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 Qu├ębec And Super Visa Opportunities". Get it at Amazon or the other e-retailers noted above.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Now that's hot!

There's a chance that the high temperature today with the humidex value included, could reach 42C - that's nearly 108F. There has also been an extreme heat and smog alert issued for City of Toronto. These are temperatures associated with mid-summer. Thank goodness for air conditioning! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Eyes open

Summer hasn't quite begun here in Toronto, but some dog-days are coming. Humidex values in the next few days are going to be in the 40's, and that's some dangerous levels of heat. While I didn't get the Canadian winter I was expecting this year, clearly the summer plans to show up - ahead of schedule actually.

Toronto is beautiful right now. I look out over the city from my home and amid the construction cranes and scaffolding, trees are full and green and fountains are bubbling. Young women walk briskly, no longer constricted by the weight of parkas and snow boots; replaced instead by chiffons and skirts and mysterious bug-eyed sunglasses. The Bay Street hedge fund boys try not to sweat too much in their prerequisite suits, on their way to master the universe. The haze over Lake Ontario leaves a ragged blur on the horizon more like a low mountain range than a great lake.

These sights and sounds and weather are not all new to me, save in that they are now a daily part of my life, not something I visit and leave for something more familiar. Back in Seattle, the report is of a rainy springtime that has yet to really end. I'm used to that. I'm sure in a few years I wont notice this much either - but I hope I always do - that I don't become immune to my new home.

As an immigrant, your eyes tend to be open a little wider to the world around you. I don't think that's a bad thing. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Star - Ottawa loses legal battle over immigration backlog

Ottawa has suffered a major setback in eliminating its immigration backlog after the federal court ruled the government is obliged to process all applications it accepted into the system. 

About 900 applicants under the federal skilled workers’ program sued Immigration Minister Jason Kenney for violating the pledge to assess and finalize decisions in a timely fashion. 

 They asked the court to order the immigration department to process their applications within a reasonable time frame. 

 In a decision released Thursday, Justice Donald Rennie rejected the minister’s argument that the delay is justified because he has the authority to make policies.
Read the rest of the article here

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

“If the House cannot hold the government of the day to account, then why have the House at all?’’

Last year, former speaker Peter Milliken ruled the Conservatives had withheld information on the costs of its crime bill and F-35 fighter jets, a finding that ultimately led to the government being found in contempt.

In the ensuing election Canadians collectively shrugged and handed Stephen Harper his majority.

But it has become a Conservative pattern and in this case there is no discernible reason why the information would not be released, leaving, as Cullen puts it, MPs to vote “blindly” on the bill.

The information was requested by the independent parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page. He quite logically believed he had an obligation to report to parliamentarians which departments will be affected by the $5.2 billion in budget cuts, and what services could be affected.

He was told to go away.

The government has never said it does not have the information, but instead cited collective bargaining agreements that prevent it from providing the data until all the employees were notified.

But the unions told the government to go ahead, they welcomed the release of the information.

“If the House cannot hold the government of the day to account, then why have the House at all?’’ Cullen asked.

Read the article by Tim Harper at the Star online

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Diamond Jubilee

One of the adjustments an American makes when coming to Canada is in accepting a new form of government.  Canada is a constitutional monarchy. More technically:

As per the Constitution Act, 1867, Canada is a constitutional monarchy, wherein the role of the reigning sovereign is both legal and practical, but not political. The Crown is regarded as a corporation, with the monarch, vested as she is with all powers of state, at the centre of a construct in which the power of the whole is shared by multiple institutions of government acting under the sovereign's authority; the Crown has thus been described as the underlying principle of Canada's institutional unity, with the executive formally called the Queen-in-Council, the legislature the Queen-in-Parliament, and the courts as the Queen on the Bench. - from Wikipedia

Canada is part of the Commonwealth of Nations (including 54 other mostly former British Colonies). As such, Canada's sovereign ruler is Queen Elizabeth. Recently, The Diamond Jubilee took place, marking 60 years of The Queen’s reign. The Queen came to the throne on 6th February 1952 (her Coronation took place on 2nd June 1953).

It's not hard to make the adjustment to a form of government with such deep historic roots. I have to admit, its almost nice to have a Monarch who is a constant in a world of fickle political change. After years of observing the Canadian federal government in action, I can tell you it has its share of sins the same way the U.S. governmental system does. Harper, the current Prime Minister, seems to have learned many political lessons from the U.S. - unfortunately.

There is one big difference here in Canada, however, and I think it relates to the Queen and the Monarchy. It's the idea that the political flavour of governments are temporary and that their true purpose is service to the people. I didn't hear much of that in my last few years in the U.S. It's nice to witness it in action here in my new home.  

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Another step in integration- a bank account

If you read the checklists of what to do as soon as you arrive in Canada as an immigrant, one of the top things is to establish a bank account. Now I've been here nearly nine months and I'm just getting that particular item crossed off of my list.

Why the long wait? Well, I still have had a lot of business with the U.S., so I hadn't closed those accounts yet. My Love and I use those accounts when we go to the Niagara/Buffalo region to shop sales too. I just haven't had the need to set up an account until now.

But a tax refund check and the reality of U.S. tax laws meant that I had to do something. Until all the ramifications of  Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) are understood, it was better for us that I establish my own bank account rather than simply join my Love's.

That issue aside (it will be 2014 before anyone understands how the IRS intends to use the mandatory reporting), it's nice to take one more step to integrate into Canadian life.

So who am I banking with? TD? CIBC? RBC? Nope. I chose President's Choice (the same folks that bring you tasty food at Loblaws). They offer a completely free checking account through CIBC, with access to all the Interac machines in the country. One good thing about waiting a few months to get this done is I was aware of the best options for my needs.

Not sure what's left on the "after you arrive" list, but I'll keep you posted as usual!

Friday, June 01, 2012

"How to Immigrate to Canada for Skilled Workers - The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities" available now

My new book, "How to Immigrate to Canada for Skilled Workers - The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities" is available now from all major online retailers. I'm proud to report that the book has spent some time in its subcategory's Top 20 and Hot New Releases lists on Amazon. I hope that if you are considering Skilled Worker class immigration to Canada you will check it out.

While most books on Canadian immigration are either out of date, or try and cover every single class available, I wrote this book to walk a specific class through the current application process and requirements from top to bottom. Why buy a book where the majority of the content doesn't apply to you?

If you have purchased the book already, please let me know what you think and how it might be improved. New editions are planned and will be published in response to future changes in policy and process.

Good luck with your Skilled Worker class application!