#Mentorshipprograms, #MichaelCoteau, #Ontario, #TogetherWeCan, #Ontario #BlackYouthActionPlan, #DwayneDixon
Toronto, July 28 (Canadian-Media): 25 locally developed mentorship initiatives in priority communities, including the Greater Toronto (Toronto and its adjoining cities) and Hamilton Area, Ottawa and Windsor are being supported by a new mentorship program being launched by Ontario to build confidence and develop skills in Black children and youth in school and work, a news release said.
Michael Coteau. Image credit: Facebook page
Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism announced a new program ‘Together We Can’ earlier this week at Alexandra Park Community Centre in Toronto to help improve the futures of Black community.
“Together We Can is a great example of an on-the-ground solution to help improve the futures of Black children, youth and their families. Partnering with local community organizations to provide mentorship opportunities specifically for Black children and youth will help them build the skills and connect them with the opportunities they need to succeed,” said Coteau, said the release.
Over the next four years Onatrio would be investmenting $9 million, continued the release, for mentorship programs.
These mentorship programs, which are part of ‘Together We Can’, are being designed with the help of an external implementation steering committee which comprises youth, leaders and experts from the Black community, as well as from community engagement sessions' feedbacks.
Four mentorship programs are already in development and will be delivered by: by the African-Canadian Coalition of Community Organizations in the Regent Park and Alexandra Park community in Toronto, NIA Centre for the Arts in the Vaughan area, Tropicana Community Services in Scarborough, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel, in partnership with the Black Community Advisory Council in Peel Region.
‘Together We Can’ is part of the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan, with a $47 million commitment for four years and aims to help reduce inequalities for more than 10,000 Black children, youth and families in Ontario, said the release.
Ontario Black Youth Action Plan in alignment with ‘A Better Way Forward: Ontario's 3-Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan’ was announced in February 2017 to reduce race-based disparities.
After this four-year's $47 million plan is fully developed, it will support nearly 10,800 Black children and their families annually in their education, employment and decision making processes.
More than 25 engagement sessions on the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan, the release said, have been held in 13 communities across the province since May of this year and these sessions will continue throughout the summer.
“Very early in my artistic journey, when I was coming up, there were very limited opportunities (financial or otherwise) for young black artists to make the arts a viable career choice. With the support of MCYS via the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan I'm confident, experiences like mine will be the exception and not the rule. I've made it my purpose to make a difference for the next generation, and so too has the Province of Ontario,” said Dwayne Dixon, Executive Director, Nia Centre for the Arts, the release said.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Dipika Damerla: Facebook page
#DipikaDamerla, #FabiennePrior, #Kitchener, #Ontario, DaieneVernile, #StatisticsCanada, #NationalSeniorsCouncil
Toronto, July 27 (Canadian-Media): An announcement was made last week by Dipika Damerla, Ontario Minister of Seniors Affairs at the Rockway Centre in Kitchener, Ontario 40 New Seniors' Centres across the province would be supported by Ontario to help seniors stay healthy and active, media reports said.
“Creating 40 new seniors’ centres across Ontario will help to improve services for seniors who may be vulnerable, including those living in multicultural, Indigenous and rural communities,” said Damella, a news release said.
Recent census data confirmed there were more seniors than children across the country.
According to the estimates of the research conducted by Statistics Canada and the National Seniors Council, 30 percent of Canadian seniors are at risk of becoming socially isolated. Social isolation can negatively affect both physical and mental health, the same research indicated. It was reportedly acknowledged by seniors that they feel happier and healthier with their increased involvement with social activities.
Ontario is investing $8 million over three years, continued the release, to create the 40 new centres announcement in the 2017 Budget and is reported to provide $11.5 million in annual funding to support these centres.
“We are big supporters of cultural diversity and inclusive participation at our Centre. This investment recognizes our unique focus on keeping vulnerable seniors active, healthy and socially-engaged,” said Fabienne Prior, Supervisor, City of Kitchener, Ontario.
Social and recreational programming, continued the release, such as exercise classes, transportation services, communal dining and health and wellness classes would be organised in the 40 new centres to better meet the needs of our growing seniors' population.
More than 100,000 seniors reportedly are already being served by a network of 263 Elderly Persons Centres across Ontario and new centres will added to this network.
“Helping seniors stay connected, active and engaged has been shown to contribute to their overall health and well-being. This announcement addresses that need for a growing segment of our population,” Daiene Vernile, Member of Provincial Parliament (Kitchener Centre) said.
To move forward with the new centres, said the release, a call for proposals will be issued in early fall 2017.
A legislation was recently passed in Ontario, which once proclaimed, continued the release, these centres will be renamed as Senior Active Living Centres -- rather than Elderly Persons Centres – to better reflect the diverse and active seniors across the province.
This legislation will also help the centres to act as community hubs in responding to community needs more efficiently, helping build strong partnerships and in strengthening their services.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image Muslim Cemetry: Wikipedia
#MuslimRunCemetery #MohamedKesri #BernardOuellet #Referendum #Quebec #Canada #CanadaMuslims
Montreal, Jul 19 (Candian-Media): Trying to recover from the fatal mass shooting in January, which killed six worshippers at the Quebec City Grand Mosque, the Muslim community in Saint-Apollinaire, the second largest city of Quebec, received a fresh shock when the authorities rejected their proposal to open a cemetery in the town, media reports said.
Quebec City Muslims' project, led by Mohamed Kesri on behalf of the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec, to create a cemetery had been defeated by three votes in a referendum.
Bernard Ouellet, Mayor of the town of Saint-Apollinaire, -- reflecting on the result -- said he had hoped that the opening of the cemetery would become a symbol of acceptance toward the Muslim community, adding that this defeat was mainly because of fear of the people who considered all Muslims to be radicals, The Globe and Mail news reports said.
Kesri said although he was disheartened, he still had the courage to pursue the fight.
“We will not give up. It’s insane. Three votes. We speak for thousands of Muslims in Quebec City,” He was quoted in the media as saying.
Although the community said it prefered to obtain the cemetery through negotiations, it added that if the proposal fails, it would be forced to consider a court challenge or human-rights complaint.
A tentative deal had been struck by The Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec with a funeral operator to buy a piece of land in an industrial area of Saint-Apollinaire, southwest of Quebec City – which gained urgency after the January incident.
Union of Quebec Municipalities -- while presenting a brief to a Quebec parliamentary committee this year -- called the referendum process for land-use issues “dysfunctional”.
The union debated that only voters in the zone adjoining the proposed cemetery site, -- an industrial and semi-agricultural area of auto-body shops, horse farms and bungalows, separated from the Saint-Apollinaire town centre by a busy highway -- were eligible to vote.
The referendum approval, said Muslim community, existed only in Quebec and nowhere else in Canada.
Legitimate municipal leaders failed to act as they were constantly plagued with the threat of referendum and said "the fear of minimal number of signatures on the registry could cancel a municipal project and concluded this system of approval by referendum was dysfunctional.”
Concerns of some opponents that a Muslim-only cemetery would result in concentration of more Muslims, mosques and would become the biggest threat to Western civilization.
The community said they were disappointment after yet another futile cemetery debate, which usually ends in a failure each year.
In justification of their demands, the community said they could get their dead into the ground before they get cold If only they could have a Muslim-only cemetery,
Muslims said it was expensive to freeze the dead bodies adding that money could be used for the living.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#BardishChagger, #2017GlobalConferenceonWomenandEntrepreneurship, #JimYongKim, #LakshmiPuri, #VeraWang, #JackMa
Toronto, July 13 (Canadian-Media): Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism -- in a keynote address at the 2017 Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship in Hangzhou, China hosted by Alibaba, the world’s largest retailer -- delivered the message July 10 on “Closing the Economic Inequality Gap: A Woman’s Perspective,” Toronto News release said.
Bardish Chaggar: Official
“Canada is committed to diversity and equality, including gender equality and women’s empowerment. I’m proud to represent Prime Minister Trudeau and the Government of Canada at this impressive conference and thrilled to hear from the inspiring and diverse group of leaders and role models to women around the world. Today, women around the world are rising to success and leading impressive enterprises, and I believe that events like this help raise awareness, provide a venue for open dialogue and the sharing of experiences, and encourage women and men to take stronger action to promote equality into the future,” said Minister Chagger.
Theme of this year’s conference is “Empowerment, Compassion, Aspiration.” which features discussions on how women can develop and grow in the SHE-ERA,
Women across the world and from various industries got together in this conference to create networks and facilitate female entrepreneurship.
Participants also had a chance to listen from Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group; Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations; renowned fashion icon Vera Wang; and Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba.
Featuring in the conference also were video messages from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan.
Minister Chagger laid emphasis that reduction of poverty and growth of economy in Canada and around the world can be achieved only by adoption of full gender equality, including women’s economic empowerment.
Minister Chagger highlighted Canada’s continued commitment to supporting women’s economic empowerment through investments and actions.
She also said the Government of Canada was working to address the issue of economic inequality among women, promoting diversity, women’s entrepreneurship and gender parity.
In wake of the fact that an estimated $160 billion to the Canadian economy is contributed by Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises owned by women, the Minister highlighted some of the actions being taken, such as the introduction of Bill C-25, legislation to improve representation of women on corporate boards and in senior management; progressive trade agenda; encouraging participation of women in science, technology, engineering and math; flexible work arrangements; and legislation of pay equity for workers in federal industries.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#BlackCoalitionforAIDSPrevention, #Toronto, #transgender, #non-binarypeople, #Transphobia, #JohnTory, #TatianaFerguson, #ShannonRyan
Toronto, June 20 (Canadian-Media): City of Toronto (comprising of Toronto and its adjoining cities) in collaboration with the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) -- comprised entirely of racialized transgender youth -- launched a public awareness campaign on June 19 to promote Torontonians’ perceptions of transgender and non-binary people, media reports said.
Transgender persons. Image credit: weforum.org
Highlights of this campaign are to differentiate between gender and sex among the trans and non-binary Torontonians, specifically trans youth of colour. Trans women of colour form the most vulnerable groups in Toronto.
Trans is an umbrella term, the report continued, that describes the gender for people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Although trans youth of colour, are part of Toronto’s LGBTQ community, but are underserved and often neglected and experience bias and violence because of transphobia and racism.
"Toronto continually strives to be a place that provides opportunities and supports the well-being of all its residents," said Toronto Mayor John Tory. "This campaign, which emphasizes that members of the transgender community are part of Toronto, is very timely. The City is committed to developing gender-inclusive services and policies to ensure we serve all of our residents."
Tatiana Ferguson, Project Lead for Black CAP also emphasized that in order to understand the needs of trans youth of colour, we must take into consideration various aspects of these youth identities and understanding how race, gender, sex and class interplay and create barriers for trans youth of colour is a fundamental component required to identify and address the needs of trans youth in Toronto.
Shannon Ryan, Executive Director of Black CAP said he was confident that this campaign will lead to important conversations about gender and sex and reduction of barriers that trans youth of colour in our city experience in their homes, schools, workplaces and beyond.
The campaign was created by the social impact agency PUBLIC Inc, and features real Torontonian racialized trans youth and uses transit ads and social media to educate and encourage respectful and meaningful dialogue about transgender and non-binary individuals.
The campaign also motivates trans people to get involved in educating others about trans-specific issues and provides extensive information and resources to educate Torontonians about non-binary people and with the aim to eradicate biases that trans people, specifically trans youth of colour, face in their daily life. This also fosters more understanding and advocacy amongst the cis gender community. (Cis gender individuals are those whose gender identities match with the assigned sex at birth.)
This is the fourth phase of the City's Toronto for All campaign which aims for Torontonians to say "no" to all forms of discrimination and racism.
Phase 1 ran in the summer of 2016 and focused on Islamophobia. Phase 2 was launched in the fall of 2016 and addressed anti-Black racism. Phase 3 ran in the spring and addressed the discrimination of homeless men. All campaign phases have successfully encouraged conversations among Toronto residents and media regarding the relevant issues.
The City of Toronto (Toronto and its adjoining cities) is hosting an Open Dialogue on Transphobia in North York Civic Centre on Thursday, July 27, 2017 (9am to 12:30pm) free of cost as part of a series organized by the City’s Specialized Program for Interdivisional Enhanced Responsiveness (SPIDER).
The aim of SPIDER is to increase public awareness on issues impacting vulnerable Torontonians and teach general public -- through a panel discussion, community organizations and community members -- on the multiple issues trans youth of colour experience.
Registration is free and is recommended.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#TomBruce, #JohnFlengas, #StewardMikeStreet, #StephanieBruce, #CampOoch, #CUPELocal416, #Toronto
Toronto, June 20 (Canadian-Media): Over $6,000 worth of craft supplies and 10 make-your-own guitar kits were donated to Camp Ooch on June 19 by Toronto paramedics Tom Bruce and John Flengas and CUPE Local 416 Steward Mike Street together with Bruce's six-year-old daughter, media reports said.
Stephanie is a cancer survivor and an alumna of Camp Ooch -- a volunteer-based and privately funded organization -- that provides child cancer patients with unique opportunities for growth through fun, enriching and magical experiences.
For a consecutive third year and in collaboration with CUPE Local 416, Toronto Paramedic Services employees have collected craft supplies to donate to Camp Ooch programs.
The programs include an overnight camp in Muskoka, day camps, in-city programs at Ooch Downtown and in-hospital programs.
Bruce said that during his daughter’s stay in the hospital, he had learnt a lot about the Camp Ooch's in-hospital programs
"As Paramedics, we see the impact cancer has in the community we serve and in our own CUPE Local 416 membership," said Street. "We are thrilled to be able to make this additional donation of 10 make-your-own-guitar kits to Camp Ooch and the kids," CBCNews reports said.
Over a period of eight weeks, the craft supplies were collected in collection boxes located in Toronto Paramedic Services ambulance stations.
CUPE Local 416 had purchased the 10 make-your-own guitars to meet a special request from Camp Ooch for its camper music program.
"Many of our teen campers have been learning guitar at camp for years," said Ken Aldridge, Coordinator of Music and Specialty Programs at Camp Ooch. "These 10 guitar kits will provide our teen campers an opportunity to create their very own custom instruments and will foster their love of music for years to come."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#IndigenousWomen, #Montreal’s375thbirthday, #HannahClaus, #FirstNationcommunities
Toronto, June 5 (Canadian-Media): To Commemorate Montreal’s 375th birthday, artists, throughout the summer, will be displaying new work of art on window fronts across the city of Montreal as part of the annual Les fenêtres qui parlent summer art project, which translates to "the windows that talk”, media reports said.
One of the participating artists of this year, Hannah Claus, of Mohawk and English heritage, would reportedly contribute to 19 different window displays, one for each neighbourhood.
Topic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls appealed to Claus most, because as Claus said this " issue is something that is seen as not as prevalent in Quebec. In the headlines you see it as more so happening in the west and in B.C.”
“I wanted my windows to really speak about something that was important, and have them really talk," said Claus, CBCNews reports said.
Claus labelled the series of her displays "je me souviens," which translates to "I remember" and added that the title points to the Quebec’s motto seen on licence plates.
Claus decided to create different styles of windows, some honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women, while others displaying statistics, and still others displaying statistics of the rates of violence experienced by Indigenous women in Quebec.
Claus had done a video project, in 2015, in which she filmed people from three First Nation communities, Odanak, Kanesatake and Kahnawake as well as people from Montreal as they were writing out the names of missing or murdered Indigenous women.
Claus retained the original copies of the handwritten names for use in this new project.
"[These windows] have more of a punch to the gut really … I didn't want this [project] to be just a commemoration," she said. "I wanted it to be understood as something that is a crisis, is ongoing and hasn't been resolved."
Claus's displays rose in popularity in Rosemont and Outremon where these remained for four days, with the most recent display being in the Pierrefond-Roxboro neighbourhood.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Pride Toronto. Image credit: Wikipedia
#PrideTorontoParade, #BlackLivesMatter, #OliviaNuamah, #JohnCampbell, #JohnTory, #MichaelThompson, #MarkSaunders, #LGBTQ
Toronto, May 9 (Canadian-Media): Pride Toronto, a not-for-profit organization, celebrates Pride Toronto Parade (PTP), a ten-day event during the end of June each year to celebrates of the diversity of the LGBT community in the Greater Toronto Area will continue to receive funding by the government and had become largest Pride celebration in North America, media reports said.
According to a press release Toronto Mayor John Tory had stated, "Pride is a hugely important event for our city, and one that is supposed to send a message of inclusion and equality to the world...and to focus on working with the LGBTQ and Black communities to ensure that we have a strong foundation of trust and partnership going forward. From Day One, I have been consistent in saying that I considered Pride a celebration all about inclusion and that as such, police should be welcomed in the parade. I continue to hold this view."
Last year PTP, influenced by Black Lives Matter, had halted the event for nearly 30 minutes until organizers signed off on a list of nine demands, which included a ban on police floats and booths in future parades, CP24 News reports said.
Participation of the Toronto police in the PTP, had thus become questionable and Councillor John Campbell and about half a dozen other councillors said Pride’s annual grant request should be curtailed
"They (police) are part of the fabric of Toronto. They are effectively City of Toronto employees. Why should city funding go toward an organization that is telling our police force that they are not welcome and that is exactly what they are doing. So instead of bringing people together, they are pushing people apart," Campbell, who did not sit on the Economic Development Committee, told CP24 Monday morning.
Since then, Toronto’s LGBTQ officers had been asking the city to withhold a $260,000 grant to fund the parade.
But amidst debates among Pride Toronto officials, members of Black Lives Matter, the Toronto Police union, and other Pride participants, Toronto Mayor John Tory decided to favour continued funding for Pride Toronto.
Tory had stated according to a news release, "But I support the Chief’s decision...by the current management of Pride, who have been working hard to ensure the financial and organizati onal viability of Pride 2017 and to try to find a resolution to these outstanding issues. Both Olivia Nuamah and Chief Saunders...have indicated to me that a withdrawal of City funding for Pride 2017 won't be helpful in finding a resolution...Accordingly, I will support maintaining our full funding for Pride 2017."
Pride Toronto’s executive director Olivia Nuamah told reporters on Monday she was delighted to hear about Tory’s support in funding to Pride.
At the Economic Development Committee meeting on Monday, Nuamah welcomed the committee’s vote to renew funding for her organization.
“We celebrate Pride, we appreciate Pride, we love Pride in this city. It has great benefits to our city: economic, otherwise and social…Let’s take the adult position and sit down and dialogue,” said economic development committee chair Michael Thompson (Ward 37), Globe and Mail News reports said.
The decision came less than 24 hours after Pride organizers said they would welcome police participation in the event as long as uniforms, weapons and cruisers are left at the police station.
The decision to approve the grant will be subject to final vote by full council later this month.
For this year at least, Pride Toronto said officers were only allowed to march in the parade if they leave their uniforms, weapons and vehicles behind.
But Tory, speaking to reporters, said he would not commit to supporting funding for Toronto Pride next year if a deal with the police does not materialize.
“I am not going to engage in hypothetical speculation about what happens in future years,” Mr. Tory said. “I am just saying for this year … both of the parties involved in these constructive discussions ... told me that to withdraw funding at this stage would not be helpful in their ongoing attempts to achieve a resolution to this issue,” Globe and Mail news reports said.
This year’s PTP will take place on Sunday, June 25.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#JustinTrudeau, #UnitedNations, #UNICEF, #JustinForsythe, #MediterraneanSea, #DonaldTrump, #WhteHouse, #U.S.Judiciary, #asylum
OTTAWA, May 11 (Canadian-Media): Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau had been urged by the United Nations children's agency to press his fellow G7 leaders to help vulnerable and isolated refugee children who face sexual and physical abuse, media reports said.
The global refugee crisis, about children travelling alone without adult supervision, while in Sicily later this month had prompted a senior UNICEF official asking Trudeu to look into this matter more seriously, CTVNews reports said.
"The Canadian government and the prime minister have spoken out very strongly on two big issues: one is around refugees and migrants and secondly, is around women and girls," said UN Assistant Secretary General Justin Forsythe, the deputy executive director of UNICEF.
All G7 countries need to do more to address the exploitation of children crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe, Forsythe said in an interview.
Ninety percent of children making that journey were reported to be unaccompanied and faced sexual slavery and detention during their flight, and further discrimination in some European countries.
Forsythe said Trudeau had the political capital to push his fellow leaders to and help settle more unaccompanied child migrants, specially in Britain and France owing to political turmoil in these places.
The recent French election promoted anti-immigration policies of leader Marine Le Pen, who was eventually defeated.
US President, Donald Trump’s attempt to ban migrants from a number of mainly Muslim countries from entering the United States had resulted in a legal battle between the White House and the U.S. judiciary.
"Even if they can't agree on the whole thing of refugees and migrants, they could agree they'll particularly look after the most vulnerable children," said Forsythe.
Forsythe said the vast majority of unaccompanied children were crossing from Libya, but children were also coming from Central American countries into the U.S.
The Mediterranean crossings recorded the most horrific circumstances, said Forsythe and siad he had met a Nigerian teenage girl who been imprisoned in an underground prison in Libya for eight months and repeatedly raped.
Teenaged boys from Eritrea described being sold into slavery to a militia of 150 children in Libya, he said.
According to the UNICEF reports, 96,000 unaccompanied children claimed asylum in Europe in 2015, but the full picture for 2016 was not yet known. However, in Germany alone, some 36,000 unaccompanied children had claimed asylum.
(Reported by Asha Bajaj)
Image of refugee children: Amnesty.org