Immigrants who do not speak one of Canada’s two official languages usually end up working in “ethnic enclaves” and earning less than both their Canadian-born counterparts and immigrants who speak English or French, according to a government report from 2011.
The report was commissioned early last year to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), where workers whose skills are considered high-demand in the province are able to have their residency applications fast-tracked at the federal level.
The findings of the report indicated that language was a major factor in determining an immigrant’s professional prospects, earning potential, and overall adaptation to Canada. Furthermore, the number of Canadians who are working in a language other than English or French has been steadily climbing between 2001 and 2006.
Analysts argue that working in ethnic enclaves is a short-term solution with long-term implications, including lack of language skills being developed in the home, as well as possible danger to the worker who may not be aware of his or her rights.
“Exposure to one’s group reduces the accumulation of skills specific to the host country’s labour market, decreases the knowledge of the local native language and impedes immigrants’ economic progress,” said the report.
Last spring, the government announced that it would implement changes to the PNP in order to place more emphasis on worker’s language skills – particularly those workers who are filling low- and semi-skilled positions.
Source: The National Post
Alberta may be Canada’s fastest growing province, but Saskatchewan is also growing at a record pace, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.
Between April 1, 2011 and April 1, 2012, the population of Saskatchewan has grown by approximately 20,000 people, the most rapid growth that the province has seen in decades.
“It’s very good news for Saskatchewan,” said Economic Minister Bill Boyd. “Clearly that’s the largest growth we’ve seen in Saskatchewan since 1930. (There) are very, very strong employment numbers and growth numbers of our population.”
Boyd attributes the growth to the wealth of job opportunities available in the booming province, citing the 12,000 postings on the provincial employment site saskjobs.ca.
“We’re seeing growth all across Saskatchewan – in smaller communities and in the cities,” said Boyd. “Virtually all areas of our province are growing in terms of population from small centres to medium-sized cities to the larger cities.”
Figures show that the growth is from both immigration and natural increases. The province is now second behind only Alberta in terms of population gains, which is good news to employers looking to find workers in to maintain the strong economic growth.
Source: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix
The booming province of Alberta is determined not to let skilled labour shortages get in the way of multi-million dollar projects and expansive economic growth.
Among the various strategies that Alberta employers are using to fill job positions is the continued search abroad for foreign labour. In recent years the province has become even more aggressive with its recruitment strategies, targeting developed economic regions including the European Union, the U.K. and the U.S.
“We are creating a mess [in Alberta],” says Joe Giusti, CEO of one of the region’s largest construction companies. “There is a boom, and there are few qualified people. Most of the jobs are done with unqualified people and improper workmanship. I would say lousy workmanship — and for a huge amount of money.”
Giusti says that the lack of skilled, English-speaking workers has meant that his company is turning down projects. He hopes that the Immigration Department’s recent promise to target skilled trade workers will help. He also says that more needs to be done to attract young Canadians to the skilled trades.
Increased visibility on the international stage may help Alberta’s future projects to attract the workers it needs, as more and more countries in Asia and Europe are looking to invest both money and labour.
Employers and professional agencies are also travelling abroad to countries like Ireland, the United States, and Australia to recruit the skills needed to maintain growth.
“If there is a way to move the economy forward, and provide opportunities so certain projects aren’t shut down, we all prosper,” says Calgary Economic Development representative Jeannette Sutherland. “To know there is a motivated supply of workers [in the U.S.] with similar skill sets, on top of the supply that we have in Alberta, and employers are very interested in looking at options.”
Source: Financial Post
A controversial move to legislate away Canada’s enormous immigration backlog may is facing increasing obstacles in both the House of Commons and Federal Court.
The proposed law was part of this spring’s budget Bill tabled by the Conservative government in their first majority win in recent years. Among the many proposals was a highly controversial law that would see the return of approximately 280,000 immigration applications that had been in line for processing – some as long as 8 years.
Critics have strongly expressed their opposition to the bill, pressuring the Immigration Department to ease up and not compromise Canada’s image and reputation on the global market.
However, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has stood by the proposed legislation, and included it in this week’s marathon debate in the House of Commons. Opposition members took advantage of the opportunity to take Kenney to task, saying that he wanted to simply hit the “delete” button and make the problem go away with no real long-term plan.
Another blow to the bill was issued this week as a Federal Court judge ruled that the government has an obligation to process the applications that were deemed eligible for processing.
The ruling is part of a massive lawsuit launched against the government on behalf of over 900 applicants whose files are part of the returned backlog.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Unions and other professional groups in Alberta are coming together in an effort to address concerns over looming labour shortages in the oil sector.
“We as an industry have an interest in making sure we have the skilled labour we need to grow the industry going forward,” said Dave Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “There’s no one solution to this challenge. We’re going to work on quite a number of things.”
Such things being worked on include training, immigration, and labour mobility. The CAPP is working with a number of construction trade unions across the country to identify and address labour market concerns.
A recent federal report estimated that over the next six years, approximately 180,000 new jobs would be created in the construction industry, but 200,000 skilled trades workers will be retiring in that same time period.
Building and Construction Trades Department representative Robert Blakely specified a number of strategies that are being examined in hopes of maintaining current productivity levels.
“We need to work jointly to attract more Canadians into the skilled trades, provide more classroom and employment-based training opportunities, improve incentives to move within Canada for work, and as needed, increase both permanent and temporary immigration,” said Blakely. “More skilled people who are mobile, certified and ready to work is a win-win.”
Source: Calgary Herald
Canada’s Conservative majority government has succeeded in passing its new refugee legislation, despite heavy criticisms from opposition members.
“We made a key election commitment to bring in these new legislative tools to combat human-smuggling criminals who want to treat Canada like a doormat,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. “This bill will also further strengthen our reforms of Canada’s asylum system to make sure that it’s fast and fair and will allow for us to improve immigration-security screening significantly through legislative authority for biometric visa collection.”
One of the most controversial elements of Bill C-31 is the powers it grants to the Immigration Minister to pre-determine which countries are “safe” and which are not. Anyone from such declared “safe” nations who seeks asylum in Canada would have their application fast-tracked and no right to appeal.
This particular regulation is designed to address a recent spike in refugee claims originating from European countries, particularly Hungary’s Roma population.
Other regulations included in the bill are harsher penalties for human traffickers and more constraints placed upon “irregular arrivals” such as those coming to Canada via ship in large numbers.
However, critics say that the changes concentrate too much power into the hands of the Immigration Minister, and also punish the most vulnerable – the refugees – rather than the human smugglers. Critics in opposition parties are also concerned about the timing of the new legislation, saying that the government is taking advantage of its majority status to rescind on earlier agreements with other political parties.
Source: National Post
The recent changes to Canada’s immigration system, which include more emphasis being placed upon applicants’ language skills, could mean an increase in immigration from European countries in economic turmoil, such as Greece.
Youth in Greece have for years been honing their English language skills in what was an attempt by Greek regulators to make the nation more competitive on the international scale.
However, the recent economic turmoil in the country is likely to induce many of those English-speaking young workers to look elsewhere for opportunity – including Canada.
The current youth unemployment rate in Greece sits at 25 percent while the economy has reported its fifth consecutive year of decline. The situation has led many young graduates to look for work elsewhere, with a recent university poll in Athens finding that 4 out of 10 graduates plan on leaving the country.
Already the young Greeks have been increasingly headed to other nations within the European Union, including Britain and Germany. However, as the job market dries up, EU officials are considering placing limitations on such intra-continental migration and monitoring borders more closely.
Canada, Australia and the United States are increasingly looking like better options for the English-speakers.
“All Greeks love Greece. But everyone wants out. I am luckier than most because Canada is a solid option,” says Greek sculptor and taxi driver Tony Drakakis. “Even a 50 year old with several children wants to leave so that he can relax the next day and not always be worried.”
Source: Vancouver Sun
Once again, the province of Alberta is boasting record immigration levels for the start of 2011, from both within and outside of the country.
A “hot” job market is attracting workers to the province from Ontario, British Columbia and Newfoundland. Alberta is currently tied with Saskatchewan for lowest unemployment rate in the country and job levels are predicted to increase by another 114,000 positions over the next decade. The average weekly wage is also the highest in Canada.
The growth in Alberta is not a new trend, as it has been the fastest growing province in the country since 2006. It’s two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, are growing faster than any others in the country.
However, the news is not good for all of Canada’s provinces. The disparity is being felt harshly in the Maritime provinces such as Nova Scotia, where 31,000 people received unemployment benefits in March. Statistics show that if all unemployed Nova Scotians packed up and moved to Alberta, the Western province would still have another 30,000 positions to fill.
Many older Canadians, however, seem reluctant to pack up and move across the country for work, which means that Alberta will have to look increasingly abroad to fill its positions.
Source: Globe and Mail