Developers in Toronto are building 97 residential towers, more than any other city in North America, with several luxury high rise developments being funded by foreign investors from China and India. Investors are attracted by Canada’s world leading urban centres, and housing values that are considered attractive despite experts warning that prices in Ontario could be overvalued by as much as 25%.
“The private equity that was injected was all foreign, predominantly from India, China and Israel. And of course the UK, but the source of the UK money is really from India says a real estate insider.
Several Canadian cities feature in the top ten best cities to live in, as ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit global “liveability” study. And so it is no surprise that Canada is fast becoming a favoured destination among wealthy foreigners interested in buying urban housing properties, especially as housing prices in Canada’s big cities are considered especially attractive. A middle-class house can be purchased for $550 to $750 per square foot in new developments in Toronto. Even the luxury properties on Bay Street are cheaper compared to similar houses in other big cities around the world.
Real estate experts say the building boom in Toronto has been going on for the past five years. And with Canada’s housing market for investors remaining stable, foreign interest is set to remain strong, especially as the limited housing supply is contributing to double digit price increases in top tier cities like Toronto. House prices recorded an increase of 10% on an annual basis in Toronto this past March.
In terms of the top destinations for wealthy Chinese investors, Canada ranks third, far behind the US and Australia, but is believed to be fast catching up with new real estate projects coming up in Ontario, and more recently in Vancouver too. Statistics Canada estimates that this year will see 34,500 newcomers settling in British Columbia, and the numbers will go up to 45,000 in the next three years. Most of them (about 65%) are expected to arrive from Asia, mostly China, and will push up the demand for quality properties in the region.
“It all comes down to net migration of Canadians moving to Vancouver, foreign immigration and foreign ownership. There’s a lot of money changing hands here,” says a Vancouver-based property expert.
In 2014, 25-30% of properties in West Vancouver were bought by foreign investors, mostly from China, and this percentage is expected to increase as the Chinese government allows its citizens the freedom to access international markets.
“A lot of our Chinese buyers have been living in Canada almost all of their lives and have businesses still in China, through family. They didn’t sever ties with the mainland. So what we are seeing in Canada, with the currency weaker that it has been at 80 cents to the dollar, they have had the extraordinary benefit of growth in China in the past and they are still participating in the growth in China today. A lot of that money trickles back in to real estate,” says a property expert.
And this is despite warnings by International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year that the property market has ‘overheated’.
The real estate sector in both Toronto and Vancouver continues to see steady growth, and with plenty of optimism among developers and investors, experts predict there is little chance of a slowdown in the foreseeable future.
The new requirements for Canadian Citizenship are now in force. The changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act, the most comprehensive in more than 35 years, make it much harder and more costly to become a Citizen of Canada.
One of the most important changes is the requirement that an individual must now physically reside in Canada for 4 years over a 6-year qualifying period.
The fees for obtaining Canadian Citizenship have been increased to $630 per adult application and $200 for a minor.
A summary of the main changes include the following:
- Applicants must be permanent residents of Canada for at least 1,460 days (four years) during the six years before the date of their application.
- Applicants must be physically present in Canada for at least 183 days in each of 4-years within the 6-year qualifying period.
- Applicants are required to provide extensive proof of actual residence in Canada.
- Applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 must meet basic knowledge and language requirements.
- Adult applicants must declare their intent to reside in Canada once they become citizens.
- To help improve program integrity, there are now stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation (to a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or up to five years in prison).
- Only lawyers or notaries (including paralegals and students at law) or members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), can be paid to provide citizenship applicants with representation or advice.
- The new law no longer considers time spent in Canada as a non-permanent resident (non-PR) for most applicants.
- Expansion of criminal prohibitions to bar applicants for crimes committed abroad.
- Gives the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada the authority to refuse an application if applicant commits fraud.
- Gives Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada authority to decide on most revocation cases.
- Complex revocation cases such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, security, other human or international rights violations, and organized criminality will be decided by the Federal Court.
- Establishes authority to define what constitutes a complete application and what evidence applicants must provide.
- Changes citizenship to a single-step process for most applications. CIC aims to reduce duplication and improve processing times.
- Requires adult applicants to file Canadian income taxes, if required under the Income Tax Act, to be eligible for citizenship.
- Authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who served as members of an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada.
- Authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received.
- Authority to deny Canadian citizenship to permanent residents who served as members of an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada or who are convicted of terrorism, high treason or spying offenses.
- Applicants can be refused for misrepresenting or withholding material facts on applications and are subsequently barred from being granted citizenship for five years.
- Citizenship will be automatically extended to additional “Lost Canadians” effective June 11th 2015, who were born before 1947, and did not become citizens on January 1, 1947 when the first Canadian Citizenship Act came into effect. This will also apply to their children born in the first generation outside Canada.
- Creates a fast-track mechanism for citizenship for individuals serving or on exchange with the Canadian Armed Forces to honour their service to Canada.
Historically, about 75% of Canada’s annual intake of immigrants apply for citizenship. It is expected the new rules and the much higher costs will result in a substantial reduction in the numbers of new applications each year to less than half of Canada’s annual immigration levels.
Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with your evaluation results within 1-2 business days.
Despite a slumping economy, Alberta’s population has seen steady growth.
The Alberta Treasury Board and Finance released the Quarterly Population Report for Jan.- March 31, 2015 on June 17 and the numbers show Alberta leading all other provinces for population growth.
Since April 1 of last year, Alberta’s population has grown 2.17 per cent, while Canada’s growth rate for the same period was 0.94 per cent. Despite the relatively high number, this is the first time since the second quarter of 2012 that Alberta’s yearly growth has been under 100,000.
Ontarians made up the largest group heading west, with 3,177 new Albertans arriving from Ontario.
Susan Thompson, the research director at Calgary Economic Development, says Alberta’s gains don’t come as a surprise.
Dave Odynak, a demographic research analyst with the population research laboratory at the University of Alberta, says that people come west for opportunity, and that the young age of many new arrivals matters as well.
In 2011, Alberta’s median age was 36.5, compared to the national median of 40.6.
According to the report, “the provinces fairly young population includes many adults in childbearing years, keeping the number of births well ahead of deaths.”
Canada is a multicultural land that welcomes new immigrants with open arms, open hearts and open minds. Canadian multicultural policies have an impact on all ethnic and faith groups, on rich and poor, on old and young, men, women and transgender people. These policies are equalizers. Nevertheless, they have legal and budgetary restraints.
All applicants intending to immigrate to Canada should be informed about Canada’s brand of multiculturalism at the earliest stages of submitting their applications. Understanding what multiculturalism means in Canada will help applicants adjust their level of expectations to its proper context.
Canada is a functioning democracy, meaning it respects the rule of law, has an independent judiciary, a free press, it respects human rights, gender equality and all levels of free elections.
An immigrant should never expect Canada to sacrifice or weaken its democratic laws to accommodate cultural practices incompatible with its values such as, the practice of the Islamic Sharia Law, female genital mutilation, child and forced marriages, or polygamy and honour killings.
Physical punishment of children as a form of discipline is deemed child abuse and illegal in Canada and could result in a child being removed from the custody and guardianship of his parents.
Even though Canada is liberally democratic and blessed with rich resources it cannot accommodate demands to teach every ethnic language in public schools. Such demands are not only a fiscal burden on tax payers, but are socially isolating. New Immigrants should be expected to come equipped with a basic proficiency in English or French, the two national languages, before leaving their country of residence.
As new immigrants continue to form part of the Canadian multicultural fabric they must fully understand their obligations as a Canadian resident/citizen. They must understand and accept that they are expected to contribute to national safety, stability and social harmony.
Charles Vincent Massey, the late Governor General of Canada once said, “The conditions have always been difficult. We must pass through the barriers of languages and race, of geography and religion, of custom and tradition and we must build on a common foundation, without jealousy or hatred, with tolerance and sympathy.”
Source: Huffington Post
Thanks to the new online application system for the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), highly skilled foreign workers will now find it quicker and easier to come to Saskatchewan, find work and become permanent residents.
The province of Saskatchewan officially launched an improved online application system for SINP, which was given a boost earlier in the year with the addition of the new Saskatchewan Express Entry category.
The Saskatchewan Express Entry category will add 775 additional immigrant nominees to the SINP, bringing the total number of SINP nominations up to 5,500 for 2015. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has committed to processing these applications within six months or less, making the new category an attractive option for potential immigrants.
This will allow 775 new positions for Saskatchewan, allowing primarily high-skilled, well-educated individuals with significant work experience and high language skills to move more expeditiously through the system.
Applicants selected under the Saskatchewan Express Entry system will have their applications processed in six months, compared with one to four years under the old “first-come, first-served” application system. The new system will nominate only the most qualified and experienced individuals to apply to the SINP, thereby reducing application backlogs.
The new online application system makes the Saskatchewan Express Entry more accessible. As it’s not a paper-based system, individuals can apply from around the world, so they don’t have to go to an embassy or consulate in another part of the world. Applicants can fill out the application online and have it processed in a timely fashion.
Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with your evaluation results within 1-2 business days.
University of Toronto law school researchers say Canada often breaches international human rights laws by detaining migrants with mental health issues for several years in maximum-security jails.
The study conducted by the law school’s International Human Rights Program calls the country’s immigration detention system “a legal black hole,” condemning the arbitrariness of the Immigration and Refugee Board’s decisions to release or detain individuals.
“Canada’s detention review regime creates an effective presumption against release, while judicial review of detention decisions is largely ineffectual,” says the study, which will be released on 25th June and will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva in July.
“In some cases, the end result is long-term detention that is, in practice, preventative and indefinite.”
One example of the injustice of the system is the detention of Victor Vinnetou, who has been held by Canada Border Services Agency for 11 years. Vinnetou has been suspected of being Mbuyisa Makhubu, the missing South African anti-apartheid icon, even though the Canadian authorities have failed to positively identify him.
The study claims that more than 7,300 migrants were detained by Canada Border Service Agency in 2013, of which 60% were in Ontario. While about one-third of them were kept in provincial prisons meant for criminals, the rest were kept at dedicated immigration holding centres in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
The study, which consists of 129 pages, compiles information from over ten months of research and field work, including several interviews with border agency officials, doctors, lawyers, correctional staff, mental health experts, and former and current detainees. The study also includes information that was obtained from the Canadian government through access to information requests.
“Some detainees have no past criminal record, but are detained on the basis that they are a flight risk, or because their identity cannot be confirmed . . . Some spend more time in jail on account of their immigration status than the underlying criminal conviction,” says the study.
“Counsel and jail staff we spoke to noted that migrants are often held in provincial jails on the basis of pre-existing mental health issues (including suicidal ideation), medical issues or because they are deemed ‘problematic’ or uncooperative by CBSA.”
The study, authored by Hanna Gros and Paloma van Groll, comes following the recent death of two immigration detainees – a 39-year-old, who lost his life in a Peterborough hospital after being transferred from the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, and Mexican detainee Lucia Vega Jimenez, who committed suicide during his detention in Vancouver.
The study highlights the severe trauma faced by the immigrant detainees who find themselves in difficult conditions, often falling prey to mental health issues. Seven immigrant detainees were interviewed in the research, and it was found that all of them had been diagnosed with mental health issues like severe anxiety or suicidal tendencies.
The research drew reference from a 2013 study by Janet Cleveland of McGill University, which claims that a third of immigration detainees show clinical post-traumatic-stress disorders after 31 days of detention on average, with two-thirds being clinically anxious and more than 75% suffering from depression.
“Once a detainee finds him or herself in provincial jail, they fall into a legal black hole where neither CBSA nor the provincial jail has clear authority over their conditions of confinement. This is especially problematic since in Ontario at least, there is no regular, independent monitoring of provincial jails,” says the study.
“Detention in a provincial jail, even for a short period, exacerbated their mental health issues, or created new ones.”
The study is also critical of the random nature of decisions taken by the Immigration and Refugee Board to detain or release immigrants, with widely varying rate of release across the country – 10% in Ontario compared to 38% in the western region, including British Columbia.
The study’s recommendation is that Ottawa should create an independent oversight body which will investigate the CBSA, while also accepting complaints from those who have been detained. The study also recommends that the Canadian government should in general avoid detention terms exceeding 90 days, and also implement alternative measures to detention.
The largest employer in Alberta, Safeway Operations, Sobeys Inc. is set to receive Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Refugee Employment Award for its leading role in employing refugees in Calgary.
Safeway Operations, Sobeys Inc. has worked with the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society to recruit and provide 170 immigrants and refugees in Calgary with job opportunities in 34 Safeway retail stores and four distribution centres.
“We are honoured by this tremendous recognition. Safeway Operations, Sobeys Inc. is proud of the relationship we’ve developed with many organizations in communities across western Canada. Our partnership with the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society and the refugee hiring initiative has provided an excellent opportunity to engage and develop a team of dedicated Safeway Operations, Sobeys Inc. employees,” says Mark Dimnik, Vice President of Human Resources at Sobeys Inc.
Canada runs a number of refugee programs, and has resettled over 12,300 refugees in 2014 alone. The government says it is committed to helping immigrants and refugees integrate into Canadian society, and has recently tripled settlement funding to almost $600 million.
The national award is given based on nominations made by service provider organizations, who base their decisions on the success of employers who draw in refugees into Canada’s labour market and help them integrate into Canadian society.
While Safeway Operations, Sobeys Inc. was nominated by Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, other winners of the award around Canada include the Gala Bakery in Hamilton (nominated by Wesley Urban Ministries), and Dexter Construction of Halifax (nominated by Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia).
Citizenship and immigration minister Chris Alexander says Canadian employers should use the Express Entry program to fill jobs for which no suitable local candidates have been found, and that they should include Express Entry in their HR strategies.
The Express Entry Program is Canada’s new immigration system that provides highly skilled immigrants an accelerated path to permanent Canadian residency.
Alexander also pointed out that through Express Entry, employers would be able to get a “higher calibre of immigrant” even if it means going through the tedious process of getting a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is required to prove to the authorities that no Canadian citizen was available for the job.
The Express Entry immigration system was launched by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in January, and accepts online applications from candidates who are ranked on the basis of points achieved in areas like education, age, work experience, and language skills.
The highest ranking candidates qualify under one of the federal economic immigration programs and are sent invitations to apply for permanent residence by CIC. About 11,000 such invitations have been sent out since Express Entry’s launch in January.
The CIC claims that in 80% cases, it will take a maximum of six months to process applications for permanent residence under the new system, compared to traditional permanent residence applications which take 12-14 months to process. It is estimated that most skilled immigrants will enter Canada through Express Entry by the year 2017.
However, the Express Entry program has been criticised for reducing the prospects of foreign students studying in Canada. The new system does not give sufficient credit for their Canadian qualifications and work experience, forcing them to obtain a LMIA in order to get selected under the Express Entry pool. The LMIA almost guarantees a candidate’s selection for an invitation to apply since it is worth 600 points – half the maximum of 1,200 points.
Saskatchewan has launched its Express Entry stream under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP). A maximum of 775 nomination certificates will be issued under the SINP stream. Nominees must have the education, work experience, and language skills to help them integrate into Saskatchewan’s labor market.
SINP nominees will be awarded 600 points under the Federal Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System, and will be invited to apply under the next Federal draw from the Express Entry pool.
Successful candidates and their families will be granted Canadian permanent residence, with applications processed within six months of being submitted at the federal stage.
Successful candidates are selected by the province from the federal Express Entry pool. To qualify they are required to meet eligibility requirements under any one of the federal economic immigration programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class.
Saskatchewan Express Entry application process
Candidates wishing to apply to the Saskatchewan Express Entry stream must first submit a profile to CIC’s Express Entry Pool.
To qualify for the Express Entry pool, candidates must demonstrate proficiency in either English or French, and have a minimum of one year of post-secondary education or training that has resulted in a degree, diploma, or an equivalent qualification. A potential candidate must also demonstrate a minimum required level of work experience related to his or her field of education or training.
Second, a candidate must then apply for SINP provincial nomination while ensuring to attach all required documents and forms to the SINP application.
Third, candidates must earn a minimum of 60 points under the SINP assessment index. Points are awarded on the basis of education and training, work experience, language ability, age, and existing connection to the Saskatchewan labor market.
An existing connection to the Saskatchewan labor market is a measure of the applicant’s adaptability, and is calculated on the basis of having a close relative residing in Saskatchewan, or having previous work or study experience in the province.
Once approved, the SINP will forward a confirmation of nomination to the CIC Express Entry system and this will provide an applicant with 600 CRS points under the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System.
The applicants will subsequently receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence at the following draw from the Express Entry pool, and will be required to submit their federal application for permanent residence within 60 days of the invitation being issued.
Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s most economically vibrant provinces located in Western Canada with a population of just over one million.
If you want to read more about Saskatchewan Express Entry Immigration, Please click here.
Government lawyers want to reverse a series of recent decisions by Nova Scotia Citizenship Judge Ann Janega, and are urging the Federal Court to sanction a judicial review of the cases.
According to the lawyers, the nine citizenship applications approved by Janega do not meet residency requirements.
One of the cases is that of an airline pilot from Nigeria, Akintomiya Oladapo Ojo, who has been living in Prince Edward Island with his family since 2007. Ojo applied for Canadian citizenship in 2013 even though he did not fulfil the residency requirement of spending at least three out of the last four years in Canada.
Federal lawyer Melissa Chan believes that Ojo’s citizenship application should not have been approved by Janeja since he had spent less than half the time required in Canada to meet the residency threshold.
Janega, who was appointed to the federal citizenship commission in December 2013, granted Ojo’s application last November, noting, “He has demonstrated that Canada is the place where the applicant ‘regularly, normally or customarily lives’ and has a centralized mode of existence in Canada.”
Ojo’s family continues to live in PEI while he is working on getting the Transport Canada airline pilot license which will allow him to work in Canada. His job required him to spend 12-week stints in West Africa, because of which he fell short of the Canadian residency requirement.
Ojo’s case has received sympathy from Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley, who has called it a ‘Catch-22’ situation, and reserved his decision for a later date. He even asked a federal lawyer if Ojo should have instead taken a job at McDonald’s to fulfil the criteria for citizenship.
Immigration experts say they had never seen so many cases presided over by one judge coming under federal review all at once. Citizenship judges usually assess applications that are not clear-cut, and experts say it is unusual for federal lawyers to appeal the decisions.
“It’s quite uncommon to see them clustered in a bunch and have a number of cases dealing with the same judge, over the same legal issue, go forward at the same time,” says one immigration expert from Halifax.
“I have not seen a cluster of cases like this before. Cases are usually very spread out over the calendar, as they come in, as they get decided.”
Besides Ojo’s case, the federal government is also reviewing eight more citizenship cases, which they allege have been judged by Janega based on “erroneous” findings of fact.
The current law allows citizenship judges to, in certain circumstances, approve citizenship applications of those immigrants who might not meet all criteria but have demonstrated a strong attachment to Canada. But under new rules the judges will lose a part of their case-by-case discretion.
New citizenship rules have made it tougher for newcomers to get citizenship, with residency requirement alone increasing to four out of six years. The rules also require applicants to be “physically present” in Canada during this residency duration.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the new rules have been designed to discourage “citizens of convenience” who take advantage of Canada’s government benefits while residing most of the time outside the country. CIC also claims that the rules will help immigrants better integrate into Canadian society.