My updated deck: Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote fall 2018

Being presented today at Ryerson’s Centre for Immigration and Settlement Studies:

PDF available here: Multiculturalism in Canada: What Census 2016 and Other Data Tells Us

Sensitivity framing is crucial in the classroom

Sensible suggestion on greater awareness and appropriate framing by Mitu Sengupta of Ryerson University. But students also need to learn how to speak up; if not in the class, then after with the instructor, prior to filing a complaint:

The panel convened to respond to this complaint shouldn’t have rebuked Ms. Shepherd for failing to voice disagreement with Jordan Peterson, the professor in the controversial video. She was under no obligation to do so. What the panel might have done was to simply advise her to show more regard in the future for students who might feel distressed by any aspect of a difficult class discussion. This might involve nothing more than uttering a few short sentences at the start of the session, such as, “For some of you, our discussion today might feel very personal. If you feel upset by the conversation, please come speak to me after class.”

I do this quite often, taking my cue from the eminent Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor, who was my favourite undergraduate professor at McGill University more than 20 years ago. I remember we were discussing colonialism, and Prof. Taylor read out the following excerpt from British historian Thomas Macaulay’s Minute on Indian Education: “A single shelf of a good European library [is] worth the whole native literature of India.” Prior to doing so, however, Mr. Taylor went red in the face and said, “This is embarrassing and a horrible thing to repeat.”

I was the only Indian in the room. I remember feeling acknowledged, grateful. It wasn’t much, but Prof. Taylor had given me relief from the weight of Macaulay’s scathing, racist remarks. I felt better able to listen and more willing to engage.

We are taught to have the highest regard for free speech, the cornerstone of our liberal democracy. We receive less instruction, however, in understanding that free speech is still an ideal, not a reality.

We should recognize speech is usually more “free” for some people than for others. This may not be due to any tangible constraint, and may even occur despite our best efforts. In my classes, for example, I try to provide a supportive environment for everyone, but find that men consistently speak up more often than women. This is unsurprising. People who command social power – derived from their class, race or gender – tend to have more confidence while speaking, and are better at getting themselves heard. While I’m not recommending that anyone be shut down, we do need to be wary of how the ideal of free speech plays out in practice, in our very non-ideal world that is rife with deeply rooted inequalities.

We have a problem when the ideal of free speech imposes a heavier burden on some more than others – women, people of colour, sexual minorities – who constantly find themselves on the defensive in discussions about class, race and gender. This can be an extraordinarily taxing, alienating experience, and sometimes the safest option for the person involved is to mentally exit the conversation. This, of course, is terrible for the “debate” in progress, not least because you do not, in fact, get to hear “the other side.”

To me, the power and privilege of being an educator comes with the special responsibility of keeping an eye on the well-being of students who are likely to find certain conversations especially stressful, and taking a few extra steps to ensure that they feel recognized and included. Far from snuffing out debate, doing so enriches the conversations that follow.

I think that our younger generations actually have a better grasp of the complexities and challenges surrounding free speech than do our older generations. I remain astounded by the compassion with which my students treat each other. They are creating a kinder and more open learning environment than the one that was thrust upon me during my undergraduate years. And, if students are pushing back against any perceived insensitivity on part of their instructors, I applaud them for taking ownership of their education, and for having the courage to actively protect their self-esteem.

via Sensitivity framing is crucial in the classroom – The Globe and Mail

Ryerson study highlights severe lack of visible minorities on corporate boards

Important study.

The approach of the Employment Equity Act to require federal public sector and regulated companies to publicly report on designated group representation has shown the benefits of transparency and regular reporting:

Visible minorities make up more than half of Toronto’s population, but only 3.3 per cent of corporate boards and 9.2 per cent of the private sector’s senior management, a new study finds.

While the percentage of women on large corporate boards has steadily grown, from 14.8 per cent in 2012 to 23.6 per cent in 2017, the representation of visible minorities in leadership has stalled, inching up from 2.8 per cent to 3.3 per cent over the five years, said the study by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, released Wednesday.

“Diversity is more than gender,” said Wendy Cukier, the institute’s founder and professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management, at a forum on advancing diversity and inclusion in Canadian Business. “If you look at the minority representation on boards, it is not a pretty picture.”

The six-year study, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, analyzed data on senior leaders from the largest organizations in Greater Montreal and the GTA in six sectors — elected, public, private, volunteer, education and agencies/boards/commissions.

Although the representation of women has improved, the gains are primarily made by white women, said Cukier.

“While equally represented in the workforce, white women outnumber racialized women 16 to 1 on corporate senior management teams,” noted Cukier.

In Toronto, 24 per cent of companies have more than 30 per cent women on their boards while 28 per cent have none. By contrast, only 3 per cent of firms have 20 per cent visible minorities on their boards and 90 per cent have none.

In Montreal, where minorities make up more than 20 per cent of the population, almost 10 per cent of corporate boards actually had more than 40 per cent women, while 25 per cent had none. Only 3 of 60 of the largest companies there had any racial minorities on their boards.

“We have a problem,” said Cukier, adding that the research findings underline the significance of moving forward two government bills currently before the Parliament and Queen’s Park — that aim at tracking racial diversity data in organizations.

Navdeep Bains, federal minister of innovation, science and economic development, said Bill C-25, which is now before the Senate, requires publicly traded corporation to report on diversity data and policies.

“Diversity is not just the right thing to do. It has a strong economic case,” Bains told the Toronto forum attended by business leaders, diversity and industry experts. “Canadian competitiveness and strength and resourcefulness come from our people and diversity.”

Michael Coteau, Ontario’s children and youth services minister and minister responsible for anti-racism, said Bill 114 will extend reporting requirements on race, gender and other demographic characteristics to provincially-funded agencies.

“Eliminating systemic racism and advancing racial equity is integral to our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday life,” said Coteau, who was also on the panel. “We believe that data is the foundation of an effective strategy to advance inclusion.

Tiffany Gooch, a public affairs consultant in Toronto, said she was not surprised by the little progress made by visible minorities as the hope was that changes would trickle down from gender diversity to other aspects of diversity representation.

“You need a critical mass for any conversation to take on,” said Gooch, who believes both proposed government bills can help build a good foundation for meaningful conversations about organizational diversity.

Andi Shi, executive director of the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada, was disappointed by the poor minority representation in leadership roles despite Canada’s celebrated pride in multiculturalism.

“There is still the unconscious assumption that racial minorities are not good enough, and the fear that we are not going to perform as good as a white person,” said Shi. “We need quotas to force organizations to make changes.”

Overall in 2017, women are faring well in taking senior leadership positions in all sectors in Toronto compared to private companies, representing 42 per cent in agencies, boards and commissions, 40.1 per cent in education, 42.5 per cent in the volunteer sector, 44.4 per cent in the public sector, and 41.5 per cent among elected officials.

However, visible minority representation is still dismal in 2017 in all areas, accounting for just 17.2 per cent in agencies/boards/commission, 23.1 per cent in education, 12.3 per cent in the volunteer sector, 9 per cent in the public sector, and 29.8 per cent among elected officials.

Source: Ryerson study highlights severe lack of visible minorities on corporate boards | Toronto Star

Free expression at universities gagged by anti-Trump backlash

James Turk, Ryerson’s Director of the Centre for Free Expression, on free speech in universities following Ryerson’s cancelling an event with right-wing speakers (Jordan Peterson, Faith Goldy):

That harmful legacy of university cowardice and complicity took years to overcome. We need to remember this past if we do not want to relive it, albeit in the name of new passions and different ideologies and concerns.

Instead, it appears as if we are starting down a dark road that threatens the raison d’être of the university and the fundamental rights to freedom of expression guaranteed by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If standing by its principles requires a university to make a greater investment in security personnel to protect freedom of expression, that must be seen as a proper cost of doing business.

If threats continue to blossom, then there needs to be discussions with governments to ensure universities have the additional financial resources to ensure free expression does not fall victim to intimidation.

Not only are censorship and suppression fatal to the purpose of the university, they undermine the foundation of democratic society.

When individual rights to freedom of expression are diminished or taken away for an allegedly good cause, they are necessarily invested in some higher authority that is given the right to determine what is acceptable.

The result is censorship from above — ultimately the state — with the likelihood that the champions of that censorship today are its vulnerable targets tomorrow.

Source: Free expression at universities gagged by anti-Trump backlash

Egerton Ryerson doesn’t deserve an anti-Indigenous label: Smith

Good historical account of Ryerson’s life and relationships with some Indigenous persons by Don Smith:

A variant of the line “those who forget history are condemned to repeat it” could be “those who are ignorant of history are condemned to ignorance:”

As a Canadian historian of nearly half a century’s standing, I find the current controversy over Egerton Ryerson, the namesake of Ryerson University, totally baffling. I wonder how deeply his critics have probed into the past of the founder of the modern Ontario public-school system. Their portrayal of him as anti-Indigenous misrepresents the man completely.

Egerton Ryerson (1803-1882) was a Christian minister. Perhaps this is the central problem. As the University of British Columbia anthropologist Kenelm Burridge said so well in his book, In the Way: A Study of Christian Missionary Endeavours (1991): “Whatever missionaries do or have done will be perceived as good by some, otherwise by others.”

At the Credit Mission, located in what is now Mississauga, young Egerton set out in 1826/27 to learn Ojibway. As he later wrote: “I must now acquire a new language, to teach a new people.” The first Methodist (now the United Church) minister to the Mississauga (Ojibwa, or Anishinabeg) acquired a basic speaking knowledge. The future Mississauga chief, Kahkewaquonaby (Sacred Feathers), known in English as Peter Jones, became a close life-long friend. The Credit Mississauga liked Ryerson. He rolled up his sleeves, worked beside them in the fields, ate and lived with them. He gained their respect. At a council meeting in December, 1826, they gave him the Ojibway name of one of their deceased chiefs: “Cheechock” or “Chechalk.” The name meant “Bird on the Wing.”

A decade later, Ryerson did his best to advance the studies of Henry Steinhauer or Shahwahnegizhik, an Ojibwa from the Lake Simcoe area, at the Methodist College that is now Victoria University in the University of Toronto. In the 1850s, Ryerson, as the superintendent of education for Canada West, welcomed Allen Salt, a Mississauga from the Rice Lake area near Peterborough to the Toronto Normal (teacher training) School, the predecessor of what is now Ryerson University.

So grateful was Steinhauer for his assistance and encouragement that he named one of his sons Egerton Ryerson Steinhauer. At Rev. Salt’s last mission on Parry Island (Wasauksing) on Georgian Bay, the mission day school bore the name Ryerson. Only recently was the First Nations day school renamed, to Wasauksing Kinomaugewgamik.

As educational historian Robin Harris wrote in 1959: “Ryerson was Christian, first, last, and all the time; his religious principles were his first principles.” Yes, he had a Christian agenda, but he also supported the Credit Mississauga’s fight for a title deed to their Credit River reserve and their efforts to build a strong economic base for their community.

Ryerson was not the creator of the Indian residential-school system. The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, vol. 1. The History, Part 1. Origins to 1939 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), pp. 75-78, clarifies his outlook toward Indigenous education. In 1847, he did write a short report on Indian boarding schools where older male students could learn European-style agriculture.

In preindustrial Ontario, farming was the motor of the economy. As his educational model, he favoured the respected Hofwyl School for the Poor near Berne, Switzerland.

Jones and Ryerson were true friends, perhaps best described as “blood brothers.” Toronto’s Dundas Square borders Victoria Street. The site ofRyerson’s home 150 years ago is located toward the eastern end of the urban park. Its actual site is now under Dundas Street East.Ryerson welcomed Mr. Jones and his wife to stay with his family for a month in the spring of 1856 while Ryerson sought the best medical advice to restore Jones’s health. After the attempt to find a cure failed, Jones returned to his home in Brantford, where he died two weeks later. As Jones had requested while he stayed at the Ryerson’s that spring, Ryerson gave the eulogy at his funeral on July 1, 1856.

To describe Egerton Ryerson, or Chechalk as the Mississauga called him, as anti-Indigenous misses the mark. Back to you, Ryerson Students’ Union, for further study.

Source: Egerton Ryerson doesn’t deserve an anti-Indigenous label – The Globe and Mail

Ryerson Student Union adopts new definition of anti-Semitism

Interesting that they chose the Ottawa Protocol version, which is fairly broad in its description of anti-israeli actions that can be construed as antisemitic (For The Record: The full text of the Ottawa Protocol – CBC):

The Ryerson Student Union has adopted a new, comprehensive definition of anti-Semitism amid reports that the head of a university program resigned over anti-Semitic tweets.

The RSU’s executive on March 29 passed a motion changing its definition of anti-Semitism to add the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism, adopted by the federal government in 2012.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said it’s not aware of any other university student union in Canada to adopt the Ottawa Protocol as its definition of anti-Semitism.

In part, the new wording defines anti-Semitism as: the denial of Jews’ right to self-determination; applying “double standards” by requiring of Jews “behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation”; using symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism and drawing comparisons between contemporary Israeli policy and the Nazis.

The effort was spearheaded by Students Supporting Israel and Stand With Us Canada, founded in 2013 to support, train, and provide resources to university and college students.

The old definition was “prejudice or discrimination based on stereotypes and assumptions about Jewish people. This can include policies, views, or actions that harm or discriminate against Jewish people individually or on an institutional level.”

The latest version keeps the old wording and adds the wide-ranging Ottawa Protocol.

The older version was passed in November 2014, but the RSU rejected references to Zionism after objections from non-Jewish students, SSI president Rebecca Katzman told The CJN.

She said she started working on the resolution last November, when the RSU failed to pass a motion to mark Holocaust Education Week after Muslim, after pro-Palestinian students staged a walkout that triggered a loss of quorum.

The motion was passed in December, and it was later revealed that RSU president Obaid Ullah had orchestrated the walkout, despite earlier denials.

Since then, the student union and the pro-Israel group have worked together to pass the new definition, Katzman said.

“Now I can confidently say that this motion makes it far more difficult for anti-Semites to perpetuate anti-Semitism at the student government level, and now, we are able to hold them accountable,” she added in a statement.

Allysa Moses, associate director of Hillel at Ryerson University, said she hopes other student governments adopt similar motions to help strengthen the fight against anti-Semitism on campus.

The development came the same week as the Eyeopener, a Ryerson student newspaper, reported that Hirra Farooqi resigned as president of the university’s orphan sponsorship program (OSP) in late February after anti-Semitic tweets she had sent out in 2014 were discovered online.

The tweets, forwarded to The CJN by Jewish students, included the following: “My heart burns with hatred for the scums of Israel”; “Nothing pisses me off more than pro Israel pieces of s–t”; and “f—k Israel.”

Farooqi apologized for the remarks “to ensure that people of all different faiths and backgrounds feel safe and welcomed to be involved in OSP,” the Eyeopener reported.

The messages were sent out “in my teenage years” and were “without a doubt, unacceptable and hurtful to entire communities,” wrote Farooqi. She added that she does not stand by the “hateful rhetoric.”

The CJN could not reach her for comment.

Her remarks were posted at Canary Mission, a site that monitors individuals and groups that promote hatred of Israel, Jews and the United States at North American universities.

Founded by Ryerson’s Muslim Students’ Association, the OSP is “designed to unify, raise awareness and leave a positive impact for a humanitarian cause,” according to the group’s website. The group raises money for orphans worldwide and claims that in an earlier year, it raised more than $70,000.

It partners with SOS Children’s Villages, an international group that bills itself as “the world’s largest charity working with orphaned and abandoned children.”

SOS Children’s Villages Canada said it’s not directly involved in the planning or execution of any third-party fundraising activities, which should be “free of religious prejudice and racial discrimination,” spokesperson Kerline Usher said.

Source: Ryerson Student Union adopts new definition of anti-Semitism

Ryerson ‘concerned’ about allegations of anti-Semitism at student union meeting

Worth noting:

Ryerson University has expressed concern about complaints of anti-Semitism that erupted at a student union meeting this week after students made a motion to mark Holocaust education week on campus every year.

“The university is very concerned about allegations at a recent RSU (Ryerson Students’ Union) meeting,” Johanna VanderMaas, manager of public affairs, said in an email Thursday.

“We are committed to providing a civil and safe environment which is free of discrimination, harassment and hate, and is respectful of the rights, responsibilities, well-being and dignity of all of its members.”

VanderMaas confirmed that Ryerson president Mohammed Lachemi had met with Obaid Ullah, head of the student union, to discuss the matter.

Ullah said the student union is also investigating the allegations, which he called disturbing.

Lachemi’s office has also spoken with one of the students who made the claims “to provide support, guidance and to ensure their concerns are heard” and contacted the Jewish student organization Hillel Ryerson, she said.

The alleged incident took place Tuesday evening at an RSU general meeting, during which a student introduced a motion to commemorate Holocaust education week with events to teach and remember the tragedy.

Third-year student Aedan O’Connor, there to support the motion, said she and other students were subject to jeers and snickers when they spoke, which escalated to anti-Semitic comments.

She also accused two groups of orchestrating a spontaneous walkout so quorum would be lost at the meeting, and with it an opportunity to vote on the motion for Holocaust remembrance — which both groups denied.

“Several students left crying and having panic attacks,” said O’Connor, 20, a member of Hillel Ryerson. Some posted their experiences on the RSU and other Facebook pages.

Neither Ullah or Tamara Jones, RSU vice-president of equity, said they heard any derogatory remarks from their positions on stage at the front of the room.

But they said the union is disturbed by the claims. The motion for a week to mark the Holocaust has the support of the board and will likely be approved at the next meeting, said Ullah.

“At the end of the day we have zero tolerance for this,” he said. “We do not tolerate any form of oppression. It’s not fair for these students to feel upset, or negative or hear such negativity on their own campus.”

He said he has met with two Jewish groups, Hillel Ryerson and Students Supporting Israel, and “they’ve been assured they have our support and the university’s support.”

Ullah said the controversy broke out more than three hours into the meeting, after many attending to support earlier motions had left, and attendance was hovering around the required quorum level of 100 people.

When someone proposed the motion regarding Holocaust education week be broadened to a week commemorating all genocides, “it definitely caused a lot of heat in the room,” he said, adding that proposal “was not appropriate.”

News of the allegations quickly spread on social media and sparked condemnation from such groups as B’nai Brith Canada and Hillel Ontario.

Jones said since the meeting, she has heard from half a dozen upset students and expects to hear from more.

“I’m shocked and disheartened that any of this had to happen,” said Jones.

Both groups accused of orchestrating the walkout strongly denied it on Facebook and did not respond to media requests.

“Allegations that we organized or directed the loss of quorum are completely false and hurtful,” said a post from the Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association.

“We strongly believe in free speech, the right for all paying members of the RSU to put forth motions, and the importance of motions being debated and put to a democratic vote.”

A statement from the executive of Students for Justice in Palestine said it supports the call for a week to commemorate the Holocaust at Ryerson and “did not engage in any manner in the ‘planned’ walkout.”

Contemporary Directions in Canadian Citizenship and Multiculturalism – Toronto Event

Will be in Toronto today talking about the general political/public service issues as well as citizenship.

York U Event

New course in entrepreneurship and multiculturalism at Ryerson 

Interesting program and a practical way to leverage Toronto’s (and Canada’s diversity:

Q:  Is this about marketing to specific ethnic segments?

A:  No, we are talking about educating people to be able to adapt to any of the markets they choose. We are not specifically profiling different demographics. We are giving people the tools to understand to test their ideas with that demographic.

Q:  Any other specifics about the course that you would like to share?

A:  One of the greatest things about it is that it takes the best of Ryerson’s different pieces. You learn about business plans, evaluating opportunities and apply it to a setting that you already want to work in. It’s widely impactful and I look forward to talking to the first group of students to hear if they are getting the impact that we had hoped.

There are six courses– the four required courses build skills in ideation, opportunity evaluation, business intelligence, and venture planning within a multicultural context. Additional electives allow students to enhance their skills in areas that suit their specific needs e.g., accounting or communication.

New course in entrepreneurship and multiculturalism at Ryerson | CanIndia NEWS.

Maytree New Ryerson-Maytree initiative set to advance the inclusion of immigrants and visible minorities » Maytree

Should provide further leadership on diversity and inclusion issues:

The initiative will be housed at the Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute at Ryerson University and led by Ratna Omidvar as its founding Executive Director who will be relocating to Ryerson. It builds on the long-standing relationship between Maytree and Ryerson, including its research partnerships on the DiverseCity and DiversityLeads projects.

Under Ratna’s leadership, the Ryerson Maytree Global Diversity Exchange will develop a program of academic and applied research, identify evidence-based leading practices and promote policy and solutions that strengthen the case for diversity and inclusion.

In addition, it will become the new home for a suite of successful Maytree programs: Cities of Migration, DiverseCity onBoard, the Flight and Freedom book project and hireimmigrants.

Cities of Migration and DiverseCity onBoard have had impact both in Canada and abroad. Flight and Freedom, due for publication in 2015, will tell the stories of Canadians who have fled their home countries, often under threatening conditions, to find their way to Canada. The book will highlight the contributions they have made to their new country. Hireimmigrants has a solid track record of working with Canadian employers to enhance their skills in attracting, employing and retaining skilled immigrants.

Maytree New Ryerson-Maytree initiative set to advance the inclusion of immigrants and visible minorities » Maytree.