Rainbow ends at glass ceiling
"You don't want to walk into a place where you see one racial group doing all the dirty work and another racial group giving the orders."
CAROL GOAR- Toronto Star
Mar. 28, 2005
Ride the subway, visit a public school or go door-knocking with a politician and you'll see the racial and ethnic diversity of Toronto.
Enter the council chamber at city hall and you won't. Just five of Toronto's 45 municipal councillors belong to visible minorities.
Nor will you find many non-white faces in the senior ranks of the civic bureaucracy, the upper echelons of academe, the executive suites of Bay Street or the leadership of the volunteer sector.
Toronto may be an open city. But it is a highly stratified one.
It may make room for people of colour. But it doesn't make them feel comfortable.
Tam Goossen, past president of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, puts it this way: "You don't want to walk into a place where you see one racial group doing all the dirty work and another racial group giving the orders."
She is a part of a nationwide project to knock down the barriers that are holding minorities back. It is called Inclusive Cities Canada. Last week, its organizers gave Torontonians a glimpse of how their city measures up as a place where everyone can participate fully, get a fair shake and live in dignity.
The answer: Not as well as its citizens might think.
A 12-member panel, headed by City Councillor Pam McConnell and Amanuel Melles, chair of the African Canadian Social Development Council, found that Toronto's minorities are underrepresented in local decision-making, disproportionately poor, shut out of certain neighbourhoods and fearful of contact with the police.
The city has fine policies to promote diversity, McConnell said, but they are either poorly implemented or badly underfinanced. "We've got to make the walk fit the talk." ......
And it urged Toronto to lead the way in promoting members of visible minorities to senior managements and professional positions. Not only would this apply to the city's own 47,000-person workforce, but to all institutions (libraries, arenas, theatres, health clinics and homes for the aged to name a few) under its authority.
Underlying all of the panel's specific recommendations was a plea to Ottawa and Queen's Park to include social investments in their long-promised new deal for cities. "A decaying network of community institutions is every bit as much a danger to the vibrancy of our city as the need for renewal of our road and transit systems," Goossen said.
Superficially, Toronto still looks like a model of multiculturalism. But to growing numbers of its residents, it doesn't feel like one.
Fixing the problem won't be cheap or easy. But neglecting it would amount to giving up on one of the most successful urban experiments in the world.
Why hugging an immigrant is a good idea
Increased diversity by 2017 will challenge assumptions, starting with negative narratives against non-whites
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR EMERITUS -Toronto Star
Twelve years from now, would we still have an Easter long weekend? Most likely, considering how entrenched our holidays are. But the question is relevant, given our rapidly changing demography, as projected by Statistics Canada to 2017.
The study shows non-whites, most of them non-Christians, doubling to 7.12 million. That's seven Saskatchewans.
Ontario will have 4.1 million visible minorities. That's more than all of Atlantic Canada.
Muslims will number 1.45 million across Canada, Hindus 584,000 and Sikhs 496,000.
.....We are also the most urbanized people, and our cities — as also our suburbs — the least white in the Western world.
Visible minorities will form majorities in the Toronto and Vancouver regions.
In Toronto, South Asians alone will cross the 1-million mark — the biggest concentration of a visible minority group in any Canadian city. That would also make Toronto the biggest Western centre of that diaspora outside the Indian subcontinent.
In Vancouver, Chinese will be the biggest visible minority (591,000), while in Montreal it will be blacks (200,000).
Such diversity will challenge and change many of our assumptions, starting with our negative narratives against immigrants, against non-whites and against the big cities.
The first to go — it's already on the way out — is the supposition that we do immigrants a favour by letting them in. We don't. We get them because we need them.
Immigrants already provide 60 per cent of our population growth. By 2020, they will supply 100 per cent. Without them, we'll suffer population declines.
They are also our main source of skilled labour.
Most immigrants are visible minorities, who are younger than the rest of the population — and healthier, with a mortality rate that's only a third of the Canadian-born.
When 100 visible minorities will be old enough to retire, 142 others will join the workforce. In the rest of the population, for every 100 people leaving, only 75 will replace them.
In other words, visible minorities will increasingly pay for our pensions, medicare and senior care.
Be nice to them.
'Employers Unable To Move Beyond Words On Promoting Visible Minorities'
Despite investing time and resources in workplace diversity, too few Canadian organizations successfully attract, develop and promote visible minorities, the fastest-growing segment of Canada's labour force. To help organizations make the necessary changes, The Conference Board of Canada has launched Business Critical: Maximizing the Talents of Visible Minorities-An Employer's Guide.
see full article http://weeklyvoice.com/CNews/?CNewsID=527578
Canadians bullish on housing market:
TORONTO, March 29 /CNW/ - A compelling 91 per cent of homeowners and 79 per cent of renters believe buying a home is a good investment, proving that Canadian residents are continuing to bank on the value of their homes. This is according to a new study from RBC Financial Group.
"Canadians are definitely bullish on housing and they should be," said Clayton Van Esch, senior manager, Home Equity Financing, RBC Royal Bank. "No matter what the markets are doing, people have faith in the ongoing value of their homes. In fact, the number of respondents indicating that buying a home is a 'great' investment has more than doubled since 1999."
RBC Royal Bank's 12th Annual Homeownership Survey also notes Canada's homeowners estimate the market value of their home to have increased over the last two years by 17 per cent. The Canadian Real Estate Association estimates that the average Canadian home has increased in value by over 200 per cent since 1980.