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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.

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

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Ebola and immigration - using any excuse to pause processing of applications

Apparently applications from these countries might be infected with Ebola...
Here's the news from the CIC about a pause in processing visas. Hard to believe that this action is anything but an excuse by the government to stall immigration from countries that are less desirable to welcome immigrants from. After all, it's not the application that would spread Ebola - it's the individual. And the individual either has it, or doesn't. It's a 21-day opportunity. So what's your excuse now, CIC?

October 31 - Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today announced new precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians.

Effective immediately, Canadian visa officers have temporarily paused the processing of visa applications from foreign nationals who have been physically present in a country designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as having widespread and intense transmission of the Ebola virus. Discretion will remain for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to grant entry on a case-by-case basis in exceptional cases where travel is essential and in Canada’s interest.  Apart from those instances, temporary resident applications already in process that are affected by these new measures will be returned to the applicants.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents, foreign nationals currently in possession of a visa and foreign nationals who do not require visas will continue to be screened at ports of entry in Canada and will be subject to appropriate health screening and other measures under the Quarantine Act.

These changes do not impact Canadians currently in West Africa. All Canadians, including health-care workers, currently in West Africa will be permitted to travel back to Canada. The Government of Canada continues to advise against travel to countries designated by the WHO as having widespread and intense transmission of the Ebola virus.

Ministerial Instructions providing new directions to visa officers worldwide were published in the Canada Gazette today.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting international efforts to control the Ebola outbreak. Canada has been a world leader in responding to the crisis and continues to monitor the situation in the West Africa region to ensure humanitarian, health and security needs are met.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Globe and Mail - Canada to open the door wider to ‘higher calibre’ immigrants

The Conservative government plans to increase immigration levels significantly as it heads into an election year in 2015.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said on Friday that Canada aims to welcome as many as 285,000 new permanent residents next year, which is the highest planned total “in recent history,” according to the Minister.

The last time Canada admitted as many as 280,000 permanent residents was in 2010. A greater proportion, nearly 65 per cent of all admissions, will be economic immigrants and their dependents. That’s up from a target of 62 per cent in the planning for 2013 levels. Mr. Alexander said the goal reflects the government’s view that immigration is crucial to Canada’s economic prosperity.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Globe and Mail - Ottawa to blacklist employers that break provincial labour laws


The Conservative government is beefing up its blacklist of Canadian employers with a plan to include not only businesses found to have broken temporary foreign worker program rules, but also provincial labour laws.

The move is the latest in a series of policy changes responding to allegations of abuse related to the foreign worker program.

The expanded powers are contained in the Conservative government’s latest omnibus budget bill, which was introduced late last week. The enforcement of labour law is primarily a provincial responsibility and enacting the change will require information-sharing agreements between Ottawa and the provinces, something Employment Minister Jason Kenney has recently said he is working toward.

Read the rest of the article here

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Globe and Mail - Statistical black hole opens door to foreign workers

There are more than 30 First Nations reserves in northern Saskatchewan, many of which struggle with exceptionally high levels of unemployment. Yet none of the people living on those reserves are reflected in the regional unemployment rate, a key trigger that determines whether employers can apply to bring in temporary foreign workers for low-skill jobs.

This statistical oddity – reserves are not and never have been included in the labour-force survey – skews Canada’s true picture of unemployment and throws into question one of the government reforms meant to encourage employers to hire aboriginals and other Canadians before looking overseas. Despite a clamp down on the temporary foreign worker (TFW) program, the door to foreign workers remains open on First Nations, as illustrated by a Globe investigation that found a cafeteria owner on an Alberta reserve was granted approval to hire foreign workers even though an estimated 70 per cent of residents don’t have a job.

Read the rest of the article here