Canada 150: Shushma Datt pioneered ethnic broadcasting in B.C

By Vancouver Sun | To mark Canada’s 150th birthday, we are counting down to Canada Day with profiles of 150 noteworthy British Columbians. Shushma Datt once chatted up a young Mick Jagger and George Harrison for the BBC. Now she’s the highly respected matriarch of an ethnic broadcast enterprise in one of the most ruthlessly competitive radio markets anywhere. Born in 1946 into a large family in Kenya, she was the daughter of an accountant. She earned a degree from the University of New Delhi. She has worked as a reporter for the prestigious Times of India, ranked among the world’s top 10 newspapers. In 1965, she emigrated to London with her parents and five siblings. Both she and her father got jobs at the BBC but, she later wrote, her dad thought she was a secretary. Instead, at 19, she was learning the ropes of radio broadcasting at the place that invented quality radio. It was a big jump from the 10-year-old in Nairobi whose interest in the medium was tweaked when she appeared in a local radio play. She had one line, which to her mortification she flubbed, but which, to her amazement had been perfectly repaired in studio when the show went to air. The happy beneficiary of a traditional arranged marriage, there was nothing traditional about her approach when she emigrated to Vancouver in 1972 and found that she might be good enough for the BBC but not for mainstream broadcasters in B.C. So, she started her own station, Rim Jihm, broadcasting on a sub-carrier frequency and producing round-the-clock content for the South Asian audience....

‘Indescribably sad and depressing’: A gallery of letters from Canadian pioneers and immigrants who absolutely hated it here

By National Post | If you were born in Canada, chances are good that your family tree contains at least one person who spent much of their life absolutely hating this place. Despite our treasured national mythos as a promised land of wealth and opportunity, our history is littered with tales of people crying or screaming with anguish after taking their first steps in the True North. A gallery of examples are included below. While many would learn to thrive in the new country, history books usually leave out the part where the mere sight of Canada sparked utter horror in new immigrants. “As we sped across Ontario with its rocks, hills and tunnels, we were afraid we were coming to the end of the world. The heart of many a man sank to his heels and the women and children raised such lamentations as defies description.” Ukrainian immigrant Maria Adamowska, describing her train journey west in 1899. “I became anxious when I wondered what kind of a person would be here to greet me. He had a good physique like I had seen in his photo, but he was simple-minded. I was so sad — I despaired.” Japanese immigrant Ishikawa Yasu, who came to Victoria in the early 20th century as a “picture bride”; a woman paired with a husband in Canada purely through photographs. — Excerpted from Good Wives and Wise Mothers: Japanese Picture Brides in Early Twentieth Century British Columbia. Read...

B.C.’s working poor: Meet the people whose jobs don’t pay the bills

By Vancouver Sun | More than half a million people in B.C. live in poverty, nearly a quarter of them children whose families struggle every day to provide the basics of life: nutritious food, warm clothing and safe shelter. The solution to improving the lives of these families is not as simple as: “Get a job.” That’s because a significant number of impoverished British Columbians are already working. They are the working poor — people who report to their bosses each day, pay taxes, and yet don’t have enough income to cover all their bills. A family of four is impoverished, according to Statistics Canada, if it has an annual after-tax income of $41,866 or less, including all money from government programs such as the federal child benefit payment. B.C. has the highest rate of working poor in the country, who have a median income of just $15,000. Of Canada’s largest cities, Vancouver was second-worst with more than 100,000 low-income earners, or nearly one in 10 of the working-age population. “Right behind (Toronto) stands Vancouver — Canada’s second richest city. In both cities, working poverty is growing faster than anywhere else in the country,” says a recent report by the Ontario-based Metcalf Foundation. Once you remove children, post-secondary students, and young people still living with their parents from B.C.’s list of 600,000 poor, you are left with more than 450,000 working-age adults — and 40 per cent of them have jobs. Jean-Pierre Kigonga makes $17 an hour working the night shift at a manual labour job. He and his wife, Sandrine Ekoko, are raising their two young girls in...

Diverse tech: innovative immigrants are showing the way

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine | As the U.S. tech sector blasts the recent travel bans because of the important role immigrants play in the industry, Canada is surging forward in innovation with help from a diverse bunch who are founding companies, launching apps, furthering tech education and moving the economy forward. “Canadian tech companies understand the power of inclusion and diversity of thought, and that talent and skill know no borders. In choosing to hire, train and mentor the best people in the world, we can build global companies that grow our economy. By embracing diversity, we can drive innovation to benefit the world …” In response to the U.S. travel ban, this excerpt from a recent open letter signed by more than 150 technology companies in Canada — including Shopify, Google Canada, Hootsuite, Kickstarter and BlackBerry among others — proudly mirrors Canada’s policies toward immigrants and refugees — that our strength lies in our diversity. “In order to succeed in North America, you must collaborate with talented individuals on great ideas, regardless of their religious beliefs or where they were born. And, as Canadians, our commitment to fostering an open and inclusive society has been our strength,” says Jordanian-born Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ, the tech incubator at Ryerson University in Toronto. “We see and experience this every day with our diverse community at DMZ and in the Canadian tech sector. And as a result, we’ve become a more innovative country. And, no matter where you stand on this argument, it’s a fact that diversity is at the core of economic growth,” he adds, noting that...

Western Canadian Provinces Continue to Have Active PNPs

By Canadian Immigration News | The month of March has so far been another busy one when it comes to immigration to Canada’s western provinces. Recent activity among the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) out west will allow a diverse range of workers and graduates to immigrate to a region that is becoming increasingly popular among new immigrants to Canada, with job opportunities and high living standards cited as reasons for this trend. So far this month, there have been draws in British Columbia (BC) and Manitoba — these provinces continue to invite individuals and families, both in Canada and abroad, to apply for a provincial nomination certificate. In addition, Alberta continues to process applications through its various streams and categories. Further, Saskatchewan introduced an application fee for two of its popular international skilled worker streams — a sign that these streams will continue to open for new applications throughout 2017. Together, these four provinces make up the region of Western Canada. By obtaining a provincial nomination, an individual and his or her family, if applicable, may apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent resident status. This year, Canada plans to welcome up to 51,000 newcomers through the PNPs, around a seven percent increase on the 2016 target. British Columbia On March 8, the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) conducted its fourth draw for foreign workers and graduates in just five weeks. Another draw then took place on March 22. In total, 2,074 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to the BC PNP have been issued since the beginning of February. Around half of these ITAs were...

Atlantic Canadians support screening immigrants for Canadian values: CRA poll

By Natasha Pace, Globe News | A new poll by Corporate Research Associates has found the majority of Atlantic Canadians are in favour of screening potential immigrants for Canadian values. Global’s Natasha Pace reports. A majority of Atlantic Canadians support the federal government screening potential immigrants for Canadian values before allowing them to enter into the country, according to a new poll by Corporate Research Associates (CRA). “It’s probably not surprising that we would ask this kind of question given what’s going on in the Western world. There’s a lot of concerns in western countries about values and protection of values,” said Don Mills, chairman and CEO of Corporate Research Associates The poll, released Wednesday morning, is based on a telephone sample of 1,511 adult Atlantic Canadians, conducted from Feb. 2 to March 1, 2017. CRA says the poll shows 68 per cent of residents completely or mostly support screening potential immigrants for Canadian values. Twenty-six per cent of those surveyed completely or mostly oppose this idea, and six per cent do not know or do not have an opinion on the matter. “I don’t think that that means that Atlantic Canadians are in any way anti-immigrant. I don’t think that. It has nothing to do with that,” Mills told Global News. “I think it’s the protection of our core values that make us Canadian that people feel are important to make sure that we are attracting people that agree with those values.” Despite the poll results, there is no definition for what constitutes Canadian values. “While the definition of Canadian values is yet to be determined, the need...