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Protesters push back against immigration law that deters disabled people

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

Foreign nationals are inadmissible if their medical condition ‘might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.’

When Luzviminda Alicbusan came to Canada in 2008 to work as a caregiver, she left her family in the Philippines, including her son who has a mental disability.

When she applied for permanent residency two years later, she said she was rejected because of her son’s condition.

“Why are they doing this to us, what did we do wrong?,” she asked. “Is having a child with a disability a crime?”

Alicbusan was among a small group of protesters who spent Monday morning holding signs and chanting outside immigration minister Ahmed Hussen’s constituency office in North York.

They were protesting a 40-year-old section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that says foreign nationals are inadmissible if their medical condition “might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.”

Alicbusan said the government considers her son a burden on Canada’s health system. She visits the Philippines every two years to see him.

“Our children with disabilities are not a burden here,” she said. “They are a blessing to us, they are the reason why we become stronger, they are the reason we work so hard.”

Mary-Jane De Jesus, another caregiver from the Philippines, left her 19-year-old daughter Mary-Claire eight years ago. Her daughter has Down syndrome, which De Jesus says prevented her from getting permanent residency.

 “They said my daughter is going to be a burden here in Canada,” she said. “They said she’s going to cost a lot of money if she comes here. But she’s not a burden, she can do the normal things children do.”

Protesters plastered the door to Hussen’s office with signs calling for the end of that law, and displayed pictures of people with their children who they had to leave behind.

Hursh Jaswal, special assistant in the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said the government is “undertaking a fundamental review” of the policy.

“We understand the concerns raised by families looking to make Canada their home who are faced with this situation,” he said. “Our goal is to strike the right balance between welcoming new members into Canadian society through a fair and compassionate immigration system while also protecting our publicly funded health and social services.”

Anna Malla, a spokesperson at Caregivers’ Action Centre, said she is fighting for caregivers to get permanent residency upon arrival.

“The fact that caregivers have to leave their families right from the beginning is the main problem,” she said. “People who come here as caregivers to care for other people’s family members who are sick and disabled are then not allowed to bring their family members? That’s ironic and discriminatory.”


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Canada adds 15,400 jobs, unemployment dips to 5.8% but part-time work surges, full-time positions decline

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey, released Friday, showed the country lost 39,300 full-time jobs and generated 54,700 part-time positions in February. It also found the job gains were driven by an increase of 50,300 in public-sector jobs.

OTTAWA—The economy got a job-creation lift last month that nudged the unemployment rate down to 5.8 per cent — but a closer look reveals a rush of part-time work and a big decline in full-time positions.

Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey, released Friday, showed the country lost 39,300 full-time jobs and generated 54,700 part-time positions in February. It also found the job gains were driven by an increase of 50,300 in public-sector jobs.

The national unemployment rate slipped from 5.9 per cent in January to 5.8 per cent — to match its lowest level since the agency started measuring it in 1976. The jobless rate has only fallen to 5.8 per cent twice during that time, once in 2007 and again in December.

Looking back, the job market added 282,500 positions for a 1.5 per cent expansion over the past 12 months — with growth entirely due to full-time work. Canada’s year-over-year job creation last month showed signs of moderation after the number climbed above 420,000 positions in December.

Experts, including the Bank of Canada, have been expecting the job market’s red-hot pace from last year to cool, along with the rest of the economy as it approaches full capacity.

Manulife Asset Management senior economist Frances Donald said there’s very little in the jobs report that will rock the boat — and she added that in itself is very important.

“These jobs numbers fit quite well into the Bank of Canada’s cautiously optimistic Canadian narrative,” Donald said.

“The Canadian job market, just like the broader economy, is decelerating somewhat, but it’s coming back down to earth in what we might consider a more-reasonable pace of gains with fewer distortions.”

Donald underlined a couple of key indicators from the jobs report — the upward trend for hours worked, which suggests continued strong demand for labour in the economy, and average wage growth that’s still hovering around three per cent, which suggests more Canadians are benefiting from the healthier market.

Average hourly wage growth, which is under close watch by the Bank of Canada ahead of interest-rate decisions, stayed solid at 3.1 per cent. In January, wage growth hit 3.3 per cent following a steady flow of monthly increases after the indicator bottomed out at 0.5 per cent last April.

“At 3.1 per cent in February, wage growth posted a fourth consecutive month above its longer-term average of 2.6 per cent,” Sherry Cooper, chief economist for Dominion Lending Centres, wrote in a research note.

Cooper said the February reading won’t set off inflation warnings for the Bank of Canada, which noted this week that wage growth is still below what it considers a normal level for an economy without labour market slack.

“This suggests the bank will maintain its cautious stance,” she said.

Earlier this week, the central bank highlighted wage growth as one of the key data points that it will scrutinize ahead of future rate decisions. The Bank of Canada kept its trend-setting rate at 1.25 per cent on Wednesday after introducing three hikes since last summer.

The central bank has remained cautiously upbeat about the economy and has said more interest rate hikes will likely be necessary over time, despite mounting protectionist and competitiveness unknowns that have clouded the economic outlook. It said future decisions will continue to be guided by incoming data, such as the economy’s sensitivity to higher rates, the evolution of economic capacity and changes to wage growth and inflation.

Deputy governor Timothy Lane said in a speech Thursday that while the future is subject to notable uncertainties, trends over the past few quarters have been broad-based across regions and sectors, and “quite encouraging.”

Last month’s job growth, while small enough to be statistically insignificant, represents an improvement over the January report that showed a drop of 88,000 positions for the labour force’s steepest one-month drop in nine years.

By industry, the goods-producing sector shed 10,400 positions last month, led by a decline of 16,500 jobs in manufacturing, while the services industries added 25,900 jobs.

The survey also said the number of paid employee jobs increased last month by 58,800 positions, compared with a decrease in self-employed positions of 43,300.

By region, New Brunswick saw the biggest percentage increase — a boost of 1.5 per cent compared with January — as it gained 5,100 jobs. Ontario added 15,700 positions, which was a 0.2 per cent boost compared with January.

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Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

BRAMPTON, ON, March6th, 2018 –The Honourable PatriciaHajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour, joined by Ms. Kamal Khera, Ms. Sonia Sidhu, Mr. Raj Grewal, Ms. Ruby Sahota,and Mr. Rameshewar Sangha, Members of Parliament for Brampton, to announce a new initiative the federal Government has introduced, through Budget 2018, to support gender equality at home and in the workplace.

Our Government has introduced a new Employment Insurance (EI) Parental Sharing Benefit to promote equal parenting roles in families.  The new benefit will provide an additional five weeks of Employment Insurance Parental Benefits to parents that share parental leave.  The program will provide an additional eight weeks of benefits to parents that choose the extended parental benefits option.  This benefit will be administered in a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ system; parents that do not share leave time between the two parents will not be eligible for additional weeks of EI Parental Benefits.

The incentive is expected to be available starting June 2019.  Our Government is investing $1.2 billion over five years in this program.  After the first five years, this program will require an annual investment of $344.7 million per year.

“This benefit will give parents that share parental leave a total of 40 weeks to spend with their newborn; a critical time for both a mother and father to bond with their child.  Shared leave time will keep more women in the work place, while giving fathers the opportunity to further participate in the care of their children.”- Ms. Kamal Khera, Member of Parliament (Brampton West) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue.

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First time ever, for the Islamic community in Canada, Stop Diabetes Foundation alongside Diabetes Canada launches the Ramadan Position Statement

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

VISION 2020 – Peel Region holds the unfortunate distinction of being the “Diabetes capital of Canada”. STOP Diabetes foundation’s (SDF) mission termed ‘SDF VISION 2020’ aims to remove this infamous #1 tag before the year 2020 by providing public health education. In addition to the mission of diabetes prevention, the foundation’s second goal is to increase the longevity for people living with diabetes by highlighting a combination of medically proven treatments and lifestyle regimen.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 marks another big milestone in Stop Diabetes Foundation’s timeline to reduce the epidemic of diabetes and its complications not only in the Peel region but to spread this message across Canada. On this day, SDF, in collaboration with Diabetes Canada, will launch the first-ever Canadian Ramadan Position Statement (RPS) to spread awareness and educate healthcare providers as well as the public. RPS are research-based practical guidelines developed to help people with diabetes fast safely during Ramadan. The RPS has been developed with the consensus of Canadian diabetes specialists, researchers as well as religious leaders. The plan is to have this position statement endorsed by Diabetes Canada and submitted for publication in a Canadian Medical Journal before Ramadan starts in the middle of May 2018.

Type 2 diabetes is a growing epidemic, especially in certain immigrant populations in Canada e.g. people with origins from South Asian and Middle-East Asian countries. According to national statistics, the Muslim population in Canada is steadily growing, in part fueled by immigration and higher fertility rates. One of the pillars of Islam is fasting during the month of Ramadan (from dawn to dusk). Though certain individuals are exempted from fasting (e.g. pre-pubertal children and those who are ill, pregnant or breastfeeding), many of those who fall under these categories often opt to still follow the practice. Management of diabetes (type 1 and type 2 diabetes) during Ramadan is challenging for Canadian healthcare providers because of limited research data and education around this topic. The launch of this first Canadian Ramadan position statement will potentially overcome this huge unmet need and knowledge gap.

The Canadian Ramadan Position Statement initiative will be launched at a high-level media & healthcare professional event on March 20, 2018, from 6 PM to 8 PM at Mississauga Convention center. This event will be organized by STOP Diabetes Foundation Inc. The program agenda will include Q & A style interactive engagements with the Canadian expert faculty involved with this project (Dr. Harpreet Bajaj, Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan, Dr. Amel Arnaout, Dr. Tayyab Khan, Dr. Hasnain Khandwala and Dr. Subodh Verma); Diabetes Canada scientific leaders (Dr. Jan Hux and Dr. Peter Senior), several religious leaders, community leaders and Dr. Hisham Mahmoud (Sanofi Canada). Dr. Mohamed Hassanein, chair of the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes and Ramadan alliance will also support this Canadian initiative via video conferencing from Dubai.

STOP Diabetes foundation looks forward to the support of local community as well as media in this benevolent cause to succeed in its fight against these important health concerns afflicting our country, and the PEEL region disproportionately and motivate everyone to live healthy and long lives.

For more information contact 647-986-7867 or

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I go to Aaradhya’s school every day, says Aishwarya

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is an hands-on mother. She is keeping a good balance of personal and professional life. She adjusts her shooting timings in such a way that she could drop and pick-up Aaradhya from school. She wants to give her daughter a normal upbringing.

“I have been a very normal mother with her. I go to her school every day. I do normal things with her like going to the park or market, so that she understands what ‘normal normal’ is and what social excitement is,” she said.

Aaradhya has been under constant media scanner. She was clicked wherever she goes.

When Hindustan Times asked the actress how Aaradhya deals with the paparazzi, she said, “I haven’t made a conversation out of it. She is a child and I can’t casually say that she understands it. Aaradhya has seen it (the media attention) since she was a baby, while I was exposed to it only in my twenties. Is it normal to her? I don’t know…”

On the work front, Aishwarya will be seen next on the big screen in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s musical comedy ‘Fanne Khan’, co-starring Anil Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao. She has reportedly signed a bold thriller to be helmed by Rohan Sippy.

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Priyanka Chopra to introduce the concept of gender-neutrality in her company Purple Pebble Pictures

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

Time and again Priyanka Chopra has supported women empowerment. Being an ambassador of UNICEF the actress has also participated in many initiatives. While Priyanka has also openly criticized the gender disparity in payments and workplace, the actress is working out for solutions to make her production house Purple Pebble Pictures gender neutral. Helping her in this endeavor is her mother Madhu Chopra.

It is a known fact that Priyanka Chopra is busy with her Hollywood commitments. Hence her Indian production house is being supervised by her mother Madhu Chopra. Happy about the way her daughter Priyanka Chopra is tackling with the problem of gender inequality, they have decided to do away with gender disparity in their organization. From what we hear, they are planning to introduce more women artists in their forthcoming projects.

Madhu Chopra has gone further to assert that women will not just be a part of direction or acting but also in fields such as story-writing and even technicians. It is also being asserted that gender will not be determining factor for remuneration. She spoke on the way about a certain bias continues to be associated with women employees. Hence their attempt is to break this prejudice and give them an additional push.

On the other hand, they also want to use their production house Purple Pebble Pictures to tell more female-centric stories. Considering it as impactful, Madhu stated that women are strong enough to be talked about. She also believes that these films will help women rise and will put them at a pedestal where they can walk shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts.

As for Priyanka Chopra, the actress is yet to comment on the same. She is busy shooting for her American TV series Quantico. She was also supposed to make a lavish entrance on the red carpet of the Oscars this year. However, she decided to give it a skip owing to her ill health.

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Rajkummar Rao gives a pleasant surprise to girlfriend Patralekha

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

Rajkummar Rao and Patralekha have been in a relationship for a long while. The two actors have always been vocal about each other in front of the media. The have been spotted accompanying each other at various events, launches and Bollywood bashes. The two lovebirds also keep flooding their social media accounts with posts that are dedicated to each other. Rajkummar and Patralekha make for a much in love couple alright.

The latest news about the couple is that Rajkummar specially took a flight from Delhi to Mumbai to surprise Patralekha. He directly went to her set where she was filming a song for her upcoming film Nanu Ki Jaanu to spend some time with her. The actress was surprised to see Rajkummar fly to Mumbai for only a little while just to be with her. Rajkummar’s gesture for his girlfriend surely shows that real love is no less dramatic than reel love.


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When Saif wanted to name their son Faiz, Kareena reveals

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

When Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan named their son Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi, the couple were slammed by netizens for naming their son after the name of the Turkish ruler who invaded India. But ‘Taimur’ means iron and Saifeena named their son Taimur because they wanted their son to be strong like an iron and so they chose the name Taimur.

At the India Today Conclave 2018, when Kareena was asked about the lots of negative comments they received after naming their son after a barbaric ruler, the actress replied, “There was a lot of trolling, but there was also an immense amount of support. Not that the trolls mattered, because the night before I was going to the hospital, Saif asked me, ‘If it’s a boy, are you sure you want to do this? Let’s change the name and call him Faiz. It’s more poetic and romantic.’ And I was like, no. If it’s a boy, I want my son to be a fighter. Taimur means ‘iron’ and I will produce Iron Man. I am proud to name him Taimur,” Kareena told Rajdeep Sardesai.

Since Taimur was born, he has been followed by the paparazzi, media likes to captured every moves of Taimur. When asked about all the media attention that the little one is getting at this age, the gorgeous mom said, “I do not like the fact that every day, Taimur’s moves are being monitored and you know, pictures are being out, what he’s doing, what he’s wearing, discussing his hairstyle… I mean, he’s just 14 months old. But I don’t know how to stop it; they are just following him around,” she said.

Kareena added that Taimur is “kind of getting used to” being a paparazzi favourite. “Of late, if I compare his pictures, now he has started posing,” she laughed. Karisma Kapoor chimed in, “He looks right into the camera now.”

When the diva was asked about how motherhood had changed her life. “My life is no more my own. My heart no more beats inside me. It beats in this gorgeous looking boy that I see every night and everything is in his two tiny little hands,” Kareena said.

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Tumbling Toronto home sales signal a return to normal market, say analysts

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

Convergence of higher rates, government policy and new mortgage rules hit home sales. But that doesn’t mean homes are more affordable.

The numbers are coming and they won’t be pretty.

That’s what data-tracking realtor John Pasalis expects when the Toronto Real Estate Board issues its official February home sales statistics next week.

Although prices appear relatively flat, house sales were down about 40 per cent over the last two weeks in the Toronto area compared to the same period in 2017, while condo sales dropped about 30 per cent, said Pasalis, president of Toronto’s Realosophy brokerage.

The market has been hit by a confluence of policies: Ontario’s Fair Housing Policy, including a foreign buyers’ tax aimed at cooling the market; a new mortgage stress test targeted at protecting Canadians from dangerously high household debt levels; and the Bank of Canada’s moves to increase interest rates.

Is it a correction? Yes. Over-correction? No way, says Pasalis.

He’s among those who say that the Ontario government had to act to cool the market when it peaked at more than 30 per cent year-over-year price growth last April.

But if the government’s aim was to enhance affordability, that hasn’t happened and, given the short supply of housing and the booming Toronto-area population, it’s difficult to see how government intervention will help, say analysts and economists.

Unlike those who blame the fevered real-estate market of 2016 and early 2017 on mismatched supply and demand, Pasalis thinks there was another factor in the extraordinary climb — too much speculation.

 “There was a bubble in the housing market. Speculative buying was rampant, especially in York Region, and York Region is the area that is getting hit the hardest,” he said.

Real estate sales that now appear so disastrous compared to 2017 and 2016 are actually just returning to normal.

“It’s just the market moving back to where it should have been had all this speculation not happened,” said Pasalis, who thinks sales could end up somewhere back at pre-2015 levels this year.

The provincial policies and the mortgage stress test are causing buyers to sit back and take a breath, said David Amborski, chair of Ryerson’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development. But he expects sales to return to a normally busy spring level.

“It’s not going to go back to the old boom, but it’s going to normalize — level out,” he said.

The hand-wringing over real estate is generally “much ado about nothing,” and it is almost certainly temporary, said Peter Norman, chief economist with Altus Group, the research company that tracks new construction home sales.

The economic fundamentals, including “incredible job growth last year,” along with the huge influx of population into the GTA — plus household income growth “that has been kind of nascent since the recession” of 2008-09 — mean that the Toronto market will lift, he said.

“Job growth pushes kids out of their parents’ basements and it encourages existing renters to move to home ownership and it encourages existing owners to move up the ladder as well. That’s the key piece and often with a bit of a lag,” said Norman, who expects interest rates to stabilize this year and prices to rise by 5 per cent by the end of 2018.

“At times when we’ve had a terrible real estate market in the city — 1991 to 1995 for example; in a brief way in 2009 — it has always been related to external economic shock. It’s the economics that really drive the market, it’s not the financial conditions. The financial conditions just make people re-adjust how and where they buy,” he said.

The current decline in sales could, in the end, actually improve affordability, if falling sales moderate prices, said Sheila Block, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“If you believe we have been in a speculative bubble, bursting those bubbles is never smooth,” she said.

So far, none of the housing or financial policies have done anything to improve affordability. But if governments — federal, provincial and municipal — took a more co-ordinated approach to addressing affordable housing needs, that could ultimately ripple up the line to the middle-income supply, she said.

Given the region’s affordability challenge, it’s possible that more middle-income households will need to reconsider home ownership, as costs here are relatively high. “Affordable stable rental supply might be something that regular, middle-class people need to look at,” she said.

Even price drops such as the 4.4 per cent year-over-year decline that the Toronto Real Estate Board reported in January, are a result of statistics that are skewed by last year’s “out of whack” Toronto region market, said Dana Senagama, an analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“Yes, prices have started to slow down but it’s coming off an unsustainable peak,” she said.

The current cooling also has not solved the problem of over-valuation that CMHC has flagged in the Toronto area. “The fundamental flaws are still there,” said Senagama, who admits that it’s not clear that the basic supply-and-demand issue is solvable as a prosperous region continues to attract immigrants and workers.

Density — packing more people into less space — is one answer to the affordability issue, but even there, the high-density high-rise housing supply mostly made up of condos is getting tighter, driving up prices, she noted.

“One way to counteract that is to have more rental supply,” said Senagama. But while there are signs of renewal on the purpose-built rental side, there’s a trend to luxury rental. And even then, the level of supply does not approach that of new condos.

Moving to more mid-rise and wood-frame construction could help bring down the price of building rental, she said.

In some ways, the housing supply problem is a by-product of the Toronto region’s success, said Senagama.

“This is something that’s not unique to us,” she said, citing cities such as New York, London and Tokyo.

“We know what is creating these pressures. Any city that tends to receive a lot of people and that is growing, these are problems.”


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Ministers responsible for Immigration and the Canadian Francophonie announce joint Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

TORONTO (ON) – Building on the momentum from the first Forum on Francophone Immigration in 2017 in New Brunswick, federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for immigration and for the Canadian Francophonie discussed concrete actions today to increase Francophone immigration outside Quebec.

Francophone immigration contributes to the country’s prosperity and is an important part of the country’s immigration strategies to support the growth and vitality of Francophone minority communities across Canada.

Federal Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen and Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Laura Albanese, co-chairs of the meeting, together with other provincial and territorial ministers, announced a new federal-provincial-territorial FPT Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration Outside of Quebec. The Action Plan outlines actions that federal, provincial and territorial governments can take individually or collaboratively to increase Francophone immigration.

Examples of concrete actions in the Action Plan include:

•         Promoting awareness of Francophone immigration opportunities, immigration pathways and settlement services to prospective French-speaking applicants;

•         Increasing employer engagement in French-speaking immigrant recruitment and employment;

•         Increasing the availability, awareness and accessibility of French language services; and

•         Supporting diverse and inclusive Francophone communities.

The Action Plan supports the following outcomes:

•         an increased number of French-speaking immigrants settling in Canada outside Quebec;

•         an increased participation rate of French-speaking immigrants in local labour markets; and

•         an increased participation rate of French-speaking immigrants in broader communities and social networks.

Ministers agreed that the tracking of progress to achieve the objectives laid out in the Action Plan will be key. To this end, ministers committed to develop appropriate indicators and to foster the ongoing sharing of best practices to enable the reporting of progress over time. They will also continue to share progress periodically with each other and the community.

Following the Forum, a Symposium will be held with community organizations to act as a catalyst for broader stakeholder engagement and lay the foundation for potential collaborative actions within each jurisdiction. The Symposium will be organized by the Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie and will take place on March 22 in Calgary.

The Forum on Francophone Immigration is an opportunity for federal, provincial and territorial immigration and Francophonie ministers to meet and share ideas on how to encourage and promote Francophone immigration to Francophone minority communities in Canada.

Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec fully assumes sole responsibility for establishing immigration levels, and for the selection, francization and integration of immigrants. In areas under its responsibility, Quebec develops its policies and programs, legislates, regulates and sets its own standards.


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