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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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Star - Ottawa axes network of immigration research centres

Ottawa plans to stop funding a research network whose findings have helped improve Canada’s immigration policies and settlement programs, the Star has learned.

The federal government will not renew its $9 million, five-year funding to the five Metropolis research centres in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax when the grant runs out in 2013.

Critics say the cut is another blow to researchers and community groups who have already lost the reliable data gleaned from the mandatory long-form census, which the Conservatives ended in 2010.

Read the article from The Toronto Star here

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reflections on the expatriate life so far

I've been in the U.S. for most of the last month on business and family matters, but will leave next week to return to Toronto and the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood I now call home.

Being back in Seattle has been nice, though I have to admit it is a little disconcerting to cope with all that changes while I'm away. I've mentioned the phenomenon in the past - where an immigrant loses touch; and now I am living it. For instance, on this visit I noticed two restaurants I used to dine in had closed down, due to the economy. News to me. Also news that they had actually closed down a few months ago. How was I to know? I was in Toronto. A major highway I used to travel has been dismantled. Another has become a toll way.

All the change that happens daily, in small doses, I can only experience in big gulps when I finally get back to visit. It goes for friends and their lives too. I guess it comes with the turf. It's the price paid for leaving and old life for a new one.

I don't know how I could have prepared for this aspect of the expatriate life. I knew it was coming. I guess in the knowing, it's impact is softened.

I do miss the life I had here in the States. But I love the life I have now in Canada too. It seems true that once left, you can never go home.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Star - Immigrants are our bread and butter and the census proves it

"Whereas Canada has always been dependant on immigrants, we are more dependent on them now than ever before.

This is well understood by governments and businesses, even if not by a noisy anti-immigrant rump that keeps railing against immigrants.

Yet we remain inept at managing immigration. The problems that have long plagued the system continue to."

Read the editorial by Haroon Siddiqui here

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Come to Canada Wizard reaches 750,000 visits in less than six months

(reposting a press release from the CIC) 

Ottawa, February 09, 2012 — The Come to Canada Wizard, which helps people determine if they are eligible to immigrate to this country, continues to gain popularity among prospective immigrants and newcomers. The Wizard has recorded more than 750,000 visits since it was launched six months ago.

 Close to 90 percent of users say they would recommend the Come to Canada Wizard to someone they know.

“The Come to Canada Wizard was very useful in helping me better understand the requirements for immigrating to Canada,” said one user. “It also allowed me to know what professional skills are in high demand.”

 The Come to Canada tool is interactive. It presents users with a series of questions to determine which federal immigration option best suits their specific circumstances. It then leads users through the application steps and provides instructions and forms.

 “The Wizard is just one of the many steps in our modernization process to continually improve our services to immigrants,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

 “This online tool makes the application process easier, more reliable and helps avoid potentially fraudulent practices,” added Minister Kenney.

 The Come to Canada Wizard also helps the department to be more efficient, which is a benefit to all Canadians. For more information, visit the Come to Canada Wizard at:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Update: reasons to leave the U.S. - food stamp nation

"In 2006, there were 26.7 million people on food stamps in America. By September 2011, that number had grown to a record 46.3 million, bigger by far than Canada’s population of 33 million, and equal to that of Spain.

In fact, if the Americans using food stamps constituted a country, they would be the 27th largest nation in the world."

Read the entire article, "America’s ‘Food Stamp Nation’ continues to grow" in The Star here.

Clearly broken and no fix in sight

It was reported in the National Post on January 29th (travel has me backlogged) that Immigration Minister Kenney is discussing more tweaks to Canada's immigration programs, this time making further adjustments to the skilled worker class.

Kenney now proposes to open up the class to skilled labourers as well as those that have already been targeted from various white collar professions.

The trouble is, that these skilled workers will find many of the same challenges all immigrants face when it comes to getting a job in their field of expertise in Canada. They will have to get certified in many cases (which can mean additional education, expense, tests) to even have a chance of breaking into Canada's maze of protected labour markets and they will also have to deal with the bias against those who apply for work without "Canadian experience."

Until Kenney addresses some of the barriers workers face once they arrive, it doesn't matter what he does to try to balance the mix on the front end. Canada can't solve it's labour shortages by simply opening the border to the immigrants it claims it needs to build its economy - it also needs to employ them in their areas of expertise, where they could most benefit the country.

Read the Post article here