As the Canadian government continues to seek methods of improving the country’s out-dated immigrant investor program, a new idea has surfaced wherein the backing of Canadian investors could be grounds for admission.
The idea has been raised and circulated by members of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, including Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who says they are looking for ways to better attract the best and brightest young innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world.
Under the previous system, which has been in place since the 1970s, applicants were chosen based upon a $300,000 minimum investment. This resulted in many immigrants opening small kiosks and restaurants, which, Minister Kenney argues, is not what will benefit Canada most in the long run.
“Entrepreneurs need to dream big and they can’t be afraid to take risks,” said Kenney.“We’d like to attract more of these bright innovators and entrepreneurs, who can create companies, hi-tech and other value-added businesses, that have the potential to create hundreds of jobs.”
The new rules would allow an applicant with a good idea to seek backing from Canadian investors. That way, it would seem, the best new ideas and innovations would be able to come to Canada, even if the applicant themselves did not have $300,000.
“You get a world-class entrepreneur regardless of geography or nationality and can put him on a Canadian-invested idea. So we’ll be able to expand the number of great ideas,” said Kevin O’Leary, a well-known investor and business analyst in Canadian media today. “This is a fantastic idea for investors like me . . . I look at global concepts, bring them here and make them ours.”
Source: Toronto Star
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has announced intentions to implement a job bank for international applicants seeking to live and work in Canada.
The idea is based upon the New Zealand model, wherein all skilled worker applicants’ information would be entered into an online database, accessible to local governments and employers who can select those whose skills are most needed. That worker would then have their application fast-tracked.
“We’d essentially operate that as a huge, overseas federal job bank if you will,” said Kenney.“If they get that job offer and if they’re already among our qualified pool of candidates we’d bring them in at light speed, because we know they’re set for success.”
The government also hopes that the online job bank will encourage more unemployed Canadians to seek out the jobs that are currently being filled by Temporary Foreign Workers. The new model would include verifications to ensure that local employers have done their part in reaching out to the community before looking abroad.
“We’re basically going to try to put pressure on the folks who are collecting Employment Insurance in those areas to at least take the work that’s available, so we don’t have this bizarre situation where we’re bringing in foreigners to do work in areas with double-digit unemployment,” Kenney added.
The online job bank is still in the pre-planning stages, as it would have to go through the Canadian government’s legislative branch, which would take at least another two years.
Source: National Post
A local immigrant resettlement organization in Toronto has just launched a new program that will help newcomers acclimate themselves through biking.
Bike Host is a subservice offered by Toronto group CultureLink, which offers new arrivals to the city a range of services from employment counseling to language classes.
This summer they will again add to such services with Bike Host, where they will be given tours of the city by bike, as well as classes on bike maintenance and road safety.
“This is a good way to help new immigrants build networks, make friends, learn about their new environment and feel more at home through cycling,” said Kristin Schwartz, who works with CultureLink on the program.
Once the immigrant has gone through the program, they then mentor the next group of newcomers the following summer. It allows people to network, practice their language skills, and gain appreciation for the health and wellness benefits of a cycling lifestyle. It also provides an opportunity to learn about both the geography and the history of Canada’s most populous city.
The program receives funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, as well as the Trillium Foundation.
Source: Toronto Star
This summer new language requirements will be implemented for those who wish to immigrate through one of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).
Starting in July, those wishing to apply for immigration through PNP streams for low-skilled and semi-skilled employment will have to prove their language proficiency.
Provincial Nominee Programs allow for provincial governments to select and nominate certain workers, whose skills are deemed desirable in the local job market, to have their federal immigration application fast-tracked.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the change is intended to address problems with the current state of the PNPs. Instead of being used specifically for labour market needs, Kenney indicated that there is concern over people using the program for reunification purposes.
Minister Kenney announced the changes during a recent visit to Saskatchewan, a province that has increasingly been seen as a successful model of PNP immigration. In 2010 Saskatchewan accepted 5,300 newcomers through their Provincial Nominee Program.
Source: Globe and Mail
The Bank of Canada is sounding a new alarm over the economic challenges that the country will face as the workforce ages with not enough replacements coming in.
Though wages will likely increase as the worker pool shrinks, economists are issuing warnings over the likely resulting low interest rates and increased household debt.
“As our society ages, we can either accept a lower standard of living or we can try to be proactive and adjust,” said Jean Boivin, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada. “The stakes are high and we cannot afford to ignore them.”
The Bank of Canada is particularly concerned that the country will not be able to increase productivity enough to offset these economic shifts. Other possible steps to take include working and saving more.
The Canadian government has taken one step toward addressing the challenge by raising retirement age as well as the Old Age Security eligibility.
Officials with the Bank of Canada have also trumpeted the potential of immigration, and the need to dissolve barriers that are preventing skilled and experienced workers from finding employment in their field.
Source: Financial Post
The construction industry is praising upcoming changes to Canada’s immigration system that will allow more access to skilled trades workers.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has announced his government’s intention to create a skilled worker category solely for applicants with a background in construction and manufacturing. The move is being heralded by industry professionals as a progressive step toward addressing the looming shortages that have plagued them for years.
“In Canada we’ve been welcoming historic high numbers of immigrants, partly to help us fuel our prosperity in the future and fill growing labour shortages,” said Kenney upon announcing the new stream.“But, to be honest, our immigration programs haven’t been effective in addressing a lot of those shortages. Our immigration programs have become rigid and slow and passive.”
Current procedures have drastically limited the number of skilled trades workers entering Canada in recent years. They make up only a small percentage of the skilled worker immigration program.
This move should help address that specific labour market concern, which will become an even larger issue facing the Canadian economy as baby-boomers retire in the next few years. According to the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada, the demand for workers should double over the coming decade.
Though in-demand workers have been applying through Provincial Nominee Programs and Canadian Experience Class, the new stream is expected to help fill the gaps and provide further avenues for the industry to obtain the labour it needs to flourish.
Source: Globe and Mail
The recent decision of Canada’s government to return hundreds of thousands of unprocessed immigration applications is sparking outrage among the immigrant community and their advocates.
In a recent editorial for the Financial Post, immigration lawyer Colin R. Singer explains why the decision not only goes against the liberal democratic values that this country stands for, such as justice and equality, but also does very little to address the underlying challenges facing Canada’s immigration and labour systems today.
While visible improvements in processing times have been noted since the implementation of new legislation in 2008, to return all those applications sent beforehand sends a very mixed message to the international community from a country that supposedly does not reward “queue-jumping” while trumpeting warnings against “crooked” immigration consulting.
Another issue of concern is the government’s open admission that they are modeling such policies on immigration systems from countries on the opposite side of the globe, such as Australia and New Zealand.
Among the many flaws in such a strategy are the fact that those countries attract a large Anglophone immigration population, where Canada’s sources reflect a much more diverse linguistic and cultural base.
Furthermore, New Zealand has a national credential recognition program in place whereas Canada leaves such matters to the provinces, which often in turn leave it to professional organizations. It would make much more sense, then, to provide the provinces with the power to select which immigrants to accept based upon their specific labour needs, rather than leaving such powers centralized.
At the moment the federal government controls which skilled workers are able to enter Canada, having narrowed the list to only 19 qualifying occupations in 2008. This means that, of the 300,000 whose applications are being returned, only a small fraction will be able to re-apply.
“It is absolutely unfair,” said Yan Xu, an English teacher from China who, like many, applied for immigration in 2006 putting future plans on hold. “What we lost is not only money, but our youth, our life and our dreams.”
Sources: Financial Post
Among the myriad of recently announced changes to various immigration programs, much of the praise has circled the new rules for Temporary Foreign Worker Program which will allow applications to be processed within days.
The Canadian government has announced that employers applying for temporary work permits will have an answer within 10 days, a dramatically quicker turnover than the previous estimated 12 to 14 weeks.
Employers are also, no doubt, pleased by the new stipulation that they no longer have to pay temporary workers the average wage earned by Canadian workers, but instead can pay them up to 15 percent less than that figure.
Provinces such as Alberta, which brings in about 13percent of Canada’s temporary workers, are praising the new regulations, though they still are concerned over the lack of provincial jurisdiction on immigration procedures and want the caps lifted off of the Provincial Nominee Program. Many of Alberta’s PNP nominations are brought in under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
On the other hand, some worker advocates are concerned over the new rules – particularly the wage decrease. They worry that the decrease will drive down the average wage all around, as Canadian labour will end up directly competing with foreign labour.
If the average wages in Alberta decrease, not only will the residents have to settle for lower salaries, but less skilled workers from across the country will be attracted to Alberta for the large wages offered. This could slow down economic growth in the long run.
“They’re trying to drive down salaries and wages and frankly I don’t think that’s the job of our government to take one side, that being business, and find them ways of making money off the backs of citizens of the country by allowing them to drive wages down,” said Nancy Furlong with the Alberta Federation of Labour. “I just think that’s just wrong, totally wrong.”
Source: Globe and Mail