Does Canadian education help International students? Statistics Canada study elaborates

“It is when the moon covers the sun that you see a solar eclipse,” says a mother turning to her son in Hindi on the way to the Ontario Science Centre. On the left, traffic is blocked, as everyone is scrambling to check out the one of a kind solar eclipse viewed by thousands on Monday afternoon. A block away from the centre, a Chinese couple walks fast towards the centre holding special glasses meant…

Why we shouldn’t Typecast Refugees

“They don’t look like refugees,” a friend of mine remarked when she saw a picture of a refugee family at the airport. I decided to dig a bit deeper. “Why do you think so?” I asked her. “Sorry, I had a different image of refugees in mind. This family looks so relaxed and carefree,” she said. I don’t blame her, nor do I blame those who believe that refugees look a certain way; haggard, shabby…

An Act of Kindness

Six p.m. on the subway can be tough, especially if you have had a rough day. Yesterday was different. Let me paint you a picture: A man in his 30s stood up and said, “Hi folks, I know you have to get home, but it would really help if you could spare some change; it is for my sister and she is in the hospital. I need to buy her some food.” For a second,…

Age is Not Just a Number

“Excuse me,” a senior citizen behind me, on the bus says. She is trying to make her way on a visibly overcrowded bus. As I give her some space, I realize the bus is teeming with senior citizens, not unusual for a commuter who takes the subway or bus every day. In fact, Canadians know we have an aging population which is increasing by the day. This is precisely the reason why we have a…

The Story of A Rape

During Sexual Assault Prevention Month, I thought I would relay this story of a rape (some facts have been modified), so we never lose sight of the immense harm it does.  I refer to it by the old term rape and not by the legal term sexual assault.  I believe most people have more of a visceral reaction to the term “rape” – I may be wrong.    We read gruesome tales of rape every day…

Newcomers and the Stigma of Mental Illness

Not quite the response I was expecting. A couple of years ago when I revealed to my father that I’ve struggled with depression for many years, he looked at me confused and asked why “I didn’t just get over it.”  Now, three things immediately came to my mind in rapid succession: 1)  Did my father really just say that? 2) Admittedly, he is a first-generation immigrant from a country that is only just beginning to…

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Constitution Act, 1982, “Charter”) – A Reflection on its 35th Anniversary

As we go about our daily lives we pay scant attention to the laws of this land and the guaranteed rights and freedoms we enjoy under the Charter.  We forget the protection it offers us so we can live our lives with dignity. Critics are quick to point out that the Charter is there in name and not really available to the average person.  Others say it is abused by criminal defendants who use the…