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!

For Kindle
For iPad/iPhone
For Nook
For Kobo
For Sony eReader

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.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quiet time

Hello dear readers. Just wanted to let you know that The Mind has been on a bit of an August sabbatical, that will extend into the first week of September as we have family coming to visit from the States for the first time since I immigrated. I'll catch you up on all the activity and news starting again in another week. Why don't you spend some time with your family too!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Québec And Super Visa Opportunities - available now!

My latest book on Family Class immigration is available now!

My new eBook, "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Québec And Super Visa Opportunities", is now available on Amazon in multiple territories and coming soon to Sony eBookstore, Apple iBookstore, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and other e-retailers.

I hope this book will help Family Class immigrants in the same way my previous book is helping Skilled Workers. While most books concerning the immigration process are either out of date, or try and cover every possible class, I have made it a point to search out the most current and authoritative information available for those interested in a specific immigration class.

The purpose of this book is to help Family Class applicants in understanding the requirements to successfully apply for immigration to Canada; in being aware of common issues and problems that can arise in the process, and in making plain some of the hurdles and costs that they can expect to encounter along the way.

Family Class applicants will learn who is eligible to apply; what the application process entails; the range of information that they can expect to gather and provide; the pros and cons of using an immigration representative; expectations for the post-application process and other essential information.

Additionally, this book provides detailed information on Family Class immigration to Québec, which, unique to other Canadian provinces, shares immigration jurisdiction with the federal government. Finally, this book provides detailed information on The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, which allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to visit family in Canada for up to two years without the need to renew their visa status.

If you are planning on becoming a Family Class applicant, this book is a resource that will assist you every step of the way.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Becoming a Torontonian

From the Urban Dictionary:


1. A person who resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

2. A gracious and tolerant sort of guy or gal who listens with Herculean patience and nothing but a sad sigh now and then as every ill-educated sheep-shagger, penniless cod-kisser, sexually confused lumberjack and soulless oil tycoon befouling the rest of the country badmouths him tirelessly because they don't have half the cool sh** that he does.

3. A person who starts feeling suicidal every year around the time of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

4. Someone who pays fully half of their income in taxes so that a bunch of miserable ingrates living in shacks can spend half the year on the dole, scratching their Molson muscles and bitching about how much they hate Torontonians.

5. A person who can find everything she needs within a twenty-minute walk or bike-ride from her front door.

6. A resident of the 416 area code, but mercifully not of the 905.

7. Someone who is too polite to tell his best friend, who lives in Vancouver, that, 'No, frankly I really don't wish I lived in Vancouver. Not everyone on the whole f***ing planet wants to live in Vancouver, for Christ's sake. Besides, your whole ****** drug-infested city's going to slide into the ocean some day, be it global warming, act of heavenly retribution, or one tremendous ****** earthquake. So there.'

That's what Urban Dictionary describes as someone from Toronto. I have a little gentler view. I feel like a Torontonian:

  • When I walk through a dense crowd on the sidewalk without bumping into anyone. 
  • When I can't decide between 15 places I'd like to go to for dinner. 
  • When I spend 10-minutes trying to figure out the best way to lock up my bike. 
  • When I have a choice of four arts events to attend on the weekend. 
  • When I help a tourist find their way in the city.
  • When I root for the Leafs on a Saturday night - no matter where they are in the standings.
  • When I have to decide between a rental car, a train, or a bus when making travel plans.
  • When I have to decide between four grocery stores, or the St. Lawrence Market when it's time to stock the shelves. 
  • When I'm out in the middle of the street in the middle of the night for Nuit Blanche.
Feeling like a Torontonian is a nice feeling.  

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Year one in Canada

In four days I will have been a permanent resident in Canada for one full year. Of the 365 days, I have spent 302 in Ontario. The other 63 days comprise trips to the U.S. to visit family, take care of winding up business and to finish moving chores. It's been quite a year.

  • Landing - It was wonderful to finally come to Canada as an immigrant after so many years in process. The landing process took a lot of preparation, but was easy because of it. My love and I will celebrate this day each year in August.
  • Driver's license and Health Card - I have to admit, it was difficult emotionally to release my U.S. drivers license for a Canadian one. That ID was so ubiquitous to me that I even had the 12-character number memorized. But getting an Ontario license was another step in my integration, as was getting my OHIP Health Card. I felt like I was really on my path to being a citizen once I received them. 
  • The doctor will see you - What do you mean I don't have to pay? Very odd for me the first time I needed to see a doctor and I didn't have to pay for the services. While I DO pay through my taxes each year, in the U.S., you pay something significant every time you see a medical professional, whether you have insurance or not. I was paying over $3000 a year for insurance I couldn't use before I immigrated.  
  • New home - My Love and I moved to our new home a little over two months after I arrived. We thought we would move within the first year, but our hand was forced. We ended up in a beautiful condo in a wonderful neighbourhood and love it here.
  • Crossing the border - The first time a U.S. customs agent confirmed that I lived in Canada, not the U.S. and asked me why I was coming to the U.S. was something I'd never experienced before. On the pleasant side of the border, when I returned to Canada, the border agent said, "welcome home."
  • Winter - though it was a mild winter this year, it got real cold for a few days -24C with the wind chill. I actually thought I could go out and skate one morning when it was -18C out, but I realized halfway to the outdoor rink that it wasn't probably the best idea.
  • Two books written - this first year has seen me author two books on immigration to Canada, of which I am very proud. The first, How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities is doing great and helping a lot of people and I hope the new one on Family Class immigration will do the same. 
  • Summer - I have fared pretty well with the heat and humidity. Much better than I thought I would actually. 
The downsides? I sincerely miss my family in the U.S. I increasingly feel out of touch with the Old Country (as I half-jokingly call it). When I spoke to my brother last weekend, he told me it was Seafair in Seattle - a wonderful annual celebration with city and town fairs and festivals (our neighbourhood one was "Jubilee Days") and a weekend of hydroplane races. My brother and I would often ride our motorcycles out to a number of events, and musician friends of mine perform in shows. This is the first year of my life I've missed it. And I honestly forgot all about it until he mentioned it - and then I missed it a lot. Yes, there's an emotional toll to immigration too. I'm learning not to underestimate it, or deny my feelings about it. 

So here I am, a year in Canada under my belt. The bottom line question you probably want answered is, "Was it worth it? Are you happy you did it?" The answer is absolutely, YES. I love my new home and my life with my Love. And despite the challenges we have faced and ones to come, I feel in my heart that this is where I am meant to be, where I was always meant to be. I have a lot of peace in that, and a lot of happiness too. 

Friday, August 03, 2012

The Star - Lawyers challenge Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s role in letting Conrad Black into Canada

In a public display of the growing tension between the legal community and Ottawa, a group of lawyers is daring Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to take them to the Law Society for voicing dissent.

On Wednesday, 80 immigration lawyers sent an open letter to Kenney and collectively questioned his role in granting a permit to Conrad Black to allow the convicted media magnate to return to Canada in May after serving a 42-month sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice in Florida.

Read the rest of the article here

Thursday, August 02, 2012

If I were a Skilled Worker

I have been in Canada for almost a year now. I immigrated in the Family Class, but since 2005, I have immersed myself in understanding all the classes of Canadian immigration. The class that has seen the most change in recent years has been the Skilled Worker class.

Almost a year in, I was thinking about how my experience in Canada to this point would have been different through the lens of an applicant from that class. How would I sum it up?

First, I have had a grand total of two interviews with companies in my profession, despite dozens (and dozens) of qualified applications. I currently make a living as an independent consultant, since no Canadian company yet seems willing to give me a chance. In the two interviews I did get, one question I was asked in each was about my "Canadian experience" (I don't have any), and one observation made in each was that I was "overqualified" for the role I was applying for.

Through the lens of a Skilled Worker immigrant, none of this is news. It's hard to get jobs in your profession, you rarely have Canadian job experience, and you often go for jobs that are junior to your qualifications. Is it so unusual to be willing to start at the bottom?

How would I sum it up if I were a Skilled Worker? Hey Canada, I thought you needed me. What's the story? Artificial barriers to employment, discrimination, a Balkan maze of professional qualifications to navigate...Is this how you welcome the world's best and brightest?

Through my experience, I can see why the Harper Government believes the Skilled Worker class needs to be reworked. They currently advocate that each immigrant in this class should be matched to a job before they are allowed to immigrate.

But I believe because I have had to survive by building my own business in Canada, I have made a more significant long term contribution to the country, even after one year, than someone who's just here to fill a job opening. Let's hope this lesson isn't lost on the Harper Government as they rework the Skilled Worker class. Immigration policy should be about nation building, not about job recruiting.