The number of students and residents moving to Canada from Italy has more than doubled since 2005, according to the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
For several decades since the late 1960s, Italian immigration to Canada had been steadily declining. However, since 2005 the number of permanent residents coming from Italy has jumped 140 percent, while the number of students has increased by 90 percent.
“Our government is proud to announce that an increasing number of Italians have chosen Canada as their new home in recent years,” said Canada’s Immigration Minister Chris Alexander upon announcing the news. “The substantial increase in individuals settling in Canada from Italy is an indication of the strong ties that exist between our two countries and highlights our government’s commitment to sustaining high rates of immigration to Canada.”
Among the 823 new permanent residents from Italy last year, there were 500 admitted as economic-class immigrants. Another 294 residents were welcomed under the family class.
Italians have a strong cultural history in Canada, having contributed to the growth of this country for decades. Most major cities boast Italian communities (often known as “Little Italy”) where Italians and Canadians of other cultural backgrounds can come together to share and enjoy Italian food and heritage.
“For decades now, Canada has benefited from the talent and hard work of newcomers from Italy,” said Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “Italian immigrants continue to play an important role in strengthening Canada’s cultural fabric.”
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Since 1991, Quebec has been the only province in Canada with full jurisdiction over its own immigration program. As provinces increasingly spar with the federal government over immigration issues, some experts are calling for similar powers for Ontario.
Looking to examples in Quebec and Prince Edward Island – where the provincial government has almost exclusive powers over its immigrant investor program – immigrant advocates Viresh Fernando and Tim Leahy argue that Ontario’s needs are not being met by the federal program.
While provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan are booming, in recent years Ontario has seen a dramatic decline of immigrants choosing to settle in Canada’s most populous province. Just a decade ago, Ontario welcomed approximately half of all newcomers. By 2012, that share had dropped to 38 percent.
If Ontario were able to implement and oversee it’s own provincial investor program, argue Fernando and Leahy, employers and governments would be able to not only target the workers needed in potential projects such as the Ring of Fire mining development, but also bring in the investment needed to boost these initiatives.
When the federal government closed its Immigrant Investor Program this year, a potential $8 billion dollars was lost. Ontario, and other provinces looking for investors, could benefit with a much more targeted and efficient program tailored to its own needs moving forward.
While Quebec’s powers are part of a larger and deep-rooted power struggle between the provinces, it could provide a strong example for the potential and success of immigration programs run at the provincial level.
Source: Toronto Star
The Canadian Government is facing challenges from Parliament as it tries to move ahead with controversial citizenship reforms.
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander this week called out opposition party members for being “offside with Canadians who recognize the immense value of citizenship and the importance of protecting its integrity.”
Alexander was referring to public statements made recently by both the Liberal party and the New Democratic Party indicating their intention to vote against the bill, which received only two hours of parliamentary debate this week.
“I think it’s obvious [Alexander] doesn’t want Canadians to understand this bill; the more Canadians do understand it, the less they’ll like it,” said Liberal immigration critic John McCallum.
Critics of the reforms say that new residency requirements will make it harder for skilled workers to gain citizenship, particularly those who must travel frequently in responding to the demands of the global marketplace.
The bill also contains stronger consequences for those charged with terrorism, treason and spying. But sparking perhaps the most concern are the unprecedented citizenship revocation powers the Canadian government would have.
Despite these controversial points, the government had expected the bill to go quickly into a second reading. However, it does now look like there will be more debate on Bill C-24 in the coming weeks.
Source: Calgary Herald
Canada’s temporary foreign worker program has been experiencing rapid growth and the reason often cited is that the program is needed in areas suffering from severe labour shortages. However, it comes as quite a surprise that TFW figures in South-western Ontario have suddenly increased given that the labour market in the region has been declining over the past decade. Similarly, London, Windsor and Hamilton have experienced a significant decline in full time employment rates. It is interesting to note that when the number of TFWs increased in Hamilton, London and Windsor in 2012, the same regions simultaneously experienced a sharp decrease in full-time employment rates
With the possible exceptions of Guelph and the Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo CMA, one would have to look for a very long time to find a “severe labour shortage” in South-western Ontario. The number of TFWs has inexplicably seen a sharp increase across the South-western Ontario region.
The temporary foreign workers issue is just another example of why Canada needs to keep better labour market data. There may be very good economic reasons why the number of TFWs has doubled in South western Ontario in the last decade, but without proper data there is no real way of knowing.
Source: Canadian Business
After years of praising the Temporary Foreign Worker program, Employment Minister Jason Kenney has suddenly slammed the door in the face of the program’s biggest user: the hospitality industry.
Statistics show that the Temporary Foreign Worker program has been gradually spiralling out of control. Despite initially being introduced as a ‘last resort’ program, one in five net new paid jobs created in Canada between 2007 and 2012 was filled by a migrant worker. Furthermore, the period between 2005 and 2012 saw a 140 per cent increase in the migrant employment rate. Even the business-friendly C.D. Howe Institute confirmed that the program has pushed up unemployment.
The statistical evidence has been around for years. The hospitality sector alone had 45,000 guest workers on the roll by 2012, with migrants making up 40 per cent of net new positions since 2009. A more convincing explanation for Mr. Kenney’s sudden change of heart was the damage the issue was doing to the government’s political base.
Economic conservatives, represented predominantly by the small business lobby, supported the TFW program as an effective way to reduce labour costs. Despite the availability of plenty of unemployed Canadians to fill positions, foreign migrants are continually hired since they usually lack the full legal protections available to Canadians and would do the work at a lower wage.
Mr. Kenney’s actions seem quite subjective: There is only a political, not economic, rationale for limiting the moratorium to the restaurant industry. Even as he announced the action, Mr. Kenney energetically defended the broader TFW program.
The solution to Mr. Kenney’s TFW dilemma lies in increasing permanent immigration and giving these workers the same rights Canadian citizens are afforded. However, this method would hardly prove popular among either of the two constituencies concerned: business lobbyists seeking cheap labour and social conservatives who want less immigration.
Source: The Globe And Mail
Germany has now become the world’s second most popular destination for immigrants. While most migrants belong to eastern European countries, an increasing number are from southern European countries.
According to a survey of permanent migration published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Tuesday, Germany ranked eighth in 2009 and climbed to second place in 2012 with the total number of permanent migrants entering the country rising by an annual 400,000 or 38 per cent.
“This really is a boom … no other OECD country has experienced such a rise,” said Thomas Liebig, an expert on international migration at the OECD. The sovereign debt crisis has led to soaring youth unemployment in Spain, Portugal and Greece, forcing many to leave.
Source: GMA News
The Peace Region’s MP says his government’s suspension of temporary foreign workers in the fast food industry could be lifted by early June. On May 22, Prince George-Peace River MP Bob Zimmer said, “There isn’t any hard date. We’re looking at a solution within the next month.”
The moratorium on foreign workers was enforced in late April in response to widespread abuse of the program within the fast-food industry. Ever since its introduction however, businesses and the chambers of commerce across Northern Canada have requested for its reversal.
Current research indicates the federal government might reform the program by requiring employers to pay temporary foreign workers more than the current minimum wage. However, some fast food operators are opposed to higher wages, saying it would put a strain on already low profit margins.
Source: Alaska Highway News
In 2013, temporary foreign workers filed at least 250 complaints across Canada related to mistreatment by employers. However, this figure, obtained by CBC News from individual provinces, only represents a small piece of a potentially larger problem.
Only three provinces — Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador — regularly track complaints made by migrant workers making it difficult to discover the true extent of workplace difficulties that these employees face across Canada.
To tackle this issue, a few provinces are taking a different approach. They are auditing workplaces that employ temporary foreign workers instead of relying on the workers themselves, many of whom fear jeopardizing their jobs by coming forward while also facing language barriers. To further help remedy these issues, the federal government does work with the province to give information to both employers and workers about provincial labour standards.
The more temporary workers a town has, the more complaints that originate from that location. Almost all of the 250 complaints recorded last year were from Alberta, which contains one of the largest populations of migrant workers and has carefully tracked complaints for the past few years.
In recent years, Prince Edward Island is the only other province that quantifies workplace complaints by temporary foreign workers. The reason, however, is that it only had one major case: a seafood plant forced to pay $150,000 to 45 Thai workers, who were reimbursed for the plant wrongly withholding pay and unjustly firing some of the employees.
The federal TFW program has been in the news repeatedly these past few months because of a series of controversies that the CBC and other media outlets have reported. Most provinces say they don’t know how many foreign workers have launched employment-standards complaints because they don’t record the type of complainant based on immigration status. That lack of information may affect what gets passed from the provinces that are responsible for enforcing workplace rules, to the federal government, which issues the approvals for companies to hire temporary workers from abroad.
Ontario, home to a third of Canada’s temporary foreign workers, is among provinces that don’t track claims by type of claimant, which results in figures relating to complaints from temporary workers not being passed on to the federal government.
The spokesperson for Nova Scotia says that while the province doesn’t specifically track foreign worker complaints, they do alert the federal government if there is an investigation. Nova Scotia looks for red flags that are typical of temporary foreign worker problems in its investigations, such as an employer taking a worker’s passport or a worker being charged a fee for coming to Canada.
The temporary foreign worker program has faced intense scrutiny in recent months and the Employment Minister, Jason Kenney, is expected to announce changes to in the coming weeks. The federal government has repeatedly noted over the years that temporary foreign workers have the same rights as Canadian workers under federal and provincial standards and labour laws, including the right to complain if facing mistreatment in the workplace. But some provinces without such pacts complain that they don’t know which companies within their jurisdictions employ TFWs, making it difficult to enforce their labour laws.
Ontario has been calling on the federal government for years to share information that would help it identify employers of TFWs in the province and the two levels of government are currently in negotiations. New Brunswick is in the midst of following the province of Manitoba with the creation of a mandatory registry of employers of temporary foreign workers, scheduled for the fall. Once in place, they say they’ll be able to track complaints by TFWs while auditing their workplaces as well.
Source: CBC News
According to a latest study on the employment of Canada’s labour force by Royal Bank economist Nathan Janzen, the steady decline in the so-called participation rate continues even as the unemployment rate drops. The participation rate is a number that tracks employed Canadians and those seeking employments, as a percentage of the working-age population.
The explanation for the steady decline is that many Canadians are dropping out of the workforce because they are retiring. According to Janzen’s report, “all of the decline in the Canadian participation rate since the 2008-09 recession can be explained by the aging of the population and a resulting increase in retirements.”
The report has potentially negative implications for governments. Studies indicate that immigration won’t be sufficient to fully compensate for the aging workforce while provincial governments that are responsible for health-care spending will also be affected. A slower labour force will limit economic growth to about 1.8 per cent in the next several decades, compared with 2.6 per cent for the 1977 to 2011 period.
The aging issue has been a prime justification used by the Harper government for changing job training programs, and for continuing the controversial temporary foreign workers program.
The report cautions that Canada’s labour market is not fully recovered from the recession and unemployment is still higher today than in 2008. However, the report does not mention that 95 per cent of the increase in unemployed Canadians is in fact due to retired citizens.
Source: CTV News
The Sweeter Side of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program – How Foreign Workers Contribute to the Success of Prabu Sweets
Given the vast amount of negative publicity the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has received in recent times, it is easy to forget that the Program enjoys any popularity – or success – at all. Prabu Sweets, an East Indian sweets distribution company based in Surrey, British Columbia, shows how the Program has played a vital role in making the enterprise a sweet success.
Prabu Sweets began operations as a local retail outlet in 2001 with only two employees. In the intervening 13 years, the company has successfully generated such a high demand for its food products that it is currently in the process of expanding the business globally.
The company requires skilled workers and hence, the managers travelled to India and Dubai in March, for interviewing skilled head chefs, who have a complete mastery over their area of expertise. The managers ended up selecting two individuals, who would work as heads of production at their East Indian food manufacturing facility.
Things seemed hunky-dory until the implementation of the recent ban on restaurants from hiring temporary foreign workers upset the applecart. The ban has not only ended up wasting a considerable amount of time, effort and money, it has also jeopardised the future and livelihood of the company and its employees – 20 of whom are Canadian citizens.
Many people assume that temporary foreign workers are low-skilled employees, who work for minimum wages. At Prabu Sweets however, these temporary foreign workers are the force behind the company’s success. Their skills, knowledge and expertise in the East Indian food industry makes them perfect for the job – something that no one can replace easily. This is why the company treats them as vital assets and helps them establish themselves as integral parts of the Canadian society.
Significantly, no Canadian can possess these skills unless they have acquired them from the areas in which the company’s sweets and snacks originate. The managers at Prabu Sweets believe that these foreign workers actually create employment opportunities for several Canadian employees. In fact, they claim that in the near future, over 100 employees would be working under the supervision of these so-called “low-skilled disposable workers”.
Therefore, while numerous companies might be abusing the program, enforcing a ban is extremely unjust on companies like Prabu Sweets that work diligently and ethically. This ban places a question mark not only on businesses that follow the law, but also Canadian employees, skilled temporary workers and their families too.
Source: The Huffington Post, British Columbia