A new survey reveals that more than half of Canada’s adult workforce is unwilling to relocate for pursuing employment opportunities, which also throws light on why many Canadian companies have to hire temporary foreign workers because of the shortage of local skills.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid for the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), checked with more than 2,000 Canadian workers whether they would be willing to move to a job that either operated from elsewhere within their current provinces or from other parts of the country. Experts consider the CERC survey to be accurate to within 2.5 percentage points.
Only 10 percent of the Canadians surveyed expressed their willingness to move, while a third expressed their reservations about the movement, even though they mentioned that with the right levels of persuasion and incentives, they would be willing to relocate for the job.
Reviewing the results of the survey, the head of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council, Stephen Cryne, said that the findings were disturbing. The Council said that the observations from the survey emphasised some of the challenges that businesses, which are looking to attract highly skilled labour, continue to face.
Respondents, who were willing to move to another part of the country for a job, wanted a top incentive of a 20 percent pay hike, in addition to the employer bearing all the expenses related to the relocation.
More than half of the respondents also mentioned that the government could play a vital role in making the relocation more attractive by permitting employers to provide a tax-free housing allowance for up to six months. This would not only help the relocating employees avoid unnecessary accommodation worries that come with a relocation for a new job, it would also enable the employees to settle themselves in the new location.
Half of the respondents also said that the government must permit employers to provide employees with non-taxable, interest-free loans of up to $100,000, so that the relocating employees could purchase a home in the new location.
A 2013 report from Statistics Canada and Haver Analytics shows that the percentage of Canadians moving between provinces has declined steadily over the years since 1977, from 1.5 percent in 1977 to under one percent in 2012.
While the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has recommended that Canada reduce barriers to geographical and occupational mobility, Council head Cryne felt that the government needed to promote the benefits of labour mobility in Canada more vocally.
Source: The Canadian Press
As wealthy Americans continue to forge ahead of several of their global peers, the American middle class – for long the most affluent in the world – seems to have lost that distinction, according to an analysis conducted by New York Times.
The analysis, based on surveys conducted over the past 35 years, shows that citizens of other advanced countries have obtained considerably larger raises over the past three decades across the lower-and-middle-income tiers. In addition, Canadian middle class incomes (after tax) are higher than in the United States – this, after falling significantly behind US middle class income standards in 2000. The numbers suggest that high and rising income inequalities are to blame for this decline in American middle class income levels.
Most economic experts cite statistics like the per capita gross domestic product to show that the US has maintained its lead as the world’s richest country. However, these figures do not focus on the distribution of the income, as much as they do on averages. As most recent income gains usually flow to a relatively smaller group of high-earning households, it is clear that most Americans are not at par with their counterparts around the globe.
Three factors could be behind this phenomenon. Firstly, educational attainment has slackened in the US as opposed to other parts of the industrialized world. This has made it harder for the American economy to retain its control over high-skilled, well-paying jobs. While American aged from 55 to 65 years have above average literacy, numeracy and technology skills as compared to 55-to-65-year-olds in the rest of the industrialized world, Americans from 16 to 24 years of age rank closer to the bottom among rich countries.
The second factor contributing to this is that companies in the US distribute a smaller share of their wealth to the middle class and the poor as opposed to companies elsewhere in the industrialized world. Finally, the governments in Canada and Western Europe are aggressively ensuring that they redistribute income to raise the take-home pay of low-and-middle-income households.
Despite this drop in income levels for the American middle class and the poor, the fact remains that the US continues to register stronger economic growth. Americans still earn 20 percent more than their Canadian counterparts do. They also earn about 26 percent more than their British counterparts and 50 percent more than their Dutch counterparts do. However, it appears that only a small percentage of American households is benefiting from this growth of the world’s most prosperous economy.
Source: The New York Times
A recent Gallup World Survey has revealed that of the 700 million people worldwide, who want to leave their home country permanently, 45 million want to immigrate to Canada.
The survey, conducted by Gallup over 135 countries between 2007 and 2009, found that nearly 16 percent of the world’s adult population would like to move to another country permanently, if given the opportunity. Sixteen percent of the world’s adult population amounts to 700 million people – more than the entire adult population of North and South America combined.
The biggest movers came from sub-Saharan African countries, with 38 percent of the adult population in the region, about 165 million people, expressing a desire to immigrate to another country whenever the opportunity arose.
To evaluate preferred destinations for immigration, the survey used projected numbers based on percentages expressing a desire to move to a specific country. Based on these numbers, the United States emerged as the most desired destination for nearly 24 percent (about 165 million adults worldwide) of the 700 million, who wanted to move to another country permanently.
Canada came next with about 45 million people wanting to immigrate there, whenever the opportunity presented itself. The United States and Canada preceded other favoured destinations for immigration like the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Australia.
Interesting as these figures are, they raise several questions about the social and ethical implications of surveys that show such a mass movement of the population from their native countries to another country permanently.
For example, would Canada have the bandwidth in its economy and social services to absorb 45 million immigrants? Moreover, what happens to the countries that lose some of their best and brightest citizens? Clearly, the mass influx of immigrants would overwhelm some countries, while others would suffer considerable losses in terms of human capital.
According to Gallup, these findings reflect aspirations more than intent. However, the leaders of both sets of countries – the countries of origin and destination – would need to understand these aspects in order to develop their migration and development strategies accordingly.
Source: The Vancouver Sun and Gallup
The province of Quebec has come under fire from the new Immigration Minister for its “fraudulent” investor program.
Chris Alexander, Canada’s new Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, was shown to share the sentiments of his predecessor when he recently slammed Quebec for accepting hundreds of immigrant investors who often settle elsewhere.
This trend allows Quebec to benefit financially not only from investors applying through the province, but also from federal transfer payments, which do not account for the emigrating investors.
“While we respect provincial jurisdiction, as a matter of fairness we cannot send federal transfer payments to one province for someone living in another,” said Minister Alexander. “That saddles the other provinces with unfair resettlement costs, such as health care and education.”
However, officials with the Quebec government say that it is unfair to require immigrants to reside indefinitely in the province in which they first settled. Statistics show that nearly 90 percent of immigrant investors to Quebec move away from the province – most of which end up in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Critics say that more could be done on the part of the Quebec government to track who, exactly, leaves the province and why.
This spring former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney testified to parliament that he believed the program to be fraudulent – which is particularly observable when Quebec investors head strait to other provinces upon arrival in Canada.
Ottawa runs a similar investor program, which took in approximately 2,615 applicants in 2012. Quebec, in comparison, expects to accept between five and seven thousand investors this year.
Sources: National Post
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
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.
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