Saturday, February 10, 2007
But ultimately the solution lies in the hope that a Tijuana might become as prosperous as a San Diego -- now a few miles away but a world apart.
After all, Hong Kong used to be a magnet for illegal immigrants who streamed in from impoverished Red China. Not so much any longer. Shanghai, for example, in two decades has become almost as wealthy as the old British colony.
East Berliners used to risk their lives to cross the wall into the West. Now billions of dollars are being invested in restoring the eastern half of a united Germany's capital.
Since World War II, poor workers from largely agrarian, Catholic and authoritarian Spain flocked northward into industrialized, Protestant and more democratic Germany and France to find work. Today, Spain's employment and growth rates compare favorably with those of its northern neighbors.
In each of these cases, once poorer regions bordering far wealthier societies have -- either by emulation, absorption or coercion -- radically liberalized their economic systems. With jobs and capital almost as plentiful at home as abroad, few wish to leave.
When Mexico follows suit, its relationship with the United States will resemble our connection with Canada. That should be our goal. Our northern neighbor's economy and political system are comparable to America's -- and thus the number of Canadians arriving here is small and almost the same as the number of Americans leaving for Canada. And by any benchmark, the weather, arable land and coastline of Canada are not nearly as inviting as Mexico's.
Yet currently, Mexico's per capita gross domestic product is about a quarter of the United States'. Wages in Mexico are far lower than in America. No wonder Mexicans come here by the millions.
So how will Mexico ever achieve parity with the United States?
The Mexican government must begin selling off inefficient state enterprises, especially in gas and oil. It should offer greater protection of property rights and ensure title searches. Mexico must stop the old nationalist rhetoric and welcome foreign investment, create a transparent judicial system and allow land to be freely bought and sold.
Most importantly, the Mexican bureaucracy must end endemic corruption that so exasperates foreign investors who would otherwise bring to Mexico efficient job-producing businesses.
There is no chance of Mexico being absorbed by its neighbor as East Germany was by the West. America will not create a continental union as happened in Europe and which so benefits Spain. Nor can even we count on complacent Mexican elites to believe they can become richer by deregulating their economy and competing in the global marketplace as has happened in China. Apprehensive Chinese leaders, after all, changed their rules only because they thought they had no choice after seeing the Soviet Union fall.
So what can the United States do?
Offer both help and tough love.
Granting Mexico favorable trade incentives is cheaper in the long run than dealing with the social problems caused by illegal immigration and the economic consequences of billions of U.S. dollars being sent southward from Mexican workers. The North American Free Trade Agreement, however controversial, has probably helped decrease Mexico's general poverty rate and increase its gross domestic product.
By closing the borders, the U.S. would stop subsidizing Mexican failure. At present, workers come to America not only because of higher wages, but also on the assumption that their cash income will often be untaxed and augmented by subsidized state health care, housing and education.
Tax evasion and American entitlement help to free up workers' dollars to be sent back to Mexico. In economic terms, that translates to the United States economy subsidizing millions of the unemployed in Mexico through $20 billion annually in cash remittances. This money weakens the incentive of millions in Mexico to seek employment or to demand government reform.
Finally, we need honesty about the problem. Mexico masquerades as a revolutionary socialist state, replete with flashy radical slogans that date back to the old days of Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa.
In truth, Mexico City's creed is elitism and a fossilized cronyism. Its privileged few have hurt millions of their hardworking citizens who deserve far more humane treatment -- and sometimes find it only here in America.
thxs Victor Davis Hanson
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
At least 3,000 Israelis, most of them citing a fear of spousal abuse and Palestinian violence, have requested asylum in Canada since 2000, recent reports out of Israel said.
Two major newspapers in Israel said that Canada has already granted refugee status to hundreds of Israelis, but thousands of others have filed applications.
The reports, from the Yediot Ahronot and Maariv newspapers, both quoted figures from the Israeli Foreign Ministry that show at least 3,000 Israelis filed applications seeking asylum in Canada. Maariv said that upwards of 500 of the applications had been approved in the last six years.
Yediot quoted the Israeli Ambassador to Canada, Alan Baker, as saying many of the applications Canadian officials were seeing were in fact bogus and that they were "harming Israel's image and representing it as a country whose citizens are persecuted."
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the department was aware of the number of Israelis seeking asylum in Canada, and said "we have taken the matter up with the Canadians," but he did not elaborate.
The Canadian embassy in Tel Aviv said it did not have the data, and referred inquiries to the government in Ottawa.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Canada is a country that is extremely aware of its wildlife and is a concern of its daily activities with organizations such as WildLife raising money and awareness. Here is an article that demonstrates:
The caribou population in Canada's vast Northwest Territories is falling rapidly and the increasingly warm climate could slow the animals' chances of recovery, a wildlife specialist said on Friday.
Herds of barren-ground caribou -- which for centuries have been a crucial source of food and furs for local aboriginals -- have dropped by between 40 and 86 percent over the last 10 years. The largest single herd fell from 472,000 animals in 1986 to 128,000 in 2006 and is still declining.
"The level of concern is very high in the Northwest Territories," said Ray Case of the territories' environment and natural resources ministry.
Case -- blaming natural factors such as varying climate, insect levels, the amount of food available, and the number of predators -- said the caribou population had traditionally risen and fallen over a 30-year cycle.
But he told Reuters that warmer winters and easier access for hunters to the ranges that the caribou cover make it harder to say what will happen to the herds in years to come.
"That doesn't suggest global warming is driving this but certainly there is concern that things are changing ... we do have some uncertainty about what the future holds as far as climate and as far as human activity," he said.
Case spoke by telephone from Inuvik, in the Mackenzie River Delta, where politicians, wildlife officials and aboriginals were attending a four-day summit on the caribou herds.
"If they experience a number of years with very low calf production and calf survival the herds can decline quite quickly. They can also increase quite quickly," he said.
Over the past few years hunters have been allowed to kill a an average of 11,000 animals annually, a number that Case said would have to be reduced.
He also expressed concern about modern forms of transport that allow hunters to reach once inaccessible areas where in the past the caribou would have taken refuge while herd levels gradually recovered.
"They can't hide from us any more. People can either go by ice road or snowmobile or aircraft and actually find the caribou and continue to harvest ... we need to be cautious about how we manage the future," Case said.
Animal rights activists say they are concerned about increased mining and oil extraction on calving grounds in Canada's mineral-rich northern region. Case said this did not seem to be a major factor in the territories.
"There has been some drilling, some seismic activity on some of the ranges but over the period that this decline occurred the activity has been very low," Case said.
"There hasn't been activity on all of the ranges yet all of the caribou herds have shown a similar decline."
thxs David Ljunggren forests.org
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Fortunately, the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada did not agree. On October 21, they rendered their decision in two cases, the Hilewitz and de Jong cases, which were on appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA). The families appealed the decisions of the FCA that a medical officer is not required to consider the family’s personal circumstances, including a family’s ability to provide disability supports, in making recommendations about their immigration to Canada.
The decision is a victory for persons with disabilities and their families. Justice Rosie Abella noted that Canadian immigration policy has applied “exclusionary euphemistic designations” that concealed prejudices about persons with disabilities. The Court directed that Immigration Canada should conduct individualized assessments of a family’s immigration application and immigration officials should consider the resources, time, personal and financial supports, as well as community supports, that families are able and willing to provide.
ARCH represented the Canadian Association of Community Living (CACL) and Ethno-Racial People With Disabilities Coalition of Ontario (ERDCO) before the Supreme Court of Canada in both cases. The CACL and ERDCO intervened in order to draw the court’s attention to the fact that people with disabilities are denied admission to Canada based on negative stereotypes.
Friday, February 2, 2007
Underlining this belief, a lack of skills among the British workforce was by far the most common reason given for employing migrants, cited by some six out of 10 employers. In contrast, just 16 per cent said they employed migrants because they were cheaper.
Unsurprisingly, IoD members emerged as being very supportive of encouraging immigration into the UK, with almost six out of 10 (57 per cent) supporting a policy of total freedom of movement of labour within the EU.
Nevertheless, they also have serious doubts about the Government's performance over immigration policy. Only 13 per cent of IoD members think the Government has an effective immigration policy, whereas 73 per cent think it is ineffective.
Those surveyed also overwhelmingly disagree with the view that immigration should be completely unrestricted, with eight out of 10 disagreeing with the view that there should be 'no obvious upper limit' to immigration.
"As demonstrated by our survey, migrant workers provide a vital boost to the UK economy," said Miles Templeman, IoD Director General.
"It also, more than we expected, shows that migrant workers outperform across a whole range of measures including productivity, education and skills, work ethic, reliability and the amount of sick leave. Immigration however, should not be left unrestricted and should be controlled on a skills basis."
And he added: "in a global economy, the UK workforce has got to raise its game on skills and performance."
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Francesca's mother Maria De Sousa, 36, was seven months pregnant when she, husband Antonio, 37, and daughters Tanya, 13, and Anna, 11, left – after four years in Canada and a failed bid to stay here on a refugee asylum claim.
They were among hundreds of Portuguese families deported last year, mostly after overstaying work permits and visitor's visas.
"We don't know what the future is going to bring us," said Maria, as her sister-in-law translated the thoughts she expressed after landing at Pearson International Airport on an Air Transat flight from Lisbon.
"Everybody loves the country – the husband, the wife, the kids, even the little one, for sure she's going to love the country," said Maria.
"We're happy. It's a new life. There's hope for us for a better life, so it's good," she added.
Their arrival was the result of a one-year temporary resident permit signed by the minister of immigration after assurances of a guaranteed job for Antonio De Sousa as a roofer in the GTA's booming construction industry.
Returns like that of the De Sousas leave Peter Ferreira, president of the Portuguese Canadian National Congress – who fought last year's boost in deportations of Portuguese migrants, many of them construction workers – wondering why the government was so insistent on sending them packing in the first place.
"That's the million-dollar question," said Ferreira, saying last year's deportations were needless.
Ferreira said he knows of at least a dozen such families who have already returned, some just months after their removal. He estimates that about 80 per cent of the 400 or so removed last year are either back or in the process of coming back.
He said it's possible the immigration department wanted to send a hard-line message.
"Maybe the government reassessed the situation," he said. "It was a given that the country needed these people and continues to need these highly skilled individuals."
The deportations made headlines after it was revealed that Canada Border Services Agents entered schools to enforce deportation orders, in one case taking children into custody first to lure their parents out. Many of the Portuguese workers, who had entered Canada as visitors or on temporary work permits, had lodged refugee claims in an effort to stay, based on misleading information.
The rise in deportations sparked demonstrations urging then immigration minister Monte Solberg to let the hard-working families remain.
It's estimated that 200,000 people of various nationalities are living illegally in Canada, often in industries that face a labour shortage such as construction and hospitality. One estimate suggests that there are at least 15,000 undocumented immigrants in Toronto's Portuguese community.
Solberg denied at the time that a crackdown was underway but said it was important to uphold Canada's immigration laws while showing compassion toward families being uprooted, sometimes after years of getting themselves established here.
In many cases, the Portuguese who applied for refugee status would not have sufficient "points" to win admission to Canada under the normal immigration procedure, which strongly emphasizes education level, language skills and job experience.
Ferreira said those returning are doing so on written guarantees from employers to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada stating that a job is available to them that could not be filled by a legal resident of Canada. The request then requires the consent of the minister of immigration.
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Diane Finley said he could not comment on the situation of the returning Portuguese deportees because of privacy considerations.
But another immigration department spokesperson said temporary residence and work permit holders could apply to have their stay extended.
She said the question of whether they could apply for permanent residency in Canada would "depend on the individual circumstances of the family."
thxs Phinjo Gombu
The Toronto Star
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
A recent report tells us that foreign credentials of 340,000 Canadians or permanent residents of visible minorities have not been recognized, and Canada is losing $4.1b every year because of that.
CIC accepts about 90,000 skilled workers every year. So the number of immigrants who could not have their credentials recognized equals to an skilled worker inventory of 4 years.
The report was a one-year work dubbed "INCLUSIVE, ACCESSIBLE AND RELEVANT WORKPLACE LEARNING: A Position Paper On Visible Minorities And Workplace Literacy", and was completed by the National Visible Minority Council on Labour Force Development.
One of the stunning conclusions this report has made is that "racism and discrimination continue to be identified as a contributing factor to the unemployment and underemployment of visible minorities and their lack of advancement in the workplace."
Visible minorities have higher education than Canadian-born, but immigrants are less fortunate:
Visible minorities are faced with a multitude of socio-economic inequities. Even though studies have shown that attaining post-secondary education is a critical component of professional development and workplace success in Canada, educated visible minorities continue to have higher unemployment rates than the total population. Statistics show that 47.5% of Canadian-born, visible minority workers, aged 25 to 34, have completed university, compared to 26.6% of Canadian born, non-visible minority workers.
But immigrant unemployment rate is much higher than national average. Immigrants obviously have not enjoyed the economic prosperity and low employment rate other Canadians have been enjoying these years.
However, the national immigrant unemployment rate hovers around 30% while the national unemployment rate remains steady at around 7%. Whether Canadian-born or immigrant, visible minorities' access to the labour market can be challenging. In addition, even when gainfully employed, a glass ceiling often prevents advancement for visible minorities.
The natural consequence of ramping unemployment rates is poverty:
It is not surprising, therefore, that the 2001 Statistics Canada census reported that 36% of all visible minority persons in Canada lived in poverty in comparison to 20% of the Canadian population.
The percentage of unattached visible minorities living in poverty was recently polled at 52.9% compared to the national rate of 38%. The percentage of visible minority families living in poverty was 26% compared to the national average of 12.9%. One in five visible minorities with post-secondary education are among the poorest 20% of the nation's population. In such cases, attaining post secondary education has not had a positive impact on economic independence.
The report writers blame the failure of foreign credentials recognition as the heart of all problems:
The higher rate of poverty in visible minority communities is due, in part, to 340,000 ready, able and well-educated individuals being unable to access the labour market. The problem is that their credentials were earned outside Canada and are not recognized by employers, sector councils, government accreditation bodies and human resources departments in this country. In addition to this colossal loss of human resource potential, the non-recognition of foreign credentials represents an annual, national, economic loss of $2.7 to $4.1 billion in earnings.
The report says newer immigrants are earning less and less than their predecessors, which is an alarming situation.
The following recommendations are being made to relevant stakeholders for discussion
A) Developing a National Workplace Learning Strategy for Visible Minorities
(1) NVMCLFD recommends that:
* The Government of Canada, in consultation with NVMCLFD and other relevant stakeholders develop a National Visible Minority Workplace Learning Strategy that takes into consideration local differences and community needs.
* The Government of Canada provides the necessary funding to implement this National Strategy at a level that will meet future challenges due to demographic changes and labour market skill shortages.
B) Addressing the Needs of Visible Minorities
(2) NVMCLFD recommends that the Provinces and the Government of Canada, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, respond to the specific training needs of visible minorities in the workplace.
(3) NVMCLFD recommends that the Provinces and the Government of Canada make an ongoing commitment to funding a comprehensive approach to language training programs for visible minorities in the workplace, that include both advanced levels as well as basic level literacy training.
(4) NVMCLFD recommends that:
* Sector Councils, the Provinces, and the Government of Canada recognize the plight of the many visible minorities who work in certain seasonal and casual construction, manufacturing, mining, agricultural industries andbaddress their needs for workplace training; and
* All levels of government, unions and employers ensure that seasonal and casual workers are covered under provincial and federal labour codes in order to protect their basic rights as workers.
(5) NVMCLFD recommends that Sector Councils, the Provinces, and the Government of Canada recognize that many visible minorities and immigrants work in non-unionized workplaces.
(6) NVMCLFD recommends that Chambers of Commerce, Business Councils, Sector Councils, Provinces and the Government of Canada undertake an initiative to provide bridging opportunities for the many visible minority immigrants who are prevented from obtaining employment commensurate with their qualifications due primarily to a lack of Canadian experience.
(7) NVMCLFD recommends that:
* The Provinces and the Government of Canada, in particular HRSDC and NLS, ensure workplace learning programs are funded on a long term and sustainable basis; and
* Funding selection and allocation criteria be made public and transparent.
C) Involving Employers
* The Chambers of Commerce, the Provinces, the Government of Canada and other related stakeholders implement a nation wide program to educate;
* Employers, particularly small and medium size businesses on the economic and social advantages of offering workplace learning programs; and
* The Provinces and the Government of Canada develop tax and other incentive for businesses that develop and provide workplace learning for their workers.
D) Promoting “Workplace Learning”
(9) NVMCLFD recommends that:
* The Provinces and the Government of Canada, in particular HRSDC and NLS, utilize the term “workplace learning” instead of “workplace literacy”;
* The Government of Canada expand the Essential Skills Framework toinclude socio-cultural competencies.
E) Recognizing Foreign Credentials and Prior Learning
(10) NVMCLFD recommends that regulatory bodies, the Provinces and the Government of Canada develop plans and strategies to accelerate the recognition of foreign credentials in all occupational areas.
(11) NVMCLFD recommends that the Provinces and the Government of Canada provide financial support to offset the cost of translation and evaluation of the foreign credential documents for those immigrants with job skills that are needed in Canada.
(12) NVMCLFD recommends that employers, educational institutions and all levels of government establish a consistent approach to evaluating prior learning when evaluating the skills and abilities of visible minorities.
F) Learning from the Current Project
(13) NVMCLFD recommends that the Government of Canada, particularly HRSDC and NLS, provide funding for NVMCLFD:
* To convert the lessons learned from the current project into training and reference material for other stakeholders to assist employers in implementing effective workplace learning programs for visible minorities;
* To continue its work in areas that are identified in the above recommendations.
G) Combatting Racism as a Significant Barrier
(14) NVMCLFD recommends that:
* Chambers of Commerce, Business Councils, Provinces, the Government of Canada, unions, employers and all other stakeholders recognize the reality of the negative economic impact on the country of racism and its deterrence to the full utilization of visible minorities in the workforce; and
* All levels of government, unions and employers provide “unlearning of racism” and diversity training to all employees.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The past year saw the province increase its immigration levels by 23% over 2005. The majority of immigration to the province fell under Manitoba's Provincial Nominee Program - accounting for 6600 workers. Under the program, the province is able to directly select immigrants that will meet the province's needs in categories agreed upon with the federal government. The province also saw increases of over 10% in the family class and refugee categories.
In 2006 Manitoba attracted half of all provincial nominee immigrants to Canada—despite a population that stands at approximately 3% of the Canada’s total. The province's success is attracting attention from its neighbours, especially booming Alberta. Iris Evans, the Minister of Employment, Immigration and Industry for the province of Alberta, visited Manitoba last week to study its strategies. "I wanted to know how they managed to speed it (immigration) up and do it so quickly and seemingly so effectively," said Evans in an interview.
Despite the significant increase, Manitoba continues to push for more immigration to fill human resource needs and fuel the growing economy. The province has a long term plan in place, hoping to welcome roughly 10000 new immigrants per year over the next 10 years. Since 1999, just over 50000 immigrants have made their homes in Manitoba.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Monday, January 29, 2007
To talk sense about immigration, we must start with the axiom that all immigration is selfish. No one moves from a good land to a wretched one voluntarily. However personally traumatic it may be, an immigrant chooses to move to better himself.
Doubters are invited to check out the Haitian, North Korean or Burmese -- I guess it's now the Myamar -- embassies. There are no lineups of would-be immigrants outside their doors. Why? The reader is likely chuckling at the obvious answer: No one in his right mind would wish to migrate to those wretched lands.
Exactly. The pro-immigration propaganda in Canada is that immigration, especially diversity, "enriches" us. If it does in the odd case, it is entirely by accident. Immigrants do not seek a new land to "enrich" the inhabitants but to enrich and better themselves.
Knowing this, then, a prudent country will seek to carefully screen and regulate immigrants to ensure that they can and do contribute, that they will not be a burden and that they do not bring criminal ways or disruptive social or moral practices with them.
Finally, North Americans, especially Canadians, have been fed a poisonous gruel of guilt by the self-interested immigration lobby. We have been haranged that to oppose immigration is some form of smug superiority or, that term that reduces even sturdy men to cringing wimps, "white supremacy." How, it is demanded, can you dare impose your standards or your cultures on newcomers? That is a clear sign of white supremacy.
The very act of immigration settled the question of superiority. As it's axiomatic that no one leaves a better place for a worse, the immigrant himself has acknowledged the superiority of the land to which he has immigrated. By coming to Canada or the U.S., the immigrant has admitted in a most dramatic way, that these lands are better than the one he's left. The reason these lands are better is the culture. Canada and the U.S. are based on a Christian culture of caring for one's neighbour. Both share a legal culture of respect for the rule of law and a system that strives for impartial and fair justice. Both have a political system rooted in Britain that emphasizes the consent of the governed and representation of the governed. It is this political and moral culture that make these lands the desirable havens they are for immigrants, so desireable that many will lie or bribe flesh-smuggling "snakeheads" to take them there.
Effete academics may debate the merits of one culture over another. Immigrants by the act of flocking to North America have provided a resounding rebuke to cultural relativism. They have acknowledged the overwhelming superiority of the lands to which they have come.
by Peter Fromm
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
My plane landed at Montreal Dorval airport in the middle of the evening. After the usual long walk, I arrived at passport control, and handed over my passport and all the forms. The lady there checked my passport and then sent me into the Immigration office. There was no queue, so I went straight up to the counter and was greeted by a friendly man. He separated the various parts of my visa, and stapled my copy into my passport. He then directed me to go left into the customs office, then left again into Quebec Immigration. As I left the counter he welcomed me to Canada.
I missed the customs office completely, and ended up in Quebec Immigration, where a man, after establishing that I didn't speak french, arranged a meeting with an immigration official for the next day. He also gave me a pack containing literature about living in Quebec, and welcomed me to the province.
I wandered back the way I had come, and eventually found the customs office. I was ushered into a small room containing one desk, and asked to take a seat. After entering some data into the computer, the customs official asked me what goods I had with me, and what I was having shipped. I gave him the lists I had prepared before leaving England, which he seemed happy with. He stamped them both, fed the value of my goods into the computer, and printed off a goods receipt, which I will need to bring with me when my goods arrive at customs. He also gave me some customs literature, and welcomed me to Canada.
All that took no more than 15 minutes, then I was out into the baggage reclaim area, slightly dazed, and apparently a Canadian permanent resident. After collecting my luggage, I went out to be greeted by Jen, who had a big bunch of flowers for me, with the three flags of Canada, Quebec and Montreal.thxs Mark!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
As you know, you have to have a full medical. The rules for this are constantly changing so do whateber they tell you to in your application kit. But this is what happened to us....
When we had it done we were sent the forms and told to go to a designated doctor who then sent the completed forms to Ottawa, who then sat on them for months and months. The reason for this seemed to be to test the applicants, if the elevated blood pressure and stress from waiting, wondering and worrying didn t kill us then we were, presumably, deemed fit enough to enter Canada. Nowadays, as I understand it - Disclaimer: I quite often get the wrong end of the stick so you may want to check this out for yourself - they are streamlining ............hmmmmmm :-) don't you just love it when governments use words like streamline and simplify. I mean you just know that some boffin sitting in a government cupboard is paid to come up with ever more ingenious ways to complicate matters for the ordinary man(woman) in the street!......the whole process and apparently have handed over the medicals to a private company so that you should be able to get the whole thing done much faster and any follow ups can be addressed quicker.
So, the actual medical...what do they do? They take a detailed history:- they want to know about operations and illnesses and so on. They measure your height and then they weigh you - fortunately because it s for Canada they do it in kilograms.....I sounded much thinner in Kilograms. You pee into a little jar and then, no matter how hard you try to pursuade them not to....and I tried, believe me I tried....they insist on taking a whole armful of blood. Now I have long been of the opinion that if God had intended us to part with any of the red stuff He would never have covered us in this unbroken skin thing and would probably have put a little tap somewhere. And I am absolutely certain that it was never in His plan for us to walk around with empty arms - even for Immigration purposes - but apparently God has not shared His opinion with Canadian Immigration so be prepared to be punctured. They also x-ray your chest. They let you keep a robe on while doing this.....for some reason this surprised me.....medical science really suffered a great loss when I decided not to be a doctor don't you think?...... It did cross my mind that it might be amusing to keep an underwired bra on for the x-ray .....you know....two smiles on your chest?......well, perhaps it's only amusing to me....... Absolutely EVERYONE must have an x-ray so if you are pregnant you will have to delay the medical until after you give birth, something to bear in mind when applying.
The Canadian Immigration people appear to be absolutely obsessed with our (applicants) lungs. My son has mild, exercise induced, asthma - to me the obvious solution is "Don't exercise!" and I have managed to avoid doing that for quite some time now, but Matt likes to run. We were stupid....er...sorry...honest and told the doctor about it. If we hadn t mentioned it there is no way he would have known. ..... something to think about. So Matt got hauled back in for further tests. They wanted to make sure it was asthma and not TB. I am sure there must be quite a difference but then I have already mentioned that I am not very up on medical issues.
I have heard through the Internet that many minor conditions are not a barrier to immigration. What they are looking for are long term, serious illnesses and/or carriers of diseases that could endanger the Canadian public. Mild diabetes or mildly elevated blood pressure will not keep you out. Nor will mild asthma, poor eyesight or hearing, provided it does not affect your work. I have heard of a case, however, where one of the principal Applicant's dependent children had cerebral palsy and the whole family was turned down. Again, something to bear in mind before you part with your application fee and start paying for the medicals. We paid $120 each for our medicals - this was in July 1995. This can vary depending on where you go.
When you are approved for Permanent Residence you MUST land (enter Canada as an immigrant) before the anniversary of your initial medical. If you are called back for further tests it is still the first date that they go from. If for any reason your application is not approved until after that anniversary you have to undergo another medical - yes and pay for it again! No, it s not fair but I know it has happened to quite a few people - especially those who are not interview-waived.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
For thousands of people around the world, Canada is the immigrant's dream destination. Welcoming people, lack of racial tensions, a booming economy and excellent school and healthcare systems add up to a country they would love to call home.
Sounds wonderful? Are you asking yourself right now: "How do I get started?"
Unfortunately, a lot of people fall into the trap of pushing ahead with their applications without asking themselves a far more basic question, which is: "Is Canada right for me?"
They move to Canada having done little real research, without truly understanding the difficulties they might face and what they need to do to overcome them. The result is often frustration, disappointment and worry as their drain their bank accounts while trying to get settled in.
Make no mistake, Canada holds many wonderful opportunities for immigrants, but it takes a lot more than a permanent resident's visa to succeed.
Research into every aspect of Canadian life, and preparation for what you can expect here are key to settling in. With that in mind, let's dispel any illusions you might have about the country and do a reality check on what life is really like for new immigrants:
How easy is it to get started?
The answer to this question depends on whom you ask. When researching for a feature article for The Essential Guide on Moving to Canada, most people admitted the first year is almost always the most difficult. Few are so lucky as to immediately land the job of their dreams. Many don?t even get a job in the early months after the move to Canada, and if they do, it is in a field totally different from what they have worked in.
Assuming the worst, you will need to have enough funds to tide you and your family over for at least a few months. Citizenship and Immigration Canada insists on a transfer of around C$10,000-$15,000 when you move to the country (the figures vary depending on the size of your family). Our advice however is to work out approximately how much you will need to support you and your family for the first six months (and that includes rent/mortgage, initial ?setting-up-home? expenses, groceries, travel and other costs), and put that aside as a ?start-up? fund.
In most cases, the going gets easier over time. People find better-paying jobs or earn promotions, having overcome the ?Canadian experience? hurdle. As you become more comfortable in your new surroundings, your circle of friends will grow, you will develop your own favourite places to shop and find new avenues of entertainment.
Even misfortunes like losing a job will not seem an outright tragedy once you are entitled to benefits such as unemployment insurance.
The trick really is to make sure you have enough funds to tide you over the crucial early months ? basically prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.
Are jobs easy to come by?
The question of jobs is paramount in the minds of most immigrants, which is why we have devoted an entire chapter to it. It?s often a matter of talent, timing and luck. You should be willing to ?reinvent? yourself to find a job that requires your knowledge and skills if work isn?t available in your own field.
Immigrant stories on the job front are so varied that it would be unfair to generalize. Some find jobs almost immediately after they arrive, others wait several months before even getting a call for an interview. It must be said though that for most skilled immigrants, finding employment is usually just a matter of time.
What about education?
Education standards in Canada are excellent. Schooling is free, but college and university education is expensive. Many teenagers take up summer jobs to help pay their way through college and student loans are also available.
There are also several institutions that offer special interest courses for children and adults. Many immigrants enrol themselves in evening or night courses to polish their skills in subjects that might help promote themselves better in the job market.
Canadian winters? Brrrr!
Canadian winters are a huge source of concern for most immigrants, especially those from countries where it never snows. There is no denying that the winter months are bitterly cold. However, so long as you are properly attired when outdoors and your home and car is equipped for the season, there is no cause for alarm. Many immigrants are surprised by how well they cope with winter in Canada, and children especially have a ball in the snow.
There will always be days when the weather is especially rough (usually when it?s both cold and windy), but then which part of the world doesn?t have its bad days?
If below freezing temperatures are too chilling a prospect for you, look at setting up home in a city nearer the West Coast. Vancouver, for example, rarely has snow and temperatures below 0 Celsius are unusual.
Will I be able to adjust to life in Canada? Will I lose my ethnic identity?
Adjusting to the Canadian way of life really depends on the immigrant?s background and his or her willingness to make the change. It helps to have a spirit of adventure and the readiness for a challenge. There are many aspects of life in Canada that you might find different from what you are used to ? whether it pertains to job-hunting, buying a home or socialising.
Having said that, it is not in the least bit true that you will start to lose your identity or sense of roots. Immigration levels in Canada are high, and some 250,000 new immigrants set foot on Canadian soil each year. So don?t be surprised when you find yourself surrounded by people of your own race, creed or colour at work, on the roads or at the malls.
Canada respects all religions and cultures, and whether you go to a church, temple, mosque or gurudwara, you will likely find a place of worship near you.
There are several clubs and associations that cater to individual communities or nationalities as well as organisations that help new immigrants adjust to life in Canada, so look at using these services.
There are even television and radio networks which broadcast programmes in ethnic languages, and as for films, we?d be surprised if you didn?t find what you were looking for at a neighbourhood video store!thxs Archie DCruz
Monday, January 22, 2007
Top 10 source countries for immigrants coming to Canada (2004):
- China and Hong Kong: 38,608
- India: 28,183
- Philippines: 13,900
- Pakistan: 13,011
- Iran: 6,491
- United States: 6,470
- Romania: 5,816
- Great Britain: 5,353
- South Korea: 5,351
- Colombia: 4,600
- United Kingdom
- Countries of the former Yugoslavia
Where do they go?
- Ontario: 53.1 per cent
- Quebec: 18.8 per cent
- British Columbia: 15.7 per cent
- Alberta: 7 per cent
- Manitoba: 3.2 per cent
- Other provinces and territories: 2.4 per cent
- 100,088 chose to settle in Toronto
- 38,045 chose to settle in Montreal
- 32,575 chose to settle in Vancouver.
Immigrants to Montreal tend to come from: China, France, Morocco, Algeria and Haiti.
Immigrants to Vancouver are from: China, India, Philippines, Korea and Taiwan.
Seventeen per cent of immigrants in the 1990s were schoolchildren aged between five and 16. Here's how it breaks down in the metropolitan areas:
- One in six (17 per cent) of school-age children living in Toronto and Vancouver had immigrated within the past 10 years, as had about seven per cent of Montreal's school-age children.
- Urban Ontario:
The cities of Toronto, Markham, Richmond Hill and Mississauga had proportionally higher numbers of new immigrants (one in four) in their school-age populations.
- Urban B.C.:
The city of Richmond had the highest proportion of newcomers (32 per cent ) in its school-age population. Nearly three in 10 children in Burnaby in this age group were newcomers, as were 24 per cent in Vancouver, 22 per cent in Coquitlam and 11 per cent in Surrey.
- Montreal urban community:
Twelve per cent of school-age children were immigrants who came in the 1990s. But within the MUC, Saint-Laurent had the highest proportion of newcomers (25 per cent) in their school-age population.
Visible minorities and ethnic origin
Three-quarters of immigrants arriving in Canada during the 1990s were visible minorities.
On the flip side, three out of every 10 individuals who were visible minorities were born in Canada. Visible minorities who are most likely to be Canadian-born:
- Japanese (65 per cent)
- Blacks (45 per cent)
- Chinese (25 per cent)
- Arabs and West Indians (21 per cent)
- Latin Americans (20 per cent)
- Koreans (17 per cent)
Chinese are the most populous visible minority in Canada numbering one million. South Asians come in at number 2 with 917,000 people.
While the census reported Canada had people from 200 ethnicities, 39 per cent of the total population reported their ethnic heritage as "Canadian."
Canadian was the most frequently reported origin (alone or in combination with other origins) in almost all provinces in 2001. The exceptions were Saskatchewan, where German was the most frequently reported origin; British Columbia, where English was the most frequent origin; North American Indian in the Northwest Territories; and Inuit in Nunavut.
Top non-official languages spoken at home:
- Tagalog (Filipino)
- Persian (Farsi)
*reported as Chinese, Cantonese, Mandarin or Hakka
Sunday, January 21, 2007
On Friday last week, the Canadian government unveiled a CND$432 million (USD$362 million) program to increase border control and security along the border with the United States. This was immediately after plans by the U.S. were revealed to have unmanned spy planes patrolling the border and only about one week before passports become mandatory for U.S. residents to cross the border by plane.
The major border security initiative by the Canadian government will be implemented over the next five years, and with the aim of protecting the border from terrorist, economic and environmental threats.
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day made the announcement on Friday at the Canada-U.S. border crossing between Windsor and Detroit, where one-third of the USD$1.6 billion in daily trade between the two countries crosses the border daily.
This one contact point between the neighbors exceeds the total trade between the U.S. and Japan.
18,000 trucks cross the U.S.-Canada border each day. As well, all railroad, air and marine cargo carriers will eventually have to file electronic manifests before their shipments arrive. This is expected to allow border service agents to decide in advance if a cargo, or those delivering it, should be screened more closely.
The eManifest program, which is part of the larger effort, will coordinate this effort and is expected to consume the bulk of the allocated funds (~USD$337 million). The electronic manifests will become mandatory at the 119 border crossings, but an exact target date is not yet announced.
When he was elected almost a year ago, Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, pledged to strengthen the frontier between the worlds largest trading partners.
The lack of security measures along both sides of the 8,890 kilometer (5,300 mile) border has been widely criticized, particularly since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.
Passports and biometric identification
Another strategy is the joint Canadian-U.S. NEXUS traveler program, which allows low-risk travelers to cross the border more easily as long as they're willing to submit to a background check and provide fingerprints and other personal data.
NEXUS air, highway and marine programs were consolidated last month into a single 'trusted traveler' program. NEXUS, which started in 2002, now has more than 110,000 members in Canada and the U.S.
Canadians who want to join must pay an $80 fee, good for five years' membership, and supply proof of citizenship, admissibility and place of residence.
Those who have criminal records, who have violated customs or immigration law or are inadmissible to Canada or the United States under immigration rules are not eligible for the program.
The program is also being extended to Mexico to facilitate border crossings between the U.S. and its southern neighbor.
If accepted into NEXUS, a digital photo of a persons irises will be taken, which will be used to identify NEXUS members. Those who cross at land borders can use dedicated lanes, while marine travelers can report to border officials by phone.
A NEXUS membership will be recognized as an alternative to a passport under the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which comes into force for air travelers on 23 January 2007.
In Canada, but especially in the United States, there is a backlog of people attempting to obtain passports. The requirement for air travelers to present a passport has been announced broadly since early last year.
The date has been moved several times, originally being expected to take effect from 01 January. Due to holiday travel concerns, it was extended twice until the present date was finalized late last fall. It currently applies to air travelers, but by 01 January 2008 it will apply to travelers by ship and by car.
Remote-control spy planes
The United States currently has a program in place to observe the U.S.-Mexico border with unmanned drones. Called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), they are based upon military spy planes and are being increasingly adapted for remote-control border patrol operations around the world.
Planned for sometime late this summer, the first UAVs will officially take flight to patrol the U.S.-Canada border. The first one on the northern border will be a single General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Predator 'B' aircraft.
Four Predator Bs are expected to be in operation by September, at a cost of just over USD$16 million each with USD$10 million in annual maintenance funding for the program. Known as "The Reaper," it is a new, improved version of the UAV used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan operations with "enhanced capabilities."
In parallel, new satellite-to-ground communications infrastructure will be developed at an existing air and marine operations centre at Riverside, California. At an estimated cost of $105 million, the communications system is designed to allow improved co-ordination of UAVs operated throughout U.S. national airspace to watch all borders.
UAVs used on the Canadian border will operate out of existing U.S. National Guard facilities at Grand Forks, North Dakota. This is the first step to lay the foundation for expanded Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations along the nation's northern border.
In September 2006, officials of the U.S. Homeland Security Department unveiled plans for an array of sensors, infrared cameras, watchtowers and drones that will eventually monitor the country's entire border with Canada. The goal, they said, was to have the world's longest undefended border under surveillance within three to six years.
"What we are looking to build is a virtual fence, a 21st-century virtual fence," U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said at the time.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Accountant: Baccalaureate, licenciatura degree, C.P.A., C.A., C.G.A., or C.M.A.
Architect: Baccalaureate, licenciatura degree, or state or provincial licensure
Computer systems Analyst: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or post-secondary diploma or certificate and three years of experience
Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims, or three years of experience in the field of claims adjustment and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims.
Economist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Engineer: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or state or provincial licensure
Forester: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or state or provincial licensure
Graphic Designer: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or post-secondary diploma or certificate and three years of experience
Hotel Manager: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree in hotel management, or post-secondary diploma or certificate and three years of experience
Industrial Designer: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or post-secondary diploma or certificate and three years of experience
Interior Designer: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or post-secondary diploma or certificate and three years of experience
Land Surveyor: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or state, provincial or federal licensure
Landscape Architect: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Lawyer: (Including Notary in the province of Quebec) L.L.B., J.D., L.L.M., B.C.L., licenciatura degree (five years), or membership in a state or provincial bar
Librarian: M.L.S. or B.L.S. for which another baccalaureate or licenciatura degree was a prerequisite
Management Consultant: Baccalaureate degree, licenciatura degree, or five years of experience in consulting or a related field
Mathematician (including Statistician): Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Range Manager/Range Conservationist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Research Assistant (working in a post-secondary educational institution): Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Scientific Technician/Technologist: Must work in direct support of professionals in: chemistry, engineering, geology, geophysics, meteorology, physics, astronomy, agricultural sciences, biology or forestry; and must possess theoretical knowledge of the discipline, and must possess the ability to solve practical problems in the discipline, or the ability to apply principles of the discipline to basic or applied research
Social Worker: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Sylviculturist: (including forestry specialist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Technical Publications Writer: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or post-secondary diploma or certificate and three years of experience
Urban Planner (including Geographer): Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Vocational Counselor: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Dentist: D.D.S., D.M.D., Doctor en Odontologia, Doctor en Cirugia Dental, or state or provincial licensure
Dietitian: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or state or provincial licensure
Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada) or Medical Technologist (Mexico): Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or post-secondary diploma or certificate and three years of experience. Must be seeking entry to perform chemical, biological, hematological, immunological, microscopic , and bacteriological tests, procedures, experiments, and analysis in laboratories for diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease
Nutritionist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Occupational Therapist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or state or provincial licensure
Pharmacist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree, or state or provincial licensure
Physician (teaching or research only): M.D., Doctor en Medicina, or state or provincial licensure
Physio Therapist or Physical Therapist: Baccalaureate degree, licenciatura degree, or state or provincial licensure
Psychologist: Licenciatura degree or state or provincial licensure
Recreational Therapist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Registered Nurse: Licenciatura degree or state or provincial licensure
Veterinarian: D.V.M., D.M.V., Doctor en Veterinaria, or state or provincial licensure
Agriculturist (including Agronomist): Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Animal Breeder: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Animal Scientist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Apiculturist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Astronomer: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Biochemist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Biologist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Chemist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Dairy Scientist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Entomologist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Epidemiologist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Geneticist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Geochemist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Geologist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Geophysicist (including Oceanographer in Mexico): Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Horticulturist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Meteorologist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Pharmacologist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Physicist (including Oceanographer in Canada): Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Plant Breeder: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Poultry Scientist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Soil Scientist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Zoologist: Baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
Teacher: Requires baccalaureate or licenciatura degree for teaching college, seminar or university
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Nearly 2,700 Israelis immigrated to Canada in 2004 and 2,601 arrived the year before – the two highest numbers on record – states the report, titled The Israeli Community in the Greater Toronto Area.
Prepared by David Gidron for the Israeli House, a component of the Israeli Consulate in Toronto, the study found that altogether, 64,859 Israelis immigrated to Canada from 1946 to 2004, with the vast majority settling in the GTA. That figure does not include children born in Canada.
Ties between Israeli immigrants and the established Jewish community remain tenuous. In the report, Gidron calls on Jewish community leadership “to find ways to strengthen the connection to this group… Some of the Jewish bodies – especially the bodies connected to Jewish education – are, in my opinion, moving too slowly and are having difficulty in finding solutions to the needs of the Israeli community. It is important that these bodies put the Israeli issues on their agenda in order to help ensure we don’t lose the next generation, the children.”
A copy of the report has been turned over to the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and it is now being studied. The report was prepared to assist the Israeli House in planning the kind of services it would offer Israeli expats and to provide the Israeli Canadian Forum, a new organization that will serve as an umbrella organization for Israelis, with information about their target audience. The study is based on Canadian census data, information compiled by the consulate and on material found in Citizenship and Immigration Canada reports.
Gidron believes integrating Israeli newcomers will pose a challenge to the established Jewish community on a number of fronts, but the new, relatively young population group also offers tremendous opportunities for community growth. A community-wide “very serious dialogue” is needed, he said
Posing one difficulty is the cultural divide: many Israelis perceive Canadian Jews as too formal, cool and standoffish.
Another point of separation is religious identity: Canadian Jews’ connection to the community and to their Jewishness is often through synagogue affiliation. Most Israelis, however, are secular. “They look at Jewishness first from the point of nationalism and ethnic identity and less from the point of view of religion,” Gidron said. “It will take years, if ever, to see Israelis migrate to shuls.”
Gidron said he is concerned about Jewish continuity among youths whose parents are Israeli. “They aren’t in day schools and they are not tied to Israel, the land, as they are not living there. That’s a major challenge for anyone who works for the community.”
Gidron, who moved to Toronto two years ago, said Israeli immigrants are forced to address the universal Jewish dilemma of continuity – but with a twist. “In Israel, they do not deal with the question of what it is to be a Jew. They come here and for the first time, they have to give thought to that question.”
Israeli parents are confiding in him that their children are “marrying out and they are not sure what they did wrong.”
Gidron suggested Hebrew supplementary schools might provide a means of bringing young Israelis into the community, but they would have to focus on Israeli history, geography – “for them, Israel the land is pragmatic, it’s not a dream,” he said – and written Hebrew. Tanach could be taught as in Israel, from a historical and cultural perspective, he offered.
Gidron attributed the rise in Israeli emigration to a number of factors. Israelis meet Canadian immigration criteria and so have little difficulty in obtaining visas. Canada is likely the second most popular destination for Israelis, after the United States, he said.
While “we’d be happy if the Israeli community packed up tomorrow and went back home,” he said out-migration is now seen as a normal development in a mature country.
As to Israelis’ integration into the wider community, Gidron is guardedly optimistic. It will depend on “whether the community is open enough to take in a brother that is a little different, and bring them in as an equal. The community here puts people in ‘boxes.’ Is the community open enough to make a new box? [If so] Israelis will respond if there is a box built in their way.”
Some of the report’s other findings:
The largest concentration of Israeli immigrants in the GTA is in Vaughan (2,840), a city immediately north of Toronto. Second is the area around Finch (1,150) and third the area around Lawrence (670). • Two-thirds of the Israeli community earn less than $40,000 per year. Israeli immigrants are relatively young compared to other groups of Jews and most have arrived in the last few years, keeping their incomes low. • Sixty-nine per cent of Israelis are salaried workers, while only 1.6 per cent receive a government pension. 7.23 per cent receive government assistance. • 14.5 per cent live in poverty.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Canada does want immigrants to come to their country. Otherwise, they wouldn't have lowered the required Pass-Mark score from 75 to 67. However, they do want to ensure that all new immigrants will be able to fit into their culture, will be able to support themselves and their families, and will make a positive contribution to the community into which they move.
The Pass-Mark system is a method of evaluating individuals who apply to become permanent Canadian residents based on those standards.
Elements of the Pass-Mark System
• Language ability
• Work experience
• Arranged employment in Canada
Each of these areas can earn you a specific number of points based on your responses.
Education – 25 points
Language – 24 points
Work experience – 21 points
Age – 10 points
Arranged employment in Canada – 10 points
Adaptability – 10 points
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Maple Leaf said it had no knowledge of the payments, and although no criminal wrongdoing is alleged, they launched an investigation immediately after learning that many workers are struggling to pay debts related to the fee, which is equivalent to about four times the average annual salary in China.
The company said it hired a Canadian immigration consultant to find workers on its behalf. Although the company refused to identify the consultant, The Globe and Mail has learned that it is Sophia Cummings Enterprises, based in Vancouver.
Maple Leaf confirmed that a company executive is in a relationship with Ms. Cummings but refused to give the name.
Linda Kuhn, a spokeswoman for Maple Leaf, said there was full disclosure of that relationship and it played no role in awarding the contract.
Ms. Cummings is travelling abroad and could not be reached for comment.
The company planned to bring in several hundred workers from China on temporary visas to staff its Brandon plant. The workers arrived in Brandon, a city of 40,000 250 kilometres west of Winnipeg, last spring. They were adjusting well to the community and earning good reviews at work, the company said. But in October, some of the workers asked to be moved out of the apartments arranged for them by Maple Leaf because they were too costly.
That is when it emerged that many of them were struggling under a weight of debt.
"The extent of the cost I'm sure has borne some burden on these people," Ms. Kuhn said.
Officials with the United Food and Commercial Workers union said the Chinese employees are reluctant to speak publicly for fear of repercussions against them and their families in China. But the union said it is concerned about the situation. The workers are paid a starting salary of about $15 an hour for various kinds of work in the plant. Although they are in Canada on temporary visas, some may eventually be able to stay in Manitoba through the provincial nominee program.
Maple Leaf has recruited abroad for many years, particularly in Mexico and El Salvador, partly because of the widespread labour shortage in Western Canada. But Ms. Kuhn said they have never encountered this kind of payment arrangement before.
They stress that the payments are not illegal and were arranged in another country, but they are concerned that it happened without their knowledge or approval.
As a result, they have terminated their business relationship with Ms. Cummings.
The Department of Human Resources and Social Development delved into the case and interviewed several of the Chinese workers after being contacted last month by Maple Leaf.
"We're trying to get to the bottom of this as well," said George Rohulych, the department's manager of employment programs. "What we've been able to learn is that these workers had responded to ads in China from a company that offers its services to people wanting to secure international employment."
For the equivalent of about $10,000, payable in cash only, the workers received training in meat-cutting and some education in English as a second language.
Although it seems a great deal of money, there is nothing the department can do about this type of arrangement, Mr. Rohulych said.
"All that we do is provide a labour-market opinion to the employer that enables them to recruit outside of Canada," he said. "I have no jurisdiction if workers use a third party or if an employer uses a third party."
Initially, he was concerned that the workers had paid for their passage to Canada, which is illegal under the terms of the temporary worker visa. But that proved not to be the case, he said. It is unclear where the money ended up.
Maple Leaf has government approval to bring in 182 more foreign workers this year, but with their China plans on hold, it's not known where those workers will come from.
"I know they're anxious to bring more workers in because they have a need at the facility," Mr. Rohulych said.
Ms. Kuhn said Maple Leaf is considering making some form of restitution to the 61 workers, but she could not say how much money they might receive.
Monday, January 15, 2007
OTTAWA - Reports of sexual harassment of a young female Korean immigrant by a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada clearly demonstrates the need for an independent appeal process, said NDP Immigration Critic Bill Siksay and Deputy Critic Olivia Chow.
"As an immigrant woman, I was outraged by reports of sexual harassment by a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board," said Chow, MP for Trinity-Spadina which is home to thousands of immigrants and refugees.
"This is not just an isolated tale of abuse by a Liberal crony appointee, but a stain on our country for which the Government must hold itself responsible. It is a terrible indictment of our tattered and frayed immigration and refugee system. This sordid episode is a sign of a badly broken immigration system in Canada, which was neglected by four successive Liberal governments. Clearly, the neglect continues with the Harper Conservatives. Enough is enough!"
According to Siksay, MP for Burnaby-Douglas, the NDP has been advocating an independent refugee and immigration appeal process for years, to help protect against this kind of egregious abuse.
"Four years ago in 2001, the House of Commons approved one such independent appeal process -- the Refugee Appeal Division, but neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have acted on that House direction," said Siksay.
"There can be no more excuses, nor more delays. The need has been demonstrated time and again, and it would be inexcusable for the Government to delay any further, when a clear remedy exists and has already achieved House of Commons approval. Everyone in this country deserves better."ndp.ca
A refugee judge has been charged by the RCMP after a South Korean woman alleged he offered to assist her in her refugee claim in return for sexual favours.
The woman and her boyfriend secretly videotaped a conversation she had with a man she said was 47-year-old Stevan Ellis, a Toronto-based adjudicator with the Immigration and Refugee Board.
A copy of the tape was sent to IRB chair Jean-Guy Fleury, who suspended Ellis and forwarded the information to the RCMP.
Ellis, who has adjudicated 1,279 refugee claims over his tenure, has also been banned from IRB premises.
The RCMP charged Ellis with breach of trust, knowingly making or issuing a false document or statement, or accepting or agreeing to accept a bribe or other benefit in respect to a refugee application.
Several weeks ago, Toronto Starreporter Nicholas Keung reported that the woman and her boyfriend, Brad Tripp, met with the Mounties to give a statement on her allegations of sexual misconduct against Ellis and a copy of the videotape that was broadcast by CTV.
On the tape, Ellis, a lawyer and former Toronto city councillor, told the woman known as Kim: "Let see what I can do. I'm going to work on it. I really want to be friends with you."
He allegedly suggested he could approve her refugee claim if she had an affair with him, but warned her not to tell her boyfriend.
The couple told the Star that a copy of the tape had been mailed to IRB chair Fleury two weeks previous.
In a statement posted on the IRB website, Fleury said he became aware of "allegations of a serious breach of the member's code of conduct" and removed Ellis from hearing cases, pending an internal review.
"The allegations of misconduct in this instance are very serious," wrote Fleury, who was not available for an interview.
"Canadians have a right to demand that the IRB's processes are conducted in an ethnical and fair manner. There is no tolerance for abuse of any kind in this institution."
Tripp told the Star that Ellis first met Kim at a refugee hearing in July and subsequently visited the restaurant where she was a waitress five times — but only twice while she was there.
"The first time, she called and told me the refugee judge was here. I thought that was coincident. But at the second time, he actually asked her out for a coffee to discuss her case," recalled Tripp, who has been seeing Kim for 15 months. "We talked to some people and thought it was odd and we decided to record it."
This is believed to be the first time allegations involving sexual favours between an IRB member and a claimant have occurred since the board's inception in 1989.
Ellis, a two-term member of the old Toronto city council, was named to the IRB in October 2000 and renewed in 2002, two years before rules were changed to "professionalize" the board and eliminate patronage appointments of people poorly qualified for the job.
Refugee lawyers who have dealt with him describe him as professional and knowledgeable, though a "maverick" at times.
"He's less formal in his manner than other members and ... he's said he's been in private practice before and he doesn't wave the rule book at you," said one.
Acceptance rates for South Korean refugee claimants are low — about 11 per cent compared with an overall 40 per cent of the 20,000 annual claims.
Kim, 25, came to Canada in 2004, claiming she'd been a victim of domestic violence, the grounds most commonly used by South Koreans, said Soh Young Jeong, a reporter with the Korea Times, a Toronto-based community paper.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
As Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffles his cabinet, it has been announced that the Honourable Diane Finley will become the new Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. The Honourable Monte Solberg will be moving on to become Minister of Human Resources and Social Development.
Ms. Finley was first elected to parliament in 2004, representing the rural Ontario riding of Haldimand-Norfolk. Since February 2006 she had been serving as Minister of Human Resources and Social Development (HRSDC). Prior to her Conservative Party of Canada forming the government in early 2006, Ms. Finley acted as the Official Opposition Critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Mr. Solberg leaves the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration after 10 months on the job. In his new position at HRSDC, he will be working closely with Ms. Finley in co-ordination of policy and programs.
The prior experience earned by Ms. Finley at HRSDC should serve her well in her new post. The knowledge of human resource needs in the Canadian economy should assist her in ensuring that immigrants to Canada are met with jobs and training. The experience will also prove useful in working with other government departments to provide services for immigrants. Ms. Finley holds an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, working in both the public and private sectors before entering politics.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Canada plans to admit between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents to the country in 2007 under new immigration targets.
In tabling its annual report to Parliament on Tuesday, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) unveiled the highest immigration targets for 25-years, and expects the final figure for this year to come close to the current target of 255,000 migrants.
2005 saw 262,236 new migrants accepted into Canada, of which 156,310 were in the Economic Class that includes skilled workers, investors, provincial nominees and live-in carers. The 2007 aim is to admit 15,000 more skilled workers than in 2005.
Whilst Canada is looking to attract more skilled workers, the proportion of family class immigrants will drop, and CIC has announced that it will freeze the number of grandparents and parents at between 18,000 and 19,000.
China still provides more new arrivals than any other country (16 per cent), followed by India (13 per cent) and the Philipines (7 per cent).
In his preface to the report, Immigration Minister Monte Solberg said Canada's new Tory Government believes immigration will play an important role in building the country and helping the economy grow.
He wrote: "Each newcomer has a story to tell: whether they are bringing their skills and entrepreneurial talents to help Canada’s economy grow; reuniting with family members; or seeking security and stability.
"Canada needs the talent and dynamism that immigrants bring. In an internationally competitive global market for talent, Canada is facing skills shortages at home in particular sectors and in specific regions of the country.
"Immigration has a role to play in addressing labour market challenges and my goal is to ensure the immigration program better responds to our needs as a country in a way that is fair, transparent and adheres to the rule of law, while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians."
Last Spring's budget saw $307-million pledged for language training and other settlement services, and $18-million for an agency to assess and recognize foreign credentials.
Recent legislation changes aimed at reducing the skills shortage also now allow for foreign students foreign students to work off-campus while they study.
Top 10 countries of origin, 2005 - CICChina: 42,491
South Korea: 5,819
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
University of Alberta student Marlene Mulder was awarded the inaugural Alberta Award for the Study of Canadian Human Rights and Multiculturalism for her study on the social challenges and experiences of immigrant groups in Canada.
Mulder, whose previous research includes the settlement experiences of refugees in Alberta and the settlement of Kosovar refugees in Alberta, is a sociology PhD student currently working at the Prairie Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Integration. Her interest in immigration studies has led her to accumulate years of community work experience before entering graduate studies.
"Immigration has always been my focus. I have personally worked with refugee sponsorship since 1979 when the first families came from Vietnam. So it has been a personal interest of mine to support and help refugees settle in Canada since then," Mulder said. "My interest is driven by my experiences."
The $10,000 award is given to graduate students attending an Alberta post-secondary institution whose area of study contributes to the advancement of human rights, cultural diversity and multiculturalism. The award is administered by the Alberta Advanced Education through the Alberta Scholarship Programs in recognition of Alberta's centennial.
For her dissertation, Mulder plans to examine the various cultural stresses that Canadian immigrants experience in order to adapt to this country. The main factors that she will explore include marginalization, separation, assimilation and integration of Canadian immigrants and how they relate to Canada's immigration requirements.
"I'm going to be looking at whether the points that people get in order to qualify for immigration to Canada - such as age, education, employment experience, contacts in Canada - are actually the factors that they need in order to be successful in Canada," said Mulder.
Mulder said there is an increasing federal government interest in encouraging immigrants to settle outside traditional destinations such as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, in areas where there are fewer support services available to immigrants. She is interested in compiling data on the factors that would make a community a good place for immigrants to settle.
Geographical location and size of the city definitely influence the success of immigrants, since this can translate into job opportunities, community resources and support systems in place for newly landed immigrants.
"A city like Edmonton or Calgary, a mid-size city, would have full services for immigrants and that would be much different than smaller cities, such as Wetaskawin, that doesn't have the same services for new comers," Mulder said. "That's probably fine if people already speak English or have been educated in a system that is comparable to the Canadian system. But that's certainly going to be more difficult if they need integration services."
Mulder is also interested in the settlement of refugee groups compared to other immigrants, since they immigrate under different circumstances and are likely to face different obstacles.
"Refugee groups usually have to leave without all the choices, resource, and preparations that others have. And in terms of refugees too, there has been a growing interest in bringing people in as groups ... so I think we need to do some research and look into how it benefits the immigrants and the communities.
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Ottawa has ruled out amnesty for the estimated 200,000 undocumented workers toiling in Canada's underground economy, saying it would not be fair to those who have applied legally and are waiting in line, according to a letter obtained by The Globe and Mail.
Allowing illegal workers to stay would likely "encourage more illegal immigration," noted Linda Arseneau of Citizenship and Immigration Canada's ministerial enquiries division in an Oct. 18 letter to the Universal Workers Union.
"Even a small increase in the number who decide to come here and stay here illegally based on the hope of regularization would simply recreate the very problem the proposal is supposed to fix," the letter says.
The decision is a bitter disappointment to Portuguese and Hispanic groups, home-builder associations and unions in Ontario that have lobbied CIC to allow undocumented workers in the construction industry to regularize their status.
The groups have met with five different immigration ministers in six years to press the issue. Former immigration minister Joe Volpe signed a memo of understanding with the Coalition for Undocumented Workers last year for a regularization program that would allow undocumented workers already in the Greater Toronto Area to apply to stay.
The initiative was never passed because of opposition from within the Liberal caucus.
Andy Manahan, of Universal Workers Union Local 183, said he hopes Ottawa will not move to deport about 20,000 undocumented workers in Toronto, many of whom are keeping the construction sector afloat. Another 20,000 work as house cleaners and cooks in the GTA, while a recent report estimated the total of illegal workers in Canada at 200,000 to 500,000.
"We need these people and they cannot qualify under the current immigration system, which favours white-collar workers," Mr. Manahan said. "The best solution would be if the government reformed the points system to encourage skilled tradespeople to apply."
Daniel, 47, his wife and two grown sons arrived in Toronto from Mendoza, Argentina, seven years ago and have been working as house framers ever since, hoping Ottawa would introduce a temporary amnesty.
"There is a demand for our labour. Most Canadians don't want to do this work," Daniel said. "We are paying taxes and spending money. An amnesty isn't a solution, but the government could create a temporary program to help us get status."
He and his family must decide what to do next, and they live in fear of being discovered by immigration officials and ordered to leave.
"This is not a good way to live," he said.
Immigration Minister Monte Solberg understands the difficulty and vulnerability of those working illegally in Canada, according to the letter, which says he is committed to "ensuring that Canada's immigration policy is reoriented to meet the demands of our labour market."
But CIC also wants to maintain the integrity of the immigration program and "drive foreign workers to legal channels."
Ontario is planning to introduce a provincial nominee program, which would allow the province to bring in workers with specific skills and give applicants priority processing by CIC.
Last year more than 80,000 temporary foreign workers arrived in Canada.
A recent report commissioned by the Laborers' International Union of North America found that undocumented workers in the GTA "pay taxes, create jobs and wealth," but are often forced to work for less than the minimum wage and "live in fear of being deported."
Many of the workers are from Portugal and Latin American countries such as Argentina and El Salvador.
In March, the deportation of about two dozen Portuguese nationals caused an uproar as the Portuguese community struggled to understand why gainfully employed stonemasons and carpenters could not stay.
In June, the House of Commons committee on citizenship and immigration called on the government to halt deportations of all undocumented workers until a new immigration policy could be introduced.
Monday, January 8, 2007
This new arrangement may cause refugee advocates on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border to ask the question: "what kind of refugee protection is offered by our neighbours?".
The answer depends on the aspect from which one approaches the question.
Aspect 1: the legal system
Canada's refugee status determination system is considered internationally as a good working model.
In Canada, refugee claimants enjoy the constitutional protections of due process, as well as the right to seek habeas corpus or similar relief if detained. (Note: some or all of these rights may be curtailed if the refugee claimant is also a suspected threat to national security). Nevertheless, it is worth noting that respect for individual rights is traditionally stronger in the United States and the Canadian constitution even allows for the derogation of its protections in certain circumstances.
Assuming they are not criminals or terrorists, refugee claimants have the right to one oral hearing before a single member of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) to determine whether they meet the definition of "refugee" contained in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and also whether they would be otherwise a "person in need of protection" as defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, section 97. This latter form of protection is somewhat similar to the American concept of "withholding of deportation", except that it is broader in scope: it does not require the individual to show a threat to his life or freedom on account of a ground enumerated in the Convention. It also would encompass relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).
Very strong cases are pre-screened and put into expedited processing; if they satisfy a Refugee Protection Officer of the merits of their claim during an interview, they are accepted without the necessity of a full hearing. The overall acceptance rate of the IRB (including the expedited cases) is currently around 40%. Processing time is around one year.
If they are not successful before the IRB, refugee claimants in Canada then have a significant problem which simply does not exist in the United States: they do not have an automatic right to judicial review of the IRB's decision. They must first make a written application for "leave". Statistics show that some 80-90% of leave applications are denied by the Federal Court. No reasons are given. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a significant number of those denied leave had meritorious cases.
Denials of leave are unappealable. Claims cannot be re-opened by the IRB for new evidence or circumstances, only breaches of natural justice. There is simply no effective error-correction mechanism for rejected refugee claimants in Canada at the present time. Provisions creating a special refugee appeal tribunal have yet to be declared in force.
On the other hand, if rejected claimants have some entirely new evidence of risk upon return to their country of origin, they may present it to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) who cannot not remove them until such evidence is analyzed. But the acceptance rate on this Pre-Removal Risk Assessment is only around 5%.
As well, anyone in Canada may make an application for residence based upon humanitarian and compassionate grounds to CIC at any time, although the filing of such an application does not automatically result in a stay of removal. The acceptance rate for this is, again, around 5%, the processing time is approaching 30 months and there is a processing fee of at least $500.00 CDN.
As ineffective as these latter two options are, they do not appear to have direct equivalents in the United States. The humanitarian and compassionate application is particularly interesting in that its outcome can sometimes be affected in individual cases by the political process, NGO intervention, the media and public opinion.
In Canada, refugee claimants are eligible for work permits and health care almost immediately upon filing their claims. As well, most of the populous provinces have a legal aid system which covers some parts of the process (although this system has started to erode significantly). Such benefits significantly facilitate the access of refugee claimants to the legal procedures in place in a given country. Their absence, obviously, has the opposite effect. Relevant also is the use of detention by immigration officials. In Canada the detention rate is said to be much lower than in the United States. The best system in the world is useless if one is underground, ill, in jail or cannot afford a lawyer.
Aspect 2: judicial interpretation of the refugee definition
In this area there are definitely differences between Canada and the United States, but no clear "winner" in terms of wider overall protection.
In Canada, rejected refugee claimants routinely attempt to have their refusals judicially reviewed. This has resulted in a plethora of refugee case law. In fact, over the past 50 years or so there have been approximately three times as many significant Canadian judicial opinions on refugee law as in the United States. The jurisprudence of the Federal Court applies nationwide and thus avoids the sharp disparities created in the United States by the Circuit Court system. On the other hand, in Canada almost no principles of interpretation of refugee law are codified, as they frequently are in the United States, allowing for some uncertainty. Canadian refugee jurisprudence is frequently cited internationally.
Canadian judicial opinions are at least as favourable to refugees as those in the United States in following areas: credibility assessment, subjective fear, well-foundedness, definition of persecution (including laws of general application, evasion of military service, cumulative effect), definition of "particular social group", definition of "political opinion", change of circumstances, "compelling reasons" and expulsion of refugees on the basis of particularly serious crimes.
There are several areas, however, where Canadian jurisprudence could be said to be less "refugee-friendly".
- In terms of family claims, Canadian courts have refused to recognized the concept of derivative persecution.
- Canadian courts generally afford less deference to past persecution as means of establishing a well-founded fear of future persecution.
- Canadian jurisprudence is quite weak on the concept of group persecution, the notion of "pattern and practice" of group persecution having not yet been developed.
- Canadian refugee law has quietly developed a somewhat sinister "double nexus" requirement. No longer can a woman or child, for example, claim "social group" (i.e. family) persecution just because he or she suffers the heinous consequences of a family member's pursuit by agents of persecution. He or she must establish additionally that the family member is being pursued on account of a Convention ground.
- As well, the so-called "internal flight alternative" is a veritable obsession of the IRB, thousands of claimants having been rejected on the basis that they could not disprove the proposition that they would be safe from persecution in some areas of their countries. The courts, rather than noting its dubious provenance, have upheld this notion's validity without question, although tempering it somewhat by recognizing an additional requirement that internal refuge be a "reasonable" option. This is in sharp contrast to some U.S. opinions, which stated affirmatively that there was no obligation on a refugee claimant to show country-wide persecution and on the general position that the burden is on the government-not on the refugee claimant-to establish an internal flight alternative.
- Finally, scores of claimants each year are rejected by the IRB on the basis of the exclusion clause in Article 1F(a) of the Convention-i.e. complicity in crimes against humanity or war crimes. Accordingly, there are numerous Canadian judicial opinions in this area and norms have become well-developed. This is in contrast to the relative dearth of American judicial opinions on "persecution of others".
It is often said that most refugees worldwide are women and children. Gender does indeed matter in assessing the safety of any particular host country. Canada was one of the first signatories to the Convention to recognize how a fear of domestic abuse in the country of origin could fit into the refugee definition. The IRB has even issued guidelines on the subject. The situation in the United States appears much murkier at present due to the continuing unresolved status of Matter of R.A.
Nevertheless, on other issues of concern to woman such as rape, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, reproductive freedom, dress codes, and the like, Canadian and American law seem to be equally favourable. But again, the question of the social safety net available to women refugees in Canada might well play into the equation.
Aspect 4: vulnerable groups--suspected terrorists
Canada is not a safe country for refugees who are suspected of being terrorists or supporting terrorism. A security certificate is issued against them based on secret evidence, and they are placed in detention. If they can't be removed right away, they are kept in detention indefinitely. A Federal Court judge does review the certificate for reasonableness, but does not reveal the details of the secret evidence to anyone, although the person concerned can receive a summary of the evidence. Although this type of process is obviously repugnant to Anglo-American notions of fairness, the Canadian judiciary has not yet had the fortitude to condemn it. (This is in contrast to the House of Lords in 2004, the 9th Circuit in 1995  and the New Jersey District Court in 1999  .)
All this to say that the Canadian refugee protection system serves some well and fails others miserably. The same can probably be said of the American system. The difference in the quality of protection offered by each country is largely dependent upon the circumstances of each claimant.
1Document holders, family members of residents or refugee claimants in country to which entry is sought, unaccompanied minors. Canada adds: persons from countries on which there is a moratorium on deportations, US citizens, persons facing the death penalty in the United States.
2A & others (2004) UKHL 56
3American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee v. Reno 70 F.3d 1045
4Kiareldeen v. Ashcroft 71 F. Supp 2d 402
by Pat Zambelli