Ottawa’s share of new immigrants continues to decline as newcomers increasingly opt for the economic opportunities of Western Canada or the cultural diversity of Montreal.
A Statistics Canada study released last week reveals that the percentage of immigrants who cited Ottawa as their intended destination has dropped to 2.4 per cent in 2012 from 3.4 per cent in 2000.
This means that despite Canada welcoming more newcomers, the actual number of immigrants settling in Ottawa has gone down. Annual immigration to Canada rose to 280,700 in 2012 from 227,500 in 2000.
“The recession hit Ontario pretty hard and it’s normal that immigrants don’t want to go to someplace where economic conditions are not as good,” said Gilles Grenier, a University of Ottawa economics professor who specializes in labour market and immigration issues.
The Statistics Canada research paper, Changes in the Regional Distribution of New Immigrants to Canada, examines the country’s evolving settlement pattern.
It shows that new immigrants have started to look at destinations such as Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, where economies have been booming. Montreal has also seen its share of newcomers increase to 18.1 per cent in 2012.
Meanwhile, Toronto, which attracted 48.4 per cent of all new immigrants in 2000, saw its share of newcomers fall to 30 per cent in 2012. However, the city remains the country’s biggest magnet for immigrants.
According to Statistics Canada analysts, the new settlement pattern reflects changes in regional economic activity and employment. “In short, labour market conditions were better in Western Canada than they were in the rest of the country,” the report concluded.
That more newcomers were settling outside of Toronto and Vancouver was also a reflection of Canada’s revised immigration system. Provincial nominee programs (PNPs) allow provinces to select and nominate immigrants to meet their own economic goals and growth targets.
Statistics Canada analysts said the distribution of newcomers within Canada has also been affected by shifts in the country’s immigration sources. In the late 1990s, most of Canada’s immigrants came from China and India, and they tended to settle in Toronto and Vancouver. By 2010, however, the Philippines was the biggest source of Canadian immigrants, and they have settled in cities across the country, the report said.
Montreal’s growth as a destination city was driven by increased immigration from Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
By the numbers
48.4: Percentage of new immigrants who wanted to settle in Toronto in 2000
30: Percentage of new immigrants who wanted to settle in Toronto in 2012
5.5: Average unemployment rate in Toronto in 2000
9.2: Average unemployment rate in Toronto in 2010
21.3: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that came from China in 2000
12.8: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that came from China in 2010
14: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that arrived from the Philippines in 2010
Prime Minister Stephen Harper vows to appeal the federal court decision allowing women to take the oaths of citizenship while wearing veils; says it is “offensive” that people should hide their identity “at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family.” Read More
Source: The Star
Universities have persuaded the federal government to relax new rules on how they hire temporary foreign workers An agreement was struck earlier this week between postsecondary institutions and the federal government which will give schools flexibility with regards to meeting the new rules that were imposed on employers looking to hire high-wage workers in June 2014.
Schools will no longer have to submit a plan on how they will transition jobs filled by highly paid foreign workers to Canadian citizens. Instead, universities and colleges will report to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), their national organization.
Universities are the only sector that will be allowed to be self-governing in meeting some of the requirements of the temporary foreign worker program. In most cases, universities receiving TFW permits to hire foreign academics are actually planning to employ them in permanent jobs, with the TFW program simply being a faster way to bring professors or researchers to Canada.
According to Christine Tausig Ford, vice-president and COO of the AUCC, “Academic specialties can be very specific and the flexibility of being able to hire from around the world is important, as are the global connections that academics make.”
The changes to the temporary foreign worker program introduced in June primarily affected low-wage labour, but the government also added regulations for those jobs that pay the same as or higher than the median provincial wage.
Employers offering those positions must now have a transition plan in place if they hope to receive a positive labour market impact assessment. The agreement between the AUCC and the government means that universities and colleges can choose not to file that transition plan with the federal government but will still be required to submit information about any Canadians who applied for the positions.
Jason Kenney, the immigration minister in 2011, had banned niqabs during swearing-in ceremonies. Before this ban, wearing a niqab on such occasions had been perfectly acceptable. According to his argument (which he gave in an interview in 2012), taking the citizenship oath is “a declaration of your membership in the community and you do that in front of your fellow citizens in public.”
Kenney recently tweeted his support for this policy when a woman took his government to court on the grounds that banning her right to wear a niqab violates her rights under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Kenney’s stance is complicated since it was him who had last year supported the rights of women to wear niqabs at work after a debate had ensued on whether women who are caregivers to children should be allowed to wear a veil.
Many Canadians had argued that people caring for other people’s children should not wear conspicuous religious clothing, especially something that covers their faces. However majority supported women’s decision. Kenny had at that time made the statement, “We believe that freedom of religion and conscience are universal values.”
Many Canadians like Kenney seem to believe that while it is ok for a woman in Canada to live and work while wearing a niqab, it is inappropriate to do so during a citizenship swearing-in ceremony. Their argument is that since Canada is a multicultural country that protects citizens’ religious freedoms, it is not too much to ask for Muslim women to set these freedoms aside for a occasion as important as taking an oath of citizenship. They say that Muslim women should respect Canada’s request with the same openness and spirit of accommodation with which Canada is willing to respect their religious freedoms.
However on the other side, the critics of the ban believe that a religious freedom is a religious freedom and not something that one practices only for the convenience of the wider society. The critics say that Canadian courts have recognized that it might be vital to ask Muslim women to remove their niqabs while testifying in criminal court cases if doing otherwise might jeopardize a fair trial. However, they point out, the oath ceremony of citizenship is hardly as critical to impose such a ban.
Source: Globe & Mail
Ottawa-born Deepan Budlakoti, a 24-year-old who has never lived outside this country, has lost his bid to be declared a Canadian citizen by the Federal Court of Canada.
In a decision released Wednesday, Justice Michael Phelan ruled that Budlakoti, born to employees of the Indian Embassy in October 1989, does not have a claim to Canadian citizenship by virtue of his birth.
Unlike others, children born to foreign diplomatic staff in Canada do not automatically become citizens of this country.
Budlakoti had presented two sworn affidavits to support his contention that his parents had already left the Indian Embassy by the time he was born in Ottawa’s Grace Hospital — a fact that, if true, would make him a Canadian citizen. But Phelan rejected that material in favour of what he said was more reliable documentary evidence that indicated Budlakoti’s parents left the embassy in December 1989, two months after their son was born.
Budlakoti had no idea he wasn’t an official Canadian citizen until May 2010 when he ran afoul of the law. He was sentenced to three years in prison for weapons and cocaine trafficking, and ordered deported in December 2011 based on what federal officials deemed his “serious criminality.” But India rejected him. Indian officials said Budlakoti is not a citizen and have refused Canada’s request to issue him travel documents.
It means that Budlakoti continues to live under the restrictive terms of a federal deportation order that can’t be enforced. He must report every month to the Canada Border Services Agency and live with his family. His other family members, including his parents, are all Canadian citizens.
Canada pledged in a 1961 UN treaty to reduce the incidence of statelessness but Budlakoti said Canada has violated that treaty by leaving him without a country. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has taken his case to the UN.
Federal lawyers have argued that Budlakoti is not stateless because there’s no evidence that he has applied for citizenship in either Canada or India.
During his 24 years in Canada, Budlakoti has been issued an Ontario birth certificate and two Canadian passports, and until last year received health-care services.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Immigration officials have recommended that Ottawa remove citizenship rights to babies born in Canada to non-citizens and non-residents despite the small number of cases not justifying the costs.
The proposal, with inputs from various federal departments, found less than 500 cases of children being born to foreign nationals in Canada each year. The issue of citizenship by birth on Canadian soil has again raised concerns among critics over the current government’s policy considerations being based on ideologies rather than evidence and objective cost-benefit analyses.
According to a 17-page report prepared for former immigration minister Jason Kenney, “Eliminating birth on soil in order to ensure that everyone who obtains citizenship at birth has a strong connection to Canada would have significant cost implications.”
The office of Chris Alexander confirmed that the government is still reviewing citizenship policy with regard to the issue of “birth tourism” — a term referring to foreigners travelling to give birth in Canada so the baby can claim automatic citizenship here. Dubbed “anchor babies,” these children are eligible to sponsor their foreign parents to Canada once they turn 18. It is unknown how many of them actually return to their birth country with their parents, but it’s believed the number is low.
Currently Canada and the United States are the only countries to have birth on soil provisions. The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries restrict citizenship by birth on soil to children born to parents who are either citizens or permanent residents.
The 17-page report recommended the removal of the birth rights by suggesting “there may be some support for a restrictive policy” despite the “significant operational and cost implication” for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
In the 1990s, the then Liberal government also toyed with the idea of removing citizenship as a birth right but was met with public opposition, and a letter campaign to then immigration minister Lucienne Robillard opposing the plan was launched.
The letter was signed by more than 230 national organizations and said that, “Canada has signed international conventions that commit us not to make people stateless. There is a very real risk that some children will be stateless as a result of this proposed change. A move to end automatic citizenship for babies sends xenophobic messages to the public. Such a legislative change would send a message to newcomers about whose children count and whose children are not welcome. It would reinforce feelings of exclusion and marginalization making integration even more difficult.”
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
These developments if pursued will represent a continued trend by the current government to restrict Canada’s immigration policies.
Source: The Star
Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, following a briefing for news media. The is a detailed and sweeping reform by the government, splitting the program in two and imposing a long list of measures aimed at reducing its use for low-wage positions.
The announcement is an attempt to shrink the program in low-wage sectors and also improve the quality and reliability of data that inform the federal government’s labour market policies. The changes are less restrictive for sectors with above-average wages, even though those categories, including information technology workers, have also come under scrutiny.
Key points in Friday’s announcement:
- The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is split into two: a smaller Temporary Foreign Worker Program will focus largely on low-skilled positions and will be managed by Employment and Social Development Canada. Hiring in this category will require approval through a new screening process called Labour Market Impact Assessments, previously known as Labour Market Opinions. The category is aimed mainly at developing countries.
- The remaining sections of the old program will continue under the name “International Mobility Programs.” It will be run by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and hires will not be screened to see if Canadians are available for the positions. This category is aimed mainly at highly developed countries where highly skilled and highly paid entrants are coming to Canada through international trade agreements
- There will be no access to the program for employers in the accommodation, food services and retail trade sectors if they operate in areas of high unemployment, which the government defines as being above 6 per cent.
- Fees charged to companies that use the program are being increased to $1,000 from $275 per application.
- Employers found breaking the rules will face fines of up to $100,000. The names of employers who are fined will be disclosed.
- The maximum duration a temporary foreign worker can work in Canada is being reduced from the current four years to two years, but a decision is not yet final. The duration of work permits is being reduced to one year from two years.
- No more than 10 per cent of an employer’s work force per worksite can be made up of TFWs.
- Instead of relying on national occupation categories to determine average wages, low-wage positions will be defined as those below the provincial median hourly wage.
- A new fast-track option will approve foreign workers within 10 business days if they are in the highest-demand occupations, such as skilled trades, or are among the top 10 per cent for highest-paid occupations.
- The Live-in Caregiver Program is subject to the new $1,000 fee, but is not subject to the cap or to the reduced timelines. The program is currently facing a separate review and further related announcements are expected.
- A new fee of $230 per work permit will apply to workers in the International Mobility Programs.
The government expects these changes to reduce the number of entries of low-wage temporary foreign workers by 50 per cent by 2016.
Source: The Globe And Mail
Each Canadian province and the three territories have their own Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), in order to serve their individual immigration needs. Many of them also run their own categories under the Canada Express Entry System. As a result, the provinces have an increasing role in the selection of economic immigrants.
Applying for admission to Canada as a permanent resident under a provincial program follows a two-stage process. Applicants who receive a PNP nomination can then apply for permanent residence.
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In some instances, candidates who do not qualify under one of the federal programs may qualify for admission to Canada under a PNP. Some candidates may also qualify for a temporary work permit in the interim, allowing for early entry to Canada for the applicant and their accompanying dependants.
Under the federal 2017 immigration numbers plan, 51,000 newcomers will be welcomed through provincial programs. The target for 2018 is 55,000, rising to nearly 68,000 by 2020.
However, many of the large provincial programs face problems with processing delays. Canada attracts considerable interest from potential new immigrants, far surpassing the processing capacity of immigration programs.
The Canada Express Entry system has successfully tackled processing delays, while many of the provinces are now choosing to open and close their popular streams periodically throughout the year to avoid large backlogs.
Provincial Nominee Program
|British Columbia||Manitoba||New Brunswick||Newfoundland and Labrador|
|Alberta||Ontario||Nova Scotia||Northwest Territories|
|Saskatchewan||Quebec||Prince Edward Island||Yukon|
Under the provincial programs, candidates are nominated by a prospective employer and, once approved by the province, are subject to an expedited process. In the initial stages, applicants can receive temporary, renewable work permits to enter Canada while they are being processed for permanent residence.
The skilled worker-based provincial programs, with the exception of Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, generally require an employer to sponsor the applicant for admission to Canada. Without a government-approved employer sponsorship, the application will either not be approved, or will be routinely passed over in favour of applications with an employer sponsored approval.
Sponsoring employers under most provincial programs must demonstrate sufficient efforts to hire local Canadians and offer competitive terms and conditions of employment that are relevant to a particular occupation. Between provinces, variations exist in the terms and conditions of employment to qualify to sponsor a foreign worker.
To qualify as a sponsored employee, the position being filled must generally conform to a National Occupation Classification skill level of O, A, B; or alternatively, must meet the terms of a particular pilot project designed for a specific critical skill shortage identified by the province.
Pilot programs within the provinces are designed for low skilled workers and are limited in scope. Most of the provinces have variations of pilot projects for low skilled occupations.