Immigrant advocates are concerned over regulation changes that will no longer allow children over the age of 19 to qualify as dependents.
Prior to the change, immigrants were able to include dependent children up to the age of 22 on their applications, with an increase to that limit if the adult child was studying full time.
“We talk about Canada being a country that honours family values and here we are finding another way to tear families apart,” says Rose Dekker, an advocate whose Burlington-based organization has helped resettle thousands of refugees over the past three decades.
However, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada says that its intention with the new law is not to tear families apart and that there are plenty of other avenues of entry for those over the age of 19 who want to immigrate to Canada.
For instance, the government says, anyone over the age of 18 can apply for immigration themselves. If they don’t have the right training or experience to enter as a skilled worker, they can always come to Canada as an international student and then apply for permanent residency upon graduation.
Critics are not buying it, however, pointing out that international students often pay nearly triple the tuition fees that Canadian students pay. Furthermore, argues Dekker, many 19 year olds are hardly independent enough to even move out of their parents’ homes, let alone immigrate to a new country on their own.
The new law will go into effect starting January 1, 2014.
Source: Toronto Star
This month the Ontario Human Rights Commission made a landmark move in declaring the requirement of Canadian experience for new immigrants a violation of human rights.
Many immigrants come to Canada only to face this familiar employment paradox – employers want to hire newcomers who have Canadian experience, but are not willing to be the first to provide the opportunity to gain that experience.
Though the OHRC is not the first association to publicly denounce this practice, it is the first human rights organization in Canada to do so. Other groups which have come out against the “Canadian experience roadblock” include the Human Resources Professionals Association as well as the Royal Bank of Canada – one of the nation’s largest private employers.
Additionally, immigrant advocates and special interest groups in Ontario have come together to form the “Beyond Canadian Experience Project” whose goal is to identify and confront barriers to employment in immigrant communities.
One of the goals of the Beyond Canadian Experience Project is to unpack the term “Canadian Experience,” for it usually means knowledge of Canadian culture or identity more than the specific occupation involved. In delineating between the two it becomes clear that the term is discriminatory and does therefore, as the OHRC suggest, violate human rights.
However, steps continue to be taken in the opposite direction, as more credential recognition agencies are requiring Canadian experience and the new Canadian Experience Class of immigration “institutionalizes” the discriminatory policy, according to University of Toronto professor in social work Izumi Sakamoto, who is lead investigator on the Beyond Canadian Experience Project.
Sakamoto argues that it is time to reconcile these discrepancies in favour of human rights. Putting newcomers’ skills to use – particularly when those newcomers are selected for immigration based upon the need for their skills in Canada – benefits not only the economy but also the wider perspectives and values upon which this multicultural society is based.
Source: Toronto Star
A decades old immigration funding agreement between the federal government and Quebec is causing a stir due to skyrocketing costs.
The program involves settlement funding for newcomers and last year awarded the province of Quebec $284.5 million which amounts to approximately $5100 for each new immigrant or refugee to the province. That amount is much larger than the approximately $3000 per newcomer received by British Columbia.
A new federal study has found that the deal, which was made between Quebec and the federal government back in the early 1990s, contains a little-known and very high-cost clause which allows for constant funding increases, regardless of immigration levels each year.
Over the years, the amount has gone up over 279 percent, despite Quebec seeing an increase of only 4 percent in terms of immigration. These numbers have sparked outrage, as they reflect a long-standing imbalance among provincial powers – most of which have been granted in an effort to appease the separatist movement in Quebec.
In this particular instance, however, the federal government is stepping in and has asked Quebec officials to account for where and how the resettlement funding is spent.
“Many immigrant communities in Quebec have raised with me their concern that [the full transfer is] not actually spent on settlement or integration,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who added that the government will face a challenge in keeping up with the escalation clause in the original agreement.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Officials in Saskatchewan are looking to Alberta as an example of how to deal with labour shortages as the province continues to negotiate the challenges of an economy growing more rapidly than its labour force.
In a recent editorial for the Regina Leader-Post, Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Saskatchewan president and CEO Alan Thomarat argues that the province should focus more on training and development programs rather than recruitment strategies if it hopes to be able to keep up with demand – particularly in the booming construction sector where skilled workers are particularly scarce.
Thomarat points out that the majority of workers in the trades are now over the age of 50 and will therefore be retiring in the next decade or so. There should already be replacement workers in training programs and apprentice positions but the numbers are lacking and more needs to be done to attract workers.
There are several possible courses of action, Thomarat argues, and they can and should all be pursued as soon as possible. For instance, small business owners now can start taking steps to implement succession plans where younger workers learn how to run and eventually take over the business. Additionally, both the federal and provincial levels of government should do more to promote careers in the trades.
From his perspective, Saskatchewan is in a prime position to attract and retain the workers needed to sustain the strong economic position it now occupies. Now it remains more critical than ever for all invested parties to do what they can to ensure that this does, in fact, happen.
Source: Regina Leader-Post
Business analysts are expressing concern over the Canadian government’s new immigrant entrepreneurship program, arguing that the changes are not enough to compete for talent in today’s global market.
For example, in a recent editorial for MSN Money, business and policy analyst Dierdre McMurdy points out that despite heavily trumpeting the new Start Up visa program both at home and abroad, the Canadian government has been less than specific about the details surrounding the investment regulations.
Furthermore, argues McMurdy, the new program will do little to address some of the more pertinent and wide-ranging concerns facing Canada’s labour market today.
“The entrepreneurs are a high-profile and relatively easy piece of the puzzle,” says McMurdy. “But achieving a genuine shift toward a more innovative national culture is a bigger task — with bigger problems.”
First off, the Canadian government must do more to address the underutilization of skilled immigrants once they arrive in the country. Secondly, the government needs to address the policy fractures that have occurred as a result of granting immigration jurisdiction to the provinces, complicating credential recognition processes and limiting mobility between cities.
As more and more countries gain economic prowess, there are less incentives to pick up and start over in a place like Canada. This, combined with Canada’s stagnant population growth rates, mean that now more than ever, the government needs to be clear, fair and effective when it comes to immigration policy.
Environmental activist David Suzuki sparked a war of words with Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney by announcing this month that Canada is “full” and should not accept any more newcomers.
Suzuki, one of the most prominent faces in Canadian environmentalism, was asked about recent controversies in Australia, whose natural resources are increasingly being threatened by economic and population growth.
“Oh, I think that Canada is full too!” Suzuki said in an interview this month with French weekly L’Express. “Even if it’s the second biggest country in the world, our usable land is reduced.”
He then went on to say that Canada’s immigration policy is “crazy” and “sick” in that more people are being brought in to increase the economy while the countries they leave behind increasingly suffer.
However, Suzuki’s point of view is not shared by many Canadian policymakers – including Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, whose department has recently amped up efforts to make the country more appealing to skilled workers abroad.
“Suzuki’s views are toxic [and] irresponsible,” said Kenney in a social media response to the interview. He expressed his disappointment and concern that the media are not focusing more on this story.
Suzuki has long been vocal about his opposition to many of this government’s policies, which he says threaten natural resources as well as many of the basic democratic principles upon which Canada is founded.
Source: National Post
A new study has confirmed what many experts have long believed – that migration is good for a country’s economic prospects.
The study, which was summarized for a post on the World Economic Forum website, looked at how immigration effects population and income for the receiving country as well as how emigration effects population and the economy (through funds sent back home to the native country).
On the whole, most countries with high immigration levels fared better economically than those with high emigration and not a lot of immigration. The study also found that overall migration had a positive effect because the immigrant is able to contribute to both countries (through productivity and taxes in the host country and by sending funds back home to relatives or friends).
The authors point out that their findings fit with theories long held by economists. The benefits make sense, as migrants usually are motivated to move for economic reasons.
The findings come at an interesting time as more and more global leaders have been trying to balance an increased competition for skilled workers with an increasing backlash at home against more open immigration policies. The study could certainly help convince concerned constituents that immigration is, indeed, beneficial in the long term.
Source: Globe and Mail
The province of Quebec is losing more of its allophone population due to interprovincial migration, according to the latest data from the latest National Household Survey.
While the net loss of Anglophones has continued to decline – 5,695 from 2011 to 2006 compared to 7,810 from 2001 to 2006 – the trends in allophone migration have experts growing concerned.
Quebec’s allophones (those whose mother tongue is neither English nor French) have been increasingly leaving the province – usually headed to other provinces that have traditionally been more welcoming to non-francophones. Over the past five years there has been a net loss of 12,285 allophones.
Other data from the Survey shows some of the reasons this might be happening. Immigrants to Montreal – where the vast majority of newcomers to Quebec choose to settle – are significantly less likely to find employment in that city than any other major city in the country.
Furthermore, recent accommodation controversies – in what contexts should the hijab or niqab be removed, for instance – as well as a renewed “crackdown” on language usage have helped create an environment that some newcomers might not find very welcoming.
However, experts argue that more should be done to attract and retain these immigrants, whose skills and experience could bring many advantages to the province. As the population growth in Quebec continues to stagnate, the province will need to find a way to remain competitive if it hopes to keep up economically with the rest of the country.
Source: Calgary Herald