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Canada is a happy place

The clock in Downtown Vancouver displaying a c...Image via Wikipedia

Dan Chalcraft

Posted 10 hours ago


Just think for a minute: What makes you happy? Well, for many people the word "happy" begins with a sufficient amount of money to enjoy life and be comfortable such as to have the ability to do what you want and buy what you want.
These material items could include a nice home, cars, clothes, participating in leisure activities along with food to eat. However, being happy in life is much more than having money and materialist objects. Furthermore, it means being healthy, being free from pain or injury, being self sufficient and enjoying time with family and friends. In addition, being happy is based on being able to speak what's on your mind without fear, to worship the God of your choosing and to feel safe and secure in your own home. Happiness means having opportunity to get an education and to be an entrepreneur.
Now, that I've explained happines , researchers at the Legatum Institute, a London-based non-partisan think-tank set out five years ago to rank the happiest countries in the world. They referred to it as the 2010 Prosperity Index since 'happy' carries a more softer connotation to it. It ranks 110 countries and covers 90 per cent of the world's population.
To properly categorize each county, the London-based think tank gathered upwards of a dozen international surveys completed by groups such as the Gallup polling group, the Heritage Foundation, and the World Economic Forum. Each country is ranked on 89 variables sorted into eight subsections: economy, entrepreneurship, governance, education, health, safety, personal freedom and social capital.
Canada is often the place where people want to be so they can be in a place where they are accepted for who they are and can contribute to be a productive members of sociey. Canadians are known as happy people; an example of that pride, joy and happiness could be seen at the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia in February and March of 2010. According to the Index, Canada was ranked as the seventh happiest country in the world due to it's place as a country where personal freedom is plentiful, and immigrants are welcomed. Corruption is very low, and social capital is high with Canadians eager to help others and donate to charity.
Seventy-five per cent of people believe their city is a good place to start a business which provides opportunity and entreneurship. It indicates that business startup costs are inexpensive, technology is thriving with there being a lot of cell-phones and plenty of secure Internet servers and a pre conceived notion that working hard gets you ahead. Norway was ranked as the most prosperous county due to having the world's highest per capita gross domestic product. Norwegians have the second highest level of satisfaction with their standards of living at 95 per cent. Norwegians say that they are satisfied with the freedom to choose the direction of their lives. Being a small country helps as they don't face the same challenges of big countries like having so many disparate groups such as ethnic, geographic, and civic battling against each other.
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Brain Gain' Pilot Project Launched in Ontario

Canadian parliament from the Musée Canadienne ...Image via Wikipedia
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 30, 2011) - More Canadians working abroad could soon return home and contribute to Canada's economy, thanks to an innovative pilot project launched in Ontario, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.
"It's a reverse brain drain," said Minister Kenney. "We're making it easier for Canadians abroad to bring their skills home and contribute to the Canada of tomorrow."
For some Canadian workers living abroad, an obstacle to returning to Canada is that their non-Canadian spouse, common-law partner or dependent children may be unable to work until they are processed as permanent residents, which usually takes between six months and one year.
Since November 22, family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning to work in Ontario in the health care and academic sectors have been able to get temporary work permits immediately upon arriving in Canada. Ontario's health and academic sectors have faced significant skill and labour shortages in recent years and were identified as the most appropriate sectors for the pilot project.
"By encouraging highly-skilled workers to come back to Canada, we are laying the foundation for long-term economic growth," added the Minister. 
A pledge to establish this pilot project was included in the 2008 Temporary Foreign Worker agreement between the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario. It is operating on a trial basis until May 22, 2012. Upon completion of the pilot project, the government will evaluate the initiative's effectiveness.
For more details on this initiative, please see the Backgrounder.
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CitImmCanada 
BACKGROUNDER
Ontario Pilot Project for Spouses, Common-Law Partners and Dependents of Returning Canadian Workers
This pilot project in Ontario allows spouses, common-law partners and dependent children of certain Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning to Ontario, to receive open work permits that would allow them to accept any job with any employer in the province.
To be eligible to participate in the pilot, applicants must:
  • be a spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident returning to work in Ontario,
  • have an application underway to immigrate to Canada through sponsorship in the family class,
  • be old enough to work in Ontario,
  • meet all admissibility criteria to come to Canada as a temporary resident.
The sponsoring spouse or parent must:
  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • have left Canada and be returning to work permanently in Ontario, as a health professional or an academic for post-secondary public institutions, in one of the specified occupations listed below;
  • with their employer, obtain a letter from the Province of Ontario confirming their employment, location and occupation and provide it as supporting documentation with the work permit application; and
  • have submitted an application to CIC to sponsor their spouse or dependent child.
List of specified occupations
Health Professionals
Post-Secondary Education (Academics) for Public Institutions
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Immigration drives construction, provincial economy

Ross Fountain and geraniums, Butchart Gardens,...Image by Martin LaBar via Flickr
When you want to see how strong B.C.’s construction industry is going to be, look at the number of people deciding to call British Columbia home.
The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association examined the link between immigration, construction and the economy in its recently released Winter 2010-11 edition of Construction Monitor.
“Almost everyone in Canada will tell you that immigrants built this country. They came to this nation and built lives for themselves and their children,” said ICBA president Philip Hochstein. “But people might be surprised to hear that immigrants are still driving the economy – especially in B.C. and especially in construction.”
Hochstein said the link between immigration and construction is clear – and its importance will only grow.
“Instead of taking jobs away, immigrants help grow the job pool and drive construction – housing, commercial and industrial,” Hochstein said. “Of all provinces, the construction sector is the largest contributor to the economy here in B.C. Immigration can help keep that strong.”
Immigration will continue growing in importance for our economy as declining birthrates flip B.C.’s natural rate of increase to a natural rate of decrease.
“Other provinces may track other economy-driving indicators like oil, agriculture, or manufacturing and financial services, but it’s clear that B.C. needs to keep an eye on immigration,” Hochstein added. “All British Columbians will win if we continue to see people from across the globe decide to call B.C. home.”
A full copy of the report is at icba.ca.

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Immigration helps Canada’s population grow as job prospects improve

North Lake harbour in eastern Prince Edward Is...Image via Wikipedia
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY CHARLES KELLY ON JANUARY 29, 2011
POSTED UNDER: NEWS
Canada’s population increased by an estimated 129,300 (1.5% quarter over quarter at annual rates) in the third quarter of 2010, thanks to a net inflow of international immigrants (+84,200).
After a dip in the second quarter of 2009, and with the recovery of the economy, Canada’s rate of population growth has steadily accelerated since the third quarter of 2009.
Canada’s population now stands at 34,238,000, just over half the UK population and around a tenth of similar sized neighbour the United States, which recorded 308 million people in 2010.
In fact Canada’s entire population is only slightly larger than the number of people living in the metropolitan areas of New York and Los Angeles.
Prince Edward Island recorded the fastest population growth in the third quarter (+2.8% q/q at annual rates). In the quarter, PEI’s population increased by 975 to 143,200.
British Columbia was the second fastest rate of population growth in the third quarter (+1.9%). Despite a slowdown in net interprovincial in-migration from 2,000 in Q2 to 600, the province’s population increased by 20,900 to 4,551,800 as a result of a net inflow of 10,300 international migrants and 5,600 non permanent residents.
A steady strengthening in employment in Central Canada relative to the rest of the country that started in mid-2009 and has persisted through 2010 is reducing the net outflow of migrants from both Ontario and Quebec to other provinces.
Ontario’s population increased in the third quarter by 1.8% to 13,268,600 due to a combination of sustained net international in-migration (+38,464) and net gain of 2,100 migrants from other provinces.
Quebec saw its population grow by 1.3% q/q annualized to 7,932,000 as a result of a 14,600 inflow of international migrants and no change in net interprovincial migration.
In Western Canada, Saskatchewan’s population growth of 1.6% outpaced Alberta and Manitoba both of which saw gains of 1.5% in the third quarter.
While the gain in population in all three provinces was supported by strong net inflows of international migrants, in Alberta almost two thirds of the increase was due to natural increase (i.e., births minus deaths).
Looking ahead at the prospects ahead, recent signs of stronger employment growth in Western Canadasuggest population growth in the West will accelerate vis-à-vis the rest of the country through 2011.
Source and figures: John Clinkard Daily Commercial News
John Clinkard has over 30 years’ experience as an economist in international, national and regional research and analysis with leading financial institutions and media outlets in Canada.
Canada is the largest country in the Western Hemisphere and second only to Russia is size. China, Brazil and the US have a similar land mass, but all have much larger populations.
Unlike many countries in the west, Canada has plenty of room to grow and needs lots of skilled workers to migrate to Canada.
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A sign for students: ‘Canada admission guaranteed’

This is Satish Kumar PhotoImage via Wikipedia
“Canada Admission Guaranteed” touts the banner promoting one of Satish Kumar’s latest ventures.
The intrepid entrepreneur, 46, started Royal International Abroad Study Consulting Services (RIAS) three-and-a-half years ago.
Mr. Kumar saw an opportunity to provide assistance in his booming hometown of Jaipur to middle-class parents who want to get their children into college and post-graduate programs in Britain, the United States, Australia and Canada. Hundreds have sought his counsel.
“Actually, we are a real estate company, but I thought this might be a good business also. Many want to study in Canada,” the RIAS founder says.
Mr. Kumar’s advertisement hangs prominently in one of India’s many shiny new shopping malls, in a space over a Subway, the U.S. sandwich chain that has nearly 200 branches in the subcontinent. In so many ways, the new India is highly aspirational, with a taste for the international.
As the country’s economy continues its impressive economic growth and competition to get into elite colleges increases, more and more Indian parents who can afford it are exploring the option of sending children abroad to study.
Two years ago, 160,000 Indian students – most heading to Britain – spent $4 billion (U.S.) on their education away from home. Only 2,500 were enrolled in Canada. Today that number has approximately doubled.
Canada welcomed 178,000 international students last year, according to government statistics, and contributed more than $6 billion (Canadian) to the economy.
With a large English-speaking population and a culture that prizes educational achievement, India has become a target for Canadian college and university recruiters, who see it as a potentially lucrative market.
Last fall, an official delegation travelled to key Indian cities to network and explore how to attract more of the country’s best and brightest to Canadian schools.
“Studying in Canada is so costly,” Mr. Kumar says, “but people want to go because everyone wants to try schools in other countries and parents want their children to have success in life.”
In India, foreign college and graduate degrees are considered prestigious. Companies have sprouted all over the country, pitching the kind of services Mr. Kumar offers. In the case of RIAS, its founder says students don’t pay him, the firm collects money from recruiting schools for every applicant.
At many other agencies, the student shoulders the costs. Fees range from a few hundred dollars for basic help with forms and visas, to the thousands of dollars for assistance that includes preparation for tests, school applications and immigration guidance.
Though he has employees, Mr. Kumar has long been familiar with the process of finding and settling into a school in Canada. His daughter, who is in her 20s, got into acting school in Vancouver.
“She likes it very much.”
Special to the Globe and Mail
Alexandra A. Seno has written about economics and business trends in Asia since 1994. She is a regular contributor to Newsweek, the International Herald Tribune and The Wall Street Journal Asia. She lives in Hong Kong.
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Emigrate to Ontario under the Provincial Nominee Program

Since February 2009, the Ontario Pilot Provincial Nominee Program (Pilot PNP) has been known as Opportunities Ontario: Provincial Nominee Program.

As with other Canadian PNPs, Opportunities Ontario is employer driven. You may only apply if your employer is pre-screened, the position is approved and your employer provides you with a nominee application package from Opportunities Ontario.
You will need to submit your application to the province first and then apply for a permanent resident visa through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as a Provincial Nominee, once Ontario approves your application.
Applicants to the Opportunities Ontario program can apply under one of five categories:
  • Foreign Workers (General Category)
  • Investors
  • Students with a Job Offer
  • PhD Graduates
  • Masters Graduates

Foreign Workers (General Category)

Skilled workers may be able to apply to Opportunities Ontario under the general category if:
  • Their prospective employer has first applied for a pre-screening of a position
  • The position has been approved
  • Their prospective employer has sent an approval letter, a signed Joint Verification form and a Pre-screen Position form
  • However, the three points above are not a guarantee of approval. To be eligible, you also need to:
  • Have at least two years of work experience within the previous five years in the intended occupation, or have appropriate registration in Ontario (NB: Unpaid, unathorised or volunteer experience will not be accepted)
  • Have an approved, permanent full-time job offer in a skilled occupation (NOC 0, A or B)
  • Have been offered a wage that meets the prevailing wage level for the intended occupation
  • Have legal status if you are already residing in Canada
Please note that after the issue of your employer pre-screen approved position form, you have 60 days to submit your application to Opportunities Ontario.
For more information on how to apply under the Foreign Worker (General Category) stream, please review the Application Guide for Nominees.

Investors (General Category)

The Investors stream allows companies making an investment in Ontario to recruit or relocate key employees to ensure the long-term success of their investment.
Recruited or relocated employees under the Investors category must meet the same eligibility requirements as those under the Foreign Workers (General Category).
Review the brochure of information for investors for additional information on how to apply.

Students with a Job Offer (International Student Category)

Ontario employers can extend permanent, full-time job offers to international students who have completed their post-secondary education at a publicly-funded Canadian institution. These students can then be eligible to apply for an Ontario Provincial Nomination Certificate.
In order to apply under the International Student Category, you must:
  • Have completed at least half of your studies in Canada, and have graduated or will soon be graduating from an eligible publicly funded Canadian college or university (NB: You must send proof of graduation with their application)
  • Have completed a minimum of a two-year diploma or degree program, while studying on a full-time basis. One-year post-graduate degree programs and certificate programs, which require a previous degree or diploma (which may have been obtained abroad), are also eligible
  • Have a job offer in a managerial, professional or skilled trades occupation (NOC 0, A or B). The job offer does not have to be related to the field of study.
  • Have a job offer that is permanent and full-time and meets the entry level wage for the occupation, rather than the prevailing wage required for applicants in the General Category
  • Apply within two years of the date on which you received your degree or diploma, or in the alternative, during the last semester of completing your degree or diploma
  • Have legal status, if you are already residing in Canada
  • Have received your employer’s approval letter, signed Joint Verification and Pre-screen Position form
International student applicants do not need to have any previous work experience. You may apply for an approved position from within Canada or from overseas.

PhD Graduates (International Student Category)

Candidates under this part of the International Student Category must have obtained their PhDs from an Ontario publicly-funded university and do not need a job offer to be eligible for the Opportunities Ontario Program.
To apply under the PhD Graduates stream, you will not require a job offer.However, you will need to:
  • Have graduated from an existing PhD program at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario, or
  • Have successfully completed all degree requirements for the program (i.e completion of course work and successfully defended your thesis and are awaiting the granting of your degree) and have completed at least two years of your PhD studies at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario
  • Apply within two years of the date on which your PhD degree was granted
  • Have legal status, if you already are residing in Canada

Masters Graduates (International Student Category)

As with applicants under the PhD Graduates Stream, Masters Graduates do not require a job offer from an Ontarian employer.
However, to apply for the Opportunities Ontario PNP as a Masters Graduate, you must:
  • Intend to live and work in Ontario
  • Have graduated from an existing Masters program at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario
  • Have completed a minimum of one academic year degree program, while studying on a full-time basis
  • Apply within two years of the date on which your Masters degree was granted, or in the alternative, during the last semester of completing your degree
  • Currently be residing in Ontario
  • Have legal status in Canada (i.e. study permit, work permit, temporary resident visa)
  • Demonstrate high official language proficiency (For English language proficiency – IELTS – General test with a minimum score of seven or higher) (For French language proficiency – TEF – with a minimum score of five or higher)
  • Demonstrate a minimum level of savings/income to support yourself and your dependants
  • Demonstrate at least one year of residence in Ontario in the past two years
If you plan to apply under the International Student Category, via the PhD Graduates stream or Masters Graduates stream, you should review the Application Guide for International Graduates (PhD and Masters.
Source: Muchmore Magazine
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Irish immigrants get helping hand

Authentic portrait of St PatrickImage via Wikipedia
MONTREAL - It's tough slogging to find work and friends in a new city, let alone a new country, so the St. Patrick's Society is offering a helping hand and a little fun for new Irish immigrants to Montreal.
On Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m., an evening of networking and integration will be held at the Irish Embassy, a pub on Bishop St. - not to be confused with the Embassy of Ireland in Ottawa.
With dire economic difficulties gripping much of Ireland along with large job losses, a program of working holiday visas has been established by the Canadian government.
An agreement between Canada and Ireland to allow 12-month open work permits has recently been extended from one to two terms, or from 12 to 24 months. Beyond that, those who wish to stay can ask an employer to sponsor them.
Applicants for this working holiday scheme must be between 18 and 35 years of age.
Last year, 4,000 allocations were given to Irish immigrants for these special visas; for this year, the number was increased to 5,000.
The purpose of this planned Irish evening is to give recent arrivals a warm welcome and some practical advice, including where to live, where to look for jobs and how to meet someone who will put their CV in the right hands.
"It's who you know and friends of friends who help in times of job searches," said Ruth Hanna, one of the organizers of the Feb. 3 event.
"The historical mission of the St. Patrick's Society was to care for new arrivals but there hasn't been much need for this in the recent past," Hanna said.
"When I arrived here in 1999, I looked for Irish organizations, and there were some, but none that catered to native-born Irish."
Hanna emphasized that while there will be some recruitment agents and potential employers invited to the event, this is by no means a job fair.
"It's comforting to meet others from where you come from," said Erin Matheson, office manager of theS t. Patrick's Society.
"This is our first event and we'll see what the needs are."
Registration before Friday is strongly recommended. Call 514-481-1346.
asutherland@montrealgazette.com


Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Irish+immigrants+helping+hand/4167695/story.html#ixzz1CCQMEgvc

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Business immigrants continue to take top billing in Canada

MP Jason Kenney of the Conservative Party fiel...Image via Wikipedia
A lot of the talk about immigration recently has focused on would-be refugees trying to cheat the system to gain entry to Canada and eventually become citizens.

It got me thinking about the numbers and types of immigrants who come to Canada - just as the latest release of quarterly statistics from the department of immigration crossed my desk. The report contains year-to-year and quarterly statistics that track who's coming to Canada, why, where they're ending up.

There are too many statistics to discuss in this space. So allow me to mention a few of the numbers in the third quarter for 2010 that caught my attention.

There are three main classes of immigrants: business, family and refugees. From the chart below, you see the trend that's in play.
(David McKie, Jan. 26, 2011) class charts for blog.JPG
When comparing their numbers from the second quarter of 2010 to the third quarter (the most recent statistics), we see that the business class - represented by the red line in the chart - grew by eight per cent; the family and refugee classes dropped by 2.6 per cent and 2.8 per cent, respectively.
These trends held firm when comparing the first three quarters for 2009 and 2010. 
In a news release last summer, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Canada wouldn't increase the number of business-class immigrants at the expense of family or humanitarian immigration categories, but the numbers tell a different story.
Predictably, advocates and some Opposition MPs accuse the Harper government of favouring people who either have money or who are coming here to do certain jobs over potential refugee claimants.
The government responds by pointing out that Canada needs people who can contribute to the economy and pay taxes (or put another way, stay off welfare) while helping to increase our population by sponsoring their relatives or having kids, or both.
I recall a scrum Kenney had with reporters on Nov. 1, 2010. We asked him about numbers, which even then showed an increase in people coming to Canada through temporary work permits. While he fielded specific questions about that program, there was no mistaking his government's take on the value of business-class immigrants. 
"Within five years, there will be no growth in the Canadian labour market (workers)," he explained to reporters. "All labour force growth will be because of immigration. There are, in certain regions, significant labour-market shortages. We've also seen some recent data that show that federal skilled workers who have arrived in the last few years have seen significant improvement in their economic outcomes."

(Click here to listen to audio of Kenney talking to reporters)
There are also some interesting trends within the general numbers from those Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism spreadsheets.

For instance, within the business class, one of the largest growth areas is something called the "Provincial or Territorial nominees" program, which allows jurisdictions across the country to determine who they get to keep. It's often the case that they end up choosing individuals who are on temporary work visas. This category has grown, in part, because provinces such as Alberta have asked Ottawa to raise the cap. The "investors" category has enjoyed even more impressive growth.

In the "refugee class," even though the overall category is in decline, there are parts of it, such as "privately sponsored" refugees, that are increasing. This comes as no surprise, as Kenney has touted this as a preferred route for refugees entering the country. But "Refugees landing in Canada" and those sponsored by the government are two parts of this overall category that are declining. And these declines are responsible for the refugee category's overall downward trend.

If you have any feedback on any aspect our immigration program, please feel free to contact me at: david_mckie@cbc.ca
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Wal-Mart Canada plans 40 supercentres in next fiscal year

Wal-Mart location in MonctonImage via Wikipedia
The retail giant says it will open 40 new Canadian supercentres in its upcoming fiscal year starting Feb. 1 through both renovating and relocating some existing stores and constructing new ones.
While the location of the new stores hasn't been announced yet, the plan will expand the supercentre concept into Manitoba and Quebec, and represents a combined investment of nearly $500 million.
Supercentre locations in the greater Ottawa area include Lincoln Fields, Carleton Place, Rockland and Orleans.
Wal-Mart said the plan could create more than 9,200 jobs in stores and in the construction sector.
The retailer opened its first Canadian supercentres in Ontario in 2006.
At the end of this month it will have 325 stores, of which 124 will be supercentres.
– With files from OBJ Staff
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Canada’s culture of excellence in education

CLRV #4059 travels along the Main Street bridg...Image via Wikipedia
Andy Hargreaves
Last year, I was driving through Toronto when I spied a bumper sticker ahead. It didn’t proclaim “God Bless Canada” or even “Proud to be Canadian.” It simply said “Content to be Canadian!” That’s Canada in a nutshell. Canada scores quite well (but not spectacularly) on a range of international indicators: 8th in human development, 25th most equal, 14th least corrupt, and characteristically half way on UNICEF’s index of child well-being.
Canada ranks in the middle of lots of things, except perhaps hockey, the Winter Olympics and now, education. Last month, the media had a feeding frenzy over the release by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of the results of their Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The big story was the prominence of Asian countries on the top-10 list. What the media elsewhere overlooked was the strong performance of Canada.
Canada ranked 6th overall, and the OECD picked out Canada as one of four “strong performers” and “successful reformers.”
Strictly speaking, though, the OECD concentrated not on the whole of Canada but on just one province: Ontario. In a video promotion of PISA’s policy implications, the OECD’s change guru, Andres Schleicher, praises Canada for its positive approach to immigration that is evident in narrow achievement gaps between students from different social backgrounds. Then, without explanation, he switches to Ontario. It’s as if Ontario stands for all of Canada.
The province is praised for its urgent focus on measurable improvement in literacy and numeracy; its ability to set a clear plan and sign up key stakeholders to commit to it, including teachers; its sophisticated use of achievement data to pinpoint problems in underperformance among certain students or schools; and then its response: to “flood” these schools with resources, technical assistance and support. Bravo, Ontario!
But here’s the puzzle. Ontario isn’t the only high-performing province on PISA. On reading literacy, Alberta leads, followed by Ontario and British Columbia. On math, Quebec leads, followed by Alberta and Ontario. On science, Alberta leads, followed by B.C. and Ontario. Some of these differences are tiny — barely a percentage point or so. Yet the policies and strategies are often quite different.
Take Alberta. There, the Conservative government has supported an $80-million-per-year program spanning more than a decade to support school-designed innovations in more than 90 per cent of the province’s schools. It doesn’t have government targets and it doesn’t concentrate so tightly on literacy and numeracy. In many ways, it’s the opposite of Ontario. So perhaps we should give bigger applause to Alberta for its bottom-up approach? Or to B.C.! Or Quebec! The provinces have different policies, different relationships between government and teachers’ unions, and different parties in power — but the PISA results are pretty much the same. What’s going on?
There’s obviously something about Canada, or at least the more prosperous parts of it. Canada has some striking commonalities with Finland, the only non-Asian performer above it in the OECD ranking. Both countries value teachers and insist on a professional program of university-based training for all public-school teachers. Working conditions are favourable with good facilities, acceptable pay, wide availability of professional development, and discretion for teachers to make their own professional judgments. Both countries have a strong commitment to public schools and only a very modest private sector in education. Both countries have strong social welfare and public health systems with broad safety nets to protect the youngest and most vulnerable members of the population. Last, both nations are characterized by deeper cultures of cooperation and inclusiveness that make them more competitive internationally.
Being Canadian is not about occupying the middle ground in everything. It’s also about being cooperative and inclusive and about valuing shared community and public life. It’s not this or that province’s policy that makes Canada such a strong educational performer, but a social fabric that values education and teachers, prizes the public good, and doesn’t abandon the weak in its efforts to become economically stronger.
These are the things that make Canada educationally successful, and that it should cherish and protect compared to poorer PISA performers, like the U.S. (17th) and U.K. (24th). Let’s be content to be Canadian in most things if we must, but Canadians in general — Ontarians, Albertans, British Columbians and Québécois alike — should feel proud to be among the world’s very best in education.
Andy Hargreaves is the Brennan Chair in Education at Boston College. Although he lives in the U.S., he is content to be Canadian.
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