Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where business is booming Saskatchewan has 10,000 job openings. Bring your parka.

By Jon Birger, senior writer
November 4, 2008: 5:10 AM ET

(Fortune Magazine) -- Cold, landlocked, and boasting as its largest metropolis the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan may not be top of mind for most Americans. But the Canadian province is one of the richest spots in the world when it comes to natural resources. It's the world's largest producer of uranium. It's the biggest producer of the fertilizer potash (current price: $1,000 a ton, up from $300 this time last year). It is the world's largest exporter of green lentils and chickpeas. And it's home to enormous supplies of oil and gas: The U.S. buys more oil from Saskatchewan than it does from Kuwait. No wonder the CEO of one Fortune 500 company - Jim Prokopanko of Mosaic, which has a potash mine near the town of Esterhazy - describes the prairie province as "the next sovereign wealth fund."

Indeed, Saskatchewan - for the geography challenged, it shares its southern border with Montana and North Dakota - today enjoys Canada's fastest-growing economy; its GDP is expected to rise 3.9% this year, compared with 0.9% for the country as a whole, and it has a $3 billion budget surplus. Entrusted with "not screwing it up" (his words) is Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, the pro-business conservative elected in 2007. Wall's goal is actually much more than not screwing it up. He's on a mission to tell Saskatchewan's growth story at home and abroad.

I first met Wall - a glib and personable 42-year-old who's as comfortable talking NFL football as he is quoting Thomas Friedman - when he was in New York City last spring to speak at an energy conference. He promised not to raise oil royalties, which won him a standing ovation from the bankers in the crowd.

But Wall's top priority is at home: He needs to fix Saskatchewan's labor shortage. An area the size of Texas, Saskatchewan has only one million residents. "For any business thinking about building a new mine or expanding an existing one, the top-of-the-list question [in Saskatchewan] is always going to be 'Can we get the tradesmen?'" he says. Because of the shortage, Wall is reluctant to spend much money on new infrastructure projects, despite having the cash to do it. (The province doesn't yet have a sovereign wealth fund, but Wall says it's on his radar.)

Wall wants to grow the population 10% in ten years. So far, his government has launched splashy recruiting campaigns in Alberta, Ontario, and Manitoba, and has sent missions as far as the Philippines to recruit medical personnel.

In September Wall traveled to Toronto along with 50 Saskatchewan employers to sell the province at Canada's national job fair. During breaks he delivered his sales pitch to reporters. "Saskatchewan is not just a great place to live, it is a great place to make a life," Wall would say over and over to anyone with a notepad or a microphone, each time referring the listener to the 10,000 job openings listed at saskjobs.ca. (Diamond driller, salary $56,000, for example.)

Of course, life in Saskatchewan isn't for everyone. The average high temperature in Saskatoon in November is 29 degrees Fahrenheit. The average low in January is 9 below. "We need to focus on finding people who are looking for an economic opportunity," Wall says. But like any savvy marketer, he knows his limitations. "We have to be realistic," he says. "We'd better not be going to anywhere with a warm climate saying, 'Yes, but it's a dry cold.'"

Fed up Brits should come to Canada. The Country is looking at attracting 50,000 foreign workers within the next year alone

Canada is putting skilled British workers on a fast track for immigration visas to exploit our soaring cost of living. Its officials believe superior public services and the ability to weather economic turmoil will lure Britons fed up with fuel and food prices and with the state of schools and hospitals. Alberta's employment minister Hector Goudreau has been sent to this country to 'target' those tempted by a new life overseas.

It is one of the most audacious recruitment raids since Australia poached a million Britons - known as the Ten Pound Poms after the ship fare they paid - in the 1950s and 60s. The Canadians want GPs, teachers, nurses, electricians, carpenters, engineers, construction workers, management consultants, and cardiac and diabetic specialists.

Anyone of any age can apply, although workers who fit skills and experience criteria will be fast-tracked for visas.

Somebody from London might be able to sell their small flat and come to Alberta where they can buy a detached house with a huge back yard and huge front yard for the same amount. The cost of living is considerably less than in the UK. The salaries are comparable or even higher, so anyone who moves over would be able to make money and set some aside.

The economy in Alberta - which is founded on oil reserves - was constantly growing, and has remained steady despite the global credit crunch. There is beautiful scenery, the health care system is second to none in the world and the educational system is second to none in the world. Canada has some of the lowest business taxes, there is no province sales tax on goods.

The province covers a large chunk of prairie and Rocky Mountains and its major cities are Edmonton and Calgary. Its population is 3.4million - less than half London's - and it covers an area twice as big as Japan.

The average annual salary in Alberta for civil engineers last year was £44,428. And while income tax is higher in Canada, the living costs are much cheaper. Alberta is a big province, so whereas there is hardly any snow in the south in the winter, there is plenty of opportunity in the north for skiing, snowboarding and skating.

Then in the summer there are water-based activities such as boating, fishing and whitewater rafting but also have baseball and soccer. There is also a lot of culture, if you prefer the opera, musicals or ballet. It is known as the melting pot of Canada as they have a lot of immigrants coming here. Among the different nationalities living in Alberta are Chinese, Germans, Spanish, Ukrainians and Filipinos.

Alberta's booming economy is based on having the second largest concentration of oil in the world. There are 173 billion barrels in oil sands which can be recovered with today's technology. There is also an estimated 315 billion barrels of potentially recoverable oil.

Alberta officials, who are also targeting workers from Germany, America, Mexico and the Philippines, have been encouraged to focus on Britain by figures showing a record 200,000 Britons left the country for new lives abroad in 2006.

In 2006, a record 207,000 British citizens left this country. A third went to Australia or New Zealand, more than a quarter to Spain or France, and one in 12 to the United States.

Nearly 1.6 million British citizens emigrated in the decade after Labour came to power in 1997. They have been replaced by foreign workers, with the overall population increasing by more than a million in ten years. A recent survey by YouGov found 37 per cent of adults are thinking about moving abroad because of the growing financial pressure of life in this country.

More than 603,000 Britons live in Canada.

External link: http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/news/article-1030680/Fed-Brits-come-Canada-says-Minister-sent-lure-workers-emigrate.html
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Canada seeks foreign tech workers The number of available jobs is expected to increase by about 100,000 over the next several years

An immigration system that favors tech workers. An exchange rate that puts the Canadian dollar almost at parity with its U.S. counterpart - Canada's strategy to grow its economy is working. And it's a strategy that is very dependent on foreign workers.

The economy in British Columbia is growing by as much as 4.5% a year, with technology being the fastest-growing sector. The province's total workforce is now at about 2.3 million people, and it's predicted that over the next 12 years, there will be approximately 1 million job vacancies in British Columbia -- half the result of retirements, and the other half due to the creation of new jobs.

But over that same 12-year period, the province's secondary schools are expected to graduate a total of about 650,000 students. On the very face of it, there will be short 350,000 workers, which will have to come through immigration.

The Canadian government has specific programs for quickly bringing high-tech workers with certain skills into the country, a process that can take two to eight weeks.

The government recognizes that these people don't exist within Canada. If an employer is seeking a worker who has a specific set of skills, education and work experience and will be paid a salary on par with what Canadians earn, a foreigner can successfully get a work permit. Unlike the annual cap on the number of H-1B visas issued in the U.S., there is no numerical limit on foreign workers entering Canada.

Microsoft, which is been a vocal critic of the H-1B program's restrictions, announced that it plans to open the development center in Vancouver -- a mere 150 miles from the company's Seattle-area headquarters. The software vendor said it decided to set up the Vancouver facility, which is due to open in the fall, partly to help it "recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S."

Canada is becoming more and more attractive to companies such as Microsoft for more reasons than its immigration policies alone.

One thing that's helping Canada retain jobs and create new ones is the fact that the Canadian dollar now is trading at about 96 cents to the U.S. dollar -- much higher than in years past.

Canadians also hope that the country's quality of life adds appeal. Canada offers national health insurance, a good university system and much lower crime levels.

In addition, Canada has become far more receptive to immigration than the U.S. is. In 2006, nearly 1.3 million foreigners became permanent residents of the U.S. But Canada -- with a total population that is only about one-tenth the number of U.S. residents -- has been accepting about 250,000 new permanent residents annually.

In the technology sector, such immigration is needed to fill new jobs. It's estimated that there are about 620,000 high-tech workers in Canada. The number of available jobs is expected to increase by about 100,000 over the next several years. But Canadian universities graduate only about 15,000 students with tech skills annually, short of what is required.

Employees who are brought in for temporary work can usually get permanent residency. When you have a job in Canada, that's a pretty fair indication to the immigration department that you are of value to the country.

External link: http://www.computerworld.com
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Miss Melanie Vogel
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Immigration Fast Track for Students in Canada Point system to check qualification

A programme that allows international students to work for up to three years after graduation just might increase Canada's recruitment competitiveness. Employment of that duration puts them on an immigration fast track.

The Canadian Post-Graduation Work Permit Program has already proved popular and is attracting a flood of applications. International students, immigration advocates, student advisers and universities have long called for more attractive post-graduation working conditions and welcomed the scheme.

This had definitely made Canada more competitive, said Anna Done Choudhury, an international student adviser at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

Choudhury said that allowing students to work three years after graduation "has closed the gap between international students and Canada wanting qualified immigrants". Having taught immigration studies, she said many students who previously wanted to increase their eligibility for permanent residency had to go to the US to work and then return to Canada to apply.

Canada uses a points system in deciding who best qualifies to be a citizen and a simple university degree, without post graduation work in Canada, earns few points. The new programme takes those who have worked during the post-graduation period out of the points system and either passes or fails them although an overwhelming number, more than 95%, have passed.

According to the 2009 Survey of International Students, released at the Canadian Bureau for International Education conference in Toronto last week, half the students surveyed said post-graduation work opportunities in Canada were an important factor in choosing to study in the country.

The same number said they planned to work in Canada after they graduated. An even larger number, almost three in four students, cited the work opportunities as an important reason. In 2008, 18,000 work permits were issued by the government, a 63% increase on the year before.

In a session at the CBIE conference, Citizen and Immigration Canada's Jorge Aceytuno told delegates introduction of the postgraduate work programme had led to the interest in work permits. Aceytuno said his ministry would like to see a large increase in work permits as a result of the programme.

Bureau Vice-President Jennifer Humphries agreed there was now more than just a university choice for international students interested in studying in Canada. People were looking at the potential for career advancement for their education. If they had three years of work after graduation, this looked better on their resumes, Humphries said.

Part of the rationale for introducing the programme was probably playing catch-up with recruiters from England and Australia which have similar schemes, as well as to gain an edge over the US whose postgraduate work programme is not as liberal.

Choudhury's colleague Lise Pedersen was also relieved to see the programme, saying it helped not only in getting students some employment after graduation but also gave them more opportunity during their studies.

Even though the government had earlier introduced a scheme that allowed students to work off campus, Pedersen said employers were sometimes reluctant to hire international students for co-op programmes because of their lack of future availability for what might turn into a permanent position.

Now, she said, they knew the student could work not only up to three years following graduation but also they were likely to become a Canadian citizen.

External link: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20091113142434988

Source:Career-journal.com

Sunday, December 20, 2009

China-Canada agreement to boost tourism.

By Mel Tobias.

British Columbia’s tourism industry will definitely get an economic boost to the tune of something like $15 million a year or more, with the announcement that the Chinese government granted Canada approved destination status after many years of waiting.

As approved destination, the province can expect to receive about 15 percent more visitors from China, up from the 100,000 that now visit BC. Current visitors spend about $1,000 each, so the increased numbers would mean about $15 million annually. BC tourism suffered badly with the significant drops in US visitors. There was a 12 percent drop from last year. American visi-tors spend an average $800 each.

With China’s emerging middle class looking to spend disposable income on travel, China is expected to be one of the world’s largest outbound markets, sending 100 million tourists out of the country by 2020. And for the first time, Canadian tour operators will be allowed to advertise and book groups of Chinese tourists in China.

The China-Canada agreement will also make it easier for Chinese residents to visit Canada in time for the 2010 Olympics. More than 130 countries already have China’s approved destina-tion status, and have enjoyed the Chinese tourism windfall.

The 2nd Annual Expat Experience survey revealed that expats in Canada have the best quality of life and found it among the easiest places in the world to integrate with the local popula-tion. Australia and Thailand also came in the top three in the survey of people working in 30 different industries and 50 countries. Last year, Germany, Canada and Spain were the top coun-tries deemed to have the best lifestyle for expats.

Giving immigrants hope; Ottawa's one-year credentials plan gets a qualified welcome

Canwest News Service

When Iranian-born Fariborz Birjandian came to Canada 21 years ago with a degree in management and maritime science, he quickly realized he had transferable skills that could be applied to several occupations.

At the time, the process of foreign credential recognition was nearly non-existent compared with today and that process is now undergoing what the federal government says is another step to speed up the assessment of internationally trained immigrants.

Ottawa recently announced a plan to ensure newcomers to Canada in certain fields will know within one year whether their qualifications will be recognized by provincial and professional regulatory and accreditation bodies across Canada, working in conjunction with provincial officials to coordinate implementation of the new framework.

"We have to give these people hope to see light at the end of the tunnel," says Birjandian, who is now the executive director of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. "At least the federal government is trying to engage all other partners in a meaningful way. Hopefully, there will be some accountability around it."

The Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications sets an initial deadline of Dec. 31, 2010 to assess the first round of eight occupations: architects, engineers, financial auditors and accountants, medical laboratory technologists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physiotherapists and registered nurses. It's part of Ottawa's previously announced $50-million plan to work with provincial and territorial ministers to address barriers to credential recognition.

"This framework complements initiatives such as the Action Plan for Faster Immigration, as they make our immigration system better meet the needs of our labour market," says Jason Kenney, federal minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, in a news release.

During the next phase of implementation ending December 2012, the framework will expand to include dentists, engineering technicians, licensed practical nurses, medical radiation technologists, physicians and primary school teachers.

"Ensuring that foreign credentials and qualifications are assessed … in a timely manner will enable newcomers to maximize their talents," adds Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development.

Birjandian hopes the plan will address the length of time it can take to immigrate to Canada, which he says is often four or five years — delays that can cause highly sought-after workers to find their skills no longer needed upon arrival.

At the start of the boom in Alberta, for example, welders were in high demand. By the time they were recruited and accredited in Canada, the recession took hold and many now find themselves working in menial jobs. Similar stories are heard from engineers.

"We think that if we deal with those [credential recognition] issues they have … we're going to solve the problem, but at the end of the day, it's employers that accept the assessment or not," says Birjandian. "If we don't address the numbers [of new immigrants], we're still going to be in the same situation where everybody will be qualified and certified in Canada, but supply and demand will tell us how many of them get jobs."

The Foreign Credentials Referral Office, established in May 2007, helps foreign-trained workers get the information and support services they need to speed up the process of credential recognition in Canada and before they arrive.

While Birjandian is encouraged by the recent announcement, he worries Canada's immigrant selection system, based on a points scale targeting specific occupations, will result in unneeded professionals as supply and demand shifts.

"It's a rapidly-changing environment we're dealing with in the business community worldwide," he says.

CCIS helps new immigrants identify transferable skills that can be applied to occupations that utilize their skills to avoid highly trained newcomers working as taxi drivers or day labourers.

The new framework is meant to improve pre-arrival services, timely assessments that are fair and eventually improved workforce participation.

Expats weigh in on ‘Destination Canada’

By Fouzia Khan
Source: Saudi Gazette

Canada is a popular immigration destination for expatriates here as it continues to provide funding to support new migrants and assist them to settle, this apparently being one of the reasons for its huge popularity.
“Canadian immigration, which is a set of rules, regulations, directives, policies and the Act of Parliament that regulates the entry of each person into Canada, has always played a central role in Canadian history,” said Colin R. Singer, an immigration lawyer at a Canada-based immigration company.
He said his firm provides the necessary employment-based search consulting assistance that applicants to Canada require.
According to another immigration company, Canada has implemented fast-tracking of visa applications for “safe” countries, and formalized the Transit Without Visa (TWOV) program, in order to make traveling easier for tourists and other travelers.

Akbar Ali, a taxi driver in Canada, says that despite major inconveniences caused to immigrants, people still prefer migrating to Canada and other western countries, in general, because their governments “take care of the citizens even after retirement and children can get a better education”.
“The hard work pays off after retirement as individual companies or the government provides high pensions, free medical care, etc.,” he said. Mirroring Ali’s views, Imran Ahmed, an accountant in Jeddah who is soon moving with his family to Canada, said a potential Canadian immigrant had to satisfy 40 different criteria, with clauses, such as, professional experience, education, relatives already living in the country, if any, etc.
“I applied through a Canadian immigration firm, which assured me that they would not charge me unless I got my visa,” said Ahmed.
The cost of living in Saudi Arabia is less than that in Canada or any European country, where there are various commodity taxes. However, when it comes to higher education, these countries score well above the Kingdom.
“I have joined an Islamic center here called Huda Institute that is excellent for Islamic Studies for Muslim girls. Quality education is not hard to find here,” said Ameena Kapoor, a 14-year-old girl living in Canada.
“I plan to join one of the best universities in Canada for my higher education, which otherwise would not have been possible in Saudi Arabia, where there are not many opportunities for higher education,” she added.
The Canadian Temporary Work Permit is one of the most popular ways for newcomers to come to Canada, earn money, and gain valuable Canadian work experience.
“Immigration policies and conditions are constantly changing, and some of these changes may affect an immigrant’s eligibility to immigrate to Canada, the UK, Australia or the US,” am immigration agency statement said.

Process of obtaining Canadian immigration:
The Canadian Immigration and Citizenship department, also known as CIC Canada, is one of the most important departments of the Canadian government. In order to obtain Canadian immigration, an applicant is required to fill in the prescribed immigration forms.
He must first apply to a well-known Canadian immigration company that will help him through the process of moving to Canada.
For example, some immigration agencies require the applicant to be registered with them, take a free Canadian Visa Eligibility Assessment according to the type and requirements of the visa, e.g., work visa, student’s visa, general immigration, business immigration, etc.
For general immigration, the individual’s evaluation is based on their education, training and work experience, which reflects their ability to economically establish themselves in Canada. –

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Canada: The best place in the world to live

Submitted by Carolyn B. Heller on November 30, 2009
Source: Living Abroad in Canada.

Is Canada the best place in the world for expats to live?

According to the 2009 HSBC Expat Experience Survey, it is.

Canada topped the list of best places to live, with expats there reporting the highest overall increase in their quality of life since arriving in the country.

The survey polled more than 3,000 expats around the world, assessing whether their overall quality of life increased or decreased during their overseas assignment.

Canada was also number 1 in “quality of accommodation,” with 68% of expats reporting that their homes were better in Canada than in their native country.

Canada received high scores in how easy it is for expats to make friends, to pursue hobbies, and to improve the quality of life with their families.

According to survey respondents, the top reasons for living in Canada include:

* Better environment/quality of life for my children (39%)
* Lifestyle (38%)
* Career prospects (35%)
* Less crime (13%)

Other interesting findings:

* Canada has a high proportion of retired expats: 24% compared with 7% worldwide.
* Canada’s expat community is older than average, with 61% age 45 or over.
* More than two-thirds of Canadian expats own property in the country, which is double the global average of 31%.
* More than 60% of expats in Canada reported that organizing their finances and their health care was easy.
* Nearly 40 percent said that their health improved since arriving in Canada.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Canada to recognize foreign credentials sooner

OTTAWA — Canada will soon fast-track verification of foreign work qualifications to help stem a growing shortage of skilled workers, the government announced Monday.

Many immigrants are now forced to take jobs in fields unrelated to their expertise while employers are struggling to fill vacancies for work that newcomers could do but lack the proper Canadian credentials.

Some wait years for their foreign work experience and education to be assessed as comparable, or not, to standards established for Canadian professionals.

"We want newcomers to be able to use their skills and work to their full potential. It's good for them and good for the Canadian economy," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in a statement.

Under the new rules, foreign-trained workers who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in specific fields will be advised within one year whether their qualifications will be recognized in Canada.

As well, assessments are to be fair, transparent and consistent, said a government statement.

Foreign-trained architects, engineers, accountants, pharmacists, physiotherapists and nurses will be among the first to know speedily if their qualifications meet Canadian standards, by the end of 2010.

Two years later, dentists, physicians and teachers can expect fast-tracked checks of their credentials too.

"Attracting and retaining the best international talent to address existing and future labor market challenges is critical to Canada's long-term economic success," said Human Resources Minister Diane Finley.

"Ensuring that foreign credentials and qualifications are assessed and recognized in a timely manner will enable newcomers to maximize their talents," she said in a statement.

According to Statistics Canada, six in 10 immigrants do not work in their chosen field and 42 percent are overqualified for their current job.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Canada, Australia ranked best places for expats

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Looking to work overseas? Head to Canada, Australia or Thailand, according to an annual global survey which found recession-hit Britain was one of the worst locations to live for expatriates.


The second annual Expat Experience survey, commissioned by HSBC Bank International, revealed that expats in Canada have the best quality of life and found it among the easiest places in the world to integrate with the local population.


Australia and Thailand also came in the top three in the survey of 3,146 people working in 30 different industries and 50 countries, even though Thailand was one of the countries worst-hit by the recession for expats.


"We have seen that there is a distinct trade-off between income and overall quality of life, as many of the top performers ... scored toward the bottom of this report's league table (of the best places to make and save money)," said Betony Taylor, spokeswoman for HSBC Bank International.


"What is clear is that the locations where salaries may not be as high, such as Canada and Australia, are where expats are really enjoying not only an increased quality of life but are also finding it easy to fit in to their new communities."


Last year Germany, Canada and Spain were the top three countries deemed to have the best lifestyle for expats.


This year Britain was one of the lowest ranked locations when it came to lifestyle after being named as one of the most expensive places for expats with the recession taking its toll.


About 44 percent of expats in Britain are considering returning home, compared with only 15 percent of expats overall.


About 41 percent of expats in Britain find it difficult to find somewhere to live, most find the quality of their accommodation drops after moving to Britain, and a third claim their health has deteriorated since moving there.


"Despite this, the UK does hold the crown for being expat entertainment capital of the world, with over half (58 percent) of expats in the UK saying that the quality of entertainment had increased," said Taylor.


She added that 62 percent of expats also said that employment prospects were the main reason keeping them in the region.


Results from a different section of the survey, which was conducted by research company FreshMinds, released earlier found Russia was home to the highest proportion of expats earning more than $250,000 with 30 percent of international workers there banking that amount, followed by Hong Kong and Japan.


The lowest-paid expats live in Australia and Belgium with the majority -- 63 percent and 61 percent respectively -- earning less than $100,000.



© Thomson Reuters 2009
Source: www.working.com

Friday, November 27, 2009

Aging workforce, lack of immigration threaten Atlantic region

Financial PostNovember 26, 2009



OTTAWA — All those years of watching the cream of its youth go west for better opportunities has left Atlantic Canada in a bit of a pickle, according to a report by the C.D. Howe Institute.

In a report titled Stress Test: Demographic Pressures and Policy Options in Atlantic Canada, the think-tank says it will take "courage and imaginative approaches" to ride out the storm that looms if the provinces are not able to attract enough immigration to offset the rising costs of dealing with an aging population.

While the quaint, small-town charm of the Atlantic provinces is attractive to tourists, it is less so to the region's own educated citizens and migrants from other provinces and abroad, the report suggests.

The region's population is 8.3 per cent rural, according to authors Colin Busby, William B.P. Robson and Pierre-Marcel Desjardins, compared with 2.6 per cent in most of the rest of the country outside of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. While rural areas tend to have a better hold on the people already living there, cities are far more successful at attracting fresh blood.

"The scarcity of population-attracting large urban centres in the region is a sobering fact for those hoping to address Atlantic Canada's demographic pressures through large inward flows of migrants," the report says.

"Without large future increases in output per working-age person in the Atlantic provinces, a shrinking workforce — which may be the case as soon as 2010 — will dampen future economic growth," the authors conclude. They urge an early start to preparations on many fronts — migration, education and skills training, investment and fiscal programs — to make sure the region continues to prosper.

One way to mitigate the future costs of health care would be to establish a Canada Pension Plan-style of pre-funding for health programs, the report suggests.

Governments will have to enact policies to maintain the area's standard of living, including rules to allow better labour-market participation incentives and labour-force flexibility; promote training to improve skills and literacy; improve the school system to fuel growth and better match graduates' skills to employers' needs; attract and retain new migrants in the workforce; and contain rising program costs.

One way to increase workforce participation, the report says, is to remove the regional application of EI benefits, which it says encourage workers to stay in the Atlantic region when they might have better prospects elsewhere and also leads to skills degradation in workers who are unemployed for extended periods. Another is to keep workers on the job longer, perhaps by increasing the CPP entitlements for people who retire later than 65.

Source: Canada.com

Realising its need to have talented people, Canada keen to accept immigrants

Punjab Newsline Network
Thursday, 26 November 2009

LUDHIANA: With aging population and impending labour problem, this year Canada is accepting the highest- ever number of immigrants from across the globe in the past 15 years, said Lt Col BS Sandhu, chairman and managing director of the World Wide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS).

Addressing a press conference here, Sandhu said with the introduction of the fast track immigration, the entire procedure had become simpler for the immigrants, who could seek immigration under different categories of skilled worker category, federal investor category and Quebec investor category.

“Realising its need to have young and talented people, the Canadian government has implemented major changes to ease the influx of talented and hard working immigrants,” he added.

Economy in Canada and Australia depend heavily on immigrants to fill the shortfall in its labour market, therefore, applicants falling under the Canada’s 38 priority occupation list and the Australia’s critical skill list are processed on fast-track system and aspiring candidates gets nod within six to 12 months, he added.

Businessmen can easily make it to their dream destination as permanent residencies under the Canadian Federal Investor Programme and the Quebec Investor Programme, without having to worry about clearing IELTS, he added.

With an investment of just Rs 50 lakh, the wannabe immigrants can immigrate through the fast track system within this period. Banks can readily finance the balance money. With just two years business experience and having net worth equivalent to CDN 800,000, businessmen qualify for this opportunity enabling their entire family to immigrate.

Sandhu added that besides providing opportunity to the business class, Canada is an attractive destination for students pursuing quality education.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Become a Nurse in Canada – Are you a Registered Nurse in Another Country?

By Beverly Hansen OMalley.

Source:http://rinie.info/2009/11/26/become-a-nurse-in-canada-are-you-a-registered-nurse-in-another-country/

Do you want to become a nurse in Canada? Did you graduate and work as a registered nurse in another country? The Canadian immigration doors are open to professionals particularly nurses who want to work in Canada.

Why would you want to become a nurse in Canada?

Providing that the Canadian immigration rules, policies, and working visa requirements are met you must follow the correct procedure to become a nurse in Canada. With the exception of providing proof of language proficiency this procedure is the same for all applicants even those educated in Canada.

Apply for your registration.

Write and Pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam

Once all your documentation is reviewed and accepted as “equivalent” you will be given permission to write the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam or the Canadian Registered Practical Nurse Exam. Which exam you write will depend on what type of nursing license you are seeking and what you qualify for. All provinces have separate nursing regulatory bodies for registered nursing and licensed practical nursing except in Ontario where all nurses are under the same regulatory association.

Substantially Equivalent Competency Assessment

The number of internationally educated nurses who want to become a nurse in Canada is increasing every year and there have been some instances where nurses were entering the system unprepared for the real job of aregistered nurse in Canada. Because of the variations in Education for nurses around the globe reviewing educational preparation and documentation turned out to not be a good predictor of success in the workplace in all cases. As a result a new evaluation has emerged called the Substantially Equivalent Competency assessment or SEC.

This is an evaluation that uses both a written test and an observation of your applied clinical skills using simulated nursing situations for the Canadianhealth care system.

The SEC evaluations are being done mostly in the western provinces. You may be required to undergo an SEC if your paperwork is not sufficient to support an equivalent education or experience as would be required of aregistered nurse in Canada. This often happens when a nurse graduated in another country some time ago and has many years of experience but cannot produce the complete educational documentation to support the application.

When your application to write the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam is complete there may be a waiting period because the exam is only offered every four months. However, you may be allowed to work during that time under a temporary nursing license provided all other requirements have been met. You must however, have an employer willing to hire you under a temporary permit and if you do not pass the CanadianRegistered Nurse Exam your temporary permit will be revoked.

Many internationally educated nurses are successful in obtaining their nursing license in Canada and the number of internationally educated nurses working in the Canadian health care system has gone up dramatically since the 1990’s. Between 2000 and 2007 approximately 20% of the candidates who wrote the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam were not educated in Canada.

Your journey to become a nurse in Canada might be lengthy so don’t give up! Being a registered nurse in the Canada health care system means having a secure well paid job that can provide you with challenge and meaning in your life, so it might just be worth it!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New tool helps match engineers, jobs

Job-seekers itemize skills and experience to be easily accessed by potential employers
Nicholas Keung

Despite being the largest cohort of skilled immigrants to Canada, internationally trained engineers have been locked out of the profession for years – only 15 per cent find work in their field.

On Wednesday, an organization dedicated to helping this group officially launches an online database and search engine designed to match qualified foreign-trained and Canadian graduate engineers with jobs for which they are trained.

The new tool, dubbed Leveraging Global Engineering Skills and funded by the province, has already won the support of Owais Rafiq, vice-president of a Toronto engineering firm.

His DOERS Inc. has hired a dozen internationally trained engineers for contract jobs through a pilot developed by the Toronto-based non-profit organization Council for Access to the Profession of Engineering (CAPE).

"The tool is based on P.Eng. (professional engineering) descriptions. Employers put in what is needed and get a short list. It certainly can help internationally trained engineers get their foot in the door and be confident that their skills are captured accurately," Rafiq said.

Roughly 12,000 engineers have arrived each year in the past decade, but most cite a lack of Canadian experience and professional networking as barriers to finding work.

"This (database) means that applicants are no longer customizing their resumes to jobs or making hundreds of job applications," said CAPE executive director Gurmeet Bambrah. "And employers don't have to wade through thousands of customized resumes to find employees."

Bambrah said the new tool focuses on narrowing competency and skills descriptions in a thorough checklist used by both employers and job seekers, so "they are on the same page."

Peggy Pan, an environmental engineer in waste water and sewage treatment, said the standardized job descriptions helped her better describe her skill sets in Canadian engineering terminology.

"I didn't know what kind of jobs here would match my background. I didn't know what my experience was relevant to an employer," said Tan, who came here from China in 2007 and landed a job in the same field in April after participating in the pilot project.

Rafiq said the search engine is user-friendly and turns up a list of the most fitting candidates, while running a skills-gap analysis that identifies a candidate's missing skills so employers can decide what additional training is needed.

For information, visit www.capeinfo.ca/LGEC.php.

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Expats’ Top 10 Choice Of Countries To Live

An HSBC poll of expatriates lists its top 10 countries with the best quality of life.

1. Canada
2. Australia
3. Thailand
4. Singapore
5. Bahrain
6. South Africa
7. France
8. USA
9. Spain
10. Hong Kong

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Saskatchewan set to pass Ontario in wealth stakes

OTTAWA -- Saskatchewan will surpass Ontario this year as Canada’s second-wealthiest province as measured by living standards, the result of a recession that has shown no mercy on the country’s industrial heartland, according to an independent analysis issued Tuesday.

Moreover, the report from Dale Orr Economic Insight said Canada’s overall standard of living -- or real GDP per capita -- will have dropped by a startling 4.3% as a result of the economic crisis, with the bulk of the drop to be recorded this year. The bigger provinces, most notably Alberta and Ontario, sustained the deepest hits, of 6.2% and 5.8% respectively.

Put in context, Canada’s standard of living grew at an average rate of 2.3% for the 24-year period ended 2008, as expansion in output outstripped population growth. A higher standard of living means a better quality and quantity of goods and services available to households.

The findings from Dale Orr, a leading fiscal and economic forecaster, are based on his own predictions for economic and population growth in each province. In an interview, he said the numbers he’s using are close to the Bay Street consensus, such as a 2.4% economic contraction for the country this year.

The analysis is yet another piece of evidence documenting the economic decay Ontario faces. According to Mr. Orr, the one-time manufacturing hot bed has seen its living standards decrease dramatically this decade, to the point at which Saskatchewan is set to overtake Ontario as the No. 2 province in terms of living standards, trailing only Alberta which remains comfortably in first place.

In the mid-1980s, which is as far back as Mr. Orr examined, Ontario’s living standard was 113% of the national average and solidly in the No. 2 spot behind Alberta. But it has stumbled steadily, to roughly 109% at the start of this decade to a projected 103% once the 2009 data are calculated. Living standards in Saskatchewan, meanwhile, will be the equivalent of 104% of the national average as of the end of this year

Mr. Orr said much of Ontario’s precipitous drop has coincided with the Canadian dollar’s surge from the low-US60¢ level to parity with the U.S. currency.

The currency’s appreciation “was harder on Ontario than any other province,” Mr. Orr said, adding he expects the loonie to trade, on average, at par with its U.S. counterpart for most of next year. “What people don’t know is that Ontario’s standard of living had been declining, relative to the Canadian average, well before the start of the decade. It is just the rate of decline has picked up, and got worse with the problems in the auto sector.”

Mr. Orr said big challenges remain for the Ontario economy even though the recession likely came to an end last quarter.

For starters, some of the manufacturing capacity that was shut down during this downturn is unlikely to return. Manufacturers that opt to continue operating will attempt to do so with possibly fewer workers.

And then there’s Ontario bulging budget deficit, which will limit the provincial government’s ability to influence growth.

For its part, Saskatchewan’s ascent is attributed to its natural resources, from oil and natural gas, to potash and wheat. “They have been riding some really winning horses and they have had a good open-for-business climate as well,” Mr. Orr said.

However, he warned commodity prices remain volatile and a sharp pullback could hit Saskatchewan’s living standards.

By Paul Vieira, Financial Post

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

TORONTO: Canada has announced a new liberal business visa regime for Indian businessmen to catch up with other industrialised nations in boosting
trade with India.

The new visa regime was announced by the government here close on the heels of the visit of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to India.

Under the new system, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said applications from Indian citizens for business visas will be cleared within 24 hours. The express visa service offers multiple entry visas to applicants.

Along with the liberal visa regime, Toronto has also announced that a new nuclear cooperation pact and a mutual investment protection agreement was on the fast track. The nuclear agreement will pave the way for supply of enriched uranium for India's civil nuclear energy needs.

"We're actively negotiating a nuclear cooperation pact and have an investment protection agreement, and have established one of our most widespread overseas networks in India, with three new trade offices opened by our government since 2006," Kenney said.

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"We have also decided to double the number of Indian students coming to Canada," the minister said adding that the country is working with India on several initiatives aimed at boosting bilateral trade, currently at a "ridiculously low" level, to around USD 15 billion in next five years.

The minister was speaking at a function last night organised by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce also attended by Indian Consul General to Canada, Preeti Saran.

Describing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to India as "extremely successful, Consul General Preeti Saran said that it would go a long way in strengthening strategic partnership between the two countries. She added that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's visit to India next month would further strengthen cooperation in the energy sector.

Meanwhile, Ontario Minister of Government Services
Harinder Takhar commended the contributions made by Indo-Canadians in the economic development of Canada and said that India's rapidly growing economy and its commitment to expand investment would provide significant opportunities for investors in a variety of sectors, including infrastructure, education, and energy.

ICCC President Asha Luthra said that Chamber of Commerce has taken a number of initiatives to boost bilateral trade and investment between the two countries, and also highlighted ICCC's achievements in the past one year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Canada best for immigrants, says UNDP

Toronto, Oct 6 (IANS) Canada has been lauded as a role model for the rest of the world for accepting new immigrants.
A new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) praises Canada for its liberal and fair immigration policies.

Canada accepts more immigrants per capita than any other nation on earth in proportion to its population. With a population of about 34 million, Canada accepts more than 250,000 immigrants each year. They come from more than 150 countries, with India and China topping as the two main sources for immigration.

More than 30,000 Indians enter Canada as new immigrant each year, though it may take them up to six years to get their applications processed in New Delhi.

The UNDP report, which rates Canada as the fourth best country to live in, says immigration has benefited Canada and other wealthy countries as their populations age.

“All Canadians can be proud of what the report says about Canada,” David Morrison, UNDP executive secretary, said here Monday.

He said: “There are one billion people on the move and that number is going to grow as we look to the future. So the report argues that migration is a process to be managed rather than problem to be solved.

“The report really singles out Canada as a model as a receiving country.”

The UNDP official said: “Canada is historically a very open country. It is a country based on immigration to a very great extent. Today, Canada is one of the most open countries to migration in the world and accepts a large number of migrants each year, both on a permanent basis and as temporary workers.

It also accepts a large number, per capita given Canada’s population size, of asylum seekers.”

Citing how many other countries make it difficult for new immigrants to enter, the 217-page report says the cost of moving from Vietnam to Japan is six times the annual income per capita in that country.

“In one in 10 countries, the costs of a passport are about 10 per cent of the money you could expect to make on an annual basis,” the UNDP executive secretary said.

“So just preparing to become a legal migrant can be burdensome, which is why we have so many people migrating through illegal channels,” he added.

For more information and videos, please visit:

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Canada holds on to second place as world’s top country brand

Canada has held on to the number-two spot as the world’s most respected country brand for the second year in row. The ranking comes from the fifth annual Country Brand Index (CBI) by FutureBrand of New York, NY.

“In a challenging year for the global economy, we’re especially pleased with the recognition that Canada’s tourism brand is holding firm in an intensely competitive international tourism marketplace,” said Greg Klassen, CTC senior vice president, Marketing Strategy. “Our travel marketing focuses on enticing travellers with extra-ordinary experiences against a backdrop of vibrant cities and spectacular natural settings. The strategy has market strength and is paying off. We’ve come a long way from an image of moose and mountains.”

After launching the new tourism brand-”Canada. Keep Exploring”-five years ago, Canada leapfrogged from twelfth place in 2006 to sixth place in 2007, and jumped again to achieve the second-ranked spot for the first time in 2008. This year, the United States received a bounce and has earned the coveted spot as the world’s top country brand for the first time, changing places with Australia, which slipped from the premier ranking to number three. Amidst this jostling, Canada’s tourism brand stands strong, resilient and competitive.

Said Klassen, “A country like the United States has a much bigger global footprint than Canada. As we are less well known, our tourism personality, or brand, has to carry more weight to succeed in getting travellers to choose us. This ranking is one way of validating that we’re on the right track.”

In the 28 different categories that the influential CBI uses to determine the Best Country Brand, Canada also ranked among the top five countries in ten of the categories, and ranked first in the categories of: Country You Would Most Like to Live In; Families; Resort and Lodging Options; Political Freedom; Safety.

Other countries making the Top Ten of the global 2009 CBI study include New Zealand, France, and Italy. CBI also identified the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and Vietnam, respectively, as the top three “rising stars”-those likely to become even more competitive within the next five years.

CBI is a comprehensive study of around 3,000 international business and leisure travellers from nine countries-the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Japan, Brazil, UAE, Germany and Russia. The CTC has marketing programs in seven of them.

CBI examines how countries are branded and ranked, and identifies emerging global trends in the world’s fastest-growing economic sector-travel and tourism, which accounted for US$944 billion in international tourism receipts in 2008. This year’s index includes rankings and trends, themes in nation building and marketing issues, as well as in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Top 10 country brands.

“This acknowledgement of our competitive edge is particularly satisfying as we head into the 2010 Winter Games,” added Klassen. “While the world is captivated, the CTC is executing a well-thought-out strategy to promote Canada’s tourism brand in its global markets. We’ve crafted the script and produced the movie that will inspire travellers to explore Canada because of the 2010 Winter Games-and long after the Olympic flame is extinguished.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stealing talent from Uncle Sam

Canada takes aim at skilled immigrants squeezed out by the U.S.

by Charlie Gillis and Colin Campbell on Tuesday, November 10,
Source: Mclean.ca

America’s best friend and oldest trading partner—that’s Canada. Happy member of the world’s largest free trading zone? Sure. But when it comes to the global competition for talent, well, friendship only goes so far. When immigration managers at Canada’s consulate in Los Angeles were asked last year to provide a snapshot of the immigration situation in their region, their tone sounded downright predatory. “Significant numbers of high quality economic class immigrants are being gleaned from this territory,” they wrote in a report obtained by Maclean’s. Most of the workers have been educated at U.S. universities, the document went on, obtaining degrees in valued fields like biomedical research or software engineering. With such talent in short supply in Canada, the pencil pushers in L.A. boasted, “this office regularly engages in promotion and recruitment efforts to exploit this talent.”

Exploiting? Canada? It would seem so—and at Uncle Sam’s expense. As a political war over immigrant workers rages south of the border, Canada has left a key under its mat for those who have been squeezed out and accused in some quarters of stealing high-paid work from native-born Americans. Each year, a wave of foreign-born employees in the U.S. exhausts the sixth and final year of work visas known as H-1Bs—documents created for companies who can’t find homegrown talent to fill certain jobs. But politicians in Congress have for years fought for a cap on the number of new H-1Bs (it now stands at 85,000), which has left thousands of educated, skilled workers out in the cold.

It is these workers Ottawa has been targeting, and its efforts appear to be paying off. During the period from 1998 to 2008, the number of skilled workers coming into the country from the United States more than doubled, from 1,969 to 4,085.

The trend has raised fears among business and political leaders south of the border, who see skilled immigrants as key drivers of economic growth. “The smartest people want to come here and that’s a huge advantage to us,” Microsoft founder Bill Gates told a congressional committee last month. “In a sense, we’re turning them away.” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been calling for an increase in the number of visas, citing Canada, among other countries, as a destination for talent. He points to a study by the National Foundation for American Policy, which found that every time an American technology company requested an H-1B visa position, it added five additional jobs.

In some cases the restrictions have prompted companies to vote with their feet. Microsoft last year opened a 70,000-sq.-foot “development centre” in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond to house 300 workers hailing from more than 40 different countries. Many have “immigration challenges” preventing them from working in the U.S., explains Dennis Pilarinos, a former H-1B visa holder who returned to his native Vancouver to manage the facility. Now, at the sprawling complex, they work on everything from the XBox to Microsoft Office software. The rules have also been a boon for Canadian firms, says Tom Jenkins, executive chairman of Waterloo, Ont.-based Open Text. “It’s left Canada at a competitive advantage for attracting talent.”

Critics wonder whether offices like Microsoft’s represent a long-term gain for Canada. For some U.S. companies, the goal is to create a temporary home for employees before shifting them stateside as soon as possible; others are taking advantage of NAFTA provisions allowing people holding Canadian work permits to do business in both countries. In a practice known as “parking,” employers will place workers in Canadian branch offices, yet have them spend most of their time doing business south of the border.

But Canada’s innate appeal to immigrants often wins out in the end, says Peter Rekai, a Toronto immigration lawyer who has counselled former H-1B holders. “A lot of these workers end up liking things better here, and stay,” he says. “They find that it’s a better climate for them in Vancouver or Toronto—there are bigger [ethnic] communities, it’s more multicultural than where they were in the States.” Nor should Canadians underestimate the sheer demand for skills in certain parts of the country. Alberta, working in conjunction with Immigration Canada, has been running a special program targeting H-1B holders, offering permanent residency to workers with as little as one year’s experience in the U.S. In the past 18 months, it has received thousands of applications and accepted 393 workers—like Carlos Barrios, a civil engineer who jumped at the chance to move his family to Calgary from Houston. Barrios, who is originally from Venezuela, had spent seven years trying to get a green card in the U.S. before “Canada came in and offered me a chance to be a permament resident in less than six months. We love it here.”

That demand could work even more heavily in Canada’s favour as the U.S. economy languishes. This year was the first in several in which all of the H-1B spots made available in the U.S. weren’t filled on the first day (after six months, about 18,000 remain available). In other words, a shortage of work in the U.S., not a shortage of visas, may be driving these U.S. castaways north. Either way, Canada increasingly looks like a net brain-gainer after years of watching its best talent disappear south. The longer Uncle Sam takes to get his house in order, the better it is for us.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Scotiabank inks China banking partnership

* Allows immigrants to open Scotia account in China

* Gives Scotia an early shot at new customers

TORONTO , Nov 6 (Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) said on Friday it reached a partnership deal with China Everbright Bank [EVRBK.UL] that will allow people moving to Canada to open a Scotiabank account while still in China.

Canada's No. 3 bank said the deal gives Chinese immigrants and students planning to move to Canada the ability to open a Scotiabank account at any of the 119 participating Everbright branches in 33 cities across China.

"We are proud to partner with CEB and to be able to leverage their strong presence in China to reach out and meet the banking needs of people before they embark on their journey to Canada," Scotiabank's director of Asian markets, Gina Li, said in a statement.

Immigrants have become an appealing target for Canada's big banks as they seek to expand their safe and reliable retail banking operations. Immigrants are Canada's fastest-growing population group, and China is considered a key market for Canadian financial service companies.

Once clients open an account in China and move to Canada, they must visit a Scotiabank branch to activate the account, Scotiabank said.

Toronto-based Scotiabank is considered the most international of Canada's big five banks, with operations in much of Latin America, the Caribbean and parts of Asia.

China Everbright Bank, headquartered in Beijing, is one of the largest in China. (Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; editing by Peter Galloway)

Measuring up under the index of prosperity

HOW DOES one measure prosperity?

That question may have been answered by the Legatum Institute, a research and advisory group centred in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with a Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Legatum Institute has constructed the Prosperity Index, which measures global health and well-being by rating 104 nations that account for 90 per cent of the world’s population.

The index scores nations on nine different measures based on 79 different indicators. The goal behind it is to motivate policy-makers, academics and the media to learn more about what constitutes real prosperity.

Canada and the United States placed in the top 10 of the 104 countries rated by the index. Canada placed seventh, the United States 10th.

The top three nations were Finland, Switzerland and Sweden.

The bottom three nations were Yemen, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

The index highlights the importance of several factors in creating prosperity. One critical factor is the presence of a vibrant and productive entrepreneurial base that feeds innovation.

The index revealed the soundest economies are linked to environments that are friendly and supportive to entrepreneurs, and provide support for commercialization of new ideas.

The most highly correlated of all of the scales measured were economic fundamentals and entrepreneurship and innovation.

The entrepreneurship and innovation scale measured the ease with which new ideas led to commercial innovation in business, focusing on new startups, technological advancements and capacity.

The actual number of small businesses in each nation was not part of the measure. The index focused on the dynamic impact that such businesses had on innovative outcomes.

The index demonstrated that economic growth is encouraged by democratic institutions that are open, transparent and accountable.

It also measured personal freedom, in part, by focusing on whether individuals were free to start businesses and whether the nation was sufficiently secure for businesses to grow and prosper.

Canada ranked fourth out of 104 nations for entrepreneurship and innovation, while the United States ranked first. Canada ranked sixth for economic fundamentals, compared with the U.S. ranking of 14th.

Canada ranked sixth in terms of democratic institutions, compared with the U.S. ranking of second, while ranking 16th for education compared with a U.S. ranking of seventh.

The reason for Canada’s lower educational ranking was not clear, but it could be linked to student-teacher ratio, funding and years of secondary and post-secondary schooling.

The health of Canada’s people ranked 22nd. The U.S. failed to place in the top 25. The health measure included such items as infant mortality, health problems, number of health professionals, health satisfaction and issues relating to overall health and availability of health care.

Canada ranked ninth in terms of safety and security, while the United States ranked 19th. This measure included such aspects as how safe citizens felt, the levels of political terror and violence, rates for various crimes and the likelihood of people being displaced or becoming refugees.

Governance, a measure that captured such issues as regulation, political participation, effectiveness of government, confidence in the military, corruption and law, resulted in a ranking of ninth for Canada, compared to 16th for the United States.

Canada scored very high in personal freedoms, ranking third, compared to the U.S. ranking of eighth. Personal freedoms measured such things as freedom of choice, religion, movement, and ethnic tolerance.

Social capital focused on the overall influence on life satisfaction of such factors as relationships, helping others, charity, organizational memberships and trust. Canada scored ninth in social capital, while the U.S. ranked seventh.

While there is always room for improvement, Canada held its own in the third annual Prosperity Index, demonstrating that prosperity is linked to many aspects of governance and community.

A key strength was Canada’s rating for entrepreneurship and innovation, a measure that captures the extent to which entrepreneurship is favoured and embraced.

The index also showed that entrepreneurs play a vital role in growing a nation that is worth living in, and that is something to celebrate. The Prosperity Index can be viewed at www.prosperity.com.

Monday, November 2, 2009

BC's Top Employers

Background
Now entering its sixth year, BC's Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers. This special designation recognizes the British Columbia employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

Selection Process
Employers are evaluated by the editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers using the same eight criteria as the national competition: (1) Physical Workplace; (2) Work Atmosphere & Social; (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits; (4) Vacation & Time Off; (5) Employee Communications; (6) Performance Management; (7) Training & Skills Development; and (8) Community Involvement. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs.

2010 WINNERS:

(in alphabetical order)

6S Marketing Inc.
airG Inc.
BC Housing Management Commission
BC Hydro
BC Public Service
British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch
British Columbia Lottery Corporation
British Columbia Public School Employers' Assoc.
British Columbia Safety Authority
British Columbia's Children's Hospital Foundation
Cactus Restaurants Ltd.
Certified General Accountants Association of Canada
Clearly Contacts Ltd.
Club Intrawest
Coast Mountain Bus Company Ltd.
Davis LLP
Dayton & Knight Ltd.
Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada
EDS Advanced Solutions Inc.
FinancialCAD Corporation
Fraser Health Authority
Goldcorp Inc.
Golder Associates Ltd.
Great Little Box Company Ltd.
GrowthWorks Capital Limited
Harbour Air Ltd.
HSBC Bank Canada
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Ledcor Industries Inc.
Mountain Equipment Co-op
Next Level Games Inc.
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
Nintendo of Canada Ltd.
Parklane Homes Ltd.
Progressive Solutions Inc.
Providence Health Care
Provincial Health Services Authority
Rescan Environmental Services Ltd.
Royal British Columbia Museum Corp.
Schneider Electric PMC Victoria
Sierra Systems Group Inc.
Simon Fraser University
Sophos Inc.
Surrey, City of
Telus Corporation
University of British Columbia
University of Victoria
Vancity Group
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
Vancouver International Airport Authority
Vancouver Island Health Authority
Vancouver, City of
Vision Critical Communications Inc.
Whistler, Resort Municipality of
Wickaninnish Inn, The

Newcomers to Canada benefit from the Library Settlement Partnership at Ottawa Public Library

November 02, 2009
Ottawa Public Library (OPL) staff, along with partners from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and various settlement agencies, celebrated the Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) program, a service now available at the OPL that will help newcomers to Ottawa more successfully settle and integrate into their new home. Made possible through a three-way partnership between Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the settlement sector and public libraries, the Library Settlement Partnerships program provide information referral, and other services for newcomers in ten branches of the Ottawa Public Library. The program has been rolled out in 11 communities in Ontario and is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

“Our government is helping make settlement services more accessible to immigrants,” said Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney. “Through this program, newcomers living in the area can access information on housing, transportation and employment opportunities in their neighbourhood library. Improving their access to settlement services will not only ease their transition to life in Canada, but also strengthen the community as a whole.”

“We are enormously proud to be able to provide newcomers with a program that will make their move to a new country a little bit easier. By offering the LSP program in our branches, newcomers to Ottawa can make a smoother transition to their new home,” said Barbara Clubb, city librarian. “The library already offers many services to newcomers of all ages. These range from story times in Mandarin to preparing for the citizenship test in Arabic. The Library Settlement Partnerships program makes a wonderful complement to the already existing services.”

The celebration of the Library Settlement Partnerships program, held at the Main Branch, coincided with the official unveiling of the branch’s recently renovated Newcomer Services space. The space provides the newcomer information officer a dedicated area in which to meet with clients and develop programs to help newcomers settle into the community. The funding to construct the Newcomer Services space was provided by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA).

LSP partners include Citizenship & Immigration Canada, the Ottawa Public Library, the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, the Lebanese and Arab Social Services Agency, the Somali Centre for Family Services, the Ottawa Chinese Community Services Centre and Conseil Économique & Social d'Ottawa-Carleton.

For more information about the many services offered to newcomers at OPL, please visit the OPL website at www.BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca or call Info Service at 613-580-2940.

Longer lines and surprises in the plan for 2010

Source: Metro
author: Guidy Mamann

In Parliament on Friday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tabled his immigration plan for 2010.

Although the overall target will remain the same as in 2009 — 240,000-265,000 new immigrants — there will definitely be some big winners and losers in the year to come.

The big winners in the immigration game this year are the provinces, Quebec in particular, which will be handed the right to pick an even greater percentage of Canada’s immigrants than they have in the past.

In 2008, we accepted 43,360 skilled workers who came to Canada accompanied by 60,376 spouses and children. This overall total will drop to about 101,000 from 103,700 in 2010, with a greater percentage being reserved for those destined for Quebec. What is truly surprising about this number is that immigration experts expected the skilled worker program would be reduced so that the immigration department can allow for increased numbers in the Canadian Experience Class, which was introduced in September, 2008. The immigration department allowed for 5,000-7,500 immigrants to be landed in this category in 2009. However, it is only planning to admit 2,670-2,856 in this category in 2010. Most expected that the CEC would expand and the skilled worker program would contract. Inexplicably, the opposite is being planned.

Our once-proud business immigration program will continue to take a beating in 2010. In 2008, Canada received 447 entrepreneurs (who promised to start a business here), 164 “self-employed” individuals (farmers, and those contributing to artistic or cultural life in Canada) and 2,831 investors (who gave our government an interest-free loan of $400,000 for five years). Including their dependants, this group of 12,400 in 2008 will drop further to 10,800-11,620 individuals, a 6.5-13 per cent reduction.

So much for attracting foreign capital to stimulate our sagging economy.

Nannies should be smiling as their numbers could increase by nearly nine per cent in 2010. In 2008, 6,157 nannies were landed here with 4,300 dependants in tow. While this number is welcome given the fact that we have an aging society and more in-home care is needed, this number is hard to reconcile with a mere 3,442 business immigrants landed in 2008.

In 2008, Canada landed 21,860 refugees and is planning to land anywhere from 19,600-26,000 in 2010. I am betting that the actual number will be closer to the lower number than the higher, leading to a drop rather than a gain.

Also, it looks like humanitarian applications will be harder to get approved. Such applications are usually made by those who are here for a long time without status and are ultimately allowed to stay. In 2008, we accepted 10,627 in this category. This number will definitely drop to anywhere from 7,000-9,000 i.e. a huge drop in compassion of about 15-34 per cent.

Finally, I have some advice for those Canadians who might be falling in love with someone overseas. You will need more patience in 2010 because the line for sponsoring spouses (and any children) will be getting even longer. In 2008, we sponsored 47,451 spouses and children. In 2010, the immigration department has only budgeted for 42,000-45,000. With our growing population, it is hard to understand why the department would think Canadians would need to sponsor fewer spouses and children next year. In fact, the 42,000 figure hasn’t been seen in Canada since before 2003. Typically the department will stick to their numbers regardless of our needs. As usual, we will just have to patient.

That is the plan for 2010.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Saskatchewan PNP Update: Province introduces new procedural guidelines for faster processing

Earlier this month, the province of Saskatchewan introduced new procedural guidelines for the Entrepreneur category of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) that will speed up the processing of applications under this program. In recent years, Saskatchewan has been an attractive destination for immigrants to Canada because of the many employment and investment opportunities it offers.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business ranking of top business-friendly cities, Saskatchewan is home to the most business-friendly cities in Canada. The province is currently experiencing a business boom and its highest population growth since 1952. As the economy grows, the creation of jobs and investment opportunities are increasing.

For this reason, the province has amended its immigration strategy to welcome a greater number of qualified immigrants.

“This new process will make Saskatchewan more competitive in Canada. It will bring talented managers and entrepreneurs to the province, it will spread opportunities for investment to more communities and create jobs,” said Saskatchewan’s Minister Responsible for Immigration Rob Norris.

Under the new process, nominations for the SINP Entrepreneur category are expected to be finalized within six months from the date of application.

In addition, three new streams have been added to this category:

* The Large Scale Investor Stream, for applicants who wish to invest $10-million or more in Saskatchewan;
* The Science and Technology Stream, for applicants who have an innovative idea or plan to partner with an existing Saskatchewan science and technology body; and
* The Young Farmers Stream, for applicants under the age of 40 who have farming experience.

Norris also announced plans to add two new streams to the SINP Entrepreneur category in the future: one for entrepreneurs to partner with First Nations and Métis businesses or communities, and one that will facilitate business succession in the province.

Source: Canada Immigration News


Quebec Immigration Update: Changes to the Quebec Skilled Worker Program will allow the province to welcome more immigrants

The new selection system for Quebec Skilled Workers may make it easier for some applicants to qualify.

The most significant change reduces the overall selection pass mark from 59 to 55 for a single applicant, and from 68 to 63 for a couple.

The breakdown of points awarded for education has been amended to recognize more types of diplomas than under the previous system. Undergraduate diplomas attesting to 1 or 2 years of university education and more vocational and technical diplomas are now considered.

In addition, the “Areas of Training” criterion, which awards bonus points to applicants with certain educational or training backgrounds, has been changed to reflect the current needs of Quebec’s economy and labour market. Applicants with certain educational backgrounds will not only benefit from more points, but will also qualify for priority processing.

The breakdown of points awarded for an applicant’s age has also been adjusted, so that it declines less rapidly after the age of 35 than under the previous system.

The more favourable weighting of the education and age criteria could make it easier for some applicants, who did not qualify under the previous system, to become eligible to immigrate to Canada under the Quebec Skilled Worker category.

Successful applicants obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ), and must then submit their application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (a Canadian visa office) for medical and security checks and the issuance of a Canadian immigration (permanent resident) visa.

This new selection system is in effect as of October 14 2009. Applications that were received by Quebec immigration offices before that date will be assessed under whichever system is more favourable to the applicant, while those received on or after October 14 will be assessed under the new system.

Source: Canada Immigration News

Government of Canada Tables 2010 Immigration Plan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 30, 2009) - Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, tabled Citizenship and Immigration Canada's 2009 Annual Report today in Parliament.

"While other countries have cut back immigration levels as a short-term response to the global economic downturn, our government is actually maintaining its immigration levels to meet the country's medium- to long-term economic needs," said Minister Kenney.

"Canada plans to welcome between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents in 2010, the same number of immigrants as in recent years. In 2010, Canada will again welcome more new permanent residents than the average annual intake during the 1990s," said Minister Kenney. "The focus of the 2010 plan is on economic immigration to support Canada's economy during and beyond the current economic recovery."

In particular, the admission ranges for immigrants nominated by the provinces and territories have been increased. Provinces and territories are in the best position to understand how Canada's immigration intake can be aligned to their labour market needs. Second, by increasing the admission ranges in the Provincial Nominee Program, the Government of Canada is helping to ensure that the benefits of immigration are distributed across this country. Canada and the provinces will work together to manage growth in the provincial nominee program. Increasing the total number of immigrants processed under the economic category will also allow CIC to continue reducing the backlog of federal skilled worker applicants as part of the Action Plan for Faster Immigration.

Although the Action Plan has been in place for less than a year, early indications are that it is paying off. "People applying now under the federal skilled worker program can expect to receive a decision within six to twelve months, compared to up to six years under the old system," said Minister Kenney. "We've also brought the backlog of federal skilled worker applicants down from over 630,000 to 425,000-a reduction of more than 30%."

The backlog consists of people who applied before February 27, 2008, the date the Action Plan took effect. Since then, almost 240,000 people have applied to the new federal skilled worker program under the Action Plan. But even with those additional applicants, the total number of people currently awaiting a decision on their application is still 12% lower than when the Action Plan took effect.

"Before we changed the system, we had to process every application received. Since many more people applied every year than could be accepted, a backlog was created," said Minister Kenney. "Now that we are processing only those applications that meet specified criteria, our Government is making significant progress in reducing the backlog."

Improving the federal skilled worker program is part of the Government of Canada's overall commitment to modernizing the immigration system to maximize its contribution to our overall economic growth.

"The Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces, territories and stakeholders to make sure immigration meets the needs of communities, employers and families now and in the future," concluded the Minister.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Boat migrants may have paid $45,000 each

CTV.ca News Staff

Date: Mon. Oct. 19 2009 10:54 PM ET

Would-be migrants who were found aboard a vessel headed for British Columbia may have each paid $45,000 for the trip.

The men, believed to be Tamils from Sri Lanka, remain in custody as Immigration Canada determines their identity. The ship, called the Ocean Lady, was seized by RCMP last Friday.

Another vessel carrying Sir Lankans was caught off the coast of Australia last week, and the passengers said they had paid smugglers $15,000 to board the ship. One man told a reporter about the Ocean Lady, and said he had wanted to board that vessel instead, but it was too expensive at $45,000 per person.

RCMP say they're looking into the report.

"Yes, we're aware of that information and the speculation this could be related," said Sgt. Duncan Pound, of the RCMP Border Integrity Program.

Seventy-six men were found aboard the Ocean Lady.

Pound said security partners tipped off Canadian authorities on Friday, alerting them to a vessel "that was demonstrating some behaviour that was probably inconsistent with the usual maritime practices and that raised it onto our screen for concerns."

"We worked then closely with the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Navy, and they provided assets to assist us with gathering further intelligence on the vessel," Pound told CTV's Canada AM during an interview from Vancouver on Monday.

In particular, when the ship failed to notify Canadian officials about its content and intended arrival time, authorities became concerned.

"It should be a planned event, as opposed to approaching unannounced," Pound said.

It is not clear why they came to Canada and the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency remain tight-lipped about what, if anything, is known about their situation.

Pound said that translators are providing assistance, though "there is some English from some of the individuals on board."

Canadian Tamil Congress spokesperson David Poopalapillai said RCMP footage of the ship shows men wearing a style of clothing that suggests they are Tamils.

The men will have to be formally identified, photographed, fingerprinted and then under Canadian law, they will have their detention reviewed within the next two days, immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann said.

"It's going to be determined whether or not some or any of them should be released, and on what terms and conditions," Mamann said during a phone interview from Toronto.

"And then if they decide that they are going to make refugee claims -- and all the indications are that they will -- they will have to put down their story within 28 days and have that submitted to the Immigration and Refugee Board who will then schedule a hearing for them."

Pound said the RCMP will investigate to see if any criminal charges are relevant.

"The RCMP's perspective, as the lead investigative agency for criminal code offences or the federal statute offences, we'll be looking at any time a vessel approaches and arrives in Canada, where we're not sure of who the individuals are or what the cargo would have been on the vessel," Pound said.

"Part of our job will be to drill down on those details and find out if there are any offences that would apply under Canadian law."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Countrywide Pride Being Showcased This Week In Canada

Source: Government of Canada Posted on: 19th October 2009

This week, in citizenship ceremonies across the country, Canada will welcome hundreds of new Canadian citizens, and hundreds of Canadians will reaffirm their commitment to our country during Citizenship Week 2009.

“Canadian citizenship is highly valued. Citizenship Week 2009 is an opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate our citizenship,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “It is a time to reflect on what it means to be a Canadian and to be grateful for the rights and freedoms that we enjoy. We should also take this opportunity to acknowledge our responsibilities to our country and to our communities large and small.”

“The theme of Citizenship Week 2009 is Our Citizenship. We want all Canadians to recognize that, no matter where you came from, when you become a Canadian citizen, Canadian history becomes your history and Canadian values become your values.”

Canada has one of the highest naturalization rates in the world, with 85 percent of immigrants becoming citizens. Last year alone, over 176,000 newcomers became citizens of Canada.