Tag Archive: work permit

Canada to lead G7 growth in 2010: RBC

December 16, 2009

The Canadian economy is set to rebound next year, leading growth among G7 nations, the country’s largest bank predicted Monday.

The domestic economy is expected to grow 2.6 per cent in 2010 and 3.9 per cent the year after that, after shrinking by an estimated 2.5 per cent this year, Royal Bank of Canada said in a report.

Stimulus spending, improving credit conditions and consumer spending will be the main drivers of growth, the bank said, with Saskatchewan leading the country’s economic expansion next year.

“While challenges remain, a peak in stimulus and infrastructure spending across the federal, provincial and municipal governments, along with low interest rates, should result in a sustained recovery,” said Craig Wright, the bank’s chief economist, in the report.

The peak of stimulus spending will happen next year, while better credit conditions should lift growth through to 2011, he added.

Recovery comes with a steep price tag, though the budget deficits will still be lower, relative to GDP, than the peaks reached in the early 1990s, the report said.

Altogether, the provinces are projecting shortfalls of $38.2-billion in the 2009-2010 fiscal year and at least $30.2-billion the year after that – both records in terms of value, RBC said.

Canadian consumer spending should rise 2.3 per cent next year and accelerate to 2.7 per cent in 2011.

The jobless rate, meantime, will stay high next year, averaging 8.7 per cent and peaking at 8.9 per cent before easing to 7.8 per cent in 2011. Canada’s unemployment rate is currently 8.5 per cent.

“The past year has been, by far, the toughest since the early 1990s recession and, in some cases, the early 1980s recession,” the bank said.

Activity in the housing market will stay strong, though the pace will taper off in the second half of next year due to rising mortgage rates and higher home prices.

The Canadian dollar will trade around parity, supported by rising commodity prices and as the Bank of Canada boosts interest rates before the U.S. Federal Reserve. On Monday morning, the currency was trading around 93.88 cents (U.S.).

The U.S. economy will grow 2.5 per cent next year and 3.4 per cent in 2011, RBC said.

Among provinces, Saskatchewan is likely to tally the biggest growth spurt, with 3.9-per-cent growth next year and a 4.6-per-cent increase in 2011, thanks to a pickup in potash and natural gas markets.

“This will return the province to the top of the growth ranking among provinces after likely losing this honour to Manitoba in 2009,” it said.

The slowest growth will likely be in Quebec and Prince Edward Island, at 2.2 per cent each next year.

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Deal nears to recognize foreign credentials of immigrants

November 30, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The federal government and the provinces are unveiling a major agreement on Monday to help foreign-trained professionals get their credentials recognized in Canada.

By next December, the federal and provincial governments will have a system in place to start recognizing international credentials in eight occupations, including architects, registered nurses, engineers, financial auditors and accountants, medical laboratory technologists, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists.

Within three years, another six occupations will be added to that list, including physicians, teachers of kindergarten to Grade 12, dentists, engineering technicians, licensed practical nurses and medical radiation technologists.

Ottawa is billing the pact as an important new step for improving the employment prospects of professionals educated abroad, who are forced to work in low-skill jobs because their training isn’t recognized here.

“We’ve long recognized the importance of this and we’re pleased that the provinces have stepped up to get this agreement,” said a Conservative government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley is to make the announcement in Toronto on Monday, along with several representatives from the provinces.

It has been called the doctors-driving-cabs problem and one that has dogged this Conservative government and its Liberal predecessors. Immigrants, an increasingly important constituency, have been vocal in their frustration at the labyrinth of bureaucracy and rules they need to navigate to have their professional training recognized in Canada.

Adding to the problem is the fact that all provinces have their own systems for professional recognition.

Statistics Canada has estimated that six in 10 newcomers end up working in different fields than the ones in which they worked abroad.

The agreement is the result of a first ministers’ meeting last January, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the premiers announced they would come forward by this fall with a plan for “concerted action to provide timely assessment and recognition of foreign qualifications.”

About $50 million was set aside over two years by Ottawa in its 2009 budget to move that plan forward. Provinces will kick in to the plan as well.

Monday’s announcement is called the “pan-Canadian framework for the assessment and recognition of foreign credentials” and comes a couple of months after the deadline of September, 2009, set by the first ministers to reach an agreement.

In a background document obtained by the Star in advance of Monday’s announcement, the government explains that the goal of framework agreement “is to articulate a new joint national vision, guiding principles and desired outcomes for improving the assessment and recognition of newcomers’ qualifications.”

Studies have estimated the failure to recognize international credentials of potential workers costs the Canadian economy $2.4 billion to $15 billion a year.

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Deal nears to recognize foreign credentials of immigrants

November 30, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The federal government and the provinces are unveiling a major agreement on Monday to help foreign-trained professionals get their credentials recognized in Canada.

By next December, the federal and provincial governments will have a system in place to start recognizing international credentials in eight occupations, including architects, registered nurses, engineers, financial auditors and accountants, medical laboratory technologists, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists.

Within three years, another six occupations will be added to that list, including physicians, teachers of kindergarten to Grade 12, dentists, engineering technicians, licensed practical nurses and medical radiation technologists.

Ottawa is billing the pact as an important new step for improving the employment prospects of professionals educated abroad, who are forced to work in low-skill jobs because their training isn’t recognized here.

“We’ve long recognized the importance of this and we’re pleased that the provinces have stepped up to get this agreement,” said a Conservative government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley is to make the announcement in Toronto on Monday, along with several representatives from the provinces.

It has been called the doctors-driving-cabs problem and one that has dogged this Conservative government and its Liberal predecessors. Immigrants, an increasingly important constituency, have been vocal in their frustration at the labyrinth of bureaucracy and rules they need to navigate to have their professional training recognized in Canada.

Adding to the problem is the fact that all provinces have their own systems for professional recognition.

Statistics Canada has estimated that six in 10 newcomers end up working in different fields than the ones in which they worked abroad.

The agreement is the result of a first ministers’ meeting last January, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the premiers announced they would come forward by this fall with a plan for “concerted action to provide timely assessment and recognition of foreign qualifications.”

About $50 million was set aside over two years by Ottawa in its 2009 budget to move that plan forward. Provinces will kick in to the plan as well.

Monday’s announcement is called the “pan-Canadian framework for the assessment and recognition of foreign credentials” and comes a couple of months after the deadline of September, 2009, set by the first ministers to reach an agreement.

In a background document obtained by the Star in advance of Monday’s announcement, the government explains that the goal of framework agreement “is to articulate a new joint national vision, guiding principles and desired outcomes for improving the assessment and recognition of newcomers’ qualifications.”

Studies have estimated the failure to recognize international credentials of potential workers costs the Canadian economy $2.4 billion to $15 billion a year.

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Socialize with Abrams & Krochak

Deal nears to recognize foreign credentials of immigrants

November 30, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The federal government and the provinces are unveiling a major agreement on Monday to help foreign-trained professionals get their credentials recognized in Canada.

By next December, the federal and provincial governments will have a system in place to start recognizing international credentials in eight occupations, including architects, registered nurses, engineers, financial auditors and accountants, medical laboratory technologists, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists.

Within three years, another six occupations will be added to that list, including physicians, teachers of kindergarten to Grade 12, dentists, engineering technicians, licensed practical nurses and medical radiation technologists.

Ottawa is billing the pact as an important new step for improving the employment prospects of professionals educated abroad, who are forced to work in low-skill jobs because their training isn’t recognized here.

“We’ve long recognized the importance of this and we’re pleased that the provinces have stepped up to get this agreement,” said a Conservative government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley is to make the announcement in Toronto on Monday, along with several representatives from the provinces.

It has been called the doctors-driving-cabs problem and one that has dogged this Conservative government and its Liberal predecessors. Immigrants, an increasingly important constituency, have been vocal in their frustration at the labyrinth of bureaucracy and rules they need to navigate to have their professional training recognized in Canada.

Adding to the problem is the fact that all provinces have their own systems for professional recognition.

Statistics Canada has estimated that six in 10 newcomers end up working in different fields than the ones in which they worked abroad.

The agreement is the result of a first ministers’ meeting last January, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the premiers announced they would come forward by this fall with a plan for “concerted action to provide timely assessment and recognition of foreign qualifications.”

About $50 million was set aside over two years by Ottawa in its 2009 budget to move that plan forward. Provinces will kick in to the plan as well.

Monday’s announcement is called the “pan-Canadian framework for the assessment and recognition of foreign credentials” and comes a couple of months after the deadline of September, 2009, set by the first ministers to reach an agreement.

In a background document obtained by the Star in advance of Monday’s announcement, the government explains that the goal of framework agreement “is to articulate a new joint national vision, guiding principles and desired outcomes for improving the assessment and recognition of newcomers’ qualifications.”

Studies have estimated the failure to recognize international credentials of potential workers costs the Canadian economy $2.4 billion to $15 billion a year.

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Critics press Ottawa for visitor-visa appeals process

November 20, 2009

 

When Panita Chumchantha decided to tie the knot this past September, she wanted her Thai roots represented at her Canadian wedding.

The 31-year-old, who was adopted by a Canadian family years ago, longed to have her biological sister fly over from Thailand for her special day. But the wish went unfulfilled: her sister was denied a visitor visa by Canadian officials in Bangkok.

“They just said she was not a member of my family anymore,” Chumchantha said. “I just wanted her to come for my ceremony, and then they refused it.”

Shocked and frustrated, Chumchantha and her fiance pressed on with the wedding despite the bride’s Thai side being noticeably absent. “I’m really upset about it,” she said. “It’s just one day in my life.”

Such emotional anecdotes are why NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow is pushing Ottawa to put in place an appeals process for those who feel wronged by Canada’s visitor visa system.

“There’s a lot of unfair stories,” said Chow, the MP for the Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina, who has heard countless tales of family members unable to attend weddings, funerals or births in Canada because a temporary resident visa, or visitor visa, was denied, with no opportunity for recourse.

“For families that cannot come together for those special moments, I think that’s exceedingly cruel.”

Figures from Citizenship and Immigration Canada show about 200,000 applications for temporary resident visas are turned down every year, but there’s no mechanism in place to allow applicants to appeal those decisions – something Chow said she considers an injustice.

She has asked the House of Commons committee on citizenship and immigration to study the issue, and has a private member’s bill in the works which, if passed, would establish an appeals process. She also plans to “continue to apply the pressure on (Citizenship and Immigration Minister) Jason Kenney.”

That push, however, comes at a time when the federal government is aggressively tightening up its refugee system and restricting the number of people seeking asylum in Canada after using temporary visas to enter the country.

“It’s more than just the visitors visa, I think,” said Jeffrey Reitz, a professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in immigration studies.

A proposal like Chow’s, it could be argued, has the potential to open the door to more refugee claims, which may be made once a temporary visa holder lands on Canadian soil, he said.

“It makes sense to me that this should be put forward,” Reitz said. “I don’t know what chance it has of succeeding.”

Would-be refugees whose visa applications are turned down have little recourse beyond resubmitting their application or seeking leave from the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review – a costly and time-consuming process that few have the means to pursue.

In July, Ottawa imposed visa requirements on Mexico in response to a surge in the number of Mexican immigrants claiming refugee status on Canadian soil, which had nearly tripled since 2005. Similar restrictions were also imposed on travellers from the Czech Republic.

At the time, Kenney said more than half the Czech claims were being prematurely abandoned or withdrawn – an indication that many may be making false claims – while only 11 per cent of Mexican claims processed in 2008 were accepted.

The surge in the latter is attributed in part to a bloody drug war that has been raging for years in Mexico.

Canadians wishing to express their support for Chow’s campaign have been doing so by way of Facebook, logging on to the social networking site and urging Ottawa to take action in a group called “Calling for Visitor Visa Fairness.”

Each application is judged on its own merits, said Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokesman Nicolas Fortier. “The onus is really on the applicant to satisfy the visa officer that they’re coming to Canada for temporary purposes.”

Kenney refused to discuss Chow’s proposal for the purposes of this story, but when asked about it during committee hearings last month, he indicated that he’s confident in the ability of those who evaluate visa applications to make accurate assessments.

“People sometimes have a hard time understanding the decisions of visa officers,” he said, “but they often don’t know the particulars of the case in hand.”

Anyone who pays the $75 fee to apply for a visitor visa is entitled to know why they are being turned down, and to appeal the decision, Chow said.

Geography seemed to make a difference, she added. European countries, for instance, have a visitor visa approval rate of about 84 per cent, compared with just 43 per cent for the north Indian city of Chandigarh.

“The refusal rate is very, very uneven.”

Kenney, on the other hand, has insisted repeatedly that no geographic bias exists at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Instead, he said, high levels of fraud and unscrupulous consultants recommending ways to sneak into the country drive down visa approval rates in certain areas.

Chow’s proposed appeals system would be modelled after systems that exist in the United Kingdom and Australia. In the U.K., applicants can appeal to an independent judicial body at no charge and have their case processed in 28 days.

Chow is also calling for a more transparent process that would require the ministry to provide detailed reasons when visitor visas are rejected.

It all sounds good, but would likely pose some practical challenges to a system that’s already heavily burdened with applications, experts say.

“It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do this, but it would require a significant increase in resources,” said Christopher Worswick, a professor who studies immigration issues at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Worswick recommended an appeal fee that could be refunded if an applicant won their case.

An appeals process would also send the message to officials in embassies overseas that there is an oversight mechanism in place, thus addressing concerns applicants have brought up about biased visa officers operating in certain countries, he added.

“There should be a way to construct a system that’s fair.”

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Critics press Ottawa for visitor-visa appeals process

November 20, 2009

 

When Panita Chumchantha decided to tie the knot this past September, she wanted her Thai roots represented at her Canadian wedding.

The 31-year-old, who was adopted by a Canadian family years ago, longed to have her biological sister fly over from Thailand for her special day. But the wish went unfulfilled: her sister was denied a visitor visa by Canadian officials in Bangkok.

“They just said she was not a member of my family anymore,” Chumchantha said. “I just wanted her to come for my ceremony, and then they refused it.”

Shocked and frustrated, Chumchantha and her fiance pressed on with the wedding despite the bride’s Thai side being noticeably absent. “I’m really upset about it,” she said. “It’s just one day in my life.”

Such emotional anecdotes are why NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow is pushing Ottawa to put in place an appeals process for those who feel wronged by Canada’s visitor visa system.

“There’s a lot of unfair stories,” said Chow, the MP for the Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina, who has heard countless tales of family members unable to attend weddings, funerals or births in Canada because a temporary resident visa, or visitor visa, was denied, with no opportunity for recourse.

“For families that cannot come together for those special moments, I think that’s exceedingly cruel.”

Figures from Citizenship and Immigration Canada show about 200,000 applications for temporary resident visas are turned down every year, but there’s no mechanism in place to allow applicants to appeal those decisions – something Chow said she considers an injustice.

She has asked the House of Commons committee on citizenship and immigration to study the issue, and has a private member’s bill in the works which, if passed, would establish an appeals process. She also plans to “continue to apply the pressure on (Citizenship and Immigration Minister) Jason Kenney.”

That push, however, comes at a time when the federal government is aggressively tightening up its refugee system and restricting the number of people seeking asylum in Canada after using temporary visas to enter the country.

“It’s more than just the visitors visa, I think,” said Jeffrey Reitz, a professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in immigration studies.

A proposal like Chow’s, it could be argued, has the potential to open the door to more refugee claims, which may be made once a temporary visa holder lands on Canadian soil, he said.

“It makes sense to me that this should be put forward,” Reitz said. “I don’t know what chance it has of succeeding.”

Would-be refugees whose visa applications are turned down have little recourse beyond resubmitting their application or seeking leave from the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review – a costly and time-consuming process that few have the means to pursue.

In July, Ottawa imposed visa requirements on Mexico in response to a surge in the number of Mexican immigrants claiming refugee status on Canadian soil, which had nearly tripled since 2005. Similar restrictions were also imposed on travellers from the Czech Republic.

At the time, Kenney said more than half the Czech claims were being prematurely abandoned or withdrawn – an indication that many may be making false claims – while only 11 per cent of Mexican claims processed in 2008 were accepted.

The surge in the latter is attributed in part to a bloody drug war that has been raging for years in Mexico.

Canadians wishing to express their support for Chow’s campaign have been doing so by way of Facebook, logging on to the social networking site and urging Ottawa to take action in a group called “Calling for Visitor Visa Fairness.”

Each application is judged on its own merits, said Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokesman Nicolas Fortier. “The onus is really on the applicant to satisfy the visa officer that they’re coming to Canada for temporary purposes.”

Kenney refused to discuss Chow’s proposal for the purposes of this story, but when asked about it during committee hearings last month, he indicated that he’s confident in the ability of those who evaluate visa applications to make accurate assessments.

“People sometimes have a hard time understanding the decisions of visa officers,” he said, “but they often don’t know the particulars of the case in hand.”

Anyone who pays the $75 fee to apply for a visitor visa is entitled to know why they are being turned down, and to appeal the decision, Chow said.

Geography seemed to make a difference, she added. European countries, for instance, have a visitor visa approval rate of about 84 per cent, compared with just 43 per cent for the north Indian city of Chandigarh.

“The refusal rate is very, very uneven.”

Kenney, on the other hand, has insisted repeatedly that no geographic bias exists at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Instead, he said, high levels of fraud and unscrupulous consultants recommending ways to sneak into the country drive down visa approval rates in certain areas.

Chow’s proposed appeals system would be modelled after systems that exist in the United Kingdom and Australia. In the U.K., applicants can appeal to an independent judicial body at no charge and have their case processed in 28 days.

Chow is also calling for a more transparent process that would require the ministry to provide detailed reasons when visitor visas are rejected.

It all sounds good, but would likely pose some practical challenges to a system that’s already heavily burdened with applications, experts say.

“It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do this, but it would require a significant increase in resources,” said Christopher Worswick, a professor who studies immigration issues at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Worswick recommended an appeal fee that could be refunded if an applicant won their case.

An appeals process would also send the message to officials in embassies overseas that there is an oversight mechanism in place, thus addressing concerns applicants have brought up about biased visa officers operating in certain countries, he added.

“There should be a way to construct a system that’s fair.”

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