This much is not in dispute. Canada has become one of the most affluent, peaceful and, for good measure, diverse countries in the world. There are many reasons for our good fortune and among them is the sound immigration policy upon which Canada… at least until recently, has been built.
Most will also agree that our dependence on newcomers will intensify in the years ahead. Our aging population continues to retire in ever larger numbers. Already, we face specific labour shortages in different parts of the country and this phenomenon will expand, both by location and industry, going forward. Whichever way you cut it, our continued prosperity depends to some extent on workers who are not yet in Canada. How they come here is worth consideration.
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This much is clear; Ontario’s proportionate share of new immigrants to Canada has been in steady decline for the past few years. In 2005, about 64% of all newcomers settled in Ontario (mainly in and around Toronto) but by 2010 the number had dropped to 52%.
Is that a bad thing? I guess the answer depends on whom you ask. It’s safe to say that Mayor Ford of Toronto and many of his supporters are not losing any sleep over this relatively recent downward trend. On the other hand you have to wonder what Toronto would look like today without the major influx of international and provincial migrants over the last 30 plus years. It’s difficult to imagine any metropolis retaining its world-class stature once it ceases to be a magnet for the best and brightest. Read More »
The newspaper headline read “Ottawa Moves to Curb Marriages of Convenience” and I thought to myself “that is going to be one tall order.” But as I continued the article it became clear that our government does not intend to control all marriage arrangements. Wealthy geezers and their trophy wives can breathe a sigh of relief for it is only phony love-matches involving Canadian immigration that our lawmakers aim to stamp out. To this end, the Minister of Immigration will soon announce a new “conditional” immigration status for sponsored spouses and common law partners in an effort to curtail marriage fraud. As it stands now, they arrive in Canada as permanent residents and the Minister feels their status makes it more difficult to deport them if it is later found that they lied in their bid to come to Canada. Read More »
I tip my hat to Borys Wrzesnewskyj, the former Liberal Member of Parliament for Etobicoke, who narrowly lost his seat in the Conservative tsunami that swept through Ontario this spring. Read More »
A recent article in the Globe and Mail caught my eye. The piece was about young, unemployed Irish tradespeople who, of late, have been flocking to Toronto in record numbers.
It’s been said that Ireland’s chief export is people and there is a tradition of Irish immigration to Toronto that dates back some 200 years. So it’s no surprise that an ailing Irish economy has given rise to an inpouring of work-hungry young men to Canada’s Queen City in search of better opportunities. Read More »
Say what you will about our Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, just don’t call Jason Kenny lazy. It has been less than two months since his Conservative Party won a majority government and in that short time he has made a number of game-changing pronouncements. Two of these appear below along with my comments. More will follow in next month’s blog. Read More »
Just last week the Minister of Immigration announced changes to the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program of Canadian Immigration.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows Canadian politics that the party in power, with a fresh majority of seats in the House of Commons, has reduced by half the number of applications to be accepted for processing, without a job offer, under the FSW Program. Effective July 1, 2011 and for the ensuing 12 months, a maximum of 10,000 of these applications will be accepted for processing. The 29 eligible occupations remain unchanged, but only 500 applications in each occupation will be considered for a permanent resident visa. No cap has been placed on the number of FSW applications that include a validated job offer from a Canadian employer.
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At first blush few would challenge the proposition that Canada is a very good country in which to live and plan a future.
In the past few days alone our good fortune has been twice recognized. A report published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranked Canada second on a quality of life index among the 34 major industrialized countries surveyed. We scored at or near the top in areas such as housing, education, health, and life satisfaction. The one blemish on our record and what prevented us from gaining the number one spot is that voter turnout in Canada leaves something to be desired. Although in truth that may say more about our politicians than the Canadian people. The second kudo comes from the Institute for Economics and Peace, which just produced its Global Peace Index for 2011. Canada was considered the eighth most peaceful country out of 153 nations examined. To put our ranking in perspective, the U.S. comes in at the 85th position.
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In two weeks from now, Canadians will go to the polls to select their federal members of Parliament, and unless we experience our own “Dewey Wins” moment, the Conservative Party of Canada will be called upon to form the next national government.
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Can you guess which country sends Canada the greatest number of foreign workers?
Here’s a hint. It’s not the U.S. or Mexico, despite the opportunities for cross-border employment provided by the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The correct answer, according to a recent survey, is the Philippines. In 2009 there were 51,325 Filipinos working in Canada and a good number of them entered the country under the Live-in Caregiver class.
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Once upon a time, about half a century ago, Canadians felt differently about providing safe haven to people fleeing persecution. I can still remember the excitement that permeated my elementary school classroom as we prepared a mid-year welcome for three new students. They were Hungarian kids, whose parents had fled their homeland in the aftermath of a failed revolution and among them not a word of English was spoken or understood. Our teacher cut out and scripted a banner in Hungarian, which translated in English to “Welcome to Canada, your new home.” Taking our cue from her leadership, we students couldn’t do enough to help the newcomers in our midst settle in. I have a strong feeling that similar scenarios played out in classrooms across our country.
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There are no two ways about it. As a group, newer Canadians are getting the short end of the stick. In the next Federal election most of their votes will count for only half as much as the votes of other Canadians. This is entirely due to where they happen to reside.
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