There has been much talk in the news of the government’s proposed reforms to Canada’s citizenship rules and procedures, but it is important for newcomers and prospective newcomers to understand exactly what these changes mean.
Firstly, newcomers will have to wait at least four years before applying, instead of three. The proof of residency requirements will be more stringent and applicants will be questioned on their intent to reside in Canada in the future. Additionally, immigrants will need to file their taxes in Canada for four out of the first six years of their residency.
The government will have the power to revoke citizenship from any immigrant convicted of terrorism, spying or treason. There will be harsher penalties for anyone convicted of citizenship fraud. The new rules will also grant Canada’s Immigration Minister, currently Chris Alexander, the power to unilaterally grant and revoke citizenships on a case-by-case basis.
Newcomers who enlist in Canada’s armed forces will be eligible for fast-tracking of their application and new rules will help to grant status to thousands of so-called “Lost Canadians” who’ve lived in Canada for years but, due to legal loopholes, have been unable to gain citizenship.
The age range for those needing to prove their language abilities is widening from 18 to 54 to 14 to 64. There will also be more regulations in place governing citizenship consulting.
Lastly, the government aims to streamline the process, which currently takes about two-to-three years. They hope that new rules, including switching out citizenship judges with citizenship officers, will help cut waiting times down to a year and reduce the current 320,000 application backlog.
Source: Globe and Mail
The Canadian government will soon take a more aggressive approach when it comes to recruiting skilled workers from abroad.
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says that his government’s “transformational” plan is to target specific people deemed desirable in Canada’s marketplace – “rare birds if you will.”
The plan is unique in that the government intends to tap into Canadian resources abroad, including “government officials, diplomats and representatives of Canadian industry” to help them reach out to desirable candidates.
“We are trying to get back to that outward and proactive [recruitment],” said Minister Alexander, referring to government strategies of targeted recruitment in the 1950s and 1960s. For instance, a student recruitment officer working at a Canadian consulate abroad might approach schools and student groups to give seminars on living and working in Canada.
The plan is part of a larger, ongoing immigration policy initiative that aims to hone in on the workers Canada will most need in the years ahead.
The government also announced the end of the Immigrant Investor Program wherein wealthy entrepreneurs could basically buy their way into Canada. Minister Alexander said the program was not effective.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Employers in the booming Western provinces are still doing what they can to overcome labour pressures, including looking abroad to find the skilled workers they need to keep pace with the demand.
That is the case for Jim Nowakowski, owner of Saskatchewan-based welding company JNE Welding. Though there are skilled welders in Canada, Nowakowski says that few of them are willing to leave behind family and friends, despite the benefits and wages they are able to receive in booming economies like Saskatchewan.
In a recent piece for The Globe and Mail, Nowakowski describes his firm’s recent efforts to recruit and retain skilled workers from abroad – offering integration assistance and accommodation to newcomers with the intent to help them build permanent ties to the Saskatoon community.
Though recent government policies have recognized the hiring challenges faced by employers, there still are many obstacles, including relocation costs, which amount to thousands of dollars per worker, as well as processing times which can be upwards of one or two years.
“Despite the challenges, I have seen the benefits of hiring internationally beyond filling the skills gap within my company,” writes Nowakowski. “Our employees are from India, Iran, the Philippines, South Africa, Israel, Ukraine, Poland, Ireland, Germany and of course, people originally from Canada. The multicultural background of our employees adds to the working experience and contributes to a rich employee culture —something that is extremely valuable.”
Though JNE Welding is just one company among many, Nowakowski’s story surely rings true for many employers in Western Canada. Nowakowski says that he fully intends to continue to recruit internationally, as it currently is the only way he can keep up with demand.
Source: Globe and Mail
This month Immigration Minister Chris Alexander tabled new legislation that will transform Canada’s citizenship system.
Though experts are praising many of the changes, critics are pointing to some of the smaller, “illogical” moves that have been slipped into the reform package.
Among the changes being hailed by observers is a new language requirement for citizenship applicants, widening the required ages from 18 to 54, to 14 to 64, for those needing to demonstrate capabilities in one of Canada’s two official languages.
One of the more controversial reforms is an increase to residency requirements, which, some argue, could discourage sought-after skilled workers who travel frequently for work in today’s global marketplace.
Additionally, critics are concerned over a citizenship amendment which will allow the government to strip citizenship from those convicted of terrorism, spying or treason. Immigrant rights’ advocates are concerned over this new power, saying that the government should never be able to strip citizenship for reasons other than fraud, as it creates a two-tiered system.
Citizenship reform has been publicly touted as one of this government’s top priorities.
Source: Globe and Mail
Ottawa is set to commit $800,000 to the National Association of Career Colleges (NACC) to help skilled newcomers to Canada, find work in their chosen fields. The NACC represents an array of schools across Canada that offer training in sectors facing a shortage of skilled workers.
The Employment Minister Jason Kenney said that the funding aims to support about 5,000 internationally trained and educated workers, who are unable to find work in their fields, to obtain jobs closely related to their core expertise or to explore other career opportunities.
The NACC’s new Alternative Pathways for Newcomers project aims to get skilled workers from overseas move out of the menial jobs they currently hold, and get involved in professions closely related to their chosen vocations.
NACC head Serge Buy stated that several workers visited Canada based on promises made while promoting immigration to Canada from overseas. However, once these people landed in Canada, they ended up working in taxicabs or fast-food kitchens instead of practising in the fields of their choice.
The NACC program would publish information materials on alternative careers and develop a website, where skilled newcomers could access this information easily. The association would also establish regional information centres for enabling newcomers and community organisations to access and share information.
Thus, after doing the appropriate course, a lawyer from another country could work as a paralegal or an immigration consultant. Similarly, a nurse could find employment as a personal support worker or a pharmacy assistant.
Expectedly, the Liberals criticised the latest move. They said that career colleges had the highest average student loan sizes and default rates in the country. Therefore, by funding institutions that carry high costs and high default rates, the government was making profligate use of its funds.
Two years ago, the government launched the so-called Foreign Credential Recognition Loans pilot project. It resulted in the disbursement of over 1,000 loans to skilled newcomers for helping them cover the costs of having their credentials recognised in Canada. This latest move is yet another step to help this community contribute to the development of the country.
Source: City News Toronto
The December edition of the Conference Board of Canada’s Help-Wanted Index showed Alberta recording its fifth consecutive gain with an increase of 3.5 points. It also revealed the national index registering an increase of five points. The increases indicate better days ahead for those seeking employment in Alberta as well as across the country.
The Index, based on the seasonally adjusted number of new and unique jobs posted online during the month across 79 Canadian job-posting websites, also showed stable prospects for Calgary.
The results on the December Help-Wanted Index showed that near-term job prospects were either positive or stable for most Canadian census metropolitan areas. For 17 CMAs, the employment prospects were positive. Eight CMAs had stable prospects while only two CMAs (Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo and Edmonton) faced negative prospects, according to the Index.
In December, Alberta had the second lowest unemployment rate in the country (4.8 percent) after Saskatchewan (3.9 percent). At a nationwide level, the unemployment rate stood at 7.2 percent. Alberta also recorded the fastest year-over-year growth in employment at 3.3 percent. Additionally, Alberta also accounted for 69.3 percent of Canada’s employment growth in the past year.
Another measure of Alberta’s employment saga came courtesy Statistics Canada. Recent data revealed that more Albertans stayed attached to the workforce for longer. Todd Hirsch, chief economist with ATB Financial, said that the participation rate estimated the percentage of people aged 15 years and over, looking for work or currently having employment.
The participation rate, calculated by the federal agency’s Labour Force Survey each month, for people aged 55 years and over in Alberta was 47 percent. This was nearly 10 percentage points higher than the national rate (37.4 percent). The participation rate for the entire population aged 15 years and over in Alberta was 72.9 percent, which was 6.5 percentage points higher than the national rate (66.4 percent).
While various reasons abound for the higher participation rate of mature workers in Alberta – ranging from good employment opportunities to higher living expenses that lead to postponed retirements, for the moment, jobseekers in Alberta have more than enough reason to cheer.
Source: Calgary Herald
During his recent address at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce lunch, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil backed the government’s decision to increase immigration. He also encouraged people to follow the Ivany report recommendations, which could slow the province’s economic slide.
The lunch event drew over 750 people, making it the biggest attendance ever for the event. McNeil did not offer any details about how the government would boost immigration. However, the audience seemed to be receptive to his message.
McNeil said that people held incorrect notions about opening up the province to newcomers. People felt that increasing immigrants would lead to a lesser number of opportunities for the citizens of the province. However, he believed that opening up the province created more opportunities than ever. McNeil also urged the business community to adopt the recommendations prescribed by the Ivany report, as this would help the province stem its economic slide.
Released earlier this month, the economic development report forecast an extended period of decline for the province, unless a reversal of the population and economic trends took place. Additionally, the report also recommended bringing about a change in the current suspicious attitudes about business.
When asked whether his government would implement any of the recommendations put forward by the Ivany report by making them into laws, McNeil refuted the possibility. He said that legislating prosperity was an impossible task. However, he did urge people to develop a “Do It Yourself” attitude, which would help in reducing their dependence on the government.
The chamber’s president Valerie Payne asked the premier to balance the budget by April 2015. To this, McNeil responded by saying that the goal would not be within reach for the next three to four years, at the very least. He reiterated his government’s commitment to eliminating the deficit within a specific timeframe, as it formed a part of their first mandate. Before concluding his address, the premier also promised a broad review of the public schools in the province.
Source: CBC / Radio-Canada
During the recent return of Parliament, Government House Leader Peter Van Loan boasted that Canada had the strongest job-creation record in the G7, with the creation of over one million net new jobs since the recession.
However, (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data showed that this claim might not be entirely correct. However, the government might also be using a different data set in its calculations.
Statistics Canada showed that 17,175,100 people had jobs when the recession began in October 2008. That number dropped to 16,743,800 in July 2009. As of December 2013, Statistics Canada reported that 17,769,600 people had jobs.
Thus, the difference of 1,025,800 shows that Van Loan’s claim is indeed true. The doubts arise over whether Canada has the best job creation record in the G7.
The Canadian Press analysed employment data from the OECD. This data measured quarterly numbers, instead of monthly. Hence, they used the data from the third quarter of 2009 (the lowest point of the recession) and compared it to the latest quarter reported by all the G7 countries.
However, only Canada and the U.S. had reported figures for the fourth quarter of 2013. Therefore, the Canadian Press used the third quarter data for 2013 in their calculations – despite the availability of more recent data for Canada and the U.S.
According to OECD data, Germany had 38,205,190 employed people in the third quarter of 2009. This figure increased to 40,499,230 in the third quarter of 2013 – an increase of six percent. Canada came next with an increase of 5.81 percent, followed by the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Japan and Italy.
Many economists believe that the employment rate is a better indicator of the health of the labour market, as it measures the working age population that has a job. Canada had an employment rate of 61.8 percent in the third quarter of 2013, according to OECD data – the best among the G7, with the U.S. coming second at 58.6 percent.
Whichever way you look at it, Canada has fared well in rebounding from the downturn experienced during the recession.
Source: The Canadian Press
A new report from the Mining Association of Canada declares that Canada’s mining sector and related industries, witnessed an increase of 11,000 new mining-related jobs in Canada in 2012. The report mentioned that in 2011, the sector had about 407,000 jobs, which increased to 418,000 in 2012.
Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada, highlighted the roles played by the Canadian mining industry, as a major driver of economic growth and as a major employer. He mentioned that the mining industry is also the top paying industrial sector in the country, in addition to being the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal people on a proportional basis. Moreover, he added that the mining industry also supported thousands of indirect jobs.
The report easily corroborated Gratton’s words. It revealed that employees in Canada’s mining sector have the highest wages and salaries among all the industrial sectors in the country, with an average weekly pay of $1,559.
Further, government data showed that Canada’s mining sector contributed $52.6 billion to the national GDP in 2012. The data also revealed that mining industry exports contributed to 20.4 percent of the Canadian total (worth $92.5 billion).
According to government data, Canada’s mineral production remained high at $46.9 billion while its mineral exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures equalled the mark set in 2011 at $3.9 billion. Additionally, it stated that over 3,200 companies supplied goods and services to mining operations.
The report also mentioned that companies in the mining sector would need to hire about 145,000 people over the coming decade to replace retirees and to fill new positions that emerge during this period.
Gratton felt that Canada’s ability to attract the highly mobile global mining investment rested on the commodity prices prescribed by the global market, in addition to a number of other internal factors. He believed that by working in conjunction with each other, the mining industry and the Canadian government would be able to address key domestic challenges, support new mining growth and ensure that the country remained an attractive place for mining or listing.
Source: Northern Life
The Canadian economy is staging a revival after the Great Recession. During the Recession, some brave individuals launched their own ventures.
Eric Morse and Paul Woodford, leaders of QuantumShift, Canada’s premier executive development leadership program and network of entrepreneurs, interviewed 400 individuals. They asked them what they wished they had known and done from the outset, when starting their own ventures.
- Keep Learning: According to Wally Budgell, president of Robertson Bright Inc., devoting time to constant learning and self-improvement was significant.
- Remember the Basics: Adam Hill, CEO of LGM Financial Services, felt focusing on the basics (e.g. an effective business plan and a competent management team) was important.
- Keep Everyone on the Same Page: According to Frederic Boulanger, CEO of Macadamian Technologies Inc., ensuring that everyone was on the same page facilitated faster understanding of organisational goals.
- Follow Your Intuitive Instincts: Roberta MacGilivray, president of B.G.E Service & Supply Ltd., felt that listening to your gut instincts could be crucial.
- Instil a Common Culture Among the Workforce: Richard Stacey, president and CEO of Northern Response (International) Ltd., felt that a common mission and a set of values helped in creating a committed and engaged workforce.
- Hire Right: According to Karen Richardson, president of Freeze-Dry Foods Limited, hiring right helped you get the right people.
- Find a Mentor: L.T. Hilworth, CEO of Maple Farm Equipment Partnership, believes that finding supportive peers and mentors could help you wade through difficult waters.
- Prompt Action: According to Michael Going, co-founder of Good Earth Coffeehouse, moving smart and moving fast help you take advantage of opportunities faster.
- Customer Satisfaction: Vik Khanna, CEO of Khanna Enterprises Inc., believes that focusing on customer satisfaction always bred success.
- Evaluate the Opportunity Thoroughly: For Will Andrew, president of Trimark Sportswear Group, avoiding linking finances to make an opportunity a reality could yield hidden returns.
Entrepreneurs are strong indicators of the economy’s well-being. They follow innovative approaches, boost healthy competition and create employment opportunities. These tips could help the new entrepreneurs follow their examples.
Source: The Globe and Mail