Ethnic mini-cities on the rise

Recent immigrants are increasingly likely to settle in ethnic neighbourhoods in Canada’s three biggest cities, raising concerns that they are becoming isolated from the rest of the community, reported the Toronto Star March 10. Statistics Canada has reported that the number of ethnic neighbourhoods in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver – where more than 30 per cent of the population is from a particular ethnic group – jumped from six in 1981 to 254 in 2001. Lucia Lo, a professor in economic and demographic geography in York’s Faculty of Arts, said the settlement pattern reflects the changes in Canada’s immigration policy in the past two decades. “Today, our immigrants are very different from those we used to get in the old days. They are much better educated. When they move to Canada, they don’t restrain themselves to the dirty, filthy and crowded downtown ghettos,” Lo said. “They want to live in a house with a full backyard in the suburbs. They may still congregate in certain areas, but they do spread outside of the city core. And with the massive number of people coming to the country, we are seeing more ethnic neighbourhoods everywhere.”

Lo said the isolation index is only one way to look at the integration level of different ethnic groups, but it is not necessarily the best indicator. Most people, she added, do interact with people outside their ethnic community, whether it’s at work or in school. “Looking at the residential concentration by itself doesn’t really give you the complete picture of how well someone is integrated [in] and assimilated with the general community.”

Provincial funding gap decried at Osgoode

“No dean enjoys announcing a tuition increase, but we’re facing budget cuts of nearly $400,000 this year and a total cumulative cut in the past five years of more than $1.5 million,” Osgoode Hall Law School Dean Patrick Monahan told law students protesting the proposed tuition increase, reported the Toronto Star March 9. Monahan is recommending tuition stay frozen at $12,000 for two years, then rise by $1,500 for September 2006 and by another $1,500 in September 2007, for a final price tag of $15,000. Osgoode’s council, which has no power over money matters but represents the views of professors and students at the country’s largest law school, voted in principle March 8 against supporting any hike in fees above the current $12,000. It has suggested Osgoode explore other ways to fill the provincial funding gap, such as boosting enrolment, cutting costs or fundraising more aggressively, reported the Star. “We need to send the strongest message possible to government that they won’t make up the funding gap on the backs of students,” said Osgoode Professor Lisa Philipps. But Monahan said he has little choice but to recommend the hike to York University’s Board of Governors later this spring if he hopes to maintain the quality of the award-winning school in the face of declining government dollars. He said he’s also recommending that 45 per cent of this increase go for bursaries and loans for financially needy students. Radio and TV stations across Ontario also carried news of the March 8 student boycott over the proposed fee increase.

US schools, York trying to recruit 18-year-old player

Toronto high-school basketball player Vitas Naudzuinas has attracted scholarship interest from NCAA Division I schools, including Chicago State and Nicholls State. But he hasn’t ruled out attending York University, reported the Toronto Star March 10. “We’re not recruiting him to sit on the bench,” said York coach Bob Bain, whose team has qualified for the Canadian university playoffs later this month in Halifax. “He’s big and good, the prototypical university player, and what we like is that he is going to get much better.”

Women bear burden of home care

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) marked International Women’s Day by holding a panel in Washington March 8 on women and health care in the Americas. The panel included Pat Armstrong, a sociology professor with York University’s Faculty of Arts. “Care work is women’s work,” Armstrong told the panel. “Paid and unpaid, located at home, in voluntary organizations or in the labour force, the overwhelming majority of care is provided by women. It is often invisible, usually accorded little value and only sometime recognized as skilled. Unpaid care constitutes an underground economy.” According to an account posted on the PAHO Web site, Armstrong concluded that by “making care visible and beginning by making it the objective, we can then work towards solutions that give as many people as possible the right to care. Care is the objective, not the problem.”

On air

  • Michael Creal, a retired York University humanities professor and chair of a refugee support organization called the Sanctuary Coalition, was interviewed by CBC about police entering a United Church in Quebec City March 5 to arrest Mohamed Cherfi, an Algerian refugee claimant facing deportation. It was the first time in Canada authorities breached the historic notion of church sanctuary, reported the CBC. Creal said Cherfi has a reputation as a social activist, in an interview aired March 9 on CBC Radio across Canada.
  • Lawyer Gord Kirk, who teaches at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and represents many NHL players, discussed the hit that Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi made against Colorado Avalanche player Steve Moore March 8, and whether or not the police should get involved in cases like this in order to lay charges of assault, on “The World Tonight” (CHQR-AM), Calgary, March 9.