In his first public address as Immigration Minister, Monte Solberg announced that a federal agency will be developed to respond to the needs of Canada's skilled immigrants. He also re-iterated his government's plan to reduce the immigrant landing fee by half.

Canada's labour crunch has it facing one of the most serious shortages of skilled workers in the industrial world. A recent Manpower inc. poll of Canadian small and enterprise-level business highlights the growing trend.

In Solberg's first public address as Minister, he is expected to speak on issues which "affect the successful integration of immigrants into the Canadian society". The meeting will focus on various topics including how Canada can better address foreign skill and credential recognition.

Skillsinternational.ca allows prospective employers and skilled Canadian immigrants to find each other. The website is the first of its kind in Canada.

Amnesty International, as well as The Canadian Counsel for Refugees (CCR), has voiced their collective concern over the real-world implications regarding the Canada/US "Safe-Third Country Agreement". The human rights advocacy groups believe that procedures initiated through this legislation may in effect obstruct valid refugee claimants from gaining access to Canada's refugee determination system.

Ontario has officially launched its new immigration website: Ontarioimmigration.ca . The online resource appeals to immigrants who choose to make the Province their new home in Canada.

Michael Chong is a child of immigrant parents who migrated to Canada from Hong Kong and the Netherlands, respectively. He has expressed pride in his Chinese origins and harbors an active interest in Canada's immigration policy. Chong has asserted his willingness to bring the voices of Chinese Canadian immigrants to the parliament floor. He was elected Member of Parliament in 2004 and has been actively involved in the Conservative Party for over 10 years.

Canada's new immigration minister says the Conservative Government does not plan to change the overall immigration target number, or restrict family reunification.

Mexico, which is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has risen to the top of Canada's refugee claimant list.

"The West has wanted in, the West is in now." PM Harper told supporters at a victory speech after his party's meager minority defeat. Harper's sentiment underlines the hope Alberta has that the Conservative Government will help the province approve a draft strategy regarding labour shortage.

Monte Solberg, a western MP stemming from Calgary, Alberta, has been appointed Canada's new Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Solberg was the finance critic from 2003 to 2005 and has been a long-serving member in the House of Commons.

The Conservative party critic on Immigration, Diane Ablonczy, is considered among political observers as the "front-runner" for the position of Citizenship and Immigration Minister. Ablonczy has been the Conservative party's Citizenship and Immigration critic since 2002.

Monday January 23, 2006 - The votes are in and Canadians have chosen a new Prime-Minister in Stephen Harper, and a new direction for Canada.

Canada's aging population, coupled with the current economic boom, leaves key Alberta growth industries clamoring for skilled workers.