Tag Archive: spouse

Newcomers to Canada benefit from the Library Settlement Partnership at Ottawa Public Library

November 9, 2009

 

Ottawa Public Library

Ottawa Public Library (OPL) staff, along with partners from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and various settlement agencies, celebrated the Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) program, a service now available at the OPL that will help newcomers to Ottawa more successfully settle and integrate into their new home. Made possible through a three-way partnership between Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the settlement sector and public libraries, the Library Settlement Partnerships program provide information referral, and other services for newcomers  in ten branches of the Ottawa Public Library. The program has been rolled out in 11 communities in Ontario and is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

“Our government is helping make settlement services more accessible to immigrants,” said Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney. “Through this program, newcomers living in the area can access information on housing, transportation and employment opportunities in their neighbourhood library. Improving their access to settlement services will not only ease their transition to life in Canada, but also strengthen the community as a whole.”

“We are enormously proud to be able to provide newcomers with a program that will make their move to a new country a little bit easier.  By offering the LSP program in our branches, newcomers to Ottawa can make a smoother transition to their new home,” said Barbara Clubb, city librarian. “The library already offers many services to newcomers of all ages. These range from story times in Mandarin to preparing for the citizenship test in Arabic. The Library Settlement Partnerships program makes a wonderful complement to the already existing services.”

The celebration of the Library Settlement Partnerships program, held at the Main Branch, coincided with the official unveiling of the branch’s recently renovated Newcomer Services space. The space provides the newcomer information officer a dedicated area in which to meet with clients and develop programs to help newcomers settle into the community. The funding to construct the Newcomer Services space was provided by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA).

LSP partners include Citizenship & Immigration Canada, the Ottawa Public Library, the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, the Lebanese and Arab Social Services Agency, the Somali Centre for Family Services, the Ottawa Chinese Community Services Centre and Conseil Économique & Social d’Ottawa-Carleton.

For more information about the many services offered to newcomers at OPL, please visit the OPL website at http://www.BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca or call Info Service at 613-580-2940.

 

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Newcomers to Canada benefit from the Library Settlement Partnership at Ottawa Public Library

November 9, 2009

 

Ottawa Public Library

Ottawa Public Library (OPL) staff, along with partners from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and various settlement agencies, celebrated the Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) program, a service now available at the OPL that will help newcomers to Ottawa more successfully settle and integrate into their new home. Made possible through a three-way partnership between Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the settlement sector and public libraries, the Library Settlement Partnerships program provide information referral, and other services for newcomers  in ten branches of the Ottawa Public Library. The program has been rolled out in 11 communities in Ontario and is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

“Our government is helping make settlement services more accessible to immigrants,” said Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney. “Through this program, newcomers living in the area can access information on housing, transportation and employment opportunities in their neighbourhood library. Improving their access to settlement services will not only ease their transition to life in Canada, but also strengthen the community as a whole.”

“We are enormously proud to be able to provide newcomers with a program that will make their move to a new country a little bit easier.  By offering the LSP program in our branches, newcomers to Ottawa can make a smoother transition to their new home,” said Barbara Clubb, city librarian. “The library already offers many services to newcomers of all ages. These range from story times in Mandarin to preparing for the citizenship test in Arabic. The Library Settlement Partnerships program makes a wonderful complement to the already existing services.”

The celebration of the Library Settlement Partnerships program, held at the Main Branch, coincided with the official unveiling of the branch’s recently renovated Newcomer Services space. The space provides the newcomer information officer a dedicated area in which to meet with clients and develop programs to help newcomers settle into the community. The funding to construct the Newcomer Services space was provided by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA).

LSP partners include Citizenship & Immigration Canada, the Ottawa Public Library, the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, the Lebanese and Arab Social Services Agency, the Somali Centre for Family Services, the Ottawa Chinese Community Services Centre and Conseil Économique & Social d’Ottawa-Carleton.

For more information about the many services offered to newcomers at OPL, please visit the OPL website at http://www.BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca or call Info Service at 613-580-2940.

 

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Indian police uncover fake Canadian visa scam

November 6, 2009
fake visascam
Anil Kumar allegedly heads a ring that may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000.
TORONTO STAR/NEW DELHI POLICE
New Delhi – Indian police say they have cracked a ring of criminals who conspired to operate one of the biggest fake visa scams in years involving Canada.
The alleged crooks lurked on the leafy streets outside Canada’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi, as well as in the office of a bogus travel and tourism company in Punjab, a state in northwestern India.
The Star has learned Indian police have made three arrests in New Delhi and two more in Punjab, charging five men with making false documents, passing fake documents as genuine and criminal conspiracy. Police are still searching for at least three others.
The fake visa service charged Indians as much as $21,000 to obtain bogus visas, police said, adding they believe the ring operated through a company called Kaavi Tour and Travels in Chandigarh, Punjab’s capital city.
Documents and files seized by police indicate the ring, allegedly headed by a man named Anil Kumar – who has at least three aliases – may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000. That would make it one of the biggest visa fraud operations police here have exposed in years.
“People in Punjab are so desperate to get to Canada for work, that’s why they fall into this,” New Delhi police sub-inspector M.P.
Saini said.
Canadian High Commission staff say privately that immigration consultants such as Kumar continue to be a vexing problem. Immigration agents are not regulated and the business has become huge, particularly in Chandigarh, where Canada is the only foreign country with a visa-granting office.
“This latest one is big,” said a Western diplomat familiar with the Kumar case. “It’s a huge ball of yarn. We keep unwinding it and finding more leads to more victims and more crooks.”
New Delhi police said they learned about Kumar’s alleged criminal operation on Oct. 13 when a 22-year-old Punjabi man named Sukhdeep Singh filed a complaint, saying that he and three relatives had been fleeced out of $32,000.
In late August, Singh went to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to apply for a visa to Canada. He said a man named Sandeep Kaul approached him on the street outside the high commission and told him he could guarantee Singh a visa for
$16,000.
Singh and three relatives paid Kaul a collective $32,000 – half his asking price of $64,000 – in advance. A day later, Kaul filed
visa applications on behalf of Singh and his relative. When an immigration agent denied those applications, Kaul put Singh and the others in contact with Kumar, the scam’s alleged ringleader in Punjab.
Singh and his relatives were later told Kumar has secured visas for each of them as promised and, indeed, they were given their passports with what appeared to be visas. But Singh learned the visas were fake after taking them to the Canadian mission in Chandigarh to confirm their authenticity.
Instead of paying the remaining $32,000, Singh called police, who set up a sting operation.
Kaul and two other Delhi men, Jassi Khassria and Lakhander Singh, were arrested in New Delhi near the Nehru Park metro station as they waited, police say, for Singh to show up with their money.
Police raided Kaul’s apartment and discovered an embossing machine, colour photocopier, fake income tax returns and school records – one document the Star reviewed was an “Employemant Agreement” with an Alberta company called “IS2 Staffing Services” – that probably would have been used to try to obtain visas.
Police continue to hunt for Kumar.
Roughly 30 visa applications have been linked to Kumar, who used the same mobile phone number as a contact on various applications.
Kaul and the other men have not yet had bail hearings or submitted their pleas.
Their next court appearance is Nov. 14. The five are being held at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail and face at least seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Indian police uncover fake Canadian visa scam

November 6, 2009
fake visascam
Anil Kumar allegedly heads a ring that may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000.
TORONTO STAR/NEW DELHI POLICE
New Delhi – Indian police say they have cracked a ring of criminals who conspired to operate one of the biggest fake visa scams in years involving Canada.
The alleged crooks lurked on the leafy streets outside Canada’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi, as well as in the office of a bogus travel and tourism company in Punjab, a state in northwestern India.
The Star has learned Indian police have made three arrests in New Delhi and two more in Punjab, charging five men with making false documents, passing fake documents as genuine and criminal conspiracy. Police are still searching for at least three others.
The fake visa service charged Indians as much as $21,000 to obtain bogus visas, police said, adding they believe the ring operated through a company called Kaavi Tour and Travels in Chandigarh, Punjab’s capital city.
Documents and files seized by police indicate the ring, allegedly headed by a man named Anil Kumar – who has at least three aliases – may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000. That would make it one of the biggest visa fraud operations police here have exposed in years.
“People in Punjab are so desperate to get to Canada for work, that’s why they fall into this,” New Delhi police sub-inspector M.P.
Saini said.
Canadian High Commission staff say privately that immigration consultants such as Kumar continue to be a vexing problem. Immigration agents are not regulated and the business has become huge, particularly in Chandigarh, where Canada is the only foreign country with a visa-granting office.
“This latest one is big,” said a Western diplomat familiar with the Kumar case. “It’s a huge ball of yarn. We keep unwinding it and finding more leads to more victims and more crooks.”
New Delhi police said they learned about Kumar’s alleged criminal operation on Oct. 13 when a 22-year-old Punjabi man named Sukhdeep Singh filed a complaint, saying that he and three relatives had been fleeced out of $32,000.
In late August, Singh went to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to apply for a visa to Canada. He said a man named Sandeep Kaul approached him on the street outside the high commission and told him he could guarantee Singh a visa for
$16,000.
Singh and three relatives paid Kaul a collective $32,000 – half his asking price of $64,000 – in advance. A day later, Kaul filed
visa applications on behalf of Singh and his relative. When an immigration agent denied those applications, Kaul put Singh and the others in contact with Kumar, the scam’s alleged ringleader in Punjab.
Singh and his relatives were later told Kumar has secured visas for each of them as promised and, indeed, they were given their passports with what appeared to be visas. But Singh learned the visas were fake after taking them to the Canadian mission in Chandigarh to confirm their authenticity.
Instead of paying the remaining $32,000, Singh called police, who set up a sting operation.
Kaul and two other Delhi men, Jassi Khassria and Lakhander Singh, were arrested in New Delhi near the Nehru Park metro station as they waited, police say, for Singh to show up with their money.
Police raided Kaul’s apartment and discovered an embossing machine, colour photocopier, fake income tax returns and school records – one document the Star reviewed was an “Employemant Agreement” with an Alberta company called “IS2 Staffing Services” – that probably would have been used to try to obtain visas.
Police continue to hunt for Kumar.
Roughly 30 visa applications have been linked to Kumar, who used the same mobile phone number as a contact on various applications.
Kaul and the other men have not yet had bail hearings or submitted their pleas.
Their next court appearance is Nov. 14. The five are being held at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail and face at least seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Indian police uncover fake Canadian visa scam

November 6, 2009
fake visascam
Anil Kumar allegedly heads a ring that may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000.
TORONTO STAR/NEW DELHI POLICE
New Delhi – Indian police say they have cracked a ring of criminals who conspired to operate one of the biggest fake visa scams in years involving Canada.
The alleged crooks lurked on the leafy streets outside Canada’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi, as well as in the office of a bogus travel and tourism company in Punjab, a state in northwestern India.
The Star has learned Indian police have made three arrests in New Delhi and two more in Punjab, charging five men with making false documents, passing fake documents as genuine and criminal conspiracy. Police are still searching for at least three others.
The fake visa service charged Indians as much as $21,000 to obtain bogus visas, police said, adding they believe the ring operated through a company called Kaavi Tour and Travels in Chandigarh, Punjab’s capital city.
Documents and files seized by police indicate the ring, allegedly headed by a man named Anil Kumar – who has at least three aliases – may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000. That would make it one of the biggest visa fraud operations police here have exposed in years.
“People in Punjab are so desperate to get to Canada for work, that’s why they fall into this,” New Delhi police sub-inspector M.P.
Saini said.
Canadian High Commission staff say privately that immigration consultants such as Kumar continue to be a vexing problem. Immigration agents are not regulated and the business has become huge, particularly in Chandigarh, where Canada is the only foreign country with a visa-granting office.
“This latest one is big,” said a Western diplomat familiar with the Kumar case. “It’s a huge ball of yarn. We keep unwinding it and finding more leads to more victims and more crooks.”
New Delhi police said they learned about Kumar’s alleged criminal operation on Oct. 13 when a 22-year-old Punjabi man named Sukhdeep Singh filed a complaint, saying that he and three relatives had been fleeced out of $32,000.
In late August, Singh went to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to apply for a visa to Canada. He said a man named Sandeep Kaul approached him on the street outside the high commission and told him he could guarantee Singh a visa for
$16,000.
Singh and three relatives paid Kaul a collective $32,000 – half his asking price of $64,000 – in advance. A day later, Kaul filed
visa applications on behalf of Singh and his relative. When an immigration agent denied those applications, Kaul put Singh and the others in contact with Kumar, the scam’s alleged ringleader in Punjab.
Singh and his relatives were later told Kumar has secured visas for each of them as promised and, indeed, they were given their passports with what appeared to be visas. But Singh learned the visas were fake after taking them to the Canadian mission in Chandigarh to confirm their authenticity.
Instead of paying the remaining $32,000, Singh called police, who set up a sting operation.
Kaul and two other Delhi men, Jassi Khassria and Lakhander Singh, were arrested in New Delhi near the Nehru Park metro station as they waited, police say, for Singh to show up with their money.
Police raided Kaul’s apartment and discovered an embossing machine, colour photocopier, fake income tax returns and school records – one document the Star reviewed was an “Employemant Agreement” with an Alberta company called “IS2 Staffing Services” – that probably would have been used to try to obtain visas.
Police continue to hunt for Kumar.
Roughly 30 visa applications have been linked to Kumar, who used the same mobile phone number as a contact on various applications.
Kaul and the other men have not yet had bail hearings or submitted their pleas.
Their next court appearance is Nov. 14. The five are being held at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail and face at least seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Real estate fees could be slashed

November 4, 2009

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Canadians in the housing market will pay less in realty commissions and fees if the federal Competition Bureau has its way.

In a landmark investigation, the bureau has concluded the Canadian Real Estate Association has anti-competitive rules and must change its ways, according to documents obtained by the Star.

Details of a settlement have yet to be decided, but the bureau’s findings are expected to have a profound impact on the real estate industry – by permitting more innovative discount brokers into the market while allowing sellers to list their properties less expensively on the Multiple Listing Service.

With a membership of more than 96,000, Ottawa-based CREA is the largest real estate organization in Canada and represents the majority of the nation’s realtors.

“The Bureau is concerned that CREA’s rules have restricted consumer choice and limited the scope of alternative business models,” says an internal memo by CREA president Dale Ripplinger. “Unfortunately, the Bureau seems to believe that CREA’s rules … create restrictions and barriers.”

The bureau launched its investigation in 2007. Consumers have complained in the past about high realty fees and the need for more affordable services. The vendor of an average-priced $400,000 home in Toronto can pay a commission of as much as 5 per cent, or $20,000.

“This is absolute, total vindication,” says Lawrence Dale, an owner of now-defunct Realtysellers, a Toronto-based discount broker that closed in 2006. “Once they’ve reached their settlement it means that the average guy on the street will be able to choose their real estate services and pay less for them.”

CREA executives met with the bureau on Oct. 23 to hear the long-anticipated results, according to the letter. “At that meeting the Bureau set out the conclusions of their inquiry and their proposed remedy,” says Ripplinger. “The Bureau’s position is that if CREA does not remove these restrictions, the Commissioner of Competiton will initiate an application before the Competition Tribunal.”

Ripplinger says CREA decided not to go before the tribunal, which can administer penalties, but is pursuing a settlement.

According to Ripplinger, CREA rules the bureau wants changed include those that say the listing realtor must act as the agent of the seller and receive and present all offers to the seller, and property information cannot be posted on the Multiple Listing Service without an agent representing the seller.

Changes to these rules would mean offers could be sent directly to the seller without the involvement of the listing agent. Consumers could likely have their listings posted on the MLS for a small fee.

Dale and partner Stephen Moranis claim they were forced to shut down their company because of rules implemented in 2007 by the realtor’s association. Realtysellers offered services such as allowing consumers to post listings for a few hundred dollars on the MLS website, where more than 90 per cent of all home sales are made. The company is suing CREA and the Toronto Real Estate Board.

CREA owns the rights to the MLS.

In a separate lawsuit against TREB, Fraser Beach, another Toronto realtor, alleges the organization terminated his MLS access because he launched a discount brokerage service. A decision by Ontario Superior Court of Ontario Justice David Brown is expected soon.

TREB has argued it didn’t block his access to the MLS for competitive reasons, but simply because he did not follow membership rules.

Both CREA and TREB have denied all allegations. A Toronto Real Estate Board spokesperson says the board does not comment on ongoing legal matters. Officials of the Competition Bureau were not available for comment Sunday.

Although the real estate association has agreed to reach a settlement, Ripplinger stressed “CREA does not agree with the Bureau’s findings and conclusions, either as a matter of fact or as a matter of law.” The association has called an emergency meeting for all member boards in December to discuss rule changes demanded by the Bureau.

 

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