A Success Carved By Immigrants
Canada's immigration has traditionally
been a major shaping factor in society
and culture. The present success of
the Canadian economy is based on the
immigration policy it adopts and is
willing to change with changing times.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Jason Kenney had recently visited
India and on assessment of the visa
issuing authorities at the New Delhi
and Chandigarh offices, he mentioned
that although the visa approvals from
Canadian Consulates were on the rise,
frauds too were also on the rise.
Most recently a new proposal mooted
by his ministry, suggested that applicants
from Safe Countries could be fast
The reform, if it passes, would change
the system so that applicants from
countries that are generally deemed
"safe" would be able to
enter the country much more quickly,
opening up resources to allow other
applicants to also have their documents
judged more quickly.
In a push by the Conservatives for
reform to make the Canadian visa system
more similar to the British, this
proposal would attempt to speed up
the laborious and lengthy process
that is prevalent in Canadian immigration.
Minister Kenney said the fast-track
reform is: "One dominant idea
that has been proposed that I think
is worth consideration. The reality
is there's been, for good reason,
a great deal of caution from successive
governments about this issue."
Rules to Safeguard Foreign Temporary
In the near future companies seeking
to bring temporary foreign workers
into Canada will be more closely watched
and those not following the rules
will be 'named and shamed' according
to the new guidelines issued by Citizenship
and Immigration Canada.
These new practices are being brought
in to help care for temporary foreign
workers as they play a crucial role
in Canada's economy. Kenney said.
"We have a duty to them, employers
and all Canadians, to ensure that
the program is fair and equitable."
Proposed changes to the Foreign Worker
• Thorough assessment of the
authenticity of the job offer
• Limits to the length of a
workers stay in Canada.
• A two-year probation period
imposed for employers wishing to recruit
temporary foreign workers who have
been found to have been treating temporary
workers poorly, providing significantly
different wages and working conditions
for those workers.
• Any employers who have been
prohibited from hiring temporary foreign
workers will be listed on the Citizenship
and Immigration website.
The regulatory changes being proposed
are the consequence of extensive consultations
and address the most significant concerns
identified through that process, said
A key part of the new regulations
is to limit the length of time workers
can stay and work in Canada before
returning back to their home countries.
After a cumulative total of four years
of working in Canada a worker would
be not eligible to work in Canada
for six years after that. This reflects
that the program is designed to address
short-term labour shortages and is
not a long term solution.
to immigration experts, Canada has
been more successful than most countries
at integrating immigrants into society.
Unlike in many European countries,
almost all of Canada's immigrants
become citizens, says William Kymlicka,
the Canada Research Chair in political
philosophy at Queen's University and
a leading expert on Canadian immigration.
And their children outperform offspring
of non-immigrant families when it
comes to education, something that
doesn't happen in any other Western
democracy, he adds.
Kymlicka also argues that visible
minorities, both first and second
generation, claim to feel a great
sense of pride in Canada, which is
on par with that felt among white
Canadians. According to research,
Muslims feel more welcome in Canada
than in other countries, says Kymlicka.
As a result, the vast majority of
Canadians feel comfortable with immigrants
as neighbours and co-workers.
Unlike other countries where immigrants
often chose to live within their own
communities resulting in such areas
becoming ghettos, Canadian society
does not lock people into poverty
or breed anti-Canadian feelings.
North Bay, Ontario has been recognized
as a success in terms of immigrant
attraction and retention reports a
case study by Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
North Bay's mayor, Vic Fedeli, stated
that the city's focus on immigrant
attraction and retention originated
after realizing that the city was
homogenous. On doing the program they
realized that there were huge gaps
in the labour pool and immigration
was one way to bring people to the
place he stated.
The community project included three
cities namely North Bay, Brockville
and Chatham-Kent. The results will
contribute to new government policy
aimed at encouraging immigrants to
settle in communities other than major
cities such as Toronto, Montreal and
The first step before developing the
project was to work with the area
newcomers. Marla Tremblay of the Mayor's
Office of Economic Development formed
the North Bay Newcomer Network (NNN).
After listening to Citizenship and
Immigration Canada note how settlement
agencies are funded, NNN members chose
a non-profit media organization, Young
People's Press, to apply for settlement
funding. Their work resulted in the
opening of the North Bay and District
Multicultural Centre in February 2008.
With the progress that has happened
in three years, Fideli still sees
immigration as a priority. "We've
got a lot of sweat equity into our
immigration strategy and it would
be a huge step backward to let it
fall from being a priority,"
Statistics Canada points out that
by 2011, all net growth in the Canadian
labour force will be through immigration,
and by 2026 all growth in population
will be through immigration.
for Community Historical
Three individuals have been named
to the newly formed Indo-Canadian
Advisory Committee for the Community
Historical Recognition Program (CHRP).
The CHRP, announced in 2006 and launched
in 2008, is a grants and contributions
program for community-based commemorative
and learning projects related to historical
immigration restrictions and wartime
measures that were applied in Canada.
The three-member committee is chaired
by Jack Uppal. The other members are
Dr. Ratna Ghosh (Vice-chair) and Iqbal
Gill. The committee met to review
submitted proposals for projects that
recognize the experiences of the community.
The committee will provide advice
to the Citizenship, Immigration and
Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney
on the merit of the proposals. Members
of the Indo-Canadian Advisory Committee
are appointed for a two-year term
with the option of an additional two-year
Jack Uppal is a successful business
person and well known in the community,
often described as one of the most
prominent figures in Canada's South
Dr. Ghosh is a professor at McGill
University and is a Member of the
Order of Canada.
Iqbal Gill is a teacher with the Peel
District School Board and serves as
the chief editor of 'Khabarnama',
a weekly newspaper focused on the
"These three individuals have
demonstrated great leadership and
made major contributions on issues
important to their community,"
said Minister Kenney. "The advice
they are providing on the merit of
eligible Indo-Canadian Community Historical
Recognition Program projects is extremely
A total of $2.5 million is available
to the Indo-Canadian community for
projects related to the Komagata Maru
incident of 1914, such as monuments,
commemorative plaques, teaching materials
and exhibits. The Komagata Maru was
a ship that arrived in Vancouver harbour
carrying approximately 376 East Indian
passengers, most of whom were not
permitted to land because the ship
did not make a continuous journey
to Canada, as prescribed by Canadian
immigration regulations at the time.
"This Government believes it
is important for all Canadians to
learn about our history. These important
projects enable the communities affected
to undertake meaningful commemorative
and instructive activities to ensure
that their experiences are shared
with others," said Minister Kenney.
Action Plan Helps Canadians
As companies experience a temporary
slowdown, more Canadians can keep
their employment through Canada's
Economic Action Plan which is helping
workers and businesses by extending
and easing availability to Work-Sharing
Work-Sharing is an element of the
Employment Insurance (EI) program
that can be instrumental in assisting
businesses experiencing a temporary
slowdown caused by factors beyond
their control. It is designed to avoid
layoffs by offering EI income support
to qualifying workers willing to work
a reduced work week while their employer
Under Work-Sharing, employers can
retain employees and avoid expensive
re-hiring and re-training costs, and
employees are able to continue working
and keep their skills up to date.
Companies in key sectors of Canada's
economy, such as forestry and manufacturing,
are already using the Work-Sharing
program. As of June 14, 2009, Work-Sharing
was benefiting over 31,000 Quebecers
and more than 135,000 Canadians. In
Quebec, there were over 750 agreements,
with 64 of them directly helping the
There are seven active Work-Sharing
agreements in the Outaouais region
involving over 250 employees, including
more than 70 at Louisiana-Pacific.
"Our Government knows that, by
keeping Quebeckers, and indeed all
Canadians working, we can minimize
the impact of this difficult economic
time," said Minister of Foreign
Affairs Lawrence Cannon, and Minister
responsible for the Outaouais region.
"Improvements to the Work-Sharing
program provide companies like Louisiana-Pacific
Canada and their employees with easier
and extended availability to Work-Sharing
agreements while these companies recover
from temporary slowdowns."
Minister Cannon made the statement
on behalf of the Honourable Diane
Finley, Minister of Human Resources
and Skills Development, in an address
to employees at Louisiana-Pacific.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) claims that
Canada is among the western democracies
least likely to develop an anti-immigrant
backlash. This finding was reported
after a presentation urging western
democracies to keep their ports of
entry open to newcomers despite the
Although the recession has disproportionately
affected migrants, OECD called on
member countries to come up with better
programs to help struggling immigrants
adapt in their new homelands.
OECD's John Martin, director for employment,
labour and social affairs, described
Canada as a "country of permanent
settlement" because most newcomers
typically arrive with the intention
of making Canada their permanent home.
In many European countries, immigrants,
many with basic schooling who arrive
to take low-wage employment no one
else wants, are often viewed as temporary
travelers even if many end up establishing
"I think the sense of backlash
is much less in countries of permanent
settlement like Canada, Australia,
New Zealand and the United States.
These are all countries that were
built on immigration; people still
feel it's important to accept immigrants,"
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney
had announced in February that Canada
welcomed 247,202 permanent residents
in 2008, 70,000 more than a decade
earlier. The government has plans
for 240,000 to 265,000 this year.
"Our government will not follow
the advice of those who believe that
Canada should take steps to reduce
immigration levels. In fact, we are
maintaining our planned immigration
levels for 2009," Kenney said.
He categorically stated that Canada
would not be led by short-sightedness
and divisive rhetoric that pits immigration
against Canadians and against the
It should be noted that OECD is a
Paris-based think-tank funded by Canada
and 29 other member countries to provide
governments with economic and social