The Ontario Nurses’ Association says that the province is facing a “chaotic” shortage in nursing if drastic changes are not made.
Speaking on behalf of the association at a rally in Toronto last week, ONA first vice-president Vicky McKenna warned that Ontario is already lagging behind the other provinces, and would need 18,000 nurses immediately just to catch up. Ontario, one of Canada’s most populous provinces, has one of the lowest nurse-to-population ratios in the country.
“The reality is that we are an aging workforce,” said McKenna, pointing out that nurses in the province are, on average, 49 years old. “These nurses are going to retire and we are not graduating enough new nurses into the system.”
The nurses that are graduating, however, are facing their own discouraging challenges, says McKenna. With recent budget cuts, full-time nursing positions are getting harder and harder to find, making some wonder if a nursing career is really worth it.
“Everyone that has seniority over you gets it [full-time work] first,” said recent nursing graduate Teirsa St-Jean. “I don’t worry, because I am 22 and I don’t have children, but if I did have kids, it might be a problem.”
The lack of full-time positions not only discourages new graduates, but also places additional burdens on hospitals and staff. Overworked nurses can lead to fatigue, sickness, and can even put patients in danger, according to a recent study in The Lancet.
For each 1,000 residents, Ontario has seven nurses, according to the ONA.
Source: Metro News
Language programs across Saskatchewan are expanding to meet increased demand after recent influxes of immigrants to the region.
Programs such as the language centre at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) are expanding their services to accommodate high numbers of newcomers to the quickly growing region. This particular centre will serve not only to aid newcomers in language learning, but also as a testing centre, as English proficiency exams grow increasingly important in the immigration process.
Over the past several years, the Saskatchewan economy has been propelling growth in the region, attracting record numbers of newcomers. Since 2007, the Western prairie province has welcomed nearly 50,000 newcomers. Experts predict continued growth in the coming years, with a projected 60,000 increase in the workforce by 2020.
“In order to achieve these goals it’s going to mean attracting and retaining new immigrants to Saskatchewan, and that means as a province we need to help and provide opportunities to everyone that’s coming here,” said Advanced Education deputy minister Louise Greenberg. “We’ve endeavoured to create programming that helps the newcomers socially and economically integrate into our fabric of Saskatchewan.”
In order to help with this integration process, the language centre at SIAST will undergo $100,000 in renovations. The new services are aimed at keeping newcomers in the province, so that they do not need to travel or relocate to find the help they need.
Source: Regina Leader-Post
New statistics show that Alberta has overtaken British Columbia in terms of welcoming new immigrants.
For the first time, Alberta has welcomed more newcomers than B.C., according to the latest data from the Canada West Foundation.
Statistics show that since approximately 2005, while growth in B.C. has stagnated, migration to Alberta as well as to the other prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan has boomed. In Saskatchewan alone, immigration has increased by 570 percent in the past ten years. Alberta and Manitoba grew 144 and 188 percent, respectively. During that same time period, immigration to B.C. increased by a mere 6.4 percent.
Experts point to several factors in explaining this trend, including a limited number of provincial nominees each year, the recent cancellation of the Immigrant Investor Program, as well as B.C.’s relatively stagnant economic growth in recent years.
In addition, wages in the province have not kept pace with inflation, while cost of living generally, and house prices in particular, have skyrocketed in recent years. All of these factors have countered many of B.C.’s positive traits, including scenery, lifestyle and proximity to Asia.
Newcomers are not the only ones foregoing the beautiful scenery and temperate climate of British Columbia – 8,567 residents relocated to other provinces in 2012.
Overall, Ontario and Quebec still attract the most immigrants each year, welcoming 40 and 21 percent of newcomers in 2013, respectively.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Employers in British Columbia are bracing themselves for more worker shortages, with nearly 50 projects on the go, most of which are in the billion-dollar range.
Business experts say that by 2020, the province will see about a million new jobs created in construction and operation of these projects. Though employers will certainly be looking at B.C. residents to fill those positions, they are also prepping for the likelihood that outside recruitment will be necessary.
“[T]he reality of it is, if we look at the projects that we’ve got going here in British Columbia, there will be a continued need and demand for access to temporary labour both from across Canada and from outside our borders,” said B.C. deputy job minister Dave Byng in a recent Vancouver talk. “And so you’ll most certainly see the province speaking from that perspective and working hard to ensure … access to temporary foreign workers.”
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says that his government is prepared to provide the support B.C. businesses will need moving forward, pointing to the new Expression of Interest program in particular.
The Expression of Interest program, scheduled to launch next year, will allow employers to select workers from a pool of skilled worker applicants, giving them a much more proactive role in Canada’s immigration system.
“Those with a job offer,” said Alexander, “will have an almost automatic claim to our immigration system.”
Source: Vancouver Sun
A recent Gallup World Survey has revealed that of the 700 million people worldwide, who want to leave their home country permanently, 45 million want to immigrate to Canada.
The survey, conducted by Gallup over 135 countries between 2007 and 2009, found that nearly 16 percent of the world’s adult population would like to move to another country permanently, if given the opportunity. Sixteen percent of the world’s adult population amounts to 700 million people – more than the entire adult population of North and South America combined.
The biggest movers came from sub-Saharan African countries, with 38 percent of the adult population in the region, about 165 million people, expressing a desire to immigrate to another country whenever the opportunity arose.
To evaluate preferred destinations for immigration, the survey used projected numbers based on percentages expressing a desire to move to a specific country. Based on these numbers, the United States emerged as the most desired destination for nearly 24 percent (about 165 million adults worldwide) of the 700 million, who wanted to move to another country permanently.
Canada came next with about 45 million people wanting to immigrate there, whenever the opportunity presented itself. The United States and Canada preceded other favoured destinations for immigration like the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Australia.
Interesting as these figures are, they raise several questions about the social and ethical implications of surveys that show such a mass movement of the population from their native countries to another country permanently.
For example, would Canada have the bandwidth in its economy and social services to absorb 45 million immigrants? Moreover, what happens to the countries that lose some of their best and brightest citizens? Clearly, the mass influx of immigrants would overwhelm some countries, while others would suffer considerable losses in terms of human capital.
According to Gallup, these findings reflect aspirations more than intent. However, the leaders of both sets of countries – the countries of origin and destination – would need to understand these aspects in order to develop their migration and development strategies accordingly.
Source: The Vancouver Sun and Gallup
A new study by Statistics Canada reveals that Canadian families have become wealthier during the past several years, based on their rising net worth. The study published all its figures in inflation-adjusted dollars.
According to the study, which takes a long-term view on the state of Canadian finances, the 2012 medium net worth among family units comprising two or more members rose by 44.5 percent since 2005 to $243,800. This increase almost touched the 80 percent mark, on comparing current net worth with data from 1999.
Interestingly, this increasing net worth comes despite two major negative factors i.e. the setbacks arising from the recent recession as well as the well-documented growth in household debt.
The agency found that family units comprising two or more family members also accumulated a total debt of $1.3 trillion in 2012, of which $1 trillion is mortgage debt. Thus, while the net worth showed an increase of 44.5 percent since 2005, the mortgage debt also rose by 41.6 percent since 2005.
The study showed that total family assets in Canada rose to $9.4 trillion in 2012, with the families’ principal home accounting for a third of the total assets. People owning their own homes showed the median reported value of their residence at $300,000 – an increase of 46.6 percent since 2005 and of 83.2 percent since 1999.
Pension assets e.g. employer plans and private pension plans, made up 30 percent of the total. Other real estate holdings e.g. rental properties, cottages, timeshares and commercial properties, accounted for nearly 10 percent of the total assets.
The study also revealed large disparities in net worth, depending on factors like the age, nature of the family unit and regions of the country. Thus, the median net worth was highest for families where the highest earner was 55 to 64 years old or for families residing in British Columbia.
According to Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter, over the 13-year period, the net worth rose by over five percent annually, which also ensured that the assets exceeded the size of debt by about seven times. He felt that this was the most significant aspect of the study.
Source: National Post
The Canadian Government terminated an immigration program that granted visas to wealthy investors because it claimed that the program “devalued” the right to live in the Great White North.
Under the Immigrant Investor Program, the Government would grant permanent residency to immigrants who loaned Ottawa 800,000 Canadian dollars (US$728,531), on an interest-free basis for five years.
Immigrants needed to pay five million Australian dollars (US$4.5 million) in local businesses, $1 million for creating at least 10 new jobs and one million pounds (US$1.7 million) for immigrating to Australia, the U.S. and Britain respectively.
Thus, Canada’s visa scheme was exceedingly popular, especially as immigrants only needed to loan a lesser amount to Ottawa for a 5-year period. In fact, its popularity remained undiminished even after 2010, when the Government doubled the required investment amount.
As of 2012, Ottawa had about 65,000 pending applications, with almost 70 percent coming from China. In 2012, Ottawa only managed to approve 2,615 applications before freezing the program to avoid accumulating a larger backlog.
While the amount stipulated by the visa scheme was considerably lower than the amount demanded by other countries, some Canadians also feel that foreign immigrants contribute little beyond the required C$800,000, while they reap the benefits of becoming “Canadians of convenience”. They feel that many immigrants obtain Canadian citizenship as an insurance in the event that their homelands become unlivable.
In the 1980s and 1990s, people worried about the imminent handing over of Hong Kong to China in 1997, obtained citizenship in Canada. Once conditions stabilised, some of these people preferred to return to Hong Kong. Others stayed behind in Canada, opened businesses, contributed to the welfare of the country and embraced Canadian values.
While the Government is preparing to design a new program i.e. the pilot Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Fund that requires prospective immigrants to invest significantly in the Canadian economy, thus far, it seems as if Canada will be the biggest loser in the bargain. Wealthy Chinese immigrants, among whom this visa program was very popular, would now prefer to take their skills, initiative and resources to another country.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Canadian and Mexican leaders pledged to build stronger diplomatic and commercial relations, when they met at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City, on the eve of the North American Leaders Summit in February.
During the meeting, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto agreed to build a broader and stronger relationship with their U.S. partner in the North American Free-Trade Agreement.
They also signed agreements covering increased airline access, cooperation on defense issues and an initiative by Canadian and Mexican export-credit agencies that aim to boost financing available for small to midsize businesses. Despite this, they did not provide any resolution to the Canadian policy that requires Mexicans visiting Canada to obtain a visa.
In 2009, the Canadian Government implemented the policy to dissuade bogus refugee claims from Mexico. According to Mr. Harper, the policy concerned matters of national security, dealing with illegal immigration. While adding that Ottawa was willing to discuss matters with Mexico City, he felt that the current policy was perfect in the present circumstances.
Another significant area that the leaders did not cover during the meeting concerned greater cooperation in the energy sector. Mexico aims to introduce landmark reforms in this sector, in an attempt to attract foreign investment, which would be of great interest to Canadian energy and energy-services providers.
Currently, bilateral trade between the two nations amounts to 30.9 billion Canadian dollars ($28.2 billion) – based on Canadian government data. About 75 percent of that comes from Mexican imports. Data also showed that the stock of Mexican direct investment in Canada amounted to C$121 million in 2011, which pales in comparison to the C$5.6 billion in Canadian investment in Mexico during the same period.
The policy has received immense criticism from both, the Canadian business lobby as well as Mexican policy makers and business operators. Barring expressing hope that further talks could help in resolving this matter, the leaders did not provide any concrete solutions. Thus, for the moment, Mexicans visiting Canada would need to continue applying for a visa.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Just in time for Alberta’s next overseas recruitment mission, the federal government has announced that it will increase the number of working holiday visas granted to Irish citizens in 2014.
Alberta employers and governments have made several such trips out to Ireland and the United Kingdom in recent years specifically to recruit much needed labourers – many of whom have been hit hard in the recent global recession.
Meanwhile in Canada, the Western Prairie provinces continue to grapple with labour shortages, despite the economic slowdown. By allotting 10,700 working holiday visas to Ireland alone – up from last year’s 6,500 – the federal government is signalling strong support for these Alberta-led recruitment missions.
Next month’s delegation, organized by Calgary Economic Development, will include representatives from six different companies, mostly from the energy and construction sectors.
“In Calgary really, demand for workers exceeds supply. The unemployment rates over there are 13.9 per cent in Dublin and Manchester 7.2 per cent where supply of workers exceeds demand,” said Calgary Economic Development’s Jeanette Sutherland. “If we don’t get some of those skills in, in time we really run risk of losing projects to international competitors. One of the employers that went to Ireland two years ago mentioned that by hiring 10 Irish workers with the skills that we needed it allowed them to hire 30 locally and allowed them to compete on some of these international projects.”
The overseas trip will take place at the end of March. Working holiday visas are specifically for applicants aged 19 to 35, looking to work in Canada for up to two years. Recent amendments to the Canadian Experience Class also announced this month will help to make it easier for young workers from Ireland to gain the experience needed to qualify for immigration.
Source: Calgary Herald
Despite the recent recession and resultant slowdown in job growth across the country, one province is still looking to hire more workers.
For several years, Alberta has been leading the country economically, spurring job growth and fuelling recovery across Canada. The latest statistics show that February was no different, with the province adding approximately 18,000 new jobs while most other regions saw losses.
In fact, a vast majority – about 87 percent – of jobs created over the past year were in Alberta. Experts are pleased with the numbers, but are concerned over the disparity among other provinces.
“I know this is not a new story but it’s becoming extreme,” said BMO economist Doug Porter. “In the last 12 months, Alberta is the only province that’s seen meaningful growth. They’ve had job gains of nearly four per cent and meanwhile six provinces have seen declines and one’s been flat.”
Ontario and Saskatchewan were the only other provinces to report gains in February. Industries which have traditionally propelled growth in Central Canada – manufacturing, construction and public service – have recently been in decline. Though governments in the Central region have been experimenting with stimulus spending, experts say that more needs to be done to balance economies across the country.
Continued global demand for exports has driven Western resource-based economies to the forefront and this trend appears to hold strong for the foreseeable future.
Source: CTV News