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Canada’s Hong Kong diaspora helps new arrivals with jobs, housing, psychotherapy

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Hong Kongers in Canada are banding together to help the latest wave of immigrants fleeing Beijing’s tightening grip on their city.

Networks across the country, some descended from groups set up after China’s crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989, are offering new arrivals everything from jobs and accommodation to legal and mental health services and even car rides to the grocery store.

“We are in a battle. These are my comrades, people who share the same values,” one 38-year-old who asked to be identified only as Ho told Reuters. “Who is going to provide that helping hand if I’m not going to?”

Ho runs a cooking school near Toronto, and said he hired a former aide to a Hong Kong democratic politician to promote his business online, and recently took on a new kitchen assistant who took part in the city’s 2019 pro-democracy protests.

Ho, who came to Canada as a teenager before Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, is just one person helping the network of support groups that have been formed in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton in the past two years.

Immigrants looking after each other is not unique. But people in Canada, which has one of the world’s biggest overseas concentrations of people from Hong Kong, told Reuters the situation is urgent because many of the people they are seeking to help fear they will be arrested for taking part in past protests and may not be able to afford professional help to resettle overseas. 

“It’s my natural duty,” said Ho, who asked not to be identified by his full name, and did not name his new employees, for fear of problems with Hong Kong authorities. “If I was in Hong Kong, I would be in a desperate position. If there was a helping hand, I would hold onto it.” 

Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong a year ago, outlawing a wide range of political activities and effectively putting an end to public protests. Many pro-democracy activists and politicians, including prominent Beijing critics Joshua Wong and Jimmy Lai, have been arrested under the new law or for protest-related offences. Many people have already left the territory.

    The Hong Kong government and China say the law was necessary to restore stability after the sometimes violent protests of 2019, and that it preserves freedoms guaranteed by Beijing after Britain handed Hong Kong back to China. 

“The Hong Kong national security law upholds the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people,” said a spokesperson for Hong Kong’s Security Bureau. “Any law enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies are based on evidence, strictly according to the law, for the acts of the persons or entities concerned.”

CANADIAN ‘PARENTS’

Britain and Canada are two of the most popular destinations for people leaving Hong Kong after the imposition of the national security law.

Some 34,000 people applied to live in Britain in the first two months after the country introduced a new fast-track to residency for Hong Kongers earlier this year, according to the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, citing government data.

About a fifth of that number applied for temporary and permanent residency in Canada in the first four months of this year, according to the government. The total number of Hong Kongers going to Canada is likely larger but hard to track as many already hold Canadian passports from earlier waves of emigration.

Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers moved there in the 1980s and 1990s for fear they would lose wealth and property, or much of their freedom, after Communist Party-ruled China took back control of the city. 

But the city prospered and retained freedoms unavailable in mainland China, so many Hong Kongers returned home, or kept a foot in each country. The latest wave of emigration looks more likely to be permanent, as China stamps its authority on Hong Kong.

Canada loosened its restrictions on admitting Hong Kongers after the imposition of the national security law last year. It set up a new work visa programme aimed chiefly at young Hong Kongers with a degree or diploma from a post-secondary institution in the last five years, along with two pathways to permanent residency for Hong Kongers in Canada who have recently worked or completed post-secondary studies in the country.

The new coronavirus has complicated matters for new arrivals. Under Canada’s latest travel restrictions, even those who have obtained permission to live and work in Canada through the new programme are only allowed to enter the country if they have a job offer.

That is where the support network comes in. The Toronto Hong Kong Parent Group has so far assisted 40 people, half of whom have already received three-year permits, according to Eric Li, co-founder of the group and former president of the Canada-Hong Kong Link, a rights advocacy organisation established in 1997. 

Li said the group has encouraged 20 employers to offer jobs to people arriving from Hong Kong, including Ho’s cooking school, restaurants, a construction company, a travel agency, and a family who hired a Cantonese tutor for their children.

The Toronto group also has interpreters, lawyers and psychotherapists on hand to help new arrivals and has 10 rooms it can provide as free, temporary accommodation. The rooms are in the members’ or their friends’ homes.

Volunteers in Calgary said they have helped at least 29 asylum seekers, picking many up from the airport and driving them to doctors’ offices, grocery stores and banks. 

STEPPING STONE

Canada has long had one of the largest populations of overseas Hong Kongers, some of whom came together in 2019 to hold rallies in solidarity with the protests back home.

Many of the new groups can trace their roots to activist organisations that formed in response to Beijing’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in and around Tiananmen Square in 1989, or the 1997 handover. The groups already have contacts with social agencies, such as Community Family Services of Ontario or the York Support Services Network, or with churches and professionals willing to help.

The Vancouver Parent Group, supported by the Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement that formed in 1989, has raised more than C$80,000 ($65,963) to help Hong Kong protesters settling in Canada with living costs and legal fees.

Vancouver “parents” show new arrivals how to navigate public transport or get a library card, and organise donations of winter clothing or kitchenware, according to Ken Tung, one of the volunteers.

Tung said their aim is to “give them a stepping stone to move on.”

Alison, a protester who left Hong Kong last year after many of her friends there were arrested for taking part in protests, was one of those helped by the Calgary group. 

Along with a few other new arrivals, she launched the Soteria Institute, named after the Greek goddess of safety and salvation, to offer free, weekly, online English lessons, resume-writing workshops and emotional support.

“We understand what they’re experiencing,” said Alison, who asked to be identified by only one name. “We try to use our experience to help out more Hong Kong exiles.”

(Reporting by Sarah Wu in Ottawa; Editing by Marius Zaharia and Bill Rigby)

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What Canada did on Saturday at the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympic games – CTV News

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TOKYO —
Michael Woods came agonizingly close to opening Canada’s medal account on the first full day of competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Take a look at what Canada did on Saturday at the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympic games:

ARCHERY

Men’s individual — Crispin Duenas, Toronto, finished 16th in the ranking round with a score of 665.

Mixed team — Canada (Stephanie Barrett, Mississauga, Ont., and Duenas) placed 17th overall in the ranking round with 1,295 points, just missing a berth in the main draw by two points.

BADMINTON

Mixed doubles — Josephine Wu, Edmonton, and Joshua Hurlburt-Yu, Toronto, lost their group-stage match 2-0 to Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand.

Women’s doubles — Rachel Honderich, Toronto, and Kristen Tsai, Burnaby, B.C., were defeated by Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen of the Netherlands, 2-1.

Men’s doubles — Jason Ho-Shue, Markham, Ont., and Nyl Yakura, Pickering, Ont., lost 2-0 to Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Women — Melissa Humana-Paredes, Toronto, and Sarah Pavan, Kitchener, Ont., won their opening group-stage match 2-0 (21-16, 21-14) over Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands. Heather Bansley, Waterdown, Ont., and Brandie Wilkerson, Toronto, lost 2-1 (18-21, 21-15, 15-11) to the Chinese team of Fan Wang and Xinyi Xia.

BOXING

Men’s welterweight (63-69 kg) — Wyatt Sanford of Kennetcook, N.S., lost 5-0 to Merven Clair, Mauritius, in the round of 32.

CYCLING

Men’s road race — Michael Woods, Ottawa, placed fifth overall in a time of 6:05:26, one minute, seven seconds behind the winner; Guillaume Boivin, Montreal, was 65th (6:21:46); while Hugo Houle of Ste-Perpetue, Que., 85th (6:25:16).

EQUESTRIAN (DRESSAGE)

Individual — Chris von Martels, Ridgetown, Ont., and his horse, Eclips, were seventh in their qualifier group after the first day with a score of 68.059.

Team — Following the first day, Canada is ranked 11th with 2,191 points, with the other riders (Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, Saint-Bruno, Que., and Lindsay Kellock, Toronto) to compete in the coming days.

FENCING

Men’s individual sabre — Shaul Gordon of Richmond, B.C., lost 15-10 in the round-of-32 to Mojtaba Abedini of Iran.

FIELD HOCKEY

Men — Keegan Pereira of Pickering, Ont., had the lone goal as Canada (0-1) lost 7-1 to Germany.

GYMNASTICS (ARTISTIC)

Men’s floor exercise — Rene Cournoyer, Repentigny, Que., placed 68th in qualifying with a score of 11.766, did not advance.

Men’s horizontal bar — Cournoyer, was 36th in qualifying (13.266), did not advance.

Men’s parallel bars — Cournoyer, 63rd (12.333), did not advance.

Men’s pommel horse — Cournoyer, 55th (12.800), did not advance.

Men’s rings — Cournoyer, 33rd (13.666), did not advance.

Men’s vault — Rene Cournoyer, 44th (13.866), did not advance,

Individual all-around — Cournoyer placed 55th overall (77.697), did not advance.

ROWING

Women’s lightweight double sculls — Jennifer Casson, Kingston, Ont., and Jill Moffatt, Bethany, Ont., were second in their qualifying heat in seven minutes, 11.3 seconds to earn a berth in the semifinals.

Women’s pairs — Caileigh Filmer, Victoria, and Hillary Janssens, Cloverdale, B.C., won their heat (7:18.34) and advance to the semifinals.

Women’s fours — Canada (Stephanie Grauer, Vancouver; Nicole Hare, Calgary; Jennifer Martins, Toronto; Kristina Walker, Wolfe Island, Ont.) finished third in their race (6:40:07) and will need to advance through the repechage stage.

Women’s eights — Canada (Susanne Grainger, London, Ont.; Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, Calgary; Kristen Kit, St. Catharines, Ont.; Madison Mailey, Lions Bay, B.C.; Sydney Payne, Toronto; Andrea Proske, Langley, B.C.; Lisa Roman, Langley, B.C.; Christine Roper, London, Ont.; Avalon Wasteneys, Campbell River, B.C.) placed second in their qualifier (6:07.97) and will race in the repechage.

Men’s lightweight double sculls — Patrick Keane, Victoria, and Maxwell Lattimer, Delta, B.C., were third in their heat (6:27:54) and will go to the repechage.

Men’s pairs — Kai Langerfeld, North Vancouver, B.C., and Conlin McCabe, Brockville, Ont., finished third (6:40.99) and qualified for the semifinals.

Men’s fours — Canada (Jakub Buczek, Kitchener, Ont.; Will Crothers, Kingston, Ont.; Luke Gadsdon, Hamilton; Gavin Stone, Brampton, Ont.) were fifth in their heat (6:05.47) and will be in a repechage.

SOCCER

Women — Janine Beckie, Highlands Ranch, Colo., scored both goals as Canada downed Chile 2-1, to improve to a win and a draw.

SOFTBALL

Canada beat Australia 7-1 to improve to 2-1 in the group stage.

SWIMMING

Women’s 100 butterfly — Margaret MacNeil of London, Ont., posted the fifth-best time in qualifying (56.55) to advance to the semifinals.

Women’s 400 individual medley — Tessa Cieplucha, Georgetown, Ont., was 14th in qualifying (4:44.54), did not advance; Sydney Pickrem, Halifax, did not start.

Women’s 4×100 freestyle relay — Canada (Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez, Toronto; Taylor Ruck, Kelowna, B.C.; Rebecca Smith, Red Deer, Alta.) posted the third-best time in qualifying (3:33.72) to earn a berth in the final.

Men’s 100 breastroke — Gabe Mastromatteo, Kenora, Ont., was 38th in qualifying (1:01.56), did not advance.

TABLE TENNIS

Mixed doubles — Mo Zhang, Richmond, B.C., and Eugene Wang, Toronto, lost in the round-of-16 to Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen of China, 4-1.

TAEKWONDO

Women’s flyweight (49 kg) — Yvette Yong, Toronto, lost her round-of-16 match to T.K. Truong of Vietnam, 19-5.

TENNIS

Women’s singles — Leylah Annie Fernandez, Laval, Que., def. Dayana Yastremska, Ukraine, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, in her opening match and will play Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic in the second round.

Women’s doubles — Gabriela Dabrowski, Ottawa, and Sharon Fichman, Toronto, were eliminated after losing their first-round match to Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani of Brazil, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

VOLLEYBALL

Men — Canada lost to Italy 3-2 (26-28, 18-25, 25-21, 25-18, 15-11) in its opening group stage match.

WATER POLO

Monika Eggens of Pitt Meadows, B.C., scored three goals but Canada (0-1) lost to Australia, 6-5.

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‘Shadow pandemic’ of femicide looms, experts warn as Canada prepares to reopen – Global News

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After more than a year of quarantines, lockdowns and separations due to COVID-19, Canada is slowly reopening. But experts say another pandemic, of femicide and domestic violence, has been quietly raging across the country.

The proof is in the reports. Preliminary findings from the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability’s (CFOJA) mid-year report found 92 women and girls were killed, mostly by men, between January and June of this year.

Femicide is the killing of a girl or woman because of their gender. Men were identified as the accused in 79 out of 92 killings in the first half of 2021.

Indigenous women were over-represented in this year’s report, making up 12 per cent of femicide victims, despite comprising just 5 per cent of Canada’s overall population.

Read more:
Are you experiencing abuse? Here’s how to get help

Experts say the data is unsurprising.

“We, as in violence against women organizations, advocates and survivors, have been naming that there is a shadow pandemic happening and that is gender based violence,” says Farrah Khan, a gender justice advocate and manager of Ryerson University’s Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education.

Numbers have been steadily rising since the COVID pandemic began. CFOJA, which tracks femicides across the country, said 160 women and girls were victims of femicide last year, an uptick from the 118 who were killed in 2019.

Khan said the health crisis that has led to repeated lockdowns across the country has “set women up” for unhealthy relationships that could result in their deaths. Women, who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, accounted for more than 35 per cent of job losses across the country and make up a majority of Canada’s minimum wage workers.

Read more:
‘Perfect storm’: Growing calls to address domestic violence during coronavirus

She says this could have prompted many women to move in with potentially abusive partners to save on costs that left them trapped and unable to leave when things began to escalate in an unsafe way. Things like child-care problems and food insecurity, also rampant during the pandemic, are also reasons women end up trapped with their abusers.

“The lockdown has increased the abusers’ access to them, has increased their ability to control their mobility, increased their ability to set strict rules about who they interact with,” she said of women during the pandemic, including those with abusive family members.

“I worry about the people also that are living through it right now that are not reaching out to services, are not feeling safe to do so because someone is monitoring their phone, somebody is monitoring their computer.”

Of the 160 women killed according to the report, researchers said 128 women and girls were killed by men. A majority of them were killed in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut accounting for 13.68 per cent and 5.21 per cent respectively.


Click to play video: 'Increase in domestic violence reported during lockdown'



5:15
Increase in domestic violence reported during lockdown


Increase in domestic violence reported during lockdown – Feb 23, 2021

Victims of abuse could see more challenges in rural and remote areas, Khan says, because of isolation and the lack of mobility sometimes present in those communities.

“Already mobility is challenged. Already there’s no computer in the house that doesn’t have spyware on it,” Khan said, adding that “what’s needed in Toronto is different than what’s going to be needed in rural and remote areas.”

Numbers are also stacking up in more densely populated provinces.

In Ontario alone, femicide has increased by more than 84 per cent in the first half of 2021, according to the latest report from the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH).

Read more:
Women facing more violence amid coronavirus pandemic: national survey

“[When] we compare that to the prior year, there’s been an increase every single month,” Marlene Ham, executive director of OAITH, told Global News. “To have six months in a row show an increase in the number of femicides, that does surprise us, but it also really concerns us.”

From December 2019 through June 2020, the report found 19 confirmed femicides throughout the province. The next year, they reported 35.

Younger women between the ages of 18 and 35 accounted for a majority of this year’s femicides at 30 per cent, while younger men between 18 and 35 years accounted for 50 per cent of all perpetrators this year. Researchers found intimate partner cases made up 80 per cent of femicide cases in 2021.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ham said OAITH began noticing more femicides in Ontario when the province reopened, likely as a result of women trying to leave their abusers.

“When survivors leave or make a plan to leave, for some of them that can be the most dangerous time,” she said.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate assistance. For a more comprehensive list of resources, click here.

Get help:

Assaulted Women’s Helpline
Toll-free: 1-866-863-0511
Toll-free TTY: 1-866-863-7868

Get help:

Shelter Safe: Network of women’s shelters across Canada
Canadian Family Law Lawyers Network
Phone: 1-888-660-4869
Legal Aid Domestic Abuse Hotline
Phone: 1-800-668-8258
Women’s Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre of Durham
Phone: 1-877-454-4035
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
Phone: 416-323-9149 ext. 234
Email: info@schliferclinic.com

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Fauci says prospect of open border for fully vaccinated Canadians part of active U.S. talks – CBC.ca

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U.S. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci says the prospect of opening the U.S. border to fully vaccinated Canadians is part of an “active discussion” in the White House.

“I can tell you that the border situation and letting Canadians in who are fully vaccinated is an area of active discussion right now in the U.S. government,” he told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics in an exclusive Canadian interview.

“As a public health official, sometimes it’s difficult to figure out why policies haven’t changed.”

Earlier this week, the U.S. government issued a renewal order keeping the borders with Canada and Mexico closed until August 21.

According to U.S. Homeland Security officials, the move is part of the government’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the more contagious delta variant.

The delta variant has been wreaking havoc south of the border, where infections and hospitalizations are up in nearly all 50 states.

Fauci said the delta variant now accounts for 83 per cent of cases in the U.S. Those cases are concentrated in southern states, where vaccination rates are lower than the national average.

“In some of the southern states where the level of vaccination is very low and the level of the transmission of the virus is very high, we’re seeing a significant surge in cases,” Fauci said. 

“This virus has an extraordinary capability of efficiently spreading from person to person.” 

The White House has enlisted the help of celebrities and athletes to encourage Americans to get vaccinated, particularly in states led by Republican governors. In recent days, high-profile conservative figures such as Fox pundit Sean Hannity have encouraged Americans to get vaccinated.

Fauci said the U.S. must increase its vaccination rate to end current outbreaks of COVID-19.  

“We’re seeing some of them starting to come around, which is a really good thing, because we’ve got to realize and act on it, that the common enemy is the virus,” he told Power & Politics.

“The virus doesn’t have any idea who’s a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent.” 

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