My eBook, How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities is available now on Amazon and other online retailers. Get your copy of the essential guide to Skilled Worker class applications today!

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

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

Contrary to the common belief, while Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving a month earlier than their counterparts in the U.S., they actually celebrate Christmas on December 25th like the rest of the world!

So wherever you are this Christmas, may you be blessed with every good gift, and I hope God smiles on you and your families too. If you have a Christmas wish that the New Year bring your personal immigration story to a successful conclusion, then I also wish you that! I know it's really all I have wanted for Christmas for years.

If I don't see you sooner, I'll see you next year!

Happy Christmas to all!

Friday, December 17, 2010

TEM makes the Top 40

Nice mention of our fair blog on Business Degree Online. Apparently, we are one of the "Best Blogs By And For Expatriates". Nice to hear.

40. The Expatriate Mind (Canada)

For the last five years, “The Expatriate Mind” has been one man's love letter to the city and people of Toronto, with dazzling photography and video's documenting the American's insatiable appetite for Canadian living. When he's not gushing about the sights and sounds of Toronto, author J writes about immigration issues for American expats and international relations.

A Christmas story

I have a picture of my love and I. It's from near the start of this decade and we are standing in front of a Christmas tree in the lobby of the Delta Chelsea Hotel. She is tall and beautiful and there is the sweetest smile on her face. It's the smile of possibility and of a bright future.

Fast-forward to the end of 2010 and the beginning of our fourth year of waiting for a decision from CIC on our case. I imagine if we stood in that same lobby today, in front of a similar tree, that smile wouldn't show up in the picture this time. If a smile was there at all it would be one tempered by caution and worn by the emotional erosion of waiting.

For three full years our lives together have been on hold. For three full years we have seen each other when time and jobs and money allows, but its never enough. For three full years I have disappeared from the lives of our friends in Toronto while I wait to go home. Each day that goes by, I diminish. The story doesn't change. The only thing that does change, that increases, is the pressure my love and I feel, and the anxiety that goes along with it.

But each Christmas I still remember our first together. Each Christmas I fall in love with her again. We met at this time of the year and that alone, despite everything else, is reason to celebrate.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Star - Immigration appeal process urged for rejected visa applicants

Did you know that if a visitor's visa application is refused by CIC, that the applicant has no means of challenging the ruling? Do you really want the government to have such power with absolutely no check or balance on it?

Maybe I'm demonstrating my American bias in that thought - that decisions of bureaucrats should be able to be reviewed - that wrongs should have the opportunity to be righted.

I know there are fundamental differences between the way government is run in Canada and the U.S. In general, I prefer the Canadian system. But I believe in fairness too. It hardly seems fair that what might be an arbitrary decision about someone's ability to visit Canada has no current possibility of being challenged.

Read the Star article here

Friday, December 10, 2010

Canada and U.S. seek to unify border security in secret talks

The Harper and Obama governments have secretly been drafting plans to increase the sharing of information on individuals crossing their border among police, security and military officials, as well as sharing border management facilities, and increasing exchanges of law enforcement information.

Sounds like it make us all safer, right? Wrong. And not only will the co-mingling of border security not make you any safer, it will also most certainly take away some of the protections Canadian citizens and permanent residents enjoy that Americans do not. Are Canadians ready for border agents to "touch their junk" when they feel like it? How about the exchange of whatever personal information the U.S. decides is necessary? If someone is inadmissible to the U.S. does that make them inadmissible to Canada too?

Liberal transport critic John McCallum asks, “On sovereignty, does this mean we’ll have the same refugee and immigration policies as the U. S.? Does it mean that someone who’s not admissible in the United States won’t be admissible in Canada?”

Canada should not be pressured into following the U.S. lead on border issues. Let your M.P. know that Canada has a responsibility to its citizens and visitors to set its own border policies and practices.

Read the Star article here

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More news from the Kenney zone

It's really absurd, the news that comes out of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's office these days. The latest news is that since the implementation of their revised Skilled Worker program, immigrants under the program are doing better than ever.

"Immigrants selected by the federal government under the current skilled worker program are contributing to Canada's economy, a new evaluation has found." Who did the evaluation? They never tell you. But here is how they validate their claim:

"Income for skilled workers selected under the IRPA criteria (placing more emphasis on arranged employment) was as much as 65 percent higher than for workers chosen under the pre-IRPA system. Skilled workers who already had a job offer when they applied for permanent residence fared best of all, earning on average $79,200 three years after arriving in Canada."

So you mean people that are coming to Canada that already have a job in Canada do better than those coming to Canada that don't already have a job? Really? You needed a study to figure that one out?

Since when was the skilled worker program just another branch of Workopolis? Isn't the idea to bring people with talent in to make them available to all Canadian employers? Kenney's version of this program seems to work out as "Got a job? Here's your visa." If you don't, good luck.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Toronto photos at Skyscraper City

Toronto is my Canadian home. I fell in love with the city from the very start; just as I was also falling in love with my sweetheart. She loves Toronto and she was so proud of the city when we first met, that she took me all over - showing me her favourite places and making them mine as well.

While we are separated, I tend to miss not only her, but the city I love too and so I look for ways to remain in touch with it. For awhile, there was a web cam at the Panorama Restaurant at Bay and Bloor that I would watch the live stream from. From it I could see our apartment near College Street and that helped me feel connected. Since they remodeled the roof though, the camera has been gone.

But there are other ways to keep track of the city. One of my favourites is the Skyscraper City picture forum for Toronto. Here, users post pictures from all over the city. There are a number of great photographers who contribute and a lot of the work is inspiring.

As Toronto is the destination (at least initially) for almost half of all new immigrants, I encourage you to check out the forum and see what's going on in your future home. And while you are there, don't forget to picture yourself in Toronto soon - just like I do!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jason Kenney's math problem

Jason Kenney obviously believes that when it comes to immigrants who want to invest their way into Canada, less is more. That's the only way you could explain his revisions to the Investor Class policy (which is once again accepting applications) that saw the net worth requirement double from CAD $800K to CAD $1.6M. Less immigrants required to bring more money with them.

Kenney said in a statement to the press, "These changes were necessary. The requirements had not been increased in more than a decade and we need to keep pace with the changing economy." Exactly what changing economy is Jason Kenney living in? Does he really believe that today's investors, after a devastating, historic devaluation of assets, have TWICE as much money to their names?

Or is it that, par for the course in this generation of Tory leadership on immigration issues, the real policy here is to limit immigration by raising the bar so high that few can jump over it?

Consider for a moment what it means to have to acquire double the net worth. Also consider that while if you were worth $800K before, that was good for Canada - you were bringing that wealth-building knowledge to work for the country. But Kenney doesn't want your measly $800K now. He doesn't want those with $1M - He doesn't even want those with $1.5M. Think of number of potential investor class immigrants that fall within this range that are now off the table.

To put those numbers into context: with $800K, an investor could open TWO Tim Horton franchises in premium locations. I guess if you can't open four of them, your money isn't good enough for Kenney.

Given the Tory record on immigration policy, my guess is that yet another strategy to limit immigration is really what's happening here.

Here's the real story: CIC said that the previous requirements were leading to a backlog of applications. By raising the net worth and investment requirements, Canada hopes to reduce the number of applicants and only let in those who can make a substantial investment in the Canadian economy.

"Higher investment amounts mean provinces and territories will receive more investment capital to put toward job creation and economic development projects," Kenney said.

This is just bad math. There is simply no way that raising opportunity cost equates to an increase in investment capital. Has Kenney been taking economic lessons from Jim Flaherty?

Unfortunately, there is no political will in Canada to counter moves that have made the country appear not only conservative on immigration issues, but nearly xenophobic.

Read about Kenney's latest anti-immigration policy here

Monday, November 08, 2010

Double standards - Martha Stewart visits Manitoba to see polar bears

Martha Stewart visits Manitoba to see polar bears -

A felony conviction of any kind is considered to make a person inadmissible to Canada without a specific approval by the Immigration Minister - and then at the earliest, only after five full years have elapsed since the end of a sentence. For Martha Stweart, the convicted felon, that date would have been March 4, 2010 - the first date she could APPLY for rehabilitation. For most who apply, this process takes years to complete. But here is Martha, convicted felon, visiting Canada, free as a bird. The Tories don't want felons entering Canada - unless they are celebrities.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Another sad story reveals Canada's broken refugee system

"Ler Wah Lo Bo fought against the autocratic regime in Burma, fled the country and received asylum in Canada in 2002.

"Eight years later Ottawa still refuses to grant him permanent status, because he fought against his former country. The Toronto man has been left in a legal limbo, unable to become a full-fledged citizen, denied the right to travel abroad and worse, unable to sponsor his family to join him."

Can anyone explain to me how the treatment of this brave man makes any sense, or is in any way in keeping with Canada's immigration and refugee policies?

Read the whole sad article here

Monday, November 01, 2010

CBC - Thai this on for size: Kenney's office on Tamil migrant arrest reports

Hannah Thibedeau posted this revealing "Inside Politics" blog:

"So a news alert comes across on my computer screen saying, "Thai officials arrest over 100 Tamil migrants heading to Canada."

The newsroom jumps on the story and we try to find out if these people were about to get on a ship to come here.

A call into Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's office points us to stories in the Thai media.

The articles are all in Thai, but we use a handy-dandy translator on the Internet to translate them into English.

The Thai media reports there was an arrest of over 100 people. So how do we know they were coming to Canada?

Kenney's office says, "We aren't going to get into details. All I will do is point you to the media articles."

The translated articles say these people were headed to a third country. Then there's a reference to the story of the MV Sun Sea, a ship that arrived on Canadian shores last summer carrying about 500 Tamil asylum seekers.

So all we have is information from the Thai media -- no concrete details from the minister's office. The Thai embassy here in Canada says it has heard no word from its government about the arrested Thai migrants trying to come to Canada.

How do we know these people were heading to Canada? At this point, we don't.

However, Kenney's office did want to add how important it is that Bill C-49 passes Parliament. That's the Conservative government's proposed bill designed to crack down on human smugglers and illegal immigrants."

You see, politicians will lie and deceive the public to get their way - it happens every day - even in Canada.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tories propose draconian immigration legislation

Leave it to the Tories to present immigration legislation that makes it more difficult for refugees to get a fair shake. In response to the two boatloads of Tamil refugee claimants that arrived in B.C. earlier in the year, the Tories are proposing "get tough" legislation that would:

- Expose people who innocently assist refugees to prosecution for human smuggling if they were “reckless” when they provided help.
-Apply to any group of two or more claimants who arrive together, be it by land, sea or air. Any such group can be designated by the minister as an “irregular arrival.” If the government chooses, the vast majority of refugees who come to Canada can be designated and subject to all of the sanctions of the law.
- Deem claimants who are designated as part of an irregular arrival are subject to immediate and mandatory detention without any possibility of review for 12 months. No exceptions are made for women or children, although the minister has the discretion to allow release in “exceptional circumstances.”
- Cause designated claimants to lose many of the rights available to them under the UN refugee convention.
- Eliminate the right of designated refugees to get travel documents for five years.
- Prevent designated claimants from applying for permanent residence for five years.
- Deny designated claimants the right to apply to be reunited with their families during the five-year period and for years after.
- Greatly expands the power of the government to detain non-citizens.
- Require that a person be detained while the minister investigates a suspicion that they might have committed a criminal offence outside of Canada.
- Eliminate the right of appeal against some adverse decisions made by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

The Tory proposal is nothing short of draconian. It is designed to close the door to Canadian immigration, especially to the most needy of the world's peoples. In my opinion, it is not only anti-immigrant: it's anti-Canadian.

Please contact your Member of Parliament and protest this devastating proposal.

Read the Star editorial article by Lorne Waldman which details the proposed legislation

Friday, October 22, 2010

I love the Maple Leafs

New Canadians sworn in at Leafs dressing room -

I don't care if they haven't won a cup since 1968. This sort of connection with the community is wonderful. Read the story of 30 new Canadian citizens who had a special day with the team (well...their sweaters actually!).

The Star - Immigration waiting times cause frustration

I guess I'm not the only person frustrated by long wait times. The people in the article by Nicholas Keung of the Toronto Star, are seeking to bring parents and grandparents into the country. For some overseas applications, the process can take 15-33 months as reported.

But wait - that's AFTER the standard prescreeneing period. And how long does that period last? According to the CIC,there is a 38-month standard prescreening of the sponsors at immigration’s Mississauga processing centre. So now we are talking about wait times ranging from 53 to 71 months.

For those of you without immigration math skills, that's 4-years and 3-months to 5-years 11-months.

It also means at least two medical exams will need to be submitted (they are only good for a year) and other reports, like police clearances, may need to be submitted at least twice.

The Star article is just another tale of a poorly run ministry. What does Jason Kenney have to say about it? “Canadian visa offices from one country to another can vary significantly in regard to the size and nature of their respective workloads and it is impossible to provide the exact same level of service at every visa office,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office wrote in an email to Zhang’s group, according to The Star article.

Nonsense - Kenney could work to insure that the levels of service were comparable at Canadian visa offices. He chooses not to use his budget that way, however. Instead, he uses it for more important things - high profile globetrotting to preach the Tory line on illegal immigration.

The more you know about the current state of the CIC, the less you want to know.

Read the entire article here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Globe and Mail - Immigrants drive innovation, study finds

Great article in The Globe and Mail clearly illustrates the value of immigrants to the Canadian economy. Look at the simple math:

"Immigrants boost trade. The study’s models show every one-percentage-point increase in the number of immigrants to Canada can increase the value of imports into Canada by 0.21 per cent, and raise the value of exports by 0.11 per cent.

In practical terms, that means that an additional 217 immigrants from Japan could boost annual exports to Japan by more than $11-million. That holds true even with smaller trading partners – if one more Cape Verdean immigrates to Canada, that would increase exports to Cape Verde by about $300."

Read the entire article by Tavia Grant here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A broken system exposes more cracks

Gerhard Wiebe is separated from his wife thanks to Canadian border agents

Canadian immigration is broken. How can you tell? One way is when a ministry's own personnel doesn't know its policies well enough to offer accurate advice. Another is when the ministry allows front-line workers (like border agents) to usurp authority at the cost of citizens and applicants.

This is just what happened in the case of Maria Eugenia Vazquez Cortes and Gerhard Wiebe, who traveled to Mexico for a family funeral over the summer. They had an open application in process with CIC, and Maria was legally in the country on an extended visitor's visa while the application was being processed. Before they left for the funeral, they checked with CIC to be sure there were no issues associated with leaving the country and coming back. They were told that there were none.

But upon return, Maria was stopped at the border by an agent who would not allow her back in. He didn't "believe" she would leave the country if the couple's application was denied.

What is the impact? It could mean that they will need to completely re-apply again, because Maria is now out of the country and being denied entry. It could mean they will have to fill out new forms again, get new police records checks and new medicals - all the time and expense all over again...not to mention that applications processed through Canada's Mexican visa office can take years - even if they are simple. And until then? They are separated. Their life together is disrupted; their future together is in doubt.

All because a broken system gave them bad advice, and a border agent had the power to derail a perfectly legal and above-board application that was in process.

And that is the tale of a broken system.

Read the whole sad story here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Centre for Immigration Policy Reform wants Canada for Canadians

A new immigration lobbying group wouldn't normally draw a lot of attention. Like all lobbyists, they represent a position on a particular issue, in this case immigration, and they work to see policy implemented that supports their point of view. But the year-old Centre for Immigration Policy Reform is different for a couple reasons. First off, they are populated by Martin Collacott, a former Canadian ambassador and James Bissett, a former Immigration Department director-general. These are individuals that have played a direct role in determining past immigration policy. Reason two: they are blatantly anti-immigrant.

The Centre wants to scrap current immigration policy, decrying it in a news conference yesterday as one that makes it too easy for individuals to come to Canada through the Family and Refugee class.

An excellent article "New immigration lobby group lacks praxis" by Jim Creskey in Embassy Magazine online lays out the details.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Two sides of the immigrant experience

Great article discussing one Indian family's experience as immigrants to Canada, and how their traditions, along with a dose of high technology, have helped to make their transition smoother.

This story is a great example of how immigrants embrace Canada, while not forgetting their home countries.

Read the article here.

On the other hand: In an editorial published a couple days ago, Star columnist Heather Mallick writes about a kind of immigrant who would rather not be reminded of home... "...some immigrants chose Canada to get the hell away from their homescape and after arrival never gave the old country a second thought. My idea of a perfect evening is walking into a party full of strangers. Some immigrants are like that nationally."

Read Heather's article here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

An immigrant's prayer

I'm a Christian. You probably knew that if you've been reading here for a bit. I thought tonight I would offer up a prayer for all of you who are in the same process I and my love are in - attempting to immigrate to a new land. Maybe you can use it for your own. I hope this prayer is a blessing to you:

Dear Lord, thank you for hearing my prayer. Thank you for every blessing you bring to my days; the ones I can see and the ones I can't. Thank you Lord for placing on my heart the desire to continue my life in a new country. Lord, I know that you order my every step, and I believe you have ordered this one too - that I leave my home and make a new one in a new country. You led the Israelites out of Egypt to a new land, and you have convicted my spirit to do the same. Father, please bless and protect my efforts in this immigration process; please make the way clear for me; please walk with me, because I can't do this alone. Father I ask that you will bless me with a positive outcome to my immigration journey; but I trust in you for whatever result you have planned for me, and that your will always be done in my life. Lord, please bless those that seek the same goal as I do, and bless all those who you have put in power to review and process my application and submissions. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Globe and Mail - "Stop immigration crime at its source"

"Canadians should be well aware of the lengths some people are willing to go to forge a better life: the harrowing trans-Pacific journey by Tamil refugee claimants made that clear. So Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is right to go directly to source countries in the fight against scam marriages, unscrupulous immigration consultants and human smugglers. Indeed, it will take a government-wide strategy, domestically and internationally, to combat the crime and fraud associated with the journey immigrants make to Canada, and Canada can’t do it alone."

Read about Jason Kenney's globetrotting on behalf of immigration fraud here.

Friday, September 17, 2010


It's been humid in Seattle, which is unusual for September. If you're from this part of the country you understand that while it is rainy here (not as much as you might think), it's rarely humid. So these last few days have been odd that way and with the humidity I am once again missing my home in Toronto with my love. Toronto is humid. I can see in my mind's eye and feel with my memory the warm damp mornings walking across College St. to get a coffee. I can see the fog of humidity blur the horizon as I drive the Gardiner out of town, around the Golden Horseshoe to Niagara. Humidity and the mist of memory - they sort of go hand in hand. Do you think maybe God is conditioning me for my return to Toronto? I think tonight I'll believe that's exactly what's going on. It's 10pm here; it's raining; it's near 21C outside. I want to go home.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Expat Arrivals - A great resource for potential immigrants

If you're just getting started in your journey from your home country to Canada as an immigrant, I suggest that you check out Expat Arrivals. This site provides a solid overview of what to expect when moving to Canada. The site does a good job in helping expats get a grip on the core issues of living and working in Canada, with content provided my experts with detailed knowledge of issues like health care, finding a job, tax planning, housing and more. Check out their info on Canada, and their detailed guides to Toronto And Vancouver.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Is Canada obligated to welcome immigrants?

Dow Marmur, in a September 6 editorial in the Toronto Star, wrote:

"Canada has often been welcoming to newcomers, including refugees. The positive reception of the Vietnamese boat people in the 1970s comes to mind. But it hasn’t always been consistent. Writing about the ship of Tamil refugees that reached our shores recently, Professor Michael Byers of the University of British Columbia refers to two tragic instances when Canada turned away people in similar circumstances."

Read the entire editorial, "Our duty to welcome strangers" here

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Canada needs immigrants as boomers retire

Glen Hodgson, author of “Canada’s Future Labour Market: Immigrants to the Rescue?” published in the July-August issue of Policy Options ( is senior vice-president and chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada. In an opinion piece for The Toronto Star, he wrote:

"The baby boom generation in Canada is about to start retiring in growing numbers. Who will replace the boomers in the workplace? The answer, increasingly, will need to be more immigrants."

Glen makes a strong case for improved immigration opportunities in Canada as being critical for the sustained economic growth of the country.

Read the entire article here

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I couldn't put it any better

This letter was published in today's Toronto Star:

Lots of room for everybody

I have again realized Canada is a great big place with nobody in it, having just returned from a “skate” through Atlantic Canada and a visit to the Pacific coast. We need to foster immigration to fill in the gaps, not inhibit it!

Immigrants, rather than being a drain, very quickly create greater wealth for everyone. Witness the English, the Irish, the Ukrainians, following the French. Witness the Italians, East and South Asians — thriving, all. Witness the culture added by the Haitians in Montreal and the Islanders everywhere. Witness more recently the entrepreneurship of the Persians, Russians, Bosnians and Afghanis (do, please, fly your kites). Welcome all. Our economy grows after every wave.

Canada, don't be worried and don’t listen to Mr. Harper and his baying dogs, evidently taking their script from the fear-mongering, talking-T-bags. We have nothing to lose but a few, mostly empty acres and everything to gain by opening our doors to the world. It surely needs the safety valve.

We have the room, the resources and the ability. I believe we have the goodwill, too — it’s part of us, ever since the Underground Railroad.

If only our leaders could muster the vision to fulfill this multicultural dream, instead of appealing to base fears, pandering to ignorance in search of quick votes.

- Chris Way, Mississauga

Monday, August 16, 2010

Canadian Government uses Tamil refugees to further Tory agenda

Last Friday, The Sun Sea docked near Victoria after being at sea for almost four months. The ship carried nearly 500 Tamil people, including women and children - all of whom are expected to make refugee claims to remain in Canada.

The Tory Government doesn't like it one bit - and they are making their position clear with alarmist headlines about for-profit human smuggling and the possibility that the refugee seekers include terrorists.

The Torys seem to view this event as an opportunity to tighten even further the immigration policies that have been slashed left and right since Harper took power.

“It’s is not the first time that the Canadian government has whipped up public anxiety at the arrival of asylum-seekers,” said Myer Siemiatycki, a professor in immigration settlement studies at Ryerson University.

It has happened numerous times but most recently in 1987 when 174 Sikhs landed by boat in Charlesville, N.S., and again in 1999 when some 600 Chinese migrants arrived at the shores of British Columbia.

There was mass hysteria then, just like it is now.

“When the government uses words like smuggling, Tamil Tigers and terrorists, most Canadians assume there is evidence,” said Siemiatycki. “But there isn’t … and making statements like that is irresponsible and does terrible injustice to the people on the boat.”

The Canadian government is partially responsible for stoking this mass hysteria, he added.

What’s playing out “is the sixth or the seventh sequel of some Grade B horror movie called Here Come the Boat People,” said Siemiatycki. “It’s the same thing every time … it’s tiresome, unworthy of Canada.”

Read the article in The Star here

Thursday, August 05, 2010


I am fatigued. Our current immigration application has been going on over 2-1/2 years with no end in sight right now. The black hole of the CIC has swallowed us up. Our last contact with Buffalo told us nothing new - of course they have no idea when we could expect an answer. So here in August, I'm tired of it all. I'm tired of the waiting and being apart from my love. I'm tried of the nightly phone calls and trying not to talk about what will happen if we aren't successful. I still have faith, but I'm just so tired of this whole process.

I can't promise the rest of this month will have much coverage. I think I need some time off.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Update - CBC news video links

One thing about the Internet is - it's always changing. In many cases, where you once could find information, it's missing - 404 - file not found. This happens for a lot of reasons: web designers change the organization of a site, content is past its shelf life, resources get moved and no one bothers to update the links, technology changes.

This is the case recently with the CBC and its online news video content. A while back, I posted links to all the daily news feeds of "News at Six" for the different Provinces. Well, that info is now outdated, because CBC has redesigned its video player. The good news is, all the media is in one place now. So update your links to the following - and you can once again learn about the latest going on in the part of Canada that is of interest to you.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Much ado about fraudulent marriages

The Star online featured a report today built to play into the hands of anti-immigration extremists, reporting the...alarming fact that the CIC receives about 1,000 complaints a year of spouses/partners who come to Canada and immediately abandon their sponsors.

Of course, this is devastating to the sponsor emotionally, and can be a big problem financially, as the sponsor is on the hook for any government service fees the runaway partner racks up (like unemployment) for a three year period.

The story features takes from a number of jilted Canadians and it really is sad to read how their hearts were broken by those they loved and trusted.

However...let's add a little context here if I may. There are around 45,000 family class permanent resident visas issued each year to spouses/partners. The 1,000 alleged cases of abandonment only represent 2% of that number. Of the entire annual number of immigrants, it only represents around 4/10 of 1%.

It's hard to categorize those numbers as some epidemic of immigration abuse.

But it plays well with Conservatives.

Read the entire article here

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kenney sneaks in changes to Federal Skilled Worker program

While Canada was distracted with the recent G8 and G20 meetings in Toronto, Jason Kenney, Harper's Immigration Minister, held a barely noticed press conference where he announced Tory changes to the Federal Skilled Worker program. What has changed? Here's a summary

  • Instead of 38 approved professions, now there are only 29
  • In any category, only 1000 applicants will be accepted per year
  • There is an overall cap of 20,000 applications per year (do the math and see that that means 9000 additional positions will not be created)
  • Applicants must now submit the results of a language test, either English or French - even if they come from an English or French-speaking country

So, what's really going on here? Well, let's call it trimming the Federal budget for one thing. Kenney has consistently advocated ways to reduce the immigration rolls at a cost to potential immigrants. Fewer opportunities and added fees are always great ways to negatively influence behaviour. What else is happening? Just another example of Canada's pro-immigration policies being overseen by anti-immigration bureaucrats.

Something else to really note here: The hidden story in this release is the news on Investor Class applicants. The Harper government is proposing that these applicants now need to have a net worth of $1.6M and be willing to drop $800K into the Canadian economy (double the old requirements in both cases).

I don't get it: if someone is willing (under the current program) to come and drop $400K into Canada to start new businesses or invest...the plan is to tell them "no?" That this class has any limitations in the number of applicants at all is crazy. Economies are built on investors willing to take a chance.

You have to wonder what it will take to get the opposition's attention in Canada. Harper seems to pretty much do as he wants.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Get your E-read on

The Kindle and e-reader devices open up a world of Canadian literature

A few months ago I picked up a Kindle and have gradually been making the transition to e-books. One of the great things about having it is that I now have access to a number of free book collections, including Amazon Popular Classics, Openlibrary and Project Gutenberg.

All of these sites have loads of Canadian content. Especially if you are a history buff. A quick search with the keyword "Canadian" in Openlibrary returned over 1,500 titles.

If you have an e-reader, do yourself a favour and take advantage of a great opportunity to learn a lot about Canada.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Canada Day

From Wikipedia:

Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada), formerly Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), is Canada's national day, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united two British colonies and a province of the British Empire into a single country called Canada. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as internationally.

I'll be in the Southwest U.S. What are your plans for the holiday?

Monday, June 28, 2010

The road so far

For those of you who follow this blog, you may be wondering where my personal immigration story stands at this point. It's been a long road for sure for my love and I. We applied at the end of 2007 for this latest round attempting to gain my permanent residence in the family class. We are conjugal partners. This was our first hurdle: that CIC would agree we were a legitimate applicant under this classification. It's been a big one. So, after a couple years in the black hole, we finally got an interview this spring in Buffalo - which we think went well. I took 35 pounds of materials proving every aspect of our relationship to be legitimate: pictures, phone records, travel receipts, photos galore, wills, you name it. Now we are back waiting with no end in sight for a decision on our application. We've done everything we can. We think we are close, but it is a journey with nothing but twists and turns: we still can't see the end of the road.

But we believe we will be together. Soon? Who knows. But we believe - we believe.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Filipinos now top Canada immigrants

The Vancouver Sun has a week-long feature on Filipino immigrants in Canada. According to the articles, Filipino immigrants have surpassed the Chinese and Indians in terms of immigration.

Read the series here

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Toronto lags in immigrant employment opportunity

In a report generated by the Toronto Board of Trade, a Stats Canada study is summarized noting the following facts about the employment prospects for new immigrants:
  • The average hourly wage of an immigrant with the same or better qualifications than their Canadian counterpart is 10% lower.
  • As of 2008, immigrants aged 25-54 with college degrees earned 20% less than their Canadian-born counterparts (even though on average they were both younger and more educated)
  • Research showed that 40% of new immigrants to Canada are forced to make a downward step in their career paths
  • Less than half of internationally trained immigrants were working in their field.
  • Three times as many individuals (37%) we unemployed or under-employed than those trained in Canada (11%)
  • Relative incomes for newcomers are falling
  • Chronic low income occurs at a rate 250% higher than in Canadian-born populations

These are sober figures for anyone seeking to immigrate to Canada to pursue a professional career.

Read the full report: "Lifting All Boats: Promoting Social Cohesion and Economic Inclusion in the Toronto Region" here

Sunday, June 06, 2010

A few Toronto videos

I got to missing the city today and thought I'd post a few YouTube views of Toronto for you to enjoy.

This is the Gardnier Expressway, heading eastbound into the city (this is the exit I take going home too...)

Biking King and Younge Streets

And finally, some dowtown sights...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Federal reforms to refugee law up in the air

Norma Greenaway, in a Canwest News Service article published on Thursday, June 03, 2010 reports:

"The federal government's push to speed passage of major refugee reform legislation has bumped up against an unexpected wall of Liberal opposition.

"Three days after Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced he had reached a deal with the Liberal party's immigration critic to get the bill through committee, a mini revolt within the Liberal caucus has left the legislation's future in doubt."

Read the article here.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The trouble with visas

Stephen Harper, Canada's Prime Minister

Canada isn't popular these days with some members of the world community. And that fact has a lot to do with how the Tories are handling their immigration policies. Of course its a constant irritant that travelers from Mexico require a visa now to enter a country they were as free as any North Americans to travel to. Now add to it the row over Canadian immigration officials in India denying visas to an individual who served in India's border security force - based on the official's belief that it was a "notoriously violent” paramilitary unit.

The Canadian immigration and visa processes are notorious themselves - black holes where denials are made with the slightest information and where the burden of proof is never upon those who sit in judgement.

These unaccountable bureaucrats are soiling Canada's reputation. You want immigration reform, Mr. Harper? How about introducing openness and accountability? I seem to recall you were elected based on those principals - but of course, that was before you became Prime Minister.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Canadian holidays - Victoria day

What is Victoria Day? Here's what Wikipedia (paraphrased) has to say:

"Victoria Day (Fête de la Reine) is also known as "May Long Weekend", "May Two-four", "May Long", or "May Run", is a federal holiday celebrated on the last Monday before or on 24 May, in honour of both Queen Victoria's birthday and the current reigning Canadian sovereign's official birthday, and is also considered an informal mark of the beginning of the summer season. It has been observed since before Canada was formed, originally falling on the sovereign's actual birthday, and continues to be celebrated in various fashions across the country on the fixed date of the first Monday on or before 24 May. Royal Salutes, or 21-gun salutes, are fired in each provincial capital and in the national capital at noon on Victoria Day to mark the Sovereign's Birthday. However, since the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, the same day was unofficially known in the province as Fête de Dollard until 2003, when provincial legislation officially named the same date as Victoria Day the National Patriots' Day."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Q: Why so few posts lately?

A: Stanley Cup Playoffs and The Montreal Canadiens!

I'll get back to posts soon - thanks for your patience : )

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Minnesota proposes anti-immigration bill targeting...Canada

"Last week, Minnesota Republicans announced they wanted to introduce an anti-immigration bill, similar to that passed by Arizona.

"We have an illegal immigration problem here in Minnesota," the bill's sponsor Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) explained to Politics in Minnesota. "We've had it for years."

"Finally. Unlike with Arizona, this bill is something I can fully applaud. There are an estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants in Minnesota, at least according to crack Republican estimators. And like Arizona, Minnesota has illegal immigrants pouring into the state because it also shares borders with another country. Unlike Arizona, however, that country is Canada."

Read the entire article here (by the way - it's satire...).

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Mark Starowicz on Canadians

I just finished reading the complete, "Canada: A People's History" By Don Gillmor (Vol.1 and 2, by M&S Publishing, Toronto). It's a fantastic pair of books and I highly recommend it to you to read. In particular, the afterword by Mark Starowicz touched me. Here, he describes the common thread that binds almost all Canadians (with a notable exception being both the French Canadian, and First Nations experiences).

Of those who came to Canada from France, America, Scotland, Russia, Vietnam, China... "They were all the debris of history. The expelled, the persecuted, the landless, the marginalized, the victims of imperial wars, of economic and ideological upheavals. In a sense, we are all boat people. We just got here at different times."


"We are suspicious of governments and ideologies because we are refugees from governments, armies and ideology. We are vigilant that no one claim no more rights than we have. Canada - cranky, forever courting and rejecting a breakup - is a perpetual negotiation of its constituent parts...The genius of Canada is the constant search for equilibrium, where no one ever fully gains the upper hand."


Monday, April 26, 2010

Steve Ellis - former immigration judge found guilty

Good news in the sex-for-immigration-approval story from a few months back: former immigration judge Steve Ellis was found guilty of breach of trust and an Immigration and Refugee Protection Act charge of bribery. This creep tried to use his power over a South Korean woman named Ji Hye Kim to force her to sleep with him in exchange for a positive ruling in her case.

The court saw through his flimsy excuse that though he "never asked for sex" from Ms. Kim, it was clearly his intent all along.

Read the sordid details and happy result here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Immigration abuse in the press - too legit to quit?

I have heard the phrase, "abuse of Canada's immigration system" a lot in the press lately. Mainly in association with Minister Kenney's proposed reforms to the asylum process. Editorials like those in The Globe and Mail parrot Kenney and up the exposure of his proposals. Here's my problem: Where is the PROOF? I checked the CIC web site, and they don't seem to keep statistics on this issue. So where is Kenney getting his data? Has anyone thought to ask? The press seems to go along like sheep, debating his proposal legitimately when the real question should be, "is this, in fact, a legitimate issue?"

If it is, I'd love to know the source of the statistical data that backs up the abuse of Canada's immigration system - systematic or otherwise.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ontario claims Ottawa short-changing immigrant programs

Reporting for The Star today, Richard J. Brennan wrote:

"The federal Conservative government has short-changed Ontario at least $193 million in promised money for immigrant settlement programs, the provincial government says.

"Ottawa agreed in 2005 to transfer $920 million over five years in new immigration funding to Ontario, ending March 31.

"But Ontario Citizenship and Immigration Minister Eric Hoskins says the money the province has received falls short of the original promise."

Read the entire article here

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kenney proposes two-tier asylum process

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney

In a move to pacify conservative critics of the current asylum process, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced a Tory proposal to speed up asylum claims by fast-tracking those applications that are most likely to be denied, and eliminating the option to appeal a denied application by those who are from so-called "safe countries".

In what smacks of a system built to deny claimants the right to a fair hearing, Kenney is claiming this new process will trim the current cycle down from an average of 19-months to just two. Kenny also claims abuse of the current system is the motivation behind this proposal - but critics say that Kenney is using this unsubstantiated position simply as a convenient excuse to push a right wing immigration agenda.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Skilled immigrants: 7 years for processing

The Star reported today that applicants in the Skilled Worker class have swollen to near 600,000 with 327,843 skilled immigrant applications for the 38 approved occupations since March of 2008 and Immigration Canada's latest data states the average processing time from all visa posts is 7 1/2 years.

CIC continues to work out the pre-2008 backlog and have not added enough staff to cope with applications in skilled worker and other classes.

""More applications mean a longer backlog," (Immigration Canada's international director general Renald Gilbert) said, adding over the last four years the federal government more than doubled resources to process temporary foreign worker permits, but increased resources at visa posts abroad by only 7 per cent. Part of the problem is the mismatch between the number of applications and government targets allotted to individual visa posts, said Phil Mooney, president of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants.

For example, the number of skilled immigrants waiting for visas in Islamabad, Pakistan, is 40,587 but the total number of visas to be granted there in 2010 is only 1,350, according to Kurland's analysis."

Read the article here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Landed immigrants and the right to vote

Interesting article in the Star's "Your City, My City" column regarding landed immigrants and voting rights. While the article makes it clear that non-citizens make a huge contribution to the city (including paying taxes), they are not recognized in the same way and with the same rights that citizens have.

The author, a landed immigrant since 2004, writes, "In an upcoming election where the same old tired complaints of voter apathy, disconnected wards and the lack of new faces among the political elites are loud and true, I can’t help but wonder if that would be mitigated by allowing the strong and active immigrant population to vote for changes that they deserve in the Toronto that they call home."

I can see his point on one hand - but on the other, "citizenship" with its hard-won commitment to the nation, is a reasonable requirement in my mind to instill voting rights. Yes- it's a long process. You have to spend three out of four years resident in Canada. but if you want to impact the nation, then you need to be part of it. A permanent resident has made one level of commitment to the country. A citizen's commitment is a whole other level.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Exploring the changing faces of Toronto

A recent article in the Globe and Mail describes the changes in Toronto's demographic profile, and shares concerns that some have over immigrants who live in ethnic enclaves, integrate poorly, take jobs away from "real Canadians" and so on. This is an interesting article because it takes time to explore both the pros and perceived cons of immigration as well as the burden visible minorities face regarding racism. It's an informative read, and I highly recommend it.

Read Joe Friesen's article here.

View a graphical breakdown of Toronto's racial mix highlighting data from 1961 and 2006, as well as projecting the mix in 2031 here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Allan Thompson provides common law scenario

Star immigration reporter, Allan Thompson, in response to a reader inquiry outlined a strategy for couples to meet the requirements for a "common law" relationship under the CIC requirements for a permanent residence application in the family class. Let me break it down for you (paraphrased):
  1. Your partner enters Canada on a visitors visa (maximum 6-month period)
  2. Extend your partner's visitor visa (6-month extension)
  3. By the end of that period, you will meet the legal requirements for a common-law couple and you will be able to begin the process of sponsoring your partner under the family class from within Canada.
  4. Near the end of the 12 months, your partner should apply at the same time for an extension of his/her temporary resident permit and for permanent residence through the family class.
  5. As long as your partner continues to renew his/her temporary status while awaiting the processing of the permanent residence application, she will not be required to leave Canada.

Read Allan's article here

Monday, March 08, 2010

90 days - a little insight

To those of you who are in this process of family class immigration like my love and I are, here's a little frustrating reality check: We got a letter in December from CIC noting that they wanted to interview us regarding our application. The letter went on to say they would contact us with an interview date. That was 90 days ago. You and I surely could've done this in one fell swoop, right? Send a letter that says, "we want to interview you and your interview is scheduled for the following date." Not the CIC...

I know they are understaffed. I know they are overworked. I know they are a bureaucracy...It doesn't make it any less frustrating.

Nine soft skills no immigrant should be without

Nick Noorani wrote the following article for

"Skilled immigrants often focus on improving technical skills after coming to Canada, and they are shocked when they are told they have “no Canadian experience.” I’ve realized that this albatross around immigrants’ necks is actually a vague way of saying: “You lack the soft skills I am looking for in an employee.”"

Read about the nine soft skills that Nick believes no immigrant should be without here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

What a wonderful 17 days

The Olympics are over now. It was quite a wonderful time for Vancouver and for Canada. Not only was there a beautiful, positive spirit to the games; not only was the Vancouver Organizing Committee complimented for the general quality of the operations side of things; not only did the people of the host city make the world welcome; but Canada walked away with a record number of Gold Medals earned by any country in any previous Winter Olympics.

I was so proud of my adopted country. I am an American, but of course when it came to the important events (like hockey!), I was all red and white - not a speck of blue.

17 wonderful days passed far too fast. I am having withdrawals now.

I'll get back to immigration news and issues shortly. But for today, I'm still basking in a golden glow. Congratulations, Canada - you did it right.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Great advice from Allan Thompson

The Toronto Star's immigration reporter, Allan Thompson wrote an excellent article on immigration consultants that anyone who is considering hiring one should read.

Check it out here.


Refugee board judge sought sex, court told
Taped exchange to be played in court at trial of councillor turned immigration judge

Read the disgusting article on the alleged behaviour of an Immigration Refugee Board Trial Judge. And about the courageous couple who brought it all to light.

Read the article here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"We Are More" by Shane Koyczan

There was a wonderful moment during the opening cerimonies at the Vancouver Olympics where Shane Koyczan, a Vancouver slam poet read his "We Are More" to the world. I think it does a wonderful job of summing up something of what Canada is, and what it means to be Canadian. Enjoy:

We Are More

by Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake
you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we've got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers
electric cars
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world's anthem has been
" been there done that"
and maybe that's where we used to be at
it's true
we've done and we've been
we've seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don't forget to mention that we have set sparks
we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say "eh?"
and yes
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you're welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like "someday"
someday we'll be great
someday we'll be this
or that
someday we'll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday
we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don't have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don't all know what it is in life we're looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you've been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
" keep exploring... we are more"
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it's true
Canada is the "what" in "what's new?"
so don't say "been there done that"
unless you've sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don't say you've been there done that
unless you've been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you'll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn't pack for the first time
but don't let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what's more
is that we didn't just say it
we made it be.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Canadian Heritage website

"Canadian Heritage is responsible for national policies and programs that promote Canadian content, foster cultural participation, active citizenship and participation in Canada's civic life, and strengthen connections among Canadians. "

At this site you can learn about Canadian arts, culture, citizenship, multiculturalism, as well as government events and initiatives. Explore well over 100 different subjects and topics related to Canada. I think the site is a great resource.

Available in both official languages (English and French).

Go to the Canadian Heritage website

Monday, February 08, 2010

Canada Immigration News is home to the Canada Immigration Newsletter, a monthly electronic publication edited by Canadian Immigration Attorney David Cohen with a reader base of more than 250,000 people. The Canada Immigration Newsletter is a free service provided by and contains a collection of topical articles, current news and discussions as it relates to Canadian Immigration.

The newsletter is distributed electronically and delivered directly to your email inbox every month. It may also be accessed directly on through the archives section.

Shrinking workforce may lead to chronic deficits

Andrew Mayeda from the Canwest News Service wrote on January 14, 2010, "Canada's greying population could push federal finances into chronic deficit unless the government sets targets now on how it will climb back to balanced budgets, Parliament's budget watchdog is warning."

The Tory plan for immigration in 2010 is to limit the number of immigrants coming into the country. Skilled workers have to be from a select number of professions only, or they wont get in. Isn't it interesting that just when the country should be expanding the opportunities for immigrants to contribute to the tax base of the country, they are instead limiting access?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hockey Day in Canada

It's been "Hockey Day in Canada" all day today. For ten years the CBC has put together an all-day broadcast featuring three all-Canadian NHL match-ups and wonderful portraits of hockey's influence in communities across the nation.

I'm lucky enough to be able to see the broadcast here in Seattle, where it is available on both the CBC and the NHL Network in its entirety. I have to admit, it's bittersweet to watch. Its so revealing of the country I love.

To play requires many complex skills: skating, hand-eye coordination, strength, endurance, toughness, grace; and at its highest level, speed and unmatched agility. Hockey can only be played as a team - together. Beyond the athleticism, and though a worldwide game, so many Canadian qualities shine through. This is a country that works together to a common goal, and to do so requires the same strength, endurance, toughness and grace. Canada is proud to be the home of hockey. Canada loves its game.

Unlike many sports that are "me first" endeavors where individual accomplishment is praised above all, hockey is all about the team, the group, and at the heart of it all - relationships.

Like hockey, in Canada we're all in this together. That gives me incredible hope.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nights like tonight

Nights like tonight I miss home. I miss Toronto and my love. It's -11 outside. It's snowing. I remember the last winter we were together. This would be a night we would be out after dark, maybe doing some grocery shopping for dinner at Loblaws or Dominion. We would walk back to our apartment, so warm after the cold, after the wind snaking through the high rises, whipping up the snow. The apartment is warm and inviting. We cook dinner together as I watch the snowstorm, saying how beautiful it looks - and my love saying, "only until it starts to melt and get grey and messy!" She has a different view of the snow - but she's Canadian, after all. After dinner we watch a little TV, then its time to crawl into bed. She always goes to sleep first and during the quiet I count all my blessings and thank God for such a wonderful woman.

When I miss Toronto, it's this simple beautiful night that I miss the most.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Promises, promises

From an article in today's Toronto Star:

"Despite a much publicized promise nine months ago that Ottawa would expedite the immigration process for Afghans who risked their lives working for Canada, the workers, mainly interpreters, are caught in a bureaucratic maze."

Kenny makes a lot of statements, a lot of promises. The thing with a promise is - you need to keep it. After reading the article it's clear that this is program set up to fail for the Afganis who have supported Canada's war effort.

Read the entire article here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Canadian character shines through

Even Jason Kenny has heart. I know it might be hard to believe for those who are in the midst of their immigration applications, but it's true. The Immigration Minister's response to the crisis in Haiti, where thousands of children have been orphaned reveals that under the layers of his Tory armour, he's still Canadian after all.

"Haitian children are expected in Canada within days as Ottawa fast-tracks the adoption process for those where homes are already waiting for them, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday.

"We have already identified about 100 such applications (at different stages) ... in our system and we are working to contact those adoptive parents to let them know what we are doing," he told a news conference.

"I hope that we can bring these children to Canada within the coming days," Kenney said of those cases where there is evidence that approval has been granted by Haitian authorities.

The federal government will also provide temporary resident permits, waive fees and temporarily cover health costs as it steps up its efforts to bring orphans to Canada."

Read the article here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ottawa moving to fast-track applications for refugees and immigrants

Interesting article in the Star about the possibility of Canada making it easier for Haitians who are seeking family class or refugee access to immigrate. While there is no official word yet, speculation revolves around easing documentation requirements, and fast-tracking applications already in process. A huge logistical issue for applicants who are not already well into the process is the utter devastation - imagine trying to locate all the documents that the CIC wants to review. And how do you get police clearance documents when the police department is destroyed?

Read the article here

Friday, January 08, 2010

Immigrants are the new kids on the ice

Wonderful and heartwarming article in the Star to start the new year. I think this year I am going to try and broaden the focus of the site from immigration news, politics and personal news to also include more human interest coverage about the immigrant experience in Canada. I hope you enjoy this first reference of the year.

"Some of the players on George Webster Elementary School's hockey team are new to the country, and most are even newer to skating. Only two have ever played organized sports before."