Atlantic Canada's incredible shrinking population

Map highlighting Atlantic CanadaImage via WikipediaThe Globe & Mail is running a series called "Canada: Our Time to Lead. Eight Discussions We Need to Have" saying "We hope, and intend, for this discussion to strike at the heart of how Canadians define ourselves, and our nation." The eight discussions that will help us define ourselves, according to the Globe, are: multiculturalism, women in power, failing boys, military, work-life, health care, Internet and food.
If we are looking to "strike at the heart of how we define the nation," I suggest we start a ninth discussion. It may not be top of mind in Toronto but I think it has much more potential to shape our collective concept of Canada - for better or worse - over the next few decades.
I am referring to the hollowing out of Atlantic Canada's population and its eventual impacts. We could also add Manitoba and even Quebec to the discussion because some of the challenges are the same but for simplicity I will stick to the Atlantic Canada problem.
There is an unprecedented demographic shift happening in the region. In the early 1970s, the population was growing at a fairly strong rate driven by natural population increases, net in-migration and at least a limited level of immigration.
Then something happened.
First, the limited immigration to Atlantic Canada mostly dried up (particularly as a share of national immigration). From 1990 to 2009, Canada welcomed more than four million new immigrants to the country - the largest swell of immigrant population in history. During that same period, New Brunswick, as an example, attracted an average of just more than 900 new immigrants per year.
Second, net in-migration into Atlantic Canada turned to net out-migration. From 1971 to 1976, the four Atlantic provinces combined had a positive migration from the rest of Canada of nearly 30,000 people. To be clear, that is 30,000 (net) people moving to Atlantic Canada from the rest of Canada. In the most current five year period (2005-2009), there was a net out-migration of 36,000 people from Atlantic Canada. That is a 66,000 swing comparing a five year period in the early 1970s to the late 2000s (or just about the population of the City of Moncton).
When you combine these trends with the declining birth rate you end up with regional population decline. Since 1990, Canada added more than six million people to its population while Atlantic Canada has shed 21,000.
There has been some limited positive activity on the immigration front in the past couple of years but the long term trend is unmistakable.
The regional demographic mix in Canada is diverging. The population of Atlantic Canada is comparatively old, white and declining. The population of the rest of Canada - particularly the large urban centres - is younger, multicultural and growing rapidly.
The implications of this demographic shift are starting to emerge with economic, community and fiscal consequences. We've seen what can happen to a city that suffers from chronic population loss but what about when it happens to an entire region such as Atlantic Canada? How do we continue to pay for public services? How do we support a positive economic development agenda?
People grumble about the balance of power now. At least most of the current political and bureaucratic decision makers in Ottawa have a limited affinity toward or knowledge of Atlantic Canada. By 2030 it is likely most MPs in Ottawa will have never even visited this region.
This issue may not reach the Globe & Mail's threshold for warranting a discussion, compared to the urgent topic of Torontonian work-life balance, but someone needs to start talking about it.
David Campbell is an economic development consultant based in Moncton. He writes a daily blog, It's the Economy Stupid, at

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Canada reports slight increase in permanent residents from Latvia

First Canadian Citizenship ceremony on January...Image via Wikipedia
October 27, 2010
The number of persons from Latvia earning permanent resident status in Canada increased in 2009, but remains significantly lower than the figure recorded a decade ago, according to government statistics.
A total of 86 persons from Latvia became permanent residents of Canada last year, up from 66 in 2008, according to data compiled by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and released in September.
Under Canadian law, permanent residents must live in the country for at least two years within a five-year period. Otherwise, they risk losing their status. While permanent residents share many of the same rights as Canadian citizens, they may not vote in elections.
Ten years ago, 230 persons from Latvia became permanent residents, increasing to 286 in 2001.
The number steadily declined through 2006, when just 73 new permanent residents were recorded. However, the number jumped to 113 in 2007.
In the past decade, a total of 1,491 persons from Latvia have become permanent residents of Canada, according to the data. That is more than from Lithuania, which contributed 1,355 new permanent residents during the same period, or Estonia, with contributed just 403.
Last year, more than 250,000 persons from around the world became new permanent residents of Canada. China, the Philippines and India are the top three source countries, according to the data.
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Improved innovation in Canada linked to immigration

Too Many BlackberrysImage by Ninja M. via Flickr
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent comments about the failure of multiculturalism, while controversial, were nothing new for Europeans. Former British prime minister Tony Blair seems to have started the ball rolling in 2006, when he told immigrants to "conform ... or don't come here," and since then, many European leaders have echoed such sentiments.
Given the problems Europe has experienced -- the London bombings of 2005, civil unrest in Paris, and the failure to integrate Muslim Turks in Germany -- the comments aren't terribly surprising. But one must be careful not to assume that these events are simply the fault of an ill-defined policy like multiculturalism -- or worse, the fault of freeloading immigrants.
Germany's problems with Muslim Turks, for example, has little to do with multiculturalism. The Turks were originally considered guest workers, and as Merkel herself admitted, everyone expected them to return home at some point. This is not multiculturalism, and is no way to ensure a lasting contribution from foreign-born workers.
Merkel did, however, advocate for the integration of immigrants, and asked how that's best accomplished. One answer is to look to Canada, which, of course, has a long-standing and sometimes controversial policy of official multiculturalism, and which has also benefited enormously from the contribution of immigrants.
This is the conclusion of a new report, Immigrants as Investors: Boosting Canada's Global Competitiveness, from the Conference Board of Canada. The report set out to test the presumption that immigrants are likely to be highly innovative, and, according to Diana MacKay, director of education and health for the board, "At every level we examined -- individual, organization, national and global -- immigrants were associated with increased innovation in Canada."
Among the specifics, the report found that 35 per cent of Canada Research Chairs are foreign-born, even though immigrants make up just one-fifth of the Canadian population. Further, immigrants win proportionally more prestigious literary and performing arts prizes, such as the Giller Prize and the Governor-General's Performing Arts Awards.
Perhaps not so surprisingly, immigration also affects trade levels between Canada and immigrants' countries of origin. According to the report, a one-percentage-point increase in immigrants can increase the value of imports by 0.21 per cent and raise the value of exports by 0.11 per cent. Also not surprisingly, foreign direct investment into Canada is greater from countries that are well represented in Canada through immigration.
Hence, whatever the supposed drawbacks of multiculturalism, Canada's immigrants have made important contributions to Canadian society. But things are not perfect, as the report notes that immigrants face many obstacles, including inadequate recognition of their international experience and qualifications, failure of employers to utilize immigrants' foreign language skills and lack of opportunities for newcomers to use their skills.
That returns us to Merkel's question about how best to achieve integration. And on that point, the report advises that employers hire immigrants at every level of their organizations, including leadership roles, match the diversity of their staff to their markets, and encourage immigrants to share their views.
This last recommendation is particularly important, as there's no better way to improve integration than to ask immigrants what they need to function effectively in Canadian society. And that doesn't in any way conflict with multiculturalism. Rather, it serves to respect the values of immigrants while, as the Conference Board report makes clear, also helping to improve conditions for all Canadians.
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Immigrants Made Canada

Governor-general of Canada Michaëlle JeanImage via Wikipedia
By J.L. Granatstein
October 25, 2010
Source: my

Let me begin with one simple fact: Toronto’s public schools declare themselves the most multicultural in the world. One school, Thorncliffe Park Public School in Toronto’s east end, has 1,913 students speaking 54 languages. What that means is obvious —  Canada today is a nation of immigrants.

But what we forget too easily is that Canada always was a country of immigrants. Everyone who ever lived here came from someplace else, including the First Nations whose ancestors crossed into North America over a land bridge from Siberia. Everyone. The original European immigrants of Canada were the French followed by the Loyalists, the losers in the American Revolution, who settled in the late 1780s in what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec. Most were of British origin, devoted to King George III and Great Britain, but there were also others of German, Dutch and other origins, as well as blacks, most but not all slaves. Those “originals” largely shaped Canada’s population mix for almost two hundred years.
Let me demonstrate. The Canada into which I was born in 1939 had a population of some 11.5 million, according to the 1941 Census figures, which was made up of those of British and French origin (50 percent and 30 percent respectively) and the others (20 percent). The others were of German, Ukrainian, Scandinavian, and Dutch origin in the main, with a scattering of other ethnicities. There were few blacks, Chinese, Japanese, or South Asians, the Canadian population almost wholly white.
Overwhelmingly the population was Christian with a few hundred thousand Jews and a handful of other denominations. The corporate, cultural, and political leaders in Canada were overwhelmingly drawn from among those of British origin, and French-speaking Quebeckers did not have anything like their fair share of economic or political power.
It is certainly fair to say that nation-building, such as it was, aimed to establish a British type of society in Canada. Culturally, this was reflected in Canada’s political, economic and social institutions. In law, all Canadians were defined as British subjects until the passage of the Canadian Citizenship Act in 1947, and a variety of cultural symbols ranging from the monarchy to the flag and to the names of army regiments showed the British underpinnings of English-speaking Canada. By and large, the government either ignored racial and ethnic differences or worked to turn all into British Canadians in attitude if not in ethnic origin.      
Obviously, Canada is very different today. In the 2006 Census, the most recent, the “other” category, now with some 200 ethnicities, has reached 50 percent of the 31 million population. For example, there were reported to be 1.35 million Chinese, 962,000 East Indians, and 436,000 Filipinos, and one in six Canadian residents was a visible minority. Christians still predominate (some 70 percent), but as recently as 1951, 96 percent of the population was Christian. Today, there are far more Roman Catholics than Protestants (40 percent of the Canadian population is Catholic, only 30 percent Protestant), and Muslims are approaching one million, far more than those of Jewish belief. Those with no religion number one in six of the population.
In Greater Toronto, the nation’s largest city, very close to half of the 5.1 million population were immigrants, an increase of 27 percent in five years, and more than four in 10, or 43 percent of the population, were visible minorities, primarily Chinese, South Asian or black. India and China now provide most of the immigrants to Canada and Toronto, and in an ordinary year at least 250,000 immigrants come to the country, more than four in 10 of them heading to Toronto. At the time I was born and for my first 15 years, by contrast, the British Isles were the main source of immigrants to Canada.
So Canada has changed, and certainly much for the better. There are Members of Parliament in turbans, the Chief of Defence Staff is of Ukrainian ethnicity and the previous Governor-General Michaelle Jean is a Haitian woman immigrant who succeeded a Chinese female immigrant, Adrienne Clarkson. Jews hold three of the nine seats on the Supreme Court; a Jamaican-Chinese-Canadian multimillionaire made a huge donation to add a giant extension to the Royal Ontario Museum and a group of Italian-Canadian millionaires matched that with equally grand gifts to the redeveloped Art Gallery of Ontario; the public service is almost as mixed as the nation; and Toronto’s public schools, for example, declare themselves the most multicultural in the world. It may even be true. Mixed-race marriages are increasingly common in the larger cities, and adoptions abroad, especially in China and Africa, have created multiracial families all across the country.
There can be no doubt that this is a great success story. Immigration changed the old Canada, and immigration is continuing to do so. What the Canada of 2150 will look like, no one can say — except that it will not look at all like the Canada I grew up in.

Historian J.L. Granatstein is editor of The Canadian Experience. He writes on Canadian political and military and on foreign and defence policy.

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Immigration consultants reflect on their work to help immigrants live their dreams during Citizenship Week

Toronto, ON – Canada’s Citizenship Week is a time for all Canadians to consider the shared benefits and responsibilities we enjoy as citizens, and immigration consultants are especially aware of just how lucky we all are.
As part of Citizenship Week, the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) is releasing What is a CCIC?, a video that details what Certified Canadian Immigration Consultants are and how they feel about helping immigrants live their dreams of becoming Canadian.
“Canada is a nation built on immigration and immigration continues to play a pivotal role in Canada’s future,” said CSIC Chair Nigel Thomson. “We are fortunate that many immigrants enrich our cultural fabric by choosing to make Canada their home.”
Members of CSIC, known as Certified Canadian Immigration Consultants, members of a provincial or territorial bar and Quebec notaries are the only paid representatives who are legally entitled to appear before the Canadian government on behalf of an immigration applicant.
“Immigration is a crucial step on the long journey to citizenship,” said Thomson. “Our members are proud to be a part of that journey by helping prospective Canadians navigate the often stressful and uncertain immigration process.”

The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants is the professional regulatory body for Certified Canadian Immigration Consultants. Established in 2004 it currently has over 1,800 members. CSIC’s mandate is to protect consumers of immigration consulting services. Consequently, it is responsible for ensuring the education, competency testing and the discipline of its members. CSIC also requires its members to carry errors and omissions insurance and to contribute to a compensation fund. The best way to find a CCIC is via CSIC’s toll free referral line, 1-877-311-7926 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-877-311-7926      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
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Government of Ontario to organize Business Immigration Seminar

India Infoline News Service / 09:49 , Oct 17, 2010

The seminar series is being organized to showcase Ontario as part of the MEDT’s strategy to encourage greater participation by Indian businesses and to encourage Indian companies and entrepreneurs to set up global offices in the state.

The Government of Ontario, Canada, in association with FIEO is organizing business immigration seminars in Mumbai and New Delhi, Oct 18 and 21st October 2010 respectively.
The Business Immigration Section of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT), Government of Ontario, Canada, provides a variety of services and support to business immigrants during the planning stages of immigration and after arriving in Ontario.
The seminar series is being organized to showcase Ontario as part of the MEDT’s strategy to encourage greater participation by Indian businesses and to encourage Indian companies and entrepreneurs to set up global offices in the state.  Ontario has been ranked as the no. 1 province in Canada by Site Selection Magazine in their annual Canadian Competitiveness Rankings. By way of background, Site Selection is a U.S. based bi-monthly print magazine which provides CEOs, development planners and corporate executives’ news and information on all aspects of the business location/relocation process.
There are about half a million people of Indian descent living in Ontario which makes the province an attractive destination for Indian Companies and entrepreneurs. Many Indian Companies like Essar, Piramal, ICICI Bank, Bombay Chamber of Commerce have operations in Ontario. Similarly, Ontario companies Sun Life, Bank of Nova Scotia, and Celestica have operations in India.
The seminars aim to educate and help businesses understand the conducive policies and effective programs adopted by the government of Ontario to encourage business immigration. To be addressed by Immigration Specialist from the Business Immigration Unit at Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and by Royal Bank of Canada, which is a facilitator for the Federal Investor Program, the seminars will provide the attendees a complete picture of the advantages that are available to people seeking to immigrate under Ontario’s immigrations programs.
Ontario has a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), an immigration program through which Ontario nominates individuals and their families for permanent resident status based on a pre-approved job offer in the province. Employers can attract individuals from abroad; individuals in Canada on a work permit or international student graduates from a publicly-funded Canadian college or university. It also has an Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) which allows prospective immigrants to make a passive investment in a government fund and become a landed immigrant.
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Immigration aids innovation: report

Immigrants punch above their weight when it comes to increasing the rate of innovation in Canada, the Conference Board of Canada said in a report released Friday.
The ambition that leads them to move to a new country tends to predispose immigrants to the kind of risk-taking that leads to innovation, Michelle Downie, the report's author, told CBC News.
A study suggests better integrating immigrants will help Canada 
overcome its poor record on innovation.A study suggests better integrating immigrants will help Canada overcome its poor record on innovation. (CBC) "They tend to be very driven and they want to exceed their own expectations, so they're always pursuing more and trying to work harder."
An earlier report by the Conference Board, an Ottawa-based non-profit research organization, suggested Canada lags behind other advanced economies in innovation, ranking it 14th out of 17 in its capacity to develop new approaches in research and development.
The study, which reviewed existing research from various sources but also included interviews with executives, found that immigrants were associated with increased innovation in Canada.
The board said the interview sample was not large enough to be representative of all Canadian business, but found a number of measures that suggest employers benefit from hiring and integrating immigrants.
'Diversity of perspective is very important to innovation.'—Michelle Downie, report author
Sometimes, the fact that their views diverge from mainstream corporate culture is what makes their advice more valuable.
"That diversity of perspective is very important to innovation," said Downie.
"If you have people with the same experiences looking at the same problem, they may not see it in a different way. Sometimes bringing somebody in with a new perspective, who's had a different life experience, has had different training, they can see a problem a little differently and they might come up with a new solution."
The study also found immigrants pull above their weight in contributing to advanced research.
Although immigrants represent 20 per cent of the population, at least 35 per cent of university research chairs are foreign born.
It also suggested immigration resulted in increased trade with immigrants' countries of origin.
The Conference Board's model suggested a one-percentage-point increase in the number of immigrants could increase imports by 0.21 per cent and raise exports to countries of origin by 0.11 per cent.
Downie's research also suggested foreign direct investment into Canada was greater from countries that are well represented in Canada through immigration.

Obstacles limit contribution

But it also determined that immigrants face obstacles that limit their ability to contribute as innovators, including inadequate recognition of their experience and qualifications, and the failure of employers to use their knowledge of foreign languages in tapping into international markets.
Ottawa introduced measures in 2009 to speed up the recognition of foreign credentials and has expanded the role of overseas offices to better prepare immigrants before they enter the labour force here.
"It is hopefully going to make a difference for the regulated professions [such as accounting or engineering]," said Downie.
Downie found about half the executives interviewed were taking steps to better use their immigrant employees.
"There are a number of employers who are taking steps to ask their employees, particularly their immigrant employees, about the knowledge they have of diverse markets or how they can use their language abilities to help them in a new markets," she said.

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Immigrants help boost Canada’s innovation

The Ryerson University Library in Toronto, Ont...Image via Wikipedia
Nicholas Keung Immigration Reporter

Guang Jun Liu arrived in Toronto in 1990 with a master’s degree in robotic control from China.Today, the Ryerson University professor is the Canada Research Chair in control systems and robotics, specializing in control systems in aircraft and mobile robots, and working with groups such as the Canadian Space Agency.
According to a new Conference Board of Canada study, Liu is living proof of how immigrants can help boost Canada’s stature in innovation, which ranks 14th out of 17 industrialized countries.
“Productivity and innovation are critical for economic development,” said the report, titled Immigrants as Innovators: Boosting Canada’s Global Competitiveness. “At every level of analysis, immigrants are shown to have an impact on innovation performance that is benefiting Canada.”
Examining the relationship between immigrants and innovation in areas such as research, culture, business and global commerce, the report found that:
 •  At least 35 per cent of an estimated 1,800 Canada Research Chairs are foreign-born, even though immigrants are just one-fifth of the Canadian population.
 •  Immigrants to Canada win proportionally more prestigious literary and performing arts awards, comprising 23 per cent of Giller Prize finalists and 29 per cent of winners; 23 per cent of Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards winners are immigrants;
 •  Immigration increases innovation by expanding Canada’s trade relations. A 1 per cent increase in the number of immigrants to Canada corresponds to an increase in imports of 0.21 per cent and exports by 0.11 per cent.
Yet, despite the enormous benefits that newcomers can bring to Canada, the report notes they still face “onerous and often unnecessary obstacles” that limit their potential.
These include inadequate recognition of international experience and qualifications, failure of employers to tap foreign language skills which could be employed in international markets, and lack of opportunities for newcomers to fully use their skills
Liu said he, too, had a tough time when he first came to Canada as a visiting scholar and later enrolled in the University of Toronto’s robot control PhD program.
“Language is a big obstacle. Technically, my English was good, but you need to be able to speak good English and communicate well to get published,” he said. “I was lucky to get my credentials recognized and have had some good employers.”
The report recommends employers hire immigrants at all levels of their organization, including in leadership roles; match the staff’s diversity to that of their markets; and encourage immigrant employees to share their diverse points of view, a key for innovation.
Innovative Immigrants in Canada
 •  K.Y. Ho came from China in 1984 and started the graphics company ATI with two other immigrants from Hong Kong. The company pulled in $10 million in revenue in its first year and was acquired for $5.4 billion by AMD in 2007.
 •  Mike Lazaridis came from Turkey in 1966 and founded Research in Motion (RIM), which created and manufactures the BlackBerry.
 •  Peter Munk came from Hungary in the 1940s and founded Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold-mining corporation.
 •  Stella Melo came from Brazil in 1996. An atmospheric physicist, she has developed equipment and models to study the conditions of the atmosphere. The data she collects are used for weather forecasting and to examine people’s long-term impacts on the planet.
Source: Immigrants as Innovators: Boosting Canada’s Global Competitiveness
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Project helps immigrants connect with workforce

TD Canada Trust Tower, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaImage via Wikipedia

Mentorship offers both learning and networking

There's an old saying in business that often it's not what you know but who you know when it comes to landing a job.
Era Wegad can attest to that.
Wegad, who came to Canada from India a couple of years ago, was able to secure a position in early September as a group sales representative for Equitable Life Insurance thanks to networking and connections her mentor, Mandy Lelke of TD Insurance, had in the community.
Wegad was one of 34 skilled immigrants who have completed a pilot project in the city through the Calgary Region Immigration Employment Council, which connected them with mentors in their fields to improve their chances for employment.
"It did help me in getting my self-confidence and self-esteem better because I saw people in the program believing in me. I thought, 'They believe in me, so I should believe in myself,' " said Wegad, who worked in the life insurance industry in India. "They helped me boost my confidence for sure and (gave) me direction.
"Mandy helped me as to the insurance licence I could get if I needed it. Also, networking and connecting me with the right people."
Job hunting can be hard enough when you know people, but when you're lacking local connections of any kind, it can be far more difficult.
Of 34 successful mentormentee relationships in the council's pilot project, seven mentees have so far secured local employment in their respective fields, with a number of others currently undergoing job interviews.
The employment council's 16-week Mentoring Collaborative is designed to provide skilled immigrants with the tools to secure meaningful employment in their fields, from engineering, engineering services, human resources, IT and project management to sales, accounting and auditing.
Community partner organizations included Bow Valley College, Immigrant Services Calgary, the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association and the Centre for Newcomers -- all of which recruit job-ready skilled immigrants as mentees. Local employers such as Flint Energy, TransCanada Corp., Canadian Pacific Railway, Calgary Airport Authority, TD Canada Trust, Royal Bank of Canada and SMART Technologies recruited appropriate employees as mentors.
"Our purpose is to help local leaders with immigrant employment strategies. The mentoring program is just one of our initiatives," said Marie-France Varin, the council's project leader.
"The reason we went with piloting that first was because there was such a success in Toronto with that similar program."
She said the pilot program will continue.
"We connect skilled immigrants with their Canadian counterpart in an occupation-specific mentoring relationship," she said.
"The main purpose of that relationship is to help these individuals understand their profession within a Canadian context.
"It's also for them to acquire effective job search strategies that are aligned with Canadian standards, and for them to get a better understanding of how to showcase their skills and their talents in their resume and (make sure) the resume does follow Canadian standards."
Also, with many professionals, it's helping them get their professional accreditation in their chosen fields.
"Often it's not what you know, but who you know. And what this program does is it truly connects them with their colleagues in their profession."
Lelke, who mentored Wegad for the 16 weeks beginning in June, said the pilot project connects people from professions in other countries to professionals here.
"It's a good strong match so that they're not just applying for something that is just kind of coming their way and then they're just really not satisfied," said Lelke.
"It's nice to be able to integrate people into the society into what their profession is without them having to go through again the challenges of finding employment just to find employment without something that directly relates to what they've done in the past."
A celebration of the program is being held on Thursday with mentors, mentees and partner organizations coming together.

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Changes to assessing the genuineness of spousal, common-law or conjugal relationships

Emerald Lake Yoho N.P. CanadaImage by swisscan via Flickr
Donna Habsha 
By Bomza Law Group
A significant amendment to section 4 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations was brought into force on September 30, 2010.   
The former regulation 4 provision required two mandatory elements for determining “bad faith” relationships:
  1. relationship is not genuine; and
  2. it was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Both elements had to be met when refusing a sponsorship application under the spousal, common-law or conjugal relationship category and when supporting that decision on appeal.
The amended regulation 4 provision now provides for each of the two “bad faith” tests to stand on its own. The amended regulation reads as follows:
4. (1) For the purposes of these Regulations, a foreign national shall not be considered a spouse, a common-law partner or a conjugal partner of a person if the marriage, common-law partnership or conjugal partnership
(a) was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Act; or
(b) is not genuine.
The requirement that only one of the two criteria will need to be present to determine that a relationship is not bona fide lowers the threshold required to be met in order to refuse an application under this category. Moreover, since a hearing before the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) is considered to be a fresh hearing of the case, the IAD will base its decisions on the law that is presently in force as opposed to the law that was in force at the time of the original decision made by the officer. 
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Employers say hiring foreign-trained workers has challenges

By Norma Greenaway, Postmedia News
OTTAWA — About half of Canadian employers say their appetite for hiring foreign-trained workers is reduced because of difficulties assessing their abilities, according to an internal survey commissioned by the federal government.
Employers' qualms about hiring workers trained abroad revolved around the challenges of evaluating their education credentials, their language skills and their work experience, the survey said.
It also said interest in hiring foreign workers was lowest among small business owners, who make up the bulk of Canada's employers, and highest among larger companies.
The survey, conducted by Ekos Research Associates in March for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, involved telephone interviews with 519 small, medium and large companies and 15 business organizations.
Speeding recognition of foreign credentials of newcomers has been a major preoccupation for the Conservatives and the in-depth survey suggests they are carefully tracking the mood of business around the subject.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney acknowledged the uphill nature of getting employers to hire foreign-trained workers Tuesday at an event in Ottawa where he announced the expansion of a program that allows foreigners to work as interns to gain temporary work experience.
The program provided 29 internships within the immigration and human resources departments last year. The number will climb to more than 60 this year, Kenney said, because six more departments and agencies have signed on.
Kenney called the initiative a modest beginning that, he hopes, will send a message to all levels of government and the private sector "to find concrete ways to open doors of opportunity."
The single biggest hurdle immigrants face in getting a good job in their field of expertise is a lack of Canadian work experience, he told reporters.
New Democrat Olivia Chow welcomed expansion of the federal internship program, something the Commons immigration committee had recommended.
But Chow, the party's immigration critic, said it falls far short of what is needed to address the problem of too many highly-educated immigrants ending up jobless or underemployed.
"We need leadership here," she said, dismissing the hiring of 60 interns as "barely a step" forward.
She urged Kenney to adopt the committee's recommendations to provide financial incentives or tax breaks to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to hire workers trained abroad and to ensure more prospective immigrants start the process of getting their credentials as doctors, pharmacists and other specialties recognized before they come to Canada.
Chow said only 10 per cent of immigrants are currently taking advantage of the existing pre-assessment opportunity to start the process before they arrive here.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau urged the government to devote more money to language programs for immigrants as part of a broader effort to stop the slide in their economic opportunities that has happened over the last decade or so. He said providing financial incentives to encourage small businesses to hire foreign-trained workers would "absolutely" be one of the best ways to assist immigrants, who, Trudeau says, are vital to Canada's future economic health.
"Unless we are serious about addressing the big issues around immigration," he said, "then we're going to be playing catch up when the rest of the world starts fighting over the best and the brightest, as they are going to, because everywhere in the western world birthrates are down."
The internal survey also made clear the government has a major job ahead to convince employers to pay attention to opportunities for hiring foreign-trained workers.
It said more than nine of 10 employers surveyed said they had never heard of the Foreign Credential Referral Office, a vehicle the Harper government created three years ago to help newcomers get their credentials recognized more quickly so they can try to match their skills to jobs.
This week, a fresh spotlight was cast on the struggle immigrants have in finding good jobs with the release of a report that said recent immigrants with a university education had an unemployment rate last year that was four times higher than non-immigrants with the same education level.
The report, prepared by the Community Foundations of Canada, says recent immigrants have been hardest hit by the recession.
The jobless rate for recent immigrants with university education is "disturbing," Kenney said, and illustrates why the government is pushing to speed recognition of foreign credentials and putting more resources into helping newcomers improve their language proficiency.

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Government of Canada Launches New Federal Internship for Newcomers Program

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 5, 2010) - Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today announced a new program to help newcomers gain valuable Canadian work experience, a significant hurdle for many immigrants.
"Newcomers are key to building a stronger Canada," said Minister Kenney. "The Federal Internship for Newcomers program helps immigrants use their skills in the Canadian labour market as they begin their new lives in Canada."
This program offers newcomers the opportunity to acquire temporary Canadian work experience in fields relevant to their skills and experience. Newcomers can benefit from work placements within the federal government, which facilitates a smoother integration into the Canadian labour market for program participants.
"Our government is committed to helping newcomers succeed," said Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. "This program is an example of how we are taking action so that newcomers can maximize their talents and contribute to Canada's long-term economic success."
Over the past two years, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) piloted two similar internship initiatives. This year, in addition to CIC and HRSDC, several other federal departments and agencies are taking part in the expanded initiative, including: Health Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, Natural Resources Canada, and the Canada Border Services Agency. Compared to last year, these additional organizations represent a quadrupling of the number of federal organizations offering opportunities to newcomers. Besides these organizations, a number of other departments and agencies have already confirmed their interest in participating in the program.
Over the past year, CIC and HRSDC were able to extend opportunities to 29 interns. This year, the number has more than doubled, with over 60 interns participating in the fall intake.
In addition to the policy, program and administrative positions offered last year, new internship positions have been added in fields such as finance, translation, communication and science.
The expansion of this program follows up on a recommendation by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. In addition to the departments and agencies that are ready to hire interns this fall, many others have expressed interest in a future intake. As the new program gains popularity, it is expected that the numbers will only increase as more federal organizations join the program. CIC and participating departments and agencies are partnering with World University Services Canada, Local Agencies Serving Immigrants, Hire Immigrants Ottawa, and Service Intégration Travail Outaouais to select interns


Changes Give Manitoba Competitive Advantage to Retain Best, Brightest: Selinger

Premier Greg Selinger today announced changes to Manitoba’s successful Provincial Nominee Program that would make it faster and easier for international students to stay and work in the province.
“International students bring many benefits to our economy and communities, and we want to ensure we can continue to attract and retain the best and the brightest,” said Selinger. “We are making Manitoba a destination of choice for international students and meeting the needs of businesses by providing them with better access to highly skilled and well-trained employees.”
Beginning in 2011, international graduates from a post-secondary educational program of at least two academic years at a Manitoba institution will be able to apply immediately to the Provincial Nominee Program in advance of receiving an offer of employment. Previously, international graduates could only apply to the Provincial Nominee Program after working for a Manitoba employer for at least six months.
As part of the changes, international students applying for the fast-track program will also enrol in an employment-readiness program upon completion of their studies. The program will include job readiness, career coaching and job-matching services.
“By fast-tracking the immigration process for international graduates and helping them integrate into the job market, Manitoba will be well positioned to compete for and retain our highly skilled workers,” said Selinger.
In 2009, Manitoba welcomed 13,518 newcomers, 75 per cent of whom came through the Provincial Nominee Program. Last year, 203 international students were accepted to the Provincial Nominee Program, three times more than in 2005. The top source countries of International Students nominated to Manitoba are China (65 per cent), India (five per cent), Bangladesh (three per cent), Korea and Pakistan (two per cent each). The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program has approved over 1,000 international students since 2005.
Manitoba had 5,384 international students studying at Manitoba institutions in 2009.

"Changes to application requirements under the Federal Skilled Worker and Canadian Experience Classes", focus on business immigration - September 2010

Sydney, Nova Scotia (photo taken by me)Image via Wikipedia
  • Canada
  • September 28 2010
The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has the authority to issue instructions regarding the processing of immigration applications. Pursuant to Ministerial Instructions issued on June 26, 2010 (the “MI”), the Minister introduced the following changes:
  1. an annual limit to the number of applications to be processed in the Federal Skilled Worker (“FSW”) class;
  2. removal of the FSW category for temporary foreign workers and international students living in Canada for one year;
  3. a revised list of NOC code occupations eligible for FSW priority processing; and
  4. mandatory testing for language proficiency for FSW and Canadian Experience Class (“CEC”) applicants.  
The MI affects all applications received by the Centralized Intake Office (“CIO”) in Sydney, Nova Scotia on or after June 26, 2010. All applications received by the CIO prior to that date will be processed according to the Minister’s instructions issued on November 28, 2010. (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Operational Bulletin 218 – June 28, 2010 [“OB”], online at Operational Bulletin 218).
Category Cut
The MI eliminates the FSW class of applications for temporary foreign workers and international students living in Canada for one year. As such, skilled workers are limited to applying under the FSW class categories for applicants with arranged employment offers (“AEO”), and applicants with experience in the last ten years under one or more of the list of eligible NOC code occupations (“NOC List”). Applications received by the CIO on or after of June 26, 2010 must meet the criteria of either of these two categories to be placed into processing (OB).
Cap on Processing
Exclusive of AEO applications, a maximum of 20,000 FSW applications will be considered for processing each year. Within that 20,000, an annual maximum of 1,000 applications per NOC Code will be considered for processing. Applications will be considered in order, by the date of receipt, with applications received on the same day being considered in accordance with routine office procedures. The first year of cap calculations runs from June 26, 2010 to June 30, 2011. Subsequent years will be calculated from July 1 to June 30 unless otherwise indicated in future MIs (OB).
Revised NOC List
The MI reduced the number of occupations eligible for the FSW program from 38 to 29. The occupations removed from the list include managers in finance, health care and construction, computer and information systems, university professors and vocational instructors. Occupations added to the list include: psychologists; social workers; dental hygienists; pharmacists; dentists; architects; biologists; insurance adjusters; claims examiners; primary industry production managers (except agriculture); and professions in business, services and management. Applicants must have one year of continuous full‐time or equivalent paid work experience in at least one of the listed NOC codes, and not combine partial year experience in multiple NOCs on the List (Canada Gazette Part 1, June 26, 2010, n. 3 at 1670 [“Gazette”]).
The complete list is as follows (Gazette at 1670‐ 1671):
  • 0631 Restaurant and Food Service Managers
  • 0811 Primary Production Managers (Except Agriculture)  
  • 1122 Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management  
  • 1233 Insurance Adjusters and Claims Examiners  
  • 2121 Biologists and Related Scientists  
  • 2151 Architects  
  • 3111 Specialist Physicians  
  • 3112 General Practitioners and Family Physicians  
  • 3113 Dentists  
  • 3131 Pharmacists
  • 3142 Physiotherapists
  • 3152 Registered Nurses
  • 3215 Medical Radiation Technologists
  • 3222 Dental Hygienists & Dental Therapists
  • 3233 Licensed Practical Nurses
  • 4151 Psychologists
  • 4152 Social Workers
  • 6241 Chefs
  • 6242 Cooks
  • 7215 Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades  
  • 7216 Contractors and Supervisors, Mechanic Trades  
  • 7241 Electricians (Except Industrial & Power System)  
  • 7242 Industrial Electricians  
  • 7251 Plumbers  
  • 7265 Welders & Related Machine Operators  
  • 7312 Heavy‐Duty Equipment Mechanics
  • 7371 Crane Operators  
  • 7372 Drillers & Blasters ‐ Surface Mining, Quarrying & Construction  
  • 8222 Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service  
Applications on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds
FSW applications accompanied by a request for processing on humanitarian and compassionate grounds must be identified for processing under the MI in order to be processed (i.e. the application must meet the AEO or NOC List category requirements to be eligible for processing) (Gazette at 1671).
Language Proficiency
As of June 26, 2010, all FSW and CEC applications must be accompanied by the results of the principal applicant’s English or French Language Proficiency Assessment in order to be considered for processing. Only test results from a designated third party language testing agency will be accepted (Gazette, n. 2 at 1670). Currently, there is a two‐month waiting list for examinations in Alberta, so applicants are advised to book well in advance of submitting their application.
Summary of Application Requirements
Applicants must submit the completed application forms, together with all supporting documents (i.e. those listed on both the CIO and visa office specific document checklists). The CIO will review the application for completeness. If the application is incomplete, the entire package will be returned to the applicant.
To be eligible for processing, FSW applications received by the CIO on or after June 26, 2010 must:
  1. meet the criteria of either the AEO or NOC List categories;
  2. be accompanied by the results of the principal applicant’s language proficiency assessment; and
  3. not exceed the identified caps.
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Third country nationals applying for non-immigrant visas at US consulates in Canada must be aware of changes in appointment procedures

A B1/B2 visa to the United StatesImage via Wikipedia
Lynda S. Zengerle Elizabeth (Liz) Laskey La Rocca
Thousands of non-immigrant visa applicants who are in the United States choose to apply for their non-immigrant visa at US consulates in Canada or Mexico rather than traveling back to their home countries. This is commonly referred to as Third Country processing. Third Country Nationals (TCNs) seeking non-immigrant visa appointments with a US consulate in Canada need to be aware of recent changes in the process. These procedural changes went into effect September 1, 2010. Previously, appointments were made by using the fee-based Visa Appointment Reservation System (NVARS) and visa application fees were paid at Scotiabank before attending the visa interview. The new appointment system requires applicants to use CSC Visa Information Services to apply for a US visa at a US consulate in Canada.   
As of September 1, 2010, under the new system, persons must first pay the visa application fee (MRV) online in order to be able to make a visa appointment. Because fees must be paid in advance online before being able to check the availability of appointments, this may pose scheduling problems for prospective visa applicants.
Applicants who paid the MRV fee before September 1, 2010, but did not set an appointment have a grace period to use that MRV fee to schedule an appointment through October 1, 2010. After October 1, it will be necessary to pay the fee again in order to make the appointment.
TCNs must be mindful that appointments are not automatic. Two issues which must be dealt with by a TCN seeking to apply for a visa in Canada are 1) getting a visa to enter Canada from the Canadian government. The CSC Visa Information Services website has some helpful entry permit information for TCNs considering applying for a visa in Canada and 2) getting a US consulate to exercise its discretion to process the visa application.
Consular officials have been advised that they can refuse to issue a visa and refer the applicant to his/her home country for processing in cases where the post believes the case fits into a profile indicating fraud or where the applicant has been out of status. Depending on the length of time and the circumstances causing the unlawful presence in the United States, a TCN may need legal assistance to present the case properly and overcome a discretionary refusal on the part of the consular official. Additionally, persons who entered the United States only under the Visa Waiver Pilot Program may also be subject to difficulties in processing at a third country post since their biographical data has previously never been formally submitted to a US consulate abroad.
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British Wanted in Canada

The Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of FameImage via WikipediaOne of Canada's Largest Regions Wants to Attract British Immigrants
Northwestern Ontario, one of Canada's largest yet most sparsely populated regions, wants to attract British immigrants. The 32 diverse communities that make up this relatively unknown region along Lake Superior, have come together to launch a new immigration recruitment strategy that promises British newcomers the best of all worlds.
Northwestern Ontario's communities are actively inviting the British to find a new home, job or business opportunity in the region. With only one out of its 32 communities having a population greater than 10,000, the focus of this new strategy is to promote community renewal through population growth, knowledge and investment attraction, and other economic development opportunities.
In particular, new graduates and skilled workers are wanted because there are currently more positions to be filled in certain sectors than there are qualified candidates. The regional labour market has a very urgent need for professionals in the health care, science and technology sectors. Furthermore, an aging population has resulted in a surplus of businesses for sale.
Northwestern Ontario is located in the centre of Canada and while the region may not be easily recognizable by name, its assets are recognized worldwide. They include the nature of Lake Superior; the world's largest freshwater lake, and the City of Thunder Bay; recently voted the most affordable urban centre to live in the world. A small but steadily growing population of British newcomers has started to discover Northwestern Ontario as an immigration destination in Canada.
Stephanie Suarez immigrated to Thunder Bay at age 26. Disillusioned by the escalating cost of living and poor quality of life in England, Stephanie opened her own business in Northwestern Ontario. Within 3 years, she had won several business awards including Influential Young Woman of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and one of Canada's Top10 One's to Watch by Canadian Marketing Magazine.
Says Stephanie; "I would have to be a multi-millionaire in London, England to live the type of lifestyle I enjoy in Northwestern Ontario. I am the envy of my British friends who face long commutes and work days just to pay for a shared apartment, let alone start a family or their own business. I am certain that the opportunities in Northwestern Ontario are unmatched anywhere else in the world."
Fifty-something's, Stephen and Rita Ash, recently sold their 3-bedroom semi in West Yorkshire to retire to Northwestern Ontario. "We are enjoying a retirement lifestyle here that would never have been within our reach in England. We can golf, sail, travel and eat in the best restaurants on a pension that would have only covered basic living costs back home. Add the low crime rate, cleanliness and friendly people, and it reminds us of what England used to be like years ago," says Stephen Ash.
Northwestern Ontario's communities have launched a new website portal to help prospective newcomers learn more about living, working, learning and doing business in the region. In addition, a marketing campaign is running across major cities in Britain over the next few months. The initiative has been funded by the Ontario and federal governments through the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement.
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