each other like: ‘Who? Who did you reach out to?' »

While MTS claims the barge cancellation is « an act of God, » Joudrey said she doesn’t buy it.

The company claims it ran into impenetrable ice near Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., in late September. Joudrey said if the barge had left the Hay River shipyard on time and came to the community in mid-August as scheduled, it would never have run into ice.

« Of course there’s going to be ice in late September, » Joudrey said.

The N.W.T. government said the delays were caused by high water levels and late fuel deliveries out of Edmonton.

This is the second year the government’s barge transportation service has run into problems. Last summer, the barge schedule changed three times and many communities received their shipments about four weeks after the expected arrival date.

‘It’s a lifeline’

Inuvialuit elder Frank Ipakohak said this is the first time in his 71 years that he hasn’t seen a barge arrive.

« For every community, it is a lifeline, » Ipakohak said as he filleted char outside his home. « It’s how you’re going to get construction stuff and equipment and things people need in our communities. »

Elder Frank Ipakohak fillets char outside of his house. He says the barge brings in much needed snowmobile parts and sled supplies that help him provide for his family. (Hilary Bird/CBC)

Ipakohak said he uses his snowmobile to set fish nets to feed his family. Without snowmobile parts or lumber and rope to make traditional Inuit sleds called kamotiks, many families like Ipakohak’s wouldn’t be able to get the fish they need.

« I have to provide fish and animals for my family, as well as for my friends, » he said. « People here help each other and provide food for other people as well. »

Joudrey said she hasn’t been told when the next freighter flights will be coming in, or if the rest of JMS’s stuff will be on it. She said she trusts MTS will stand by its word and fly in their stock.

If they don’t, JMS may have to close its doors, she said.

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading


Ballot points: your questions answered about voting in Toronto’s election




After a tumultuous six-month election campaign, voting day — Monday, Oct. 22 — is upon us.

Voters will decide which of the 35 candidates will be mayor, and who out of more than 250 candidates will win one of 25 councillor seats for the next four years.

Here’s everything you need to know to cast your ballot.

When do I vote?

Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where do I vote?

You must vote in the ward you live in. Each of the 25 wards has multiple voting stations. To find locations close to you, visit

Am I eligible to vote in the Toronto municipal election?

Any Canadian citizen 18 years or older who is a resident of Toronto, or owns or rents property in the city, is a spouse of someone who owns or rents property in the city, and isn’t prohibited from voting under any law can vote in the municipal election.

People cannot vote if they’re serving a sentence of incarceration, convicted of a corrupt practice under the Municipal Elections Act, or as a corporation. They also cannot vote acting as an executor or trustee, except if they’re a voting proxy.

Students attending school in Toronto can vote both in the city and in the municipality they call home. Toronto residents attending school elsewhere can still vote in Toronto’s municipal election, and can appoint another voter to proxy vote on their behalf.

Am I eligible to vote in the Toronto school board election?

The same eligibility rules apply as in the municipal election with the exception that only owners or tenants of residential, not commercial, property can vote for a trustee.

People are allowed to vote for the same school board once, and must be a “separate school board supporter” or spouse of one to vote for trustees outside the English public school board system.

In order to support another school board (such as Catholic or French language), people must have already directed their property taxes to another system. To vote for a Catholic school board trustee, you must also be Roman Catholic. To vote for a French school board trustee, you must be a French language rights holder, or the spouse of one.

I didn’t receive a voter information card. Can I still vote?

Yes. A voter information card is not mandatory, although it speeds up the voting process at the poll site.

What identification do I need to bring to vote?

You are required to show documentation with your name and Toronto address, such as a driver’s licence, tax documents, bank account statement, utility bill or payment stub. Your documentation doesn’t have to have a photo.

I can’t make it out to vote. Can I still cast a ballot?

Yes. Eligible voters who are unable to vote for any reason can appoint another eligible voter to vote on their behalf by submitting a proxy appointment form and providing identification to the city clerk by 4:30 p.m.

Forms can be picked up in person during regular business hours at city clerk office locations: Election Services at 89 Northline Rd., city hall at 100 Queen St. W., Etobicoke Civic Centre at 399 The West Mall, North York Civic Centre at 5100 Yonge St. or the Scarborough Civic Centre at 150 Borough Dr. They can also be obtained by calling 416-338-1111 or emailing

Am I allowed to leave work to vote?

Yes. You are entitled to three hours to vote.

I have a disability, or other special needs. Can I still vote?

Yes. If you are unable to go inside a voting place, election officials can meet you at your vehicle or outside the building.

Inside voting places, voter assisted terminals provide a way for you to vote independently, offering a touchscreen, audio, Braille key pad, sip-puff tube device, rocker paddle-foot switch and zoom features.

For more information on accessibility, contact the city at or 416-338-1111 ext. 6.

How do I find out the winners?

The city and the Star will post live election results on their websites starting at 8 p.m. Oct. 22.

Samantha Beattie is a city hall reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @samantha_kb

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading


Ontario to keep funding supervised drug consumption sites, health minister says




Ontario will keep funding supervised drug consumption sites, but their focus will change to help users receive treatment and get rehabilitated, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Monday morning.

Existing sites will also have to reapply to continue operating, Elliott said.

« While critical, simply preventing overdoses is not enough. We need longer-term solutions to this problem, » she said about the reason behind rebranding the sites to focus on consumption and treatment services. 

« Lives are being lost every day, and opioid addiction, if left unchecked, creates a new burden on our health-care system.

« We don’t truly save a person’s life until they are free of addiction. »

Toronto and Ottawa have supervised consumption sites. 

London has a temporary overdose prevention site while it awaits approval of a permanent site. 

The province has capped the number of sites at 21.

There will not be any new funding for the rebranded sites, Elliott said, and most existing sites already comply with the new model. Those sites cost the province $31 million. 

The new sites will include harm-reduction services such as supervised consumption services and will connect people with treatment and health services, Elliott said. 

« Government cannot turn a blind eye to the crisis is happening in front of us. Absent a safe and controlled environment, [people] will continue to use local business, parks, homes and libraries to inject at serious risk to themselves and others. »

Currently, 19 sites are operating and can apply to the province to continue. Three sites — in St. Catharines, Thunder Bay and in Parkdale in Toronto — were paused while Elliott reviewed supervised consumption. Those will be allowed to open, she said. 

« Pop-up sites and tents will not be allowed and this will be strictly enforced. »

The sites will be subject to random audits. They’ll also have to report back to the province about who is using them. 

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading
Actualités5 minutes ago

Ligne de dénonciation: des médecins de famille se vident le coeur | Caroline Touzin

Styles De Vie12 minutes ago

À la découverte des plus beaux arboretums de France

Santé Et Nutrition14 minutes ago

Le Petit Mousso: un Mousso pas si «petit» que ça | Iris Gagnon-Paradis

Mode16 minutes ago

La veste Levi’s que j’ai cherchée pendant 2 ans ! — Mode and The City

Arts Et Spectacles18 minutes ago

Le Prix Albert Londres décerné à Élise Vincent du Monde | MICHEL MOUTOT

Anglais37 minutes ago

‘It’s devastating’: Barge cancellation taking a toll on Kugluktuk business, residents

Actualités1 heure ago

Immigration et laïcité: Anglade et David affronteront la CAQ | Hugo Pilon-Larose

Styles De Vie1 heure ago

Sony et Skullcandy pour jouer différemment

Santé Et Nutrition1 heure ago

This Broccoli Caesar Salad Proves That Raw Veg Rules

Arts Et Spectacles1 heure ago

Gala Country 2018: la chanson country francophone à l’honneur

Affaires2 heures ago

Le fabricant des Kleenex change de patron après un recul des résultats

Anglais2 heures ago

Ballot points: your questions answered about voting in Toronto’s election

Actualités2 heures ago

Laval suspend son projet de centre animalier | Kathleen Lévesque

Styles De Vie2 heures ago

10 films à voir avec les enfants

Santé Et Nutrition2 heures ago

Gluten-Free Muffins

Mode2 heures ago

Livres : notre sélection d’octobre

Arts Et Spectacles2 heures ago

Sèxe Illégal, duo absurde en herbe | Stéphanie Vallet

Anglais3 heures ago

Ontario to keep funding supervised drug consumption sites, health minister says

Actualités3 heures ago

Les É.-U. demeurent un pays sûr pour les demandeurs d’asile, conclut le Canada | TERESA WRIGHT

Styles De Vie3 heures ago

Un dernier verre avec Nikos Aliagas

Mode2 semaines ago

Voici comment nous avons décoré notre nouvel appartement — Mode and The City

Mode2 semaines ago

Kid’s collections : Little Hedonist

Styles De Vie3 semaines ago

Renaud Capuçon, rédacteur en chef du Figaroscope

Affaires4 semaines ago

Pas de grève cette semaine à Postes Canada

Actualités4 jours ago

Cannabis: tolérance zéro pour les policiers de Longueuil | Pierre-André Normandin

Technologie2 semaines ago

Le nombre de morts par égoportrait ne cesse d’augmenter dans le monde

Anglais4 semaines ago

3rd tornado hit eastern Ontario last week, says Environment Canada

Affaires4 semaines ago

Taxes sur les importations: Pékin riposte à Washington

Affaires4 semaines ago

Donald Trump répond au patron de JPMorgan Chase

Anglais3 semaines ago

Condo developer Thomas Liu — who collected millions but hasn’t built anything — loses court fight with Town of Ajax

Santé Et Nutrition4 semaines ago

Un lien découvert entre l’eczéma et… la flore intestinale

Anglais3 semaines ago

Ontario government to increase mercury disability payments to affected First Nations

Anglais3 semaines ago

Health Canada issues warning on EpiPen devices

Mode4 semaines ago

Have A Nice Day | Hello it’s Valentine

Santé Et Nutrition4 semaines ago

3 fois par jour – Desserts: le casse-tête sucré de Marilou | Sophie Ouimet

Styles De Vie5 jours ago

Motorhell Master, l’exclusivité à la française

Technologie3 semaines ago

La maison connectée, un paradis pour les pirates

Technologie2 semaines ago

Instagram renforce sa lutte contre le harcèlement

Actualités3 semaines ago

ALENA: «Le Québec sera sacrifié pour protéger l’Ontario», prévient Lisée | MARTIN CROTEAU

Styles De Vie4 semaines ago

Soins 100 % masculins à l’hôtel Lutetia