According to new statistics just released by the government, Canada accepted about 280,000 new permanent residents in 2010, which is the highest amount in 57 years.
‘While other Western countries have cut back immigration during the recession, our government kept legal immigration levels high,” said Canada’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. “Canada’s post-recession economy demands a high level of economic immigration to keep our economy strong.”
While Kenney announced the large numbers, he also praised his administration’s efforts to reduce the immigration backlog, which saw some applicants waiting up to seven years for their file to be processed. Kenney says his government has so far reduced the backlog from 640,000 in 2008 to approximately 335,000 currently.
Kenney also stated that immigrants who arrive in Canada with a job offer pending are able to make $79,000 on average within three years of their arrival. Immigrants are also responding more to efforts to attract them to places other than Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
However, critics are asking why the government is boasting about record-level immigration while at the same time cutting spending on resettlement services. Other critics argue that the government should be focusing more on family reunification rather than economic immigrants during a recession, when unemployment levels are high.
“There’s no economic argument [for these immigration levels] that makes any sense at all,” said Immigration Watch Canada founder Dan Murray. “All of the federal parties are afraid to talk about immigration in any kind of a negative way. They’re all looking for their share of the immigrant vote.”
Sources: Globe and Mail
A new survey out of Washington has found that Canadians have a more positive attitude toward immigration than several other nations, including the U.S., the U.K., and the Netherlands.
“Canadian attitudes are by far the most positive among all countries surveyed,” said Delancey Gustin, an analyst with the Washington-based think tank who conducts this survey each year.
The analysts said that government policy and Canadian geography both work together to ensure that Canada attracts and retains the most desirable migrants in terms of skill.
“Research shows that when immigrants come from far away they’re more likely to succeed, because it costs a lot of money and requires connections,” said Gustin. “These people are typically more educated and tend to be the elite of their own country. So you guys [in Canada] have (the) luxury of kind of skimming right off the top and bringing in the best and brightest.”
This fact has helped over half of the Canadian public to agree that immigrants help to create jobs and businesses. Further, Canadian respondents believe that the government is doing a good job with immigration policy.
However, Canada’s numbers, though more positive than the other nations surveyed, are still in line with the overall trend in dropping approval rates. Experts say the declining views on the issue are a direct result of the recession which has plagued the global economy in recent years.
Source: Vancouver Province
A new study has found that apprenticeships could play a key role in bridging immigrant skills and jobs in Canada.
The study, which was collaboration between students at the University of New Brunswick and Carleton University, found that first-generation immigrant males who have completed an apprenticeship usually earn about 20 percent more than those who have no post-secondary education. Still, however, immigrants rarely apprentice.
“Despite the significant earnings and employment advantage of having an apprenticeship, the study found that immigrants from more recent arrival cohorts have especially low rates of having an apprenticeship credential when compared to either their counterparts from earlier arrival cohorts or Canadian-born individuals,” said the authors of the study Ted McDonald and Christopher Worswick.
The authors hope that this study will motivate the Canadian government to encourage more apprenticeships among new arrivals to the country, as immigrants and Canadian wage gaps continue to grow, despite recent efforts by the government to introduce more foreign credential recognition systems.
“Given the strong labour market returns to apprenticeship training (particularly for men), the declining number of workers holding an apprenticeship in Canada raises the question about whether enough emphasis is currently being placed on apprenticeships and other vocational training in the selection of immigrants,” said the report.
Source: Globe and Mail
Canada’s minor hockey league is employing new efforts to attract more immigrant and native-Canadian children to the sport.
The move is in response to recent trends of reduced enrolment in Hockey Canada’s program for children. If registration rates continue to drop, there will be approximately 200,000 less players in the next decade.
“We recognized fairly quickly that there’s a decreasing pool of kids in the five to 19 age group and that trend was continuing on at a fairly rapid place here,” said Hockey Canada official Glen McCurdie. “Really, the only increase in population across the country… is through immigration. We were sort of an organization that is used to, very honestly, opening up our doors and having people flock to us. We’ve never really been in a boat where we needed to recruit players.”
One of the ways in which the organization hopes to do some recruiting is by reaching out to immigrants and native groups by publishing promotional planners in 12 languages, including Arabic, Punjabi, Cree and Inuit.
“From our perspective, [the multilingual planner] is now serving three purposes,” said McCurdie. “One is an affinity with the national body, but it also has a recruitment angle to it where other kids that are seeing it are excited about the possibility of playing. And I think our members in that age group certainly feel like they are part of something bigger and it’s something they might want to stay involved in more readily with stuff like this going on.”
Officials say that competing for kids’ attention these days is becoming more difficult as video games, social media and other sports are becoming more prominent in the country.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
In a rare public move, Canada’s Immigration Minister offered criticism of the judicial system’s handing of refugee cases with regards to inconsistencies and delays.
While speaking to law students at the University of Western Ontario this month, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said that legal delays are not only hindering his own governments’ efforts to improve the system, but also eroding the confidence of the Canadian public.
“We legislators are not an island. We don’t act alone,” said Minister Kenney. “We need the judiciary to understand the spirit of what we are trying to do.”
Critics, however, say that Kenney’s remarks are an inappropriate misstep.
“It’s fine to have a dialogue between the legislative branch and the judiciary, but [Kenney’s speech] was more than that,” said former Immigration Minister Ron Atkey, who served under the Joe Clark conservatives from 1979 to 1980.
Other legal experts such as Queen’s University law professor Sharryn Aikin say that Kenney’s remarks will have little impact on the system.
“It’s a lot of hot air in one sense because there’s very little a minister can do to bend the judiciary,” said Aiken. “Individual judges won’t be cowed by Kenney’s remarks. More broadly it creates a chill in the political climate vis-à-vis respect for refugee rights.”
Source: Globe and Mail
New statistics are sparking debate over whether Canada is ready to handle the coming influx of Muslim immigrants into the country over the next few years.
A new report called The Future of The Global Muslim Population estimates that, by 2030, there will be about 2.7 million Muslims living in Canada, and they will make up approximately 6.6. percent of the population. Currently, Muslims make up about 2.8. percent of the country’s population.
These new estimates are causing debate among analysts over whether Canada will be able to handle the more extremist members of the Muslim community.
“[What] is different from other immigrant groups is there is a subgroup among Muslims, I call Islamists, who come here with the intention of destroying the social fabric of the country,” said Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. “That is very unusual for an immigrant group and will be more of a problem in the future.”
Fatah argues that the Canadian educational system is particularly unequipped to deal with extremist views, nor is it equipped to counteract strong perspectives that will be instilled in many children at home.
“If a child is raised to believe that Canadian society is corrupt it is going to be hard to change them by the time they turn 20,” said Fatah. “It has to start with the schools making it clear to little children that certain ways of thinking are wrong in Canada.”
Other experts, however, are playing down the role of extremist members of the Muslim community, saying that there are often many more examples of Muslim immigrants integrating and contributing to Canadian society.
Source: National Post
The province of Manitoba is facing new challenges as local governments and administrators increasingly receive accommodation requests from immigrant families.
The latest incident to create a stir has been the dozen Muslim immigrant families asking one Winnipeg school board to allow exemptions to its curriculum which requires all elementary students to take music classes and co-ed physical education.
“This is one of our realities in Manitoba now,” said local superintendant Terry Borys. “We were faced with some families who were really adamant about this. Music was not part of the cultural reality.”
However, the Muslim cultural reality has a lot of definitions, and one local leader is surprised to hear of this one.
“Who is advising [the families]? My first concern would be who these new immigrants are talking to,” said Shahina Siddiqui, who is executive director of Islamic Social Services. “This is the first time I am hearing this; I’m not very happy about it.”
Siddiqui added that co-ed physical education has not yet been an issue for children who are below the age of puberty, and that any separation requests from junior and high school students have been accommodated.
The provincial school boards are now taking several steps to help address these issues and anticipate future concerns as immigration continues to fuel population growth in Manitoba. Such measures include discussions with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission as well as with local Muslim experts, along with looking toward other provinces, such as Ontario and Quebec, to see how they have been dealing with the issue of accommodation.
Source: National Post
Canada is seeing a sharp increase in Irish newcomers as economic woes spark mass emigration out of the country, while more people worldwide are seeing the Canadian economy display signs of recovery.
“Worldwide, [Canada] is looking like the superstar of how to manage your economy,” said executive director of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce. “So you have all these young, educated, highly skilled people in Ireland who are suddenly in a situation where there are very few jobs. They’re looking around and they see how Canada has come through the recession and they see more opportunity here.”
Internationally, Irish migrants have been more likely to choose other destinations than Canada for resettlement, such as the U.S., Australia and the U.K. In recent years, however, there has been a rising number who choose to relocate to Canada.
Last year, there were twice as many Irish workers entering Canada as in 2004. The Irish and Canadian governments even had to raise their targets on working holiday visas, due to high demand.
Though the arrival of many skilled young workers wills most likely benefit Canada, officials in Ireland are concerned over the emigration trends.
“I would not like to think that the only prospect they will have is emigration,” said Sean Heading an official from Ireland’s Technical Engineering and Electrical Union, when asked about bleak economic forecasts for the country. “We don’t want to be exporting all our young people.”
Source: National Post
Canada’s special reunification program for Haitians, announced last January in the wake of the devastating earthquake, has not been the blessing that most Haitian-Canadians had hoped.
New statistics show that the Haiti Special Measures program rejected nearly half of the 4,500 fast-track reunification requests received between January and August 2010, when the program closed.
Applicants who went through the process say that government officials were not flexible enough in their regulations, asking for official government documents that were destroyed in the earthquake when many government buildings were destroyed. Some say they were asked to produce transcripts going back 10 years.
Government officials, on the other hand, say their staff did the “best job they could” trying to balance flexibility in extenuating circumstances while still respecting and upholding Canada’s security.
Critics, however, say that the entire program turned out to be nothing more than empty promises, noting a dismal 51 percent approval rate for the Haitian program. This figure looks even worse when compared to other reunification programs from areas such as Europe, where the approval rate was 88 percent for that same time period.
Source: Ottawa Citizen