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Also available is my new eBook, "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Qu├ębec And Super Visa Opportunities". Get it at Amazon or the other e-retailers noted above.

Live from Toronto


This is the current webcam view of Roy Thomson Hall at 60 Simcoe St. in Toronto as seen from the Southwest and looking Northeast. See the location here.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thank you and goodbye for now

Since April of 2005 I have shared with all of you my Canadian immigration experience, as well as commentary on the politics of immigration, Canadian culture, and since I became a permanent resident, settlement issues and concerns. Now, nearly 10 years, and just shy of 600 posts later, it's time to step away from this blog, at least for a little while; to recharge my batteries, to figure out where I can best serve you in the years ahead.

In the time I've been writing for you, many of you have taken the time to let me know how I've helped you, what you've gained from these posts, and what would help in the future. I hope I've done right by you. Thank you for your feedback.

To those of you who have purchased my books: Thank you. I hope they have helped you in your immigration applications. Part of the work I will be doing in the near future is to update these books to reflect the current immigration reality.

This isn't farewell, just goodbye for now. Please don't hesitate to drop me a note if you have questions, or comments and thank you again for your support over the last decade.

You have seen me through my immigration experience, and I can only hope I've given you solid information, encouragement and most of all, hope in your great future.

Canada is waiting for you. Come join us.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

What the f*** is FACTA?

From the ‘The Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty (ACDS):

The Government of Canada has signed a ‘FATCA IGA’ (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Intergovernmental Agreement) with the United States to help that foreign country acquire assets of those Canadians it alone deems to be ‘U.S. persons’.  

FATCA is the enforcement tool for the imposition of that peculiar and punitive U.S. style ‘place of birth’ taxation on the world.  

We believe that the Canadian legislation that implements the FATCA IGA violates the Canadian Constitution, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the principles of Canadian sovereignty and democracy, and the fundamental rights of all Canadians. 

We are now taking legal action in the form of a lawsuit against the Government of  Canada to stop our elected government from imposing the U.S. FATCA law on Canada and Canadians.

As I've mentioned before on this blog, only the U.S. and Eritrea tax the earnings of their expatriate citizens. And the way the U.S. goes about it, you can also be taxed on things like the gains from the sale of real estate that are NOT taxable in Canada. Further, U.S. Persons include those who were born of at least one U.S. parent, who may never have spent a day in their entire lives in the U.S..

If you want to learn more about the ACDS, FACTA and how it might impact you as an American expatriate, check out their web site at http://www.adcs-adsc.ca/

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy Holidays from Canada

2014 wasn't the most eventful year on the immigration front in Canada, but 2015 is shaping up to be a game changer. The biggest change of course will come with the Expression Of Interest program. This will impose a major change not in the application process for skilled workers, but in the actual chances a skilled worker has for immigrating to Canada.

Where Canada has historically had a first-come-first-served approach to immigration in all classes, it is moving toward a very selective, and therefore highly political approach that will bring the "most qualified" to the front of the line - even if they just got in line yesterday. While this approach is currently limited to economic immigrants, don't think for a minute that it wont come to apply to all classes of immigration.

In the future, who knows? Even reunification of families may be prioritized by which families might be more economically successful as immigrants in the government's eyes.

Outside of the immigration front, and on a more personal note, 2014 finds me fully settling in to my Canadian life. America is becoming a crazy memory, where my only remaining concerns are with friends and family. What goes on there - fair or unfair, just or unjust - only matters to me to the extent that it impacts those I love. Beyond that, living in Canada has confirmed what I've long felt about my home country: there's something fundamentally wrong with the United States.

For those seeking to immigrate to Canada, I wish you the best in 2015. More than ever it will be important for you to understand the program options available to you and to seek out qualified advice on the path you set out on. Canada is likely to welcome more immigrants than ever in 2015 - mainly because it's a year in which we will see a federal election, and the Tories are going to want to play the immigrant card has strongly as they can. But to be one of the lucky ones who get through the red tape, be sure you are informed, proactive, and consistent in your immigration strategy.

Have the happiest of New Years and God bless you all, my faithful readers!  

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Half of a change on the way for January 1, 2015 - Express Entry debuts

The CIC announced on December 1st:

In January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will launch a new electronic system called Express Entry to manage applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program,
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program, and
  • The Canadian Experience Class.

Provinces and territories will also be able to recruit candidates from the Express Entry system for a portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs to meet local labour market needs. 

Express entry means that qualified applicants will no longer be processed on a first-come-first-served basis, but instead, be put into a pool of applicants. When an applicant has a job offer from a Canadian company (that cannot be filled by a Canadian citizen), or a job becomes available that matches the applicant's skills (same caveat that the job has to be one no Canadian is available for), then applicants will be matched to the opportunity by the Federal government.

That's right - the Federal government is going into the headhunting business.

Only one hitch though: The job-matching aspect of this new legislation is not ready to roll out yet. Ottawa is going ahead with half a program.

Why? Because it means as of January, they can stop processing applications under the three programs while giving the impression that they are still pro-immigration.

Ottawa says the program will be fully running by the spring of 2015. But this is the same government that brought you the Canada Action Plan - a well advertised jobs program that has generated few new opportunities, despite (according to the Toronto Star) "...spending more than five times as many taxpayer dollars on promoting its economic plan as it is on raising public awareness about the flu pandemic."

Skilled worker program? Read "Killed" worker program.

You can thank the Tories.

Monday, December 01, 2014

What it "feels like"

When we talk about weather in Canada, be it hot or cold, one of the phrases you'll hear is "feels like". This refers to either the effect of the wind in winter, or the humidity in summer. or instance, when I was getting ready to go out this morning, I turned on the TV, and the report was that it was 1C out, "but it feels like -3C"...

What it feels like outside is way more important than the actual temperature. You dress for what it feels like. And it can be dramatically different. It can be -10C outside in the winter, but with a brisk wind from the north or east, all of a sudden it feels like -24C. If you dress for -10C, you're going to be in trouble.

Conversely in summer it can be 24C outside, but the humidity makes it feel like 36C. If you are dressed for a pleasant 24C, you are going to be miserable.

So remember, in Canada, what it feels like matters way more than what it is.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How about "Buy Canadian"?

I'm not terribly political. But when it comes to being fair, I can get that way. You've heard me on this blog when I think the Canadian government is being unfair in some way on the immigration front. Well now that I'm on my way to becoming a Canadian citizen, I think it's important to speak out on fairness for our country in other areas. Today, that's "free trade".

The United States has implemented "Buy American" programs at the federal level. What that means is that certain projects funded by federal tax dollars are constricted in the use of that money when it comes to securing things like materials. When it's an infrastructure project, that means things like steel.

Two cases that have come up recently were a bridge project in Colorado that, when the government discovered that the U.S.-owned company had used steel in the bridge that had been forged and formed in Canada, they wanted the bridge torn town and rebuilt with only American steel: And now, a ferry terminal rebuild IN CANADA (for the State of Alaska that is leasing the terminal from the city of Prince Rupert) will not be allowed to use any Canadian steel in its construction.

To encourage tax dollars in your own country to be spent in your own country is well and good, but for a multi-national (like the first situation above) not to be able to use its own products because they were made in Canada is odd (they did receive permission ultimately, and the bridge was not torn down). And now - a construction project in Canada cannot be built with any Canadian materials? That is just wrong.

U.S. companies bid on and win contracts for infrastructure projects in Canada. U.S. companies build roads and bridges and buildings here. I think the time has come for a "Buy Canadian" program. A program where our tax dollars are spent in this country first. Where Canadian companies get Canadian-funded jobs. Where we encourage the development of business to take advantage of that spending. That's a Canadian Action Plan I could get behind!

Let's stand up for our own country for a change. I'm not talking about being protectionist - just leveling the playing field (like NAFTA was supposed to do, right?). If the policy is good enough to our neighbours across the border, it should be good enough for us too.    

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Want to immigrate to Canada? First check your eligibility


If you are interested in immigration to Canada, one of the first things you should do is use the CIC's own online tool to check if you are eligible to immigrate based on a series of simple questions. Knowing your options is the first step in a long and complicated process. Take that step today!

If you are interested in either coming to Canada as a Skilled Worker, or you are a Family Class applicant, be sure to check out my How To Immigrate To Canada books . The books walk you through the entire application process and help prepare you to conquer all the work required to submit your application.

Good luck! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Must read - Canadian Experience Class applications

Attorney David Cohen's Canada Immigration Newsletter has an article that will be of interest to anyone applying for Permanent Residence through the Canadian Experience Class. In it he points out that, as with all immigration applications the devil is in the details.

On first glance, the process for a candidate wishing to convert from temporary to permanent resident status appears simple. Skilled workers with good English or French ability intending to reside outside Quebec might think that their positive eligibility for the program makes attaining permanent residence a certainty. The reality, however, is that there have been a growing number of refusals handed out to individuals due to minor discrepancies in their applications. Unfortunately, these people do not become permanent residents of Canada.

While the article deals with Canadian Experience Class applications, the same advice of getting the details right pertains to all immigration applications. In the case of a family class application for instance; if you say you and your partner travelled to Hawaii together in 2013, but the photos you submit are date-stamped 2011, that might cause you a problem. If you claimed to have worked in a certain profession for over a year, but can only produce 9 months worth of payslips, that will cause you a problem.

The bottom line is that the statements of fact that you put on your application have to be supportable by evidence. That's why the gathering of supporting materials for an application is one of the most difficult and critical steps in applying for permanent residence.

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Globe and Mail - Cold-weather courses break ice for immigrants new to Canadian winters

It's coming, and it's beautiful - Winter in Montreal.
...Each year, Canada throws out a welcome mat to thousands of immigrants. And for many months of the year, that welcome mat is encrusted in snow. So some new Canadians turn to courses like Ms. Perrotte’s: a survival guide to winter.

For 90 minutes, Ms. Perrotte tries to dispel some myths and inspire some enthusiasm about Canada’s most emblematic season, running through a cold-weather curriculum which includes windchill and weather-stripping, tobogganing and the Bonhomme Carnaval.

The session in winter preparedness is part practical. It’s also, fundamentally, about learning to become a Canadian.

Read the rest of the article here