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.

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

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.


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

By Beverly Hansen OMalley.


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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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.

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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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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.

Also Read

"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.

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.

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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.”

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,

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.

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

BC's Top Employers

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.


(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 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.

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