The Canadian Parliament is debating the country’s most significant national security reform in over a decade. The proposed act, known as Bill C-51, would supplement antiterror laws that were enacted following 9/11.
Bill C-51, proposed in January by the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is a highly politicized response in a parliamentary election year to the October terrorist attacks in Ottawa. With Conservatives controlling the House of Commons, it is widely expected to pass before Parliament breaks in June.
Bill C-51 facilitates information-sharing among federal institutions, with no robust limits on how that information may then be used (or misused). This is a remarkable development for a country that in 2007 agreed to pay millions to compensate a Canadian citizen who suffered foreign torture as a result of inaccurate intelligence-sharing. The legislation would also augment police powers to preventively detain or restrict terror suspects.
The law’s main goal, however, is to enhance the covert powers of Canada’s security services. Canada has a national police force and a mostly domestic intelligence service, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (C.S.I.S.). These organizations haven’t always worked well together. Spies and police have been known to unproductively chase the same targets. And spying has complicated police efforts to bring charges in open court: The C.S.I.S. often tries to protect its sources and methods in criminal proceedings that demand full disclosure.
The investigation into the 1985 Air India attack, when a bomb exploded on a plane en route from Toronto to New Delhi, killing 329 people, is a prime example of this disorganization. Bill C-51 gives primacy to the C.S.I.S. and allows it to carry out investigations without police assistance.
Bill C-51 would authorize the C.S.I.S. to “take measures, within or outside Canada, to reduce” national security threats. The government argues that this would enable a range of valuable actions, like allowing C.S.I.S. agents to speak with parents of potential terrorists.
If the bill is passed, the C.S.I.S. could block the return of Canadians fighting abroad; remove Web postings it found threatening; drain bank accounts; engage in disinformation campaigns; or bypass traditional police channels in order to detain suspects. The only limits explicitly spelled out in Bill C-51 are acts that would cause “death or bodily harm,” willfully obstruct justice or violate sexual integrity.
If foreign governments have so far avoided commenting publicly on the proposed legislation, two features should stand out for the international community. Bill C-51 would permit C.S.I.S. interventions beyond Canada’s borders and it would empower Canadian courts to authorize C.S.I.S. conduct that violates “any other law, including that of any foreign state.”
Bill C-51 would only require warrants in cases of potential violation of Canadian law or its national Charter, which almost never apply outside the country. Thus there would be little judicial oversight of C.S.I.S. activities abroad.
Moreover, Canada’s independent security review mechanisms are outdated. Canadian lawmakers rarely have access to classified national security information, which means that they generally don’t have enough details of active operations. Bill C-51 includes no provisions to correct this, or strengthen external watchdogs like the SIRC.
Bill C-51 faces stiff opposition from the New Democratic Party, and has ignited the concern of civil liberties groups, lawyers and academics. The Conservatives are eager to pass antiterror legislation before general elections in October and once enacted, Bill C-51 would most likely take effect immediately.
Despite growing protests, the Conservatives have signaled no serious interest in amendments, even as protests mount.
Ahead of the 2006 federal elections, Conservatives ran on a platform of building a true foreign intelligence service. Today, the party’s political leadership is attempting to reshape a domestically focused security agency into one with enhanced foreign powers. Only partially overseen by judges and even less accountable to national review bodies, it would be authorized to act beyond the law both at home and abroad.
Source: New York Times
In a bid to boost the efficient flow of people and goods while maintaining strong border security, the U.S. and Canada agreed on Monday to extend customs preclearance to border crossings by rail, land and water. Under preclearance, U.S. border officials work on Canadian soil to inspect and vet the goods or people seeking entry into the U.S.
Customs preclearance was already available to air travelers, but Canadian exporters have long complained that congestion at land and water crossings hampers their competitiveness. A few years ago, Washington and Ottawa pledged to integrate security efforts and accelerate the flow of trade, with President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper signing the Beyond the Border deal in 2011.
The most recent White House progress report on the 2011 U.S.-Canada border initiative said the two countries had made strides but acknowledged some important elements had fallen behind schedule, including a preclearance arrangement.
At a news conference in Washington, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Canadian Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said the deal advances the shared interest of the two countries in beefing up perimeter security, while at the same time addressing economic competitiveness.
“This will reduce congestion and delays at the border, and increase efficiency and predictability in cross-border travel, tourism and transportation,” Mr. Johnson said, adding it would also strengthen the security of the shared border.
Mr. Blaney said it was critical for the U.S. and Canada “to manage the shared border in a way that doesn’t turn into a barrier to commerce or prosperity” even amid security threats.
The deal still requires the approval of lawmakers on both sides of the border. It wasn’t clear when and where facilities would be built to allow for the increased preclearance of goods and people.
The U.S. estimates that 300,000 people cross the U.S.-Canada border each day, while the two countries conduct $2 billion in the trade of goods and services daily, the largest trading relationship anywhere in the world.
The deal on preclearance comes as relations between the U.S. and Canada are being tested by the years long approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline.
On April 1, 2015, the Canadian government will launch a new industry. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will begin manufacturing “illegal immigrants.”
Four years ago, on April 1, 2011, the Conservative cabinet passed a regulation known as the “4-in, 4-out” rule, requiring all temporary foreign workers who have been in the country for four years or longer to leave, and remain outside Canada for at least four years. As of April 1, then, those still here will be classified as illegal.
In theory, a temporary foreign worker can apply to transition to permanent resident status within those four years in Canada, but in practice, those designated as “low wage” will generally not qualify for this. A few provinces including Manitoba and Alberta have used their limited scope of authority to nominate “low-wage” workers for permanent resident status, but the number of cases in which this has occurred are small.
So by April 1, 2015, all temporary foreign workers who arrived on or before April 1, 2011 are expected to leave the country. Some, however, are expected to remain living and working in Canada without legal status. We know this because that is what has happened from the mid-1940s to the present, in every country in the world that has run a mass guest-worker regime.
This is what any competent Citizenship and Immigration bureaucrat knew and probably told the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in 2006, when the government decided to dramatically expand and under-regulate the temporary foreign worker program, and again in 2011 when the government instituted the “4-in, 4-out” rule.
Temporary foreign workers overstay their visas and go underground for various reasons. Their families abroad may depend on their remittances to subsist. They may have been exploited by rapacious “recruiters” and/or unscrupulous employers. Returning home empty-handed and possibly indebted is not only stigmatizing, it can be dangerous.
Some workers may even have felt at home in Canada, gradually becoming potential members of the society where they live, work and pay taxes. Some Canadians may consider the government’s guest-worker regime to be misguided and believe it should not continue. But terminating it will not resolve the dilemma of those temporary foreign workers who are already here and who are the targets of the “4-in, 4-out” rule.
It is common knowledge that some sectors of the U.S. economy have become dependent on undocumented workers, of which there are an estimated 11 million. Some employers find them a desirable work force precisely because their deportability ensures that they will “work hard and work scared.” These employers are also known to wield their political influence accordingly.
Migrants without legal status are also easy targets for vilification. The slide from “illegal immigrant” to “criminal” in popular discourse is easy. A government that is looking to supplement the bogus refugee, the marriage fraudster and the foreign terrorist with a new category of bad immigrant and a new excuse to get tough on non-citizens might find it convenient to add “illegal immigrants” to the roster. The government’s role in illegalizing these migrants may escape notice.
On March 31, temporary foreign workers will go to bed as lawfully employed, hard-working, tax-paying residents of Canada, and wake up the next day as illegal immigrants.
Source: National Post
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
Illegal immigrants who are currently employed in Canada could be given temporary work permits by the Canadian government. Those who remain in good standing could apply for permanent residence after a period of 12 to 24 months.
Almost a quarter of Canada’s illegal immigrants could make use of such a scheme and bring in significant tax revenue. This could represent some $150 million in direct annual taxes and ER contributions in the first year alone. Plus, these individuals would eventually be able to sponsor their immediate family members and this would further increase income taxes, ER payroll taxes and HST consumption tax expenditures far beyond the income tax revenues.
Those looking for a job in oil and gas or related industries this year will not find the odds too favorable. With an economy that has some softness economists at the Conference Board of Canada said in their latest report that job seekers will have to wait until 2016 for real broad based employment opportunities to arise.
According to Statistics Canada, 35,000 jobs were added in January but the increase was largely due to part-time work. Meanwhile, the percentage of Canadians who aren’t working is at historic highs with many dropping out of the job search altogether.
However, according to some experts, if you’re able to adapt, there are many jobs for people across the country.
“In Canada right now, most industries are stable,” said Nathan Laurie, president of Jobpostings.ca, a company that works to connect students and recent graduates to meaningful careers.
Areas that are experiencing the most growth include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
Laurie said anyone with a computer science, math or engineering degree will find lots of opportunity on the job market and areas including web development, design, robotics and big data are also seeing a lot of growth. If you’re a good communicator and like working with people, Laurie also recommends a job in sales.
Health care jobs and careers focused on our aging population will also experience growth in the coming years.
“Occupations and industries that provide services and support to the aging population will certainly be growing over the next decade,” said Sean Lyons, associate professor in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph.
The drop in oil prices means the once-booming oil and gas industry is taking a hit.
“We’ve seen some of our [oil and gas] clients cut jobs across the board,” said Laurie. “We’ve also heard that some companies are reducing the number of jobs they’re hiring for. So that’s going to be a much tighter market now, companies are letting people go, rather than hiring.”
Jobs in manufacturing will continue to become scarcer and scarcer over the next decade, said Haldenby, “Especially here in Canada where we’ll likely see a rapid upswing in automation through advanced robotics, smart systems, and sophisticated design tools that seem to do more and more of the heavy lifting for us.”
“Just about anything that you might be puzzled by a human tackling today — for safety, economic, or efficiency reasons — is going to be the job of an automated robotic system in the near future,” he said.
Occupations focused on youth are going to be “hit hard by Canada’s age demographics in the foreseeable future,” said Lyons.
Recently Target Canada closed down, leading to the unemployment of 17,500 employees. Target joins Mexx, Jacob, Sony, Smart Set and other chains that are closing or going bankrupt across the country. While the retail market is in tough at the moment, Laurie thinks this situation is temporary. “I personally feel there’s lots of opportunity in [the] retail sector, especially in tech and innovation side,” he said. However, the current retail closures present an opportunity for retailers who will have a large pool of highly qualified workers to select from.
On the heels of Target liquidating its 133 Canadian stores, Home Depot announced it would hire more than 2,600 people in Ontario, ramping up to its busy spring season.
While keeping on top of industry trends is one important method for navigating today’s job market, job seekers should also take a close look at the skills section of their resume. According to experts, it is important to obtaining and develop certain skills, rather than focusing entirely on specific jobs.
(First Draw with Lowest Comprehensive Ranking Score Under 600)
Canadian Immigration authorities invited 1620 applicants for permanent residence with the lowest Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) of 481. It was the first draw under the new Express Entry System where the lowest CRS score was less than 600 points.
Under the previous four draws conducted under Express Entry in 2015, the lowest CRS score has been steadily declining.But each applicant has been required to have either an approved job offer or nomination by a province under a Provincial Nomination Program (PNP).
It is expected that the majority of applicants to be issued (ITA’s) under Canada’s Express Entry Immigration system in 2015, will require a CRS score of less than 600 points, enabling applicants admission to Canada without a job offer or nomination under a Provincial Immigration Program.
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.
The Quebec government has revealed important details under its popular skilled worker immigration program that is set to reopen on November 4, 2015. It plans to receive 6300 new applications during the 2015-2016 period. The Quebec program features more than 75 eligible occupations and areas of training that will enable applicants to qualify for a Quebec Certificate of Selection (CSQ), without a job offer.
Ability to communicate in the french language is often not required.
The period of reception for applications under the Quebec skilled worker program will operate under two systems.
November 4 – December 15, 2015:
Maximum 3500 applications will be accepted by Post.
(NOTE: The maximum number of applications by post was received as of November 10, 2015. This intake period is currently closed).
January 18 – March 31, 2016:
Maximum 2800 applications will be accepted via the internet.
Unlike the federal Express Entry immigration system or programs offered by other provinces under Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), Quebec remains the only program in Canada where skilled worker applicants can predict their chances for admission on the basis of their proven qualifications. Applicants, who reach a passing score under the Quebec system, receive a CSQ which enables them to qualify for Canadian permanent residence.
A Quebec skilled worker is foreign national who intends to settle in Quebec to hold employment the foreign national is likely able to hold. This determination is made using a point system which evaluates the candidate’s area of training, education, experience, age, language, qualifications of a partner or spouse, offer of employment (which is not required), children and adaptability.
Applicants in a wide range of areas including Management and Financial Services, Engineering and Information Technology and Health Care, have the best chances to succeed under the Quebec Skilled Worker program.
The Quebec application selection process follows a multi-stage assessment process each with minimum cut-off scores. Applicants with a passing score are issued a Quebec Certificate of Selection and may apply to the federal authorities for entry to Canada. Once admitted a permanent resident enjoys all the rights and freedoms of labour mobility throughout Canada provided under the Canadian Charter.
Quebec has received worldwide attention as a popular immigration destination. Recently, the City of Montreal was rated by the Economist magazine, second to Toronto, as the best place in the world to live.
“Montreal is a vibrant metropolis and continues to offer outstanding economic opportunities and quality of life”, says Attorney Colin Singer, Managing Partner of www.immigration.ca and Global Recruiters of Montreal (www.grnmontreal.com).
“For those who are interested in relocating to Canada, the Quebec program offers distinct advantages. First, it manages the largest immigration program among all the provinces in Canada. Second, it does not permit the Minister to actively pick and choose the applicants it wants. This provides applicants to Quebec with more predictability of outcome over the federal Express Entry system and other provincial immigration programs” says Attorney Singer.
Overall, Quebec plans to receive approximately 50,000 immigrants in 2016, under all classes, including nearly 30,000 skilled workers. This is consistent with the immigration levels in 2015.
If previous indicators are a valid measure, Quebec’s quota of 6300 under the skilled worker program will likely fill quickly. However applicants with a valid job offer, previous work experience in Quebec or having completed a valid period of study in Quebec may also qualify under the Quebec Experience Class and would not be subject to the skilled worker program quota.
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.
For the fourth month in a row, the unemployment rate in Northeast British Columbia has been so low that they can’t be reported. The latest available data measures the rate through January and shows that collapsing oil and LNG prices have yet to have a big impact on employment in the region.
The unemployment rate for the Northeast has been listed as “not available” by BC Stats since October 2014, because Canada’s national statistical agency won’t release the data due to a “confidentiality threshold” set at 1,500 unemployed people to prevent “direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data,” according to the agency’s website.
Approximately 1,100 people are currently without jobs in the region. According to Labour Force Statistics (LFS) data. Of the region’s 41,600-strong labour force, approximately 40,500 are employed.
The latest official rate BC Stats released for the region was in September 2014, when it was listed at 4 per cent. The monthly LFS report by BC Stats uses data compiled by Statistics Canada. The data shows that there are more jobs than there are people willing to work.
That also means Northeast B.C. remains at full employment, which is reached when virtually everyone who is able and willing to work is employed.
Closing coal mines and tumbling oil and LNG prices have done little to reverse the region’s rising rate of employment. In each of the four months that the unemployment data has been withheld, the number of employed persons in the region has increased. Roughly 38,600 people were employed in Northeastern B.C. in October 2014, rising to 38,800 in November, 39,600 in December and 40,500 in January 2015.
According to a report from BC Stats in January 2015, the labour shortage has been a driving force behind a number of trends: Northeast B.C. grew the fastest in the province from 2013 to 2014,
While workers from across the province are moving north for jobs in large numbers, some employers fill job vacancies with temporary foreign workers. Blue Fuel Energy, for example, has said it might largely rely on workers from outside the region for the construction of a $2.5 billion natural-gas-to-gasoline refinery and methanol plant just outside of Chetwynd. There simply aren’t enough workers in the Peace Region, the company says.
“It’s a large project near by that is going to take away a big workforce,” he said, as a result the large plant may require the use of temporary foreign workers, which Puetter indicated is “something we are working with our engineering firms on because we don’t know where we are going to get the people from.”
The proportion of new Canadians calling Saskatchewan home has more than tripled over the past decade.
According to a new Statistics Canada study, 2.7 per cent of the country’s 280,682 immigrants planned to settle in Saskatchewan in 2010, a rise of 0.8 per cent of 227,429 immigrants in 2000.
While Saskatchewan welcomed 7,615 immigrants in 2010, compared to 1,891 in 2000, the proportion of immigrants settling in Toronto — which once attracted almost half of newcomers — declined. The proportion of immigrants settling in Toronto dropped to 33 per cent in 2010 from 48 per cent in 2000.
The increasing numbers of immigrants going to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba is attributed to the growth of provincial immigrant nominee programs in the west during this time.
The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nomination Program, which was expanded throughout the 2000s, was a significant driver for immigration, said David McGrane, a political studies professor at the University of Saskatchewan and board member for the Saskatoon Open Door Society, which assists immigrants and refugees in the city.
Naveed Anway, who immigrated to Canada from Pakistan in 1992 and also serves on the Saskatoon Open Door Society board, said he doesn’t expect the upward trend of immigrants to continue. He said recent changes to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program that make it harder for workers to bring family members to the province make Saskatchewan a less attractive place to come to now than it was 10 years ago.
Rising numbers of immigrants have contributed to Saskatchewan reaching an all-time population high of 1,132,640 on January 1. Premier Brad Wall said that the growing population reflects the strength of the province and its economy.
A new report by the Canada West Foundation warns that the reduction in the number of temporary foreign workers allowed into Canada will only have a slight effect on provinces with high unemployment, and a disproportionately negative effect on provinces with low unemployment.
From July 2015, employers can have no more than 20% of their workforce as low-wage temporary foreign workers and this must be reduced to 10% from July 2016. But enforcing these limits across the board is unfair to western provinces, says the report, with Alberta set to bear the brunt of the changes.
The new rules have set a national target of 16,278 fewer temporary foreign workers entering the country by 2016. Employment and Social Development Canada reports that more than half of this reduction is expected to be borne by Alberta alone, with the province required to reduce new entrants by 8,407 by 2016.
Alberta’s high reliance on temporary foreign workers is set to make the impact of the reduction more pronounced in the province. On the other hand, Ontario must reduce their temporary foreign worker entries by 1,369 – one-sixth the number expected from Alberta, even though Ontario has a higher jobless rate and would benefit more from fewer TFWs arriving.
“Seventy-five per cent of the reduction in entries will come from the west,” says Farahnaz Bandali, an analyst at the Canada West Foundation. “By making everyone subject to the same cap, the West will be disproportionately hurt.”
With Alberta already facing a shortage of local workers, reducing the number of TFWs won’t necessarily result in more Canadians being hired.
“So the changes will not do what they are supposed to do, which is to encourage employers to hire more Canadians,” says Janet Lane, of the Canada West Foundation.
The report warns that the changes could have severe consequences. “Without enough workers, businesses could be forced to have shorter hours, service will suffer, workers will be stressed and businesses could shrink. Some may be forced out of business altogether.”
“In the short term, the loss of foreign workers will leave employers with limited options. Not all unemployed people are willing to take a job that does not interest them or that they are not good at. Over the medium to long term, employers may find ways to adapt by bringing under- represented populations – such as Aboriginal or disabled people – into the workforce. Governments may need to offer training and support to make this happen,” says the report.
A study by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) suggests that Canadian job quality has fallen to its lowest level in 25 years, which may be indicative of a severe systemic problem that might be difficult to reverse anytime soon.
The report reveals that the bank’s employment quality index fell by 1.8% last year, amounting to a 15% overall decline since the 1990s.
The study also showed that there was a faster growth of part-time jobs in the country compared to high-quality full-time employment over the same time period. Even though last year saw full-time positions increasing at double the rate of part-time jobs, the overall negative impact on full-time employment during each recession was mostly permanent, the study noted.
In addition, the study also highlighted several “ongoing labor market challenges” like low participation of prime-aged Canadians.
Figures for 2014 show that the Canadian economy is about 270,000 jobs short of its full capacity, with more than one in four part-time workers looking for full-time work.
Experts have warned that these trends have far-reaching consequences for the Canadian economy. In particular, the increasing number of people in part-time positions and self-employment is going to lead to lower levels of savings and consumer spending. Debt, which is already growing consistently, is also likely to increase further.
“After every recession, job quality goes down, but it doesn’t fully catch up. So there is almost a permanent loss every time that there is a shock,” says Benjamin Tal of CIBC, who also believes that the long-term trends pointing to deterioration in job quality “is more of a structural issue than a cyclical one”.
The trends also point to a shift in the balance of bargaining power in the labor market. The fewer highly paid workers now enjoy higher bargaining power than the larger section of people holding low-paying jobs. “This is the main reason why the income gap is rising, which I believe is the number one economic, social issue facing the country in this decade,” says Tal.
However, some experts have cautioned that all part-time work must not be assumed to be of low quality.
The CIBC report’s findings come as talks are taking place between Ottawa and the provinces about training policies and employment insurance. The negotiations are focused on whether or not to renew Labor Market Development Agreements worth $2-billion a year to fund job training programs.