Statistics Canada recently released the latest age and gender statistics based on the 2006 census. The results show an aging population in which the fastest growing portion of the population (aged 55 to 64) will soon be exiting the work force.

This year, 22,000 workers from around the world arrived in Canada under the Canadian government's seasonal work agriculture program. Created in 1974, this program, along with local agencies, assists farmers in bringing in foreign workers to do the planting, pruning, weeding, and picking of fruit and vegetable crops across the country. The government monitors working and living conditions and sets wages.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest recently met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss a proposal for a Canada-European Union free trade agreement. Put forward by Charest at the World Economic Forum meeting last January, Charest hopes that such an agreement would strengthen ties between France and the province of Quebec.

With a health care worker shortage in Quebec, the provincial Immigration Minister Yolande James is working to make it easier for foreign health care professionals to become licensed to practice in Quebec. As a regulated industry, all foreign health care workers must belong to a professional corporation, which ensures that foreign qualifications are equivalent to Quebec qualifications.

In 2006, Alberta became the first province in Canada where the number of Temporary Foreign workers exceeded the number of people admitted through the Canadian immigration system. In significant need of labour force growth, Alberta has taken advantage of recent facilitative amendments to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

U.S. technology giant Microsoft Corp. will be setting up shop in Vancouver, British Columbia to benefit of Canada’s more open immigration system for foreign skilled workers. The Microsoft Canada Development Centre will allow “the company to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S.”

Statistics Canada's recent Ethnic Diversity Survey (EDS) suggests that as Canadian immigrants and their children grow older, their attachment to Canada strengthens. 74.5 per cent of respondents aged 65 and over expressed a “very strong” sense of belonging to Canada, compared with only 40.6 per cent among those aged 15-17. The results show this sentiment growing stronger with age in each subgroup of second-generation Canadians (whites, blacks, South Asians and Chinese, among others).

This weekend's Canada Day was a time for Canadians to celebrate the country's ethno-cultural heritage. In the Montreal (Quebec ) parade, there were proud contingents of dozens of cultural and ethnic community groups. The Filipino Association of Montreal, the Polish Canadian

July 1st, 2007 will mark the 140th anniversary of the confederation of Canada , whereby the existing British North American provinces were united in the federation of Canada. Now commonly known as Canada Day, Canadians have been celebrating the official establishment of the country on July 1st since 1867.

To overcome the challenges of having internationally-obtained qualifications recognized in Canada, a new government office has been established to provide support services to newcomers as they navigate the credential recognition process.

Continually striving to be a more attractive destination for Canadian immigrants, Canadian provinces are investing heavily in immigrant services. Ontario just opened the first of a set of five new Welcome Centres and Manitoba recently announced a new immigrant settlement strategy.

On June 22 of last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to the Chinese Canadian community for Canada's past immigration policies and the head tax once charged to newcomers from China. Survivors or their surviving conjugal partners have been offered $20,000 in symbolic payments.

Of the over two million people who emigrated from Ireland during the Great Famine of the mid 1800's, tens of thousands chose to make Canada their new home. This mass immigration had a tremendous impact on the social makeup of the young Canada. The 38,000 Irish immigrants who arrived in Toronto in 1847 nearly tripled the city's population, and they were warmly welcomed. Toronto Mayor David Miller called the arrival of these immigrants, "one of the seminal events in the history of Toronto."

Yesterday, the Government of Canada and community organizations across the country joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in observing World Refugee Day. Since 2000, June 20 has been designated as a day to shed light on the international refugee state of affairs.