What Alberta Doesn’t Get
Firstly, here’s a primer for the uninitiated.
Canada (the Federal government) has entered into bilateral agreements with all the provinces to allow those provinces to nominate individuals to become Canadian permanent residents based on the nominee’s ability to contribute to the economic growth and development of that province.
Around the beginning of 2008, the province of Alberta began to actively recruit certain US visa holders (mostly IT professionals in the H1-B category), working temporarily in the US and offered them a path to Canadian permanent residency via a provincial nomination certificate. A good number of qualified individuals (probably in excess of 3,000) took Alberta up on its offer and submitted applications for a provincial nomination certificate. Now, many of those qualified applicants are being told that their nomination certificate will not be forthcoming. Instead, Alberta has informed them that their files have been closed due to changes in the global economic climate.
For the moment, let’s leave aside the whole legality issue pertaining to Alberta’s actions, as this will likely become the basis of a Class Action suit. Instead, I want to look at this from a human point of view; more specifically from the position of individuals who in good faith planned their lives in reliance upon the undertakings made by the province of Alberta.
Succinctly put, this heartless action by Alberta immigration authorities will surely cause life-changing prejudice to many of the provincial nominee candidates, whose only sin was to believe what they were told by the Alberta government.
The following scenarios would reasonably come to mind. You have, for example, a senior project manager with a company such as IBM, who was bypassed for promotion, or worse, replaced, because his employer knew of his Canadian immigration plans. You have an IT manager with a company like Deloitte, who turned down her employer’s offer to sponsor her US Green Card application because she had decided to settle in Alberta. You have a systems analyst with a company like Oracle, who quit his job to return to India and marry his fiancée in anticipation of raising a family in Canada. There are many other similar predicaments, but I’m sure you get the point.
Pure and simple, it is wrong for a Canadian government body, provincial or federal, to make a serious commitment to an individual and to then renege. It is no less reprehensible because the individual affected is not yet a citizen of our country.
I know the argument from the other side, namely that the Albertan authorities owe a higher duty to the people of their province than to would-be residents from abroad. If jobs in the IT field are tough to come by for Albertans, why bring in more IT professionals? My response is that you made a clear commitment to these potential newcomers and it is fair to assume that they planned their lives accordingly. There is no question that the decisions taken here were arbitrary and unfair, at least to those applicants whose files were closed.
All I can say is that we are all on a slippery slope in Canada if we allow our administrative officers to disregard well-established principles of natural justice and procedural fairness in the name of percieved public interest.