Tag Archive: canada immigration online

Nepal adoption suspension riles Canadians

April 26, 2010
Nepal Adoption

Nepal Adoption

A group of Canadian couples hopes to convince the federal government to overturn a recommendation last month to suspend all adoptions from Nepal.
Ottawa resident Adrian Gollner and his wife are among 11 couples who had started the process of adopting children in Nepal in the hopes of bringing them to Canada in 2009.
But a February report from the Hague Conference on Private International Law raised concerns of fraudulent adoptions and child trafficking in Nepal. In response, federal agencies called on provinces to suspend adoptions from the South Asian country. The report followed visits from international monitors in the fall of 2009 that found widespread evidence of falsification of records.
That decision left Gollner’s family plans in limbo. He and his wife have a four-year-old biological son, but were hoping to add another child to the family and had tried adopting from China.
But faced with an eight-year wait to go through China’s adoption process, they decided to try Nepal, which in 2008 signed on to the Hague Convention, allowing for international adoptions to fellow convention signatories such as Canada.
Gollner said he and his wife had no intention of obtaining a child illegally, but they were hoping that there might a more nuanced solution than simply banning all adoptions from the country.
“There has been some corruption, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t fully legitimate orphans there who need families and who are indeed very poor,” he said.
Issues involving international adoptions are complex, however, because while the provinces oversee the process, they often take their lead from several federal agencies. Other couples with Gollner’s group are from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec.
It makes it difficult, said Gollner, to know which agency to deal with to get answers, he said.
Verify outstanding adoptions, father asks
Some of the families represented by immigration lawyer  Sas had already been given information about the children they were set to adopt before delays and finally the suspension of the process happened. But Gollner said his family had not advanced that far in the process due to frequent delays.
He said he fears the suspension will become an outright ban, leaving his family with no recourse.
Gollner said he would like to see agents on the ground in Nepal who can determine which of the outstanding adoptions are legitimate or not.
Sas said the government should put in an approval mechanism for families who have already begun the adoption process so that none of their efforts is wasted.
Sas said other countries such as the U.K. and Sweden have done what Gollner suggests and put agents in Nepal to verify the process.
“Other countries have clearly demonstrated that there is a solution available, let’s follow that lead and use that solution to resolve the cases that have already been approved for these families in Canada for 2009,” she said.

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Canadian ePassports to launch in 2012

April 21, 2010
passport

passport

Passport Canada plans to launch an ePassport in 2012, and in the meantime it wants to hear Canadians’ thoughts on the issue  including revised fees.

The new passport will be little changed in appearance but will contain an electronic chip encoded with the bearer’s name, gender, and date and place of birth, as well as a digital portrait of the traveller’s face.

“The use of ePassports will allow Canada to follow international standards in the field of passport security to protect our borders and maintain the ease of international travel that Canadians currently enjoy,” Passport Canada said in a release.

With the launch of the new passport, Canadians will also be able to choose whether they want a passport valid for 10 years or for the current five-year period. Along with the changes will come new fees  a development that requires consultation with Canadians, under the User Fees Act, according to the agency.

Canadians are asked to fill out an online questionnaire on Passport Canada’s website by May 7. The comments will be considered in the development of the new passport and its fees.

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March with no snow first on record

April 16, 2010
no snow vancouver

no snow vancouver

There has never been a March in history when there haven’t been any flakes of snow. Until now.

“There no snow in downtown this March – not even a trace amount recorded,” said David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada, since record keeping began in 1845. “It’s really astounding!”

This lack of snow beats the previous record of 1898 when trace amounts of snow – less than 0.2 centimetres – were seen downtown at the University of Toronto downtown campus. Normally, March in Toronto means an average of 22 centimetres of snow spread over nine to 10 days.

What makes this particular winter even more astounding, says Phillips, is a snowless November and March. “It seems like winter has been confined to three months instead of the normal six months,” he said, adding that it has snowed only between Dec.1 and Feb. 27 so far.

“Winter came in like a lamb, and went out like a lamb,” Phillips said. “We really didn’t see any lion-like weather.”

There is a chance that some more records will be broken. Toronto has only seen 46.2 centimetres of snow this season compared to the existing record of 47.1 centimetres in the winter of 1952 to 1953. On average, Toronto gets over 127.1 centimetres of snow every year.

This pattern of snowlessness has been echoed across the province. “The snowiest country in the world has got almost no snow in comparison,” Phillips said.

The record breaking pattern is expected to continue into the long weekend. Environment Canada is predicting 23 degrees Celsius on Friday, which would beat the current warmest temperate for April 2 set in 1967 at 20.6 degrees.

“We’ve got many indignant people telling us its to early for an April fool’s day joke, but it really isn’t,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be a spectacular summer-like weekend.”

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Small army to protect Toronto during G20 summit

April 14, 2010
G20
G20

Police forces have entered into an alliance to deal with the threat of violent protest at Toronto’s G20 summit with as many as 10,000 uniformed officers and 1,000 private security guards teaming up to protect world leaders.

Federal contract tenders obtained by The Globe indicate a small army will descend on Canada’s largest city this June, exceeding the estimated 6,000-police-officer presence at Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics [] .

The police security will come at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, although police officials would not confirm deployment numbers. Yet federal contract tenders posted online indicate how things are shaping up.


“For the G8 Summit [in Deerhurst, Ont.] the RCMP/OPP will require approximately 4,000 personnel with duty-related belongings to be transported at different dates, times and locations,” reads a contract tendered for shuttle buses. “For the G20 Summit, the RCMP will require approximately 5,600 personnel with duty-related belongings to be transported at different dates, times and locations.”

Spokeswoman RCMP Sergeant Michele Paradis said yesterday “we won’t ever give out the number,” of police assigned to the Group of 20 meetings, set to be held inside downtown’s Metro Convention Centre on the June 25 weekend, and the Group of Eight meeting that immediately precedes it at the Deerhurst Resort north of the city.

The RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit, to be buttressed by non-Mountie police officers seconded to the ISU, has the responsibility of protecting VIPs. And several specialized police units — SWAT teams, intelligence analysts, motorcade escorts — are expected to fly down from Deerhurst for the Toronto summit.

On top of all that, a new federal “letter of interest” seeks to hire a contractor who can provide airport-style security at various checkpoints.

“The contractor will be required to provide approximately 1,030 security screening personnel to perform pedestrian screening in designated areas,” the letter reads.

The tender doesn’t say where the guards will be stationed, but they are to be outfitted with “Magnetometers,” “walk-through metal detectors,” “X-Ray belt driven scanners” and “hand-held metal detectors.”

Sgt. Paradis, who handles communications for federal police, said “we are going to use private security, and this will be used to augment the security process.” Stressing she would not speak to numbers, she did add that no numbers are set in stone and that the force levels will vary depending on what circumstances and threat levels dictate.

In Pittsburgh, which hosted the G20 last September, 6,000 police and National Guard were called in the assist city police.

In June the overall ranks of security forces could even rival the estimated 15,000 dignitaries and journalists anticipated for the G8/G20 summits. The Toronto Police Service is expected to have much or most of its 5,500-member uniformed force on duty to protect the metropolis that weekend — officers were warned not to book any vacation months ago. “I cannot comment on TPS deployment beyond telling you that … all hands are expected to be on deck to police the entire city,” said City Councillor Adam Vaughan, a member of the police board.

And unspecified numbers of Canadian soldiers and spies will also work behind the scenes to help thousands of police safeguard the meetings. Meanwhile, world leaders like U.S. PresidentBarack Obama [] will also bring added layers of guards of their own.

Publicly available contract tenders for police transport, private security, and communications systems are currently available on the merx.com website for those who search the term “G20.”

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Canada ‘enthusiastic rebound’ best in G7, OECD says

April 9, 2010
OECD Logo

OECD LOGO

A global economic forecasting group says Canadian economic growth will outpace that of other G7 nations by a wide margin during the first half of 2010.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation is forecasting that Canada’s economy grew 6.2 per cent in the first quarter, well ahead of the 1.9 per cent overall growth for the G7 nations.

The OECD predicts that Canada’s second-quarter growth will be about 4.5 per cent, nearly double the 2.3 per cent growth expected from the combined G7.

The latest outlook comes as Canadian economic data shows the country embarked upon an enthusiastic rebound at the start of the year.

In January, Canada’s gross domestic product advanced 0.6 per cent, driven by growth in activity in factories, at construction sites, in mines and in the oilpatch.

However, economists have cautioned that Canada’s economic growth will likely slow down as the Bank of Canada is expected to raise interest rates this July, while consumers could decrease spending to pay off their debts.

In the OECD study, the organization said that growth in leading rich economies will slow in the first half of this year, with the United States and Japan outpacing sluggish Europe.

The OECD links the slowdown to the end of some government stimulus programs and the emptying of inventory stocks  all while the recovery and labour markets remain frail after the worst global recession in decades.

Most of the global economic growth this year is expected in countries not addressed in the report, such as China, India and Brazil.

Still, “overall it is an encouraging picture,” OECD chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan told a news conference about the agency’s report on the Group of Seven industrial economies. “It is stronger in the United States and Japan, it is not as strong in Europe.”

The OECD forecast that U.S. gross domestic product would rise 2.4 per cent in the first quarter and 2.3 per cent in the second quarter, down from 5.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. Forecasts for Japan are 1.1 per cent and 2.3 per cent for the first two quarters of 2010, down from 3.8 per cent in the fourth quarter 2009.

Forecasts for Germany fell, however, blamed on a slump in construction activity.

The OECD urged rich governments to end stimulus programs next year or earlier to avoid sinking deeper into debt. But it warned that they should do so gradually and carefully.

“Despite some encouraging signs on activity, the fragility of the recovery, a frail labour market and possible headwinds coming from financial markets underscore the need for caution in the removal of policy support,” the report said. “Consolidation should start in 2011, or earlier where needed, and progress gradually so as not to undermine the incipient recovery.”

Dollar continues to hover near par

April 7, 2010
canada dollar

canada dollar

The Canadian dollar continued to straddle parity with the U.S. currency Wednesday.

Shortly after 10 am E.T., the loonie was trading at 99.97 cents U.S., up .09 of a cent from Tuesday’s close.

It rose as high as 100.03 cents US earlier Wednesday, a day after it moved above parity with the greenback for the first time since July 2008.

The dollar’s move up came the same day a global forecasting group called for Canada’s economy to grow more than others in the G7 over the first six months of this year.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation is forecasting that Canada’s economy grew 6.2 per cent in the first quarter, well ahead of the 1.9 per cent overall growth for the G7 nations.

It predicted second-quarter growth will be about 4.5 per cent, nearly double the 2.3 per cent growth expected by the combined G7.

The organization says that growth in leading rich economies will slow in the first half of this year, with the United States and Japan outpacing sluggish Europe.

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