Canada on track to lead G7 economies this decade: CIBC


This may be Canada’s decade, according to a new report by CIBC that predicts the country is likely to lead growth in the G7 for the next 10 years if it plays its cards right.

Relatively lower government and corporate debt, immigration and trade balances mean it’s Canada’s “time to shine,” according to a report released Friday by CIBC World Markets.

Mounting debt troubles in Europe and geopolitical tensions in Asia have grabbed headlines in recent weeks.

It’s not that Canada will benefit from others’ malaise, Avery Shenfeld, CIBC's chief economist, told QMI Agency. A weakening in any part of the world is still bad for every other country in terms of exports.

“It’s more that when we look at who’s going to do better over the medium term, we have some advantages in terms of not having as many problems as they do.”

Problems in Europe have overshadowed Canadian fundamentals and even dampened expectations for growth.

But Canada's rich resources, resilient financial system and favourable demographics relative to other G7 nations make it an economic contender looking out over the next five to 10 years, Shenfeld said.

Another notable positive is in Canada's healthier state of public- and corporate-sector balance sheets.

But these factors aren’t “ironclad,” Shenfeld warned. They only mean Canada is better positioned than its debt-laden counterparts. “It’s not smooth sailing from here.”

Controlling ballooning debt and tightening fiscal policy appear to be the keys to success, Shenfeld said.

Canada’s central bank will be among the first to hike its interest rates this summer, so growth may not be something to boast about in 2011. But that will change, Shenfeld said.

“It’s as we look further on that we will have fewer years of cuts, that Canada may, in fact, shine through,” he said.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has put into motion a plan to rein in spending with the hope of all but reducing Canada’s budget deficit from $53.8 billion in 2010 to less than $2 billion by 2015.

Canada’s parliamentary budget officer has said the effort isn’t enough, and that five years down the line, federal balance sheets are projected to show a structural deficit of $12.3 billion.

Still, Canada’s current federal deficit of 3% of GDP (5% including provinces) pales in comparison to the U.S.'s and U.K.'s double-digit deficit-to-GDP rations, Shenfeld said.

Canada’s population and productivity demographics are also in better shape than more mature economies thanks to strong immigration and renewed business investment.

Resource-hungry emerging markets will also ensure strong demand for energy and metal products, which traditionally account for about a third of Canada's domestic income growth, the report said.

Canada will have more seniors than kids in the next decade: StatsCan

Canada’s population is expected to increase by as much as 14 million by 2036, according to Statistics Canada’s newest report on population growth.

The agency projects that between 2009 to 2036, Canada’s population could grow from its current 33.7 million to between 40.1 million and 47.7 million.

According to the report, immigration levels represent the greatest share of the projected population increase, with Canada receiving as many as 333,600 immigrants a year by 2036, compared with 252,500 in 2010.

But high immigration levels won’t put a dent in Canada’s rapidly aging population– seniors could account for nearly a quarter of Canada’s entire population by 2036, nearly double the 13.9% they accounted for in 2009.

Seniors are expected to surpass the number of children aged 14 or under for the first time ever between 2015 and 2021.

StatsCan’s provincial and territorial breakdowns have Ontario and B.C. leading the pack in population growth, with rates higher than the national average. Newfoundland and Labrador was the sole province projected to have a population decrease.

Ontario’s population is expected to increase from nearly 13.1 million in 2009 to between 16.1 million and 19.4 million in 2036; Quebec’s population would increase from 7.8 million in 2009 to between 8.6 million and 10 million in 2036. In the west, British Columbia’s population would increase from nearly 4.5 million in 2009 to between 5.8 million and 7.1 million in 2036.

Below, a complete breakdown of StatsCan’s projected population growth by province.

• Alberta’s population would increase from 3.7 million in 2009 to between 4.6 million to 5.4 million in 2036.
• Manitoba’s population would increase from 1.2 million in 2009 to between 1.4 million to 1.7 million in 2036.
• Saskatchewan’s population would increase from 1 million in 2009 to between 1.1 million to nearly 1.3 million 2036.
• Nova Scotia’s population would increase from 938,000 in 2009 to between 987,000 and 1.1 million in 2036.
• New Brunswick’s population would increase from 750,000 in 2009 to between 772,000 and 874,000 in 2036.
• Newfoundland and Labrador’s population could decrease from nearly 509,000 in 2009 to 483,000 in 2036. But medium to high growth projections could result in an increase of anywhere from 514,000 to 545,000 in 2036.
• Prince Edward Island’s population would increase from 141,000 in 2009 to between 161,000 and 188,000 in 2036.
• The population of the Northwest Territories would increase from 43,000 in 2009 to between
49,000 and 57,000 in 2036.
• Yukon’s population would increase from nearly 34,000 in 2009 to between 36,000 and 42,000 in 2036.
• Nunavut’s population would increase from 32,000 in 2009 to between 36,000 and 44,000 in 2036.

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OECD lifts 2010 growth forecasts for rich economies but sees no end to era of instability

Economic recovery in the world’s richest countries is accelerating thanks to a “substantial” rebound in trade and growth in Asia, but austerity measures are needed to reduce government deficits, a leading agency said Wednesday.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a watchdog for 31 of the world’s most developed countries, said the current environment is “relatively auspicious” but faced with serious risks.

Those include Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and a possible boom-bust scenario in emerging markets such as Brazil, India and China – which have been growing much faster than the more developed OECD economies.

“The period of significant financial instability that began in August 2007 is not yet over,” the OECD warned in its latest biannual Economic Outlook.

The Paris-based group also raised its forecasts for economic growth in its member countries – which include Canada, the United States, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom – to 2.7 per cent this year, up from its forecast of 1.9 per cent last November.

Canada’s growth this year is expected to be ahead of most other OECD countries, with real gross domestic product to be 3.6 per cent over the weak performance of 2009.

The OECD lifted its forecasts for Japan, the United States and the eurozone countries, but Japan and the U.S. are still expected to outpace Europe, the report said. Japan’s growth is estimated at three per cent in 2010 and the U.S. GDP is expected to rise by 3.2 per cent.

“The outlook has really improved in this short period” since the OECD’s last forecast, Secretary-General Angel Gurria said in a news conference at the organization’s headquarters.

But the OECD chief urged member countries to pursue “fiscal consolidation” – reducing their deficits through spending cuts and a clampdown on tax evasion – which he said was “imperative” to make the OECD’s positive growth outlook a reality.

The OECD publishes its economic outlook twice a year, although it updated some 2010 forecasts in an interim assessment published in April.

Europe’s response to its sovereign debt crisis – the latest chapter in the global financial and economic turmoil that began three years ago – has been “prompt and massive,” the OECD said, but has failed to settle the currency bloc’s “underlying weaknesses.”

The OECD called for “bolder measures” – up to and including an effective fiscal union – among eurozone countries in order to “dissipate doubts about the long-term viability of the monetary union.”

“Bolder measures need to be taken to ensure fiscal discipline, along a continuum that ranges from stronger surveillance and more effective sanctions for noncompliance, to external auditing of national budgets all the way to de facto fiscal union,” the OECD said.

Gurria stressed that the current turbulence in Europe is part of the same crisis that began in the U.S. in 2007. “This is the same crisis, it’s a continuum,” Gurria said, adding that the next challenge after slashing the massive debt loads countries took on save the banking industry and combat recession is unemployment.

Unemployment in the OECD area is forecast to peak at 8.5 per cent by the middle of this year, Gurria said. It will remain stuck at over 8 per cent next year however, as companies in Japan and Europe are expected to increase working hours of employees rather than hire new workers.

The U.S. economy has been boosted by stimulus measures, improving financial conditions, demand from the fast-growing non-OECD economies of Asia – especially China – and the stabilization of the housing market.

The employment outlook in the United States also looks better than in Europe and Japan. The OECD predicted that unemployment will come down to 8.9 per cent next year from a high of 9.7 per cent this year, as unlike their counterparts in Europe and Japan, U.S. businesses shed large numbers of employees in the downturn and should “rehire relatively strongly” in the upturn, the OECD said.

The OECD predicts the U.S. economy will expand at a rate of 3.2 per cent in 2010, up from a November forecast of 2.5 per cent.

In Europe, the economies of the 16 countries sharing the euro are now expected to grow by 1.2 per cent this year compared to a November forecast of 0.9 per cent.

Unemployment will peak at 10.1 per cent this year in the eurozone and stay stubbornly at that level in 2011, sapping the strength of the recovery, the OECD said.

The recent weakness in the euro versus the dollar will benefit European growth, OECD chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan said. “I would not be concerned if we see a further decline in the euro,” Padoan said, “This would be a welcome addition to external demand for the euro area.”

Padoan added that “the global economy needs some rebalancing in exchange rates,” saying that the euro has been overvalued versus the dollar and China’s currency undervalued.

Japan’s economy will grow by three per cent this year compared with the November forecast of 1.8 per cent, the report said.

– By Greg Keller, The Associated Press, with a contribution from The Canadian Press in Toronto

'Ghost agents' slip through immigration loophole

By: Barry O'Regan

Ghost agents, providing pen to paper filling out immigration paperwork on behalf of Canadians seems to be a pretty lucrative business making some Ghost agents thousands and thousands of dollars in Vancouver and the lower mainland.

Whether by word of mouth, attending cultural community events and networking, Ghost agents promise Canadians a speedy process, sometimes promising an "in" with immigration authourities, to bring family members to Canada for a fee.

What is distressing is many Ghost agents are usually from the same culture or country, such as the Far East, thus giving the prey a false sense of security and comaraderie to those seeking immigration advice to those in the community.

Currently Ghost agents, long a thorn in the side of legitimate and registered Immigration Consultants need not be registered in Canada. It is akin to having a friend of a friend do your income taxes, because they are cheap or promise a big tax refund, only to have the Canadian Revenue Agency audit or find glaring errors in your return.

The federal government if they have their way will soon put a stop to unscrupulous Ghost agents who promise the moon and the stars for cash, yet deliver very little. Those who use the services of Ghost agents seem to have little recourse in recouping the thousands of dollars paid by those seeking a solution in bringing over family members.

The CIC website has implicit instructions on how everyone can fill out all the paperwork themselves.

The two mottos to abide by it seems are, "if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is", and "if you want something done right, either do it yourself or hire a legitimate agency."

Expert Consultants Can Help Speed Up Immigration To Canada

By Adriana Noton | May 18th, 2010

If you are planning to immigrate to Canada, it is advisable to make use of immigration services offered by experienced consultants. Even if you are just planning a visit, or want your son or daughter to attend school or university in Canada, there are certain criteria to be met.

Many people are seeking citizenship in Canada. It is the world’s second largest country. For seven rows in succession, the United Nations has deemed it the ‘best country to live in’. With its ample natural resources, Canada is America’s largest trading partner. Magnificent scenery and fresh air make it is an ideal living environment.

It is a cosmopolitan, multicultural country that offers wonderful opportunities for employment and business development. Its excellent health care system is available to all residents. In addition, Canada is considered to be one of the world’s best educated countries. Schools, private and public, enjoy enviable reputations. People from all cultures and backgrounds live together harmoniously and there is no discrimination. Canada has an excellent judicial system and an impressive welfare system.

The country has in fact taken steps to boost immigration. The reason is to make sure that projected plans for economic growth materialize. The government is hoping that, by the end of 2010, as many as 250,000 immigrants will have settled in the country. With this boost of skilled workers, Canada is expected to grow rapidly and recover swiftly from the economic downturn.

The government has given a free hand to provinces, allowing each one to determine the number of new skilled people they require. Quebec is a province that has a very efficient ‘Skilled Worker Program’ in place. The program is designed to facilitate an easy transition for new Canadian residents.

Essentially, this means that Quebec has formed its own unique immigration policy. It has laid down a set of criteria that do not necessarily conform to existing national immigration policies. This means that if you have applied for a work visa, but it has been declined, you are free to apply to Quebec.

There are some national requirements that are standard throughout Canada. You have to be classified as ’skilled labor’. This will enable you to be easily integrated into the job market. You must also be able to understand French, and speak English fluently. If you are in a highly skilled profession, your application is likely to be prioritized.

If you have family with Canadian citizenship, or family who are permanent residents, this will help your cause. In addition, if you are married and your spouse has family ties in the country, this will also helpful. Most important of all, you will need to have a written job offer from a licensed business in Canada.

To seek out a consultant, applicants are advised to go online and search for ‘Canadian immigration consultants’. It will not be difficult to locate one who will assist every step of the way. This person will be well versed with all requirements. By utilizing such a service, the applicant will be saved time and money. The consultant will know how to avoid costly and long delays. The application should also have a better chance of success because all criteria will have been met.

Canada Immigration extends Canada – Ontario Immigration Agreement

Recently, Canada Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Dr Eric Hoskins the Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration signed an extension to the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA).
“In extending the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, we signal our commitment to continue to collaborate to attract, retain and integrate immigrants into communities in Ontario while exploring new ways to improve immigrant outcomes,” said Immigration Minister Kenney. “The extension of this agreement prolongs our support for immigrant settlement programs, including language training and programs for newcomer youth.”
“Ontario is pleased to sign this one-year extension as we negotiate a successor agreement, so that newcomers to the province can continue to receive the services they need to settle and succeed,” said Ontario Immigration Minister Hoskins.
In the period 2010-2011 three hundred and twenty million dollars in funding will be provided to Ontario for 2010–2011 on top of the annual settlement funding of $108 million.
The Canadian Government had to the following to say about the extension of the Canada- Ontario Agreement:
…”The Government of Canada will continue to work in partnership with the province of Ontario, settlement service provider organizations, local municipalities and other stakeholders to make a real difference in the lives of Ontario immigrants.”…
It is hoped that the agreement will result in increased immigration so helping Ontario meet its “…overall social, cultural and economic goals…”.

Canada: Must address worker shortfall

Canadian Construction Association head Wayne Morsky says more than 300,000 new construction employees will be needed within the next decade

By Kevin Doyle | Mon May 10, 2010

Regina businessman Wayne Morsky, now serving a one-year term as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Construction Association, is sounding the alarm for the need to address a growing shortfall in construction workers across Canada.

As a large number of workers approach retirement age, fewer are entering construction and the ancillary specialty trades. Construction Digital often speaks with companies that have implemented innovative in-house solutions such as mentoring programs designed to allow young workers to work with and be trained by one nearing retirement.

However, that won’t address the big picture as Morsky says Canada will need more than 300,000 new construction workers within seven years. He said the active recruitment of young people – particularly young aboriginal people – should be a big part of the solution to finding new workers to fill vacancies and to replace retirees.

"In Saskatchewan, we are looking at a (construction) worker shortfall of more than 6,200 employees," Morsky told the spring meeting of the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association. "We must enhance the industry's efforts in promoting careers in construction to our youth, particularly to Canada's First Nations, where the median age is 27.”

"Aboriginal Canadians have been part of the strong and proud history of this industry and we must find a way to get them re-engaged in construction if we are to meet the future labour challenges," he said.

Immigration of skilled workers could be another part of the solution, Morsky said. However, he said Canada's immigration system "is no longer construction-friendly and does not appear to be headed for significant retooling in the near future."

To Immigrate or Not to Immigrate

By The Cynical Investor
Published: April 29th, 2010

This post is part of Guest Posts series where Guest Bloggers write for this blog. Their opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Nexus Canada's Blog.

A disciple asked his Zen master: “Shall I get married or not?” “Whatever you choose you will regret it!” answered the Zen master.

So the answer to our question would be the same.

But I have read something else – that’s the problem of being an avid reader, it’s difficult to come with something original and whatever I think it is original I might have read it somewhere and I forgot that I read it, but I digress so I’ll just start with a new sentence for a better impact.

It is better to regret you have done something than to regret you have not done it. So simple and powerful, it would make a good article for one of the self-development blogs.

As you can already imagine the answer is to immigrate – as you’ve noticed I have not said ‘my answer’, I preferred something impersonal to deflect future ‘accusations’ of ‘you said so’, even if I am not a self-development guru and no-one should base her/his decisions in life on an article even this one :) .

The Canadian immigration points system has the advantage that is fair and whoever fulfills the criteria can immigrate in comparison with the American visa lottery, that is a … lottery. The issue is that people who fulfill the criteria more often than not are well off at home, so they leave what they’ve achieved so far for a dream (I wanted initially to write ‘the unknown’, but ‘dream’ better describes it, not to mention that some emigrants would already have relatives there so they would know what to expect not to mention the Internet with numerous Canadian immigration forums that would paint a picture very close to the reality).

At home the immigrant has as standard of life higher than the average and now they find themselves below the average. If they find a job and they do what they like (or not dislike) everything will be fine. The integration has already started and they are becoming part of the system. But if the job is well below their qualifications and more important expectations, problems will appear and the immigrant will start seriously thinking of going back home. Only the fact that they spent so much money coming here and somehow the shame of ‘not making it’ would make them postpone the return.

Of course if the immigrant was back home a manual worker, taxi driver, janitor, nurse, construction worker, tradesman, etc. it will better for them to come as the wages will be higher but – perhaps wrongly – the points system does not allow this.

I had initially landed to only get the PR card as I could not bring myself to make the big step. 10 years before it would have been a different story but my standard of living was higher and perhaps as important of the country as a whole (nobody wants to live in a country, where most people are getting poorer and poorer, and the country is falling apart, even if one is well off).

And as it happens as I really did not want to immigrate (I was reading too much of the ‘horror’ stories in forums with people who had to accept menial jobs in order to survive) I got a job offer too good to turn it down (quite a hefty lump amount of money as a relocation package, reimbursed air tickets and paid hotel). People were paying to go to Canada, I was paid to come. It was the first time and still the only time I did not spend countless hours trying to find the most affordable air fare to the place I wanted to travel to.

The relocation bonus was in fewer than 3 years lost in very bad stock investments. As they say: easy come, easy gone. I should have bought a car and furniture like others did but no, I thought I was smarter. You know the story that instead of buying an Apple Computer in 1997 one would have invested in stock, one would have had some $300k now. So why buy an ordinary car when I can wait a few more years and buy a Porsche or even longer and go for a Ferrari. However, that’s a different story and I digress too much and it is about time to cut a long post short.

I know people who could not accommodate and went back but also people from Western Europe that came here and I think more people from the developed world immigrate to Canada rather than the other way so perhaps there is something about Canada, perhaps it has something to do with the vast open spaces.

What if the world ends in 2012 according to the Mayan calendar (I can’t believe I am writing this, and it would not really end but go through calamities on a scale never seen before comparable only with the Flood). This might (will) not happen but some paint an apocalyptic future with the world falling apart because of climate change, world financial collapse, great 2nd recession, people rioting for food, wars started for access to resources (read water). If this happens it will be better to be in a country like Canada, as the government could take better care of its citizens than other countries could do and also, one perhaps would be in a better position to help their families back home.

Come for your children and/or experience if not something else and do not forget you can always go back (if you are not from a country like North Korea or Cuba where you would have not come out in the first place).

Again, it is better to regret you have done something than to regret you have not done it.

And more important Follow your Heart !

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