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Boomer retirements to limit Canadian economic growth: Conference Board

By Derek Abma, Financial PostApril 28, 2010

OTTAWA — Labour shortages caused by the onslaught of baby-boomer retirements will be “the dominant economic trend” in Canada between 2015 and 2030, due to the limits it will place on the country’s economic growth, says a Conference Board of Canada report released Wednesday.

Defining the boomer generation as those born between 1947 and 1966, the report says the oldest members of this cohort are turning 63 this year. With an average retirement age of 61, the Conference Board concludes that “the wave of baby-boomer retirements has now begun.”

Because the biggest part of this generation is at the younger end, the pace of retirements will accelerate in future years, the think-tank says.

The implications of the shrinking labour pool will be less economic growth, said Pedro Antunes, the Conference Board’s director of national and provincial outlooks and author of the report.

He said Canada can expect relatively strong economic growth of more than three per cent, on average, between now and 2015. That’s anticipated to slow to about two per cent between 2015 and 2020, and dip below two per cent beyond that until around 2030.

“Why is that important? Why growth for the sake of growth?” Antunes asked rhetorically. “What’s really important are two things.

“One is, are we growing richer? Is the average household getting more real income per capita?

“The other factor is . . . we need to be able to grow the economy enough so that we can afford to pay for health care, education and other programs.”

The federal government’s current deficit position is “manageable,” the Conference Board said in its report. However, it sees provincial deficits as more difficult to deal with, largely as a result of the increasing demands that will come of the health-care system, which provinces are primarily responsible for.

Some of the things that might be done, Antunes said, is increasing productivity through investments in equipment and technology, developing more efficient delivery of health care and government cutbacks in areas of spending deemed less crucial.

James Chauvin, policy director for the Canadian Public Health Association, which calls itself “the independent voice for public health in Canada,” said his group urges more preventive health measures — such as promoting better awareness of physical fitness, nutrition and cardiovascular health — to help bring down demand on hospitals and doctors.

He also said government health policy should be expanded to cover areas such as housing, income and food security, which can be social determinants of people’s health conditions.

The Conference Board’s outlook assumes an immigration rate of 350,000 people a year by 2030, up from the current rate of about 250,000, according to figures for 2008. Antunes said this expectation is “optimistic” and still isn’t likely to create the kind of economic growth needed to support social programs at current standards.

“Strong immigration will not reverse Canada’s aging trend, but it will help keep total population growth relatively stable throughout the forecast period. By 2030, Canada’s population will reach 41.7 million, up from 33.6 million in 2009,” Antunes said.

Asked if higher immigration targets should be considered, Antunes said: “It’s possible . . . Part of the analysis is to generate some discussion.”

But even if Canada decided to open the doors wider to immigrants, Antunes said the country would face challenges with increasing competition from other industrialized nations to attract newcomers, and in making sure the people that come are qualified to do the jobs for which they’re needed.

Kelli Fraser, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said the government is targeting between 240,000 and 265,000 immigrants this year, which she said is among the highest relative rates for industrialized countries.

She said there were no long-term immigration targets available, but that “the immigration program is constantly evolving to respond to Canada’s changing economic goals.”

Antunes said the coming demographic trends provide some upside for those who remain in the workforce in the form of higher pay and more choice. But this is unlikely to apply to low-skill jobs, for which companies will continue to look to countries where people work for less pay. In Canada, it’s those working in higher-skill, value-added professions that will benefit from boomer retirements, he said.

“It has to be a win-win situation for everyone, otherwise investment goes elsewhere,” Antunes said. “In the long run, we have to make sure that we’re competitive. We have to make sure that we can afford those higher wages. And part of the answer is a more productive economy, more educated workforce, because we can’t compete . . . in low-wage, high-labour-intensive manufacturing.”
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Boomer+retirements+limit+Canadian+economic+growth+Conference+Board/2962641/story.html#ixzz0mXrsU3Od

Canadian government proposes changes to Canada’s immigration regulations relating to temporary foreign workers.

Source: Lexology.com
March 16 2010

In light of the recent rise in the number of temporary foreign workers in Canada, together with increased concerns for the fair treatment of foreign workers, the Government of Canada has proposed certain changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) to address the treatment and hiring of temporary foreign workers. Specifically, the Government is proposing the following:

1. Placing a limit on the number of years a foreign national may hold a work permit

2. Imposing a ban on the ability to hire a foreign worker for any company or third-party agent who has failed to comply with Canada’s immigration rules and regulations

3. Establishing a set of factors to assess the genuineness of an offer of employment

4. Requiring all Labour Market Opinions to have time-specified and limited validity.

Four-Year Cap on Canadian Work Permits

Under the proposed regulations, foreign nationals will only be permitted to hold a temporary work permit for a cumulative 4 years. After 4 years, the foreign national will be required to wait for at least 6 years before he or she may reapply for a work permit. Some exceptions to this rule will apply, including work permits that have been granted pursuant to the NAFTA or other international agreement. While CIC recognizes that there is a continued need to hire foreign workers in Canada, this change is proposed to emphasize to both workers and employers alike that temporary work permits are designed to be just that – temporary. By placing a limit on the number of years a foreign worker may hold a temporary work permit, CIC seeks to encourage the use of other programs and pathways (such as the Canadian Experience Class) to permanent residence, when available.

Two-Year Ban for Non-Compliant Employers

In an effort to protect the rights of foreign workers in Canada, the Canadian Government proposes the imposition of a 2-year ban on the hiring of any temporary foreign workers for employers who have failed to provide the wages, working conditions, or occupation offered to any work permit holder in the past two years. Currently, employers may be subject to a fine of up to $50,000 or up to 2 years’ imprisonment for hiring a foreign national in a capacity in which he/she is not authorized to work. The proposed regulations will not only implement a ban on hiring future foreign nationals, but Immigration will also create a list to be published with the names, addresses and period of ineligibility of employers who are subject to this ban.

Assessing the Genuineness of an Offer of Employment

These new regulations additionally propose a number of factors to be considered by officers in assessing the genuineness of employment offers before approving both Labour Market Opinions and LMO-exempt work permits. Specifically, the officer will look to the nature of the employer’s business, the level of activity of the company’s operations, the terms of the offer of employment, and the employer’s ability to meet those terms (including payment of wages offered).

Limited Validity of Labour Market Opinions

Following HRSDC’s announcement in May 2009 that all Labour Market Opinions would be issued with a limited validity of 6 months, the Canadian Government’s proposed changes will make it required by law for all Labour Market Opinions to have an expiry date. If the foreign national does not apply for a work permit within that timeframe, a new Labour Market Opinion will need to be obtained by the employee.

These changes have been proposed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in collaboration with Canada Border and Services Agency and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. While they have not come into force yet, they provide an accurate insight of what we may expect in the near future.

This document has been created for informational purposes only and does not contain a full analysis of the law, nor does it constitute a legal opinion of the Bomza Law Group.

Canadian Immigration Options for Temporary Workers and International Students

Since 2008, the Canadian federal and provincial governments have had programs in place to make it easier for individuals working or studying in Canada to obtain Canadian permanent residency. The governments recognize that individuals currently living in Canada, contributing to Canadian society and to the economy are likely to be successful Canadian permanent residents. There are four categories under which a person working or studying in Canada can qualify for a Canadian permanent resident visa.

• Canadian Experience Class: Individuals with some proficiency in English or French who have an intention to live in Canada, outside of the province of Quebec may qualify if they have Canadian experience as a:

o Foreign student having obtained at least a 2 year diploma or degree from a post-secondary institution AND at least 12 months of full-time work experience in a skilled, managerial or professional occupation in Canada, on a valid work permit; OR

o Temporary Foreign Worker currently working or having worked within the last year in Canada for at least 24 months of full-time in a skilled, managerial or professional occupation in Canada, on a valid work permit.

• Quebec Experience Class (PEQ): An individual may qualify if they have intermediate level French proficiency and are a:

o Foreign student having obtained a 2 year diploma or degree from an educational institution recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Education, while on a valid study permit; OR

o Temporary foreign worker currently working in Quebec for at least 12 months in a skilled, managerial or professional occupation in the 24 months prior to their application, while on a valid work permit.

• Provincial Nomination Programs: all of the remaining provinces and two of the territories in Canada have programs where they nominate individuals who intend to settle in that province. These programs are largely dependent on the applicant obtaining a full-time permanent job offer in a skilled occupation within the province, or having study and/or work experience in that province. Generally the provinces proceed quite quickly to issue nomination certificates at which point Citizenship and Immigration Canada completes their assessment of the application.

o Provinces and territories with nomination programs: Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon & the Northwest Territories.

• Federal Skilled Worker Program: individuals who have legally resided in Canada for one year as a foreign student or as a temporary foreign worker are eligible for this program, without the requirement of one year of experience in one of the 38 eligible occupations. Individuals who meet this requirement will then be required to obtain 67/100 points based on six selection factors: education, work experience, official language proficiency, age, arranged employment and other adaptability factors.(http://www.cicnews.com/2010/04/canadian-immigration-options-temporary-workers-international-students-04771.html)

Source: The South Asia Mail

Majority of Irish people ready to emigrate in search of better jobs.

Nearly 72 percent of Irish people expressed their willingness to move overseas in search of better jobs in Canada, UK, Australia or other nations. This was revealed by a latest poll conducted by Grafton Recruitment, one of the largest recruitment companies of Ireland. The findings of the poll were based on opinions of nearly 1,000 people in March 2010 throughout Ireland.

Among the top favored destinations for immigration named by people in the survey included Europe, Australia, UK and Canada respectively. Around 60 percent of respondents said they were open to seek jobs in Northern Ireland.

Managing director of Grafton Recruitment, Cathy McCorry, said that the fact revealed by the latest employment poll is a sign of the changing times when people accept immigration to other countries in order to improve their current job prospects.

Nearly one-fourth of the participants in the nationwide survey also expected to receive a hike in their salaries in the next year, the employment survey added. Nearly 50 percent of participants in the survey said that they were not ready to accept a decrease in the current pay.

The poll found that nearly 30 percent of survey participants had got a salary hike in the last year while 40 percent stated they are least expecting any hike in their pay, this year.

As per figures of December 2009, unemployment rate in the Republic of Ireland was 13.3 percent, which is almost twice the unemployment rate of Northern Ireland. However, despite such high unemployment rate in Ireland, 75 percent of respondents admitted being flexible regarding starting salary in a new work while 65 percent were willing to accept reduction in their salary between 5 and 10 percent.

The only cause of concern for employers in Ireland is that large-scale exit of talented workforce from Ireland to other nations will significantly have a long-term effect on Irish labor market, added McCorry.

She cautioned that there is a need to examine such trend appropriately. For this, Irish government and employers in Ireland must get together to meet the opportunities and the challenges posed by talent mobility.

Source: Muchmoremagazine.com

Ontario modifies residency rules to attract foreign students

Students who earn their PhDs will no longer need a job offer to be fast-tracked for permanent residence status.

Elizabeth Church

Education Reporter — From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail Published on Monday, Apr. 26, 2010 10:41PM EDT Last updated on Tuesday, Apr. 27, 2010 3:00AM EDT

Ontario is making it easier for foreign graduate students to stay in the province when their studies are completed, part of a wider strategy to fuel the economy by casting the province as a destination for higher education.

The new rules will allow students who have earned their PhD at an Ontario campus to be fast-tracked for permanent residence status. The measures are part of the province’s new Open Ontario plan, which aims to increase foreign student enrolment in Ontario by 50 per cent in the next five years.

“The economy today is more and more based on innovation. We want to make it easier for [PhD graduates] to remain in Ontario,” said provincial Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Eric Hoskins. “It’s good for us. It’s good for them. It’s good for employers, as well.”

In the past, only graduates with a job offer were eligible to be fast-tracked under the Provincial Nominee Program, which allows the government to select economic immigrants. Under the new rules announced Monday, students can apply themselves for the fast-track program as soon as they complete the requirements for their degree.

As well as keeping graduates in Ontario, Mr. Hoskins said the changes are designed to attract future students and increase the profile of the province on the international stage.

“This sends a message that Ontario is a better place to come,” he said. “This is a very specific program that allows this province to select what we feel are the highest value, most highly skilled individuals that are the greatest value to our economy.”

University of Toronto graduate student Wei Li, who recently completed a PhD in chemistry, said the new rules will help individuals who do not have Canadian work experience. Still, he said under the current system some graduate students such as himself have been able to get residency status because they get credit for work they do as research assistants during their studies. But as a past head of the campus Chinese Students Association, he said he knows that policy has not always been consistent.

The changes in Ontario come as jurisdictions across the country and around the world compete for foreign students and skilled workers. Several provinces, including New Brunswick, Quebec and Manitoba, have taken steps to hold onto foreign students after graduation, said Jennifer Humphries, a vice-president with the Canadian Bureau for International Education.

At the same time, jurisdictions such as Australia and Scotland, which calls its initiative Fresh Talent, have long had special programs aimed at making it easier for foreign students to stay when their studies are done, she said.

Research by the CBIE has found that about half of all foreign students in Canada are interested in working or remaining in the country after graduation, up from just 25 per cent five years ago.

Changes by the federal government now allow students from other countries to remain in Canada for three years following their graduation, during which time they are eligible to work.

“I do like Ontario’s new focus on international talent,” Ms. Humphries said, noting that about one-third of all foreign students in Canada are at campuses in the province.

Still, she said if Canada hopes to increase its profile in higher education, its provinces need to work together to put forward a national strategy and brand.

Canada leading the economic recovery of G20 nations: Finley

OTTAWA — Canada is “clearly” leading the G20 out of the recession, Labour Minister Diane Finley told QMI Agency.

Finley was in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with her counterparts in the other G20 countries to discuss the strength of their respective workforces and how to combat high levels of unemployment, which could hinder the global economic recovery.

Canada’s unemployment rate has remained steady at 8.2%, but the situation is far worse in other countries.

In 2009, the global economy shed 34 million jobs, hitting a record high 212 million unemployed.

The first-ever two-day meeting was a setup for the G20 leaders summit in Toronto this June when the economic recovery will be discussed.

Finley said the labour ministers all agreed education and skills training strategies are key to strengthening the labour force.

Canada, she said, was the marvel of them all.

“It was very evident in our discussions that as a result of the quick action undertaken by our government … Canada is clearly leading the G20 out of the recession,” Finley said from Washington. “It really is clear that our plan is working and we’ve become a marvellous success for the G20 nations.”

Finley said the next step for Canada is to focus on better matching available skills to employers’ needs.

“We all need that. People who are looking for jobs need it, employers need it, and we need it as a country,” she said.

bryn.weese@sunmedia.ca

Saskatchewan immigration website a first for Canada

By Joe Couture, Leader-Post

Saskatchewan is now the only province enabling applications for immigration to be made online, part of a new website that immigrant Ercoph Bongomin said would have made his journey to the province easier — if it had been available 10 years ago.

In 2001, Bongomin and his family came to the province from Egypt, where they had been living as refugees from their home country of Sudan. Today, Bongomin, his spouse and their four children call Regina home. Bongomin works as an accountant and the whole family cheers for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“I didn’t know much about Regina,” Bongomin said, referring to the time before his move to the city. “But my attitude was, anywhere people live, I can live. They (officials) told me, ‘If you don’t find it good for you, you can move to another province.’ “

That was almost 10 years ago. The Bongomins have stayed.

“My experience here has been very good,” he said. “As soon as I arrived here, I found also some people that came from my country before me and that makes it even better. I would tell (others) that Saskatchewan is a good place to live, especially Regina. It has all the feeling of a big city. At the same time … the community is very supportive … People are very friendly.”

Bongomin upgraded his education at the University of Regina. He values the education system for his children, two of whom were born here. The story of their success is one of several featured on the new website.

The provincial government launched the website this month. It provides a central, comprehensive source of information about immigration, including how to apply through the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program — the only program that allows people to submit their applications online, as well as track the status of their applications on the website.

Such a website would have made a difference for Bongomin.

“It took me longer to get all the information I needed. If this website had been there, it would have been easier,” he stated.

“I think this demonstrates the real benefits of co-operation with Ottawa,” said Rob Norris, provincial minister responsible for immigration, noting the federal government provided funds for the new project over three years to the tune of $450,000.

The website will allow for more efficiency within the provincial office, Norris said, noting staff will be able to focus on processing applications. A continuing goal is to reduce the time it takes to process an application, though some of that responsibility rests with the federal government.

Norris said he hopes the website will encourage prospective immigrants to choose Saskatchewan. Last year, about 9,000 immigrants came to the province as a result of the SINP. This year, the goal is 10,000.

Immigration is one of several avenues of population growth being pursued. Growth is important for both economic and revitalization reasons, Norris said. With many open jobs on the horizon, more people will be needed; plus, growth of the economy is related to population. There also are intangibles.

“We want to foster and facilitate increasingly diverse, dynamic and cosmopolitan communities,” said Norris, noting newcomers are moving to 160 different communities, which are becoming more inclusive as a result. He said the province also is working with partners to enhance services to help immigrants settle.

For more details, go online (www.saskimmigrationcanada.ca).
© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

Can’t Cut Spending? Look Around the Globe

By TYLER COWEN
Published: April 16, 2010
Source: The New York Times.

AMERICA’S long-run fiscal outlook is bleak, mostly because of an aging population and rising health care costs. To close the gap between expenditures and revenue, we’ll likely see a combination of revenue increases and spending cuts. And we’ll need to focus especially on reducing spending, largely because that taxes on the wealthy can be raised only so high.

Consider the tax burden on high earners once the Bush administration’s tax cuts expire next year. Add up the federal, state, city and sales taxes for a lawyer in New York City who earns $300,000 a year. Depending on the circumstances, this individual could be facing marginal tax rates in the range of 60 percent. Higher income tax rates would discourage hard work and encourage tax avoidance, thereby defeating the purpose of the tax increases.

The most potent way to add revenue is to impose a value-added tax. As its name indicates, a V.A.T. takes some percentage of the value added at each stage of production. V.A.T.’s raise money so readily and so invisibly that they often climb to a range of 15 to 20 percent; politicians like the revenue, and voters don’t always notice the burden.

A move toward a V.A.T., however, also brings price inflation, a big increase in the tax-collecting bureaucracy and the emergence of favored sectors with exemptions or lower rates. Though we may well end up with a V.A.T., it isn’t obviously the best option.

Burdening citizens with much higher taxes would fundamentally change what this country is about. Our founders envisioned a government that would provide public goods but not guarantee everyone’s well-being against every possible obstacle. Immigrants would be offered a franchise to come here and make good if they could — while bearing considerable risk themselves. To this day, this openness has elevated many millions in health, prosperity and liberty — and enabled many newcomers to innovate and offer new goods and services, or scientific ideas, to the world.

Higher levels of government spending and taxation would also soak up resources that might otherwise foster innovation and new businesses. And sentiment would most likely turn ever stronger against those immigrants who consume public services and make the deficit higher in the short run. Current residents might feel more secure in a larger welfare state, but over time the loss of commerce and innovation takes a toll.

The macroeconomic evidence also suggests the wisdom of emphasizing spending cuts. In a recent paper, Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna, economics professors at Harvard, found that in developed countries, spending cuts were the key to successful fiscal adjustments — and were generally better for the economy than tax increases. Their conclusion was based on data since 1970 from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The received wisdom in the United States is that deep spending cuts are politically impossible. But a number of economically advanced countries, including Sweden, Finland, Canada and, most recently, Ireland, have cut their government budgets when needed.

Most relevant, perhaps, is Canada, which cut federal government spending by about 20 percent from 1992 to 1997. The Liberal Party, headed by Jean Chrétien as prime minister and Paul Martin as finance minister, led most of this shift. Prompted by the financial debacle in Mexico, Canadian leaders had the courage and the foresight to make those spending cuts before a fiscal crisis was upon them. In his book “In the Long Run We’re All Dead: The Canadian Turn to Fiscal Restraint,” Timothy Lewis describes Canada’s move from fiscal irresponsibility to a balanced budget — a history that helps explain why the country has managed the current global recession relatively well.

To be sure, the spending cuts meant fewer government services, most of all for health care, and big cuts in agricultural subsidies. But Canada remained a highly humane society, and American liberals continue to cite it as a beacon of progressive values.

Counterintuitively, the relatively strong Canadian trust in government may have paved the way for government spending cuts, a pattern that also appears in Scandinavia. Citizens were told by their government leadership that such cuts were necessary and, to some extent, they trusted the messenger.

IT’S less obvious that the United States can head down the same path, partly because many Americans are so cynical about policy makers. In many ways, this cynicism may be justified, but it is not always helpful, as it lowers trust and impedes useful social bargains.

Forces like the Tea Party movement argue for fiscal conservatism, though it isn’t obvious that they are creating the conditions for success. Over the last year, we have been treated to the spectacle of conservatives defending Medicare against proposed cuts, in large part to curry favor with voters and mobilize sentiment against the Democratic health care plan.

Right now there is plenty of concern about debt and deficits, but little consensus on which expenditures should be cut or reined in. Sooner or later, we’ll have to reconsider virtually every segment of the federal budget.

The issue of fiscal responsibility isn’t going away. So the question is now this: How deeply will we dig ourselves in before we create a more mature and more forward-looking political culture?

Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Why Quebec has so much trouble attracting immigrants

By HENRY AUBIN, The Gazette April 17, 2010

One of the most frustrating social trends in Quebec is the way that we as a society treat immigrants.

It’s a crazy situation. We need – seriously need – immigrants. We need them to fill jobs that will be left vacant by Quebec’s shrinking labour pool. We need them to pay the taxes that will pay for the health and social costs of this province’s looming geezer-ization. And we need them to help pay back Quebecers’ public debt (including our part of the federal debt), which the province’s finance ministry rates as the world’s fifth-highest (after Japan, Italy, Greece and Iceland).

And yet, as a study this month by the Montreal think tank CIRANO suggests, we as a society are blowing it.

The study notes, for example, that the jobless rate for immigrants who have a post-secondary education is 13 per cent. According to the 2006 census, that’s almost twice the jobless rate among comparable immigrants in Ontario and British Columbia. It’s three times the rate for Canadian-born holders of post-secondary diplomas.

This partly explains why only 18 per cent of all immigrants to Canada come to Quebec, too few for a province with 23 per cent of the country’s population. (By contrast, Ontario and B.C. between them account for 51 per cent of the population but get 63 per cent of immigrants.) What makes Quebec’s situation all the more unacceptable is that for decades the province has wielded more power over the selection of immigrants than any other province. Quebec sets its own criteria on who gets in.

You’d think that those it chooses to welcome would be more likely to do well. Not so: 19 per cent of immigrants age 25 to 54 are unemployed five years after arriving. Compare that with the 12-per-cent level for Canada as a whole.

Why this appalling record? Let’s not heap too much blame on Quebec’s language law. Yes, the primacy of French here induces many people to settle in English Canada, but it doesn’t explain why even French-speakers often fail to crack the job market. Indeed, language theoretically ought to be less of a barrier to finding work here than in other provinces: 60 per cent of immigrants to Quebec in 2008 spoke either French or English upon arrival, the highest rate of any province.

So let’s look beyond language.

The study suggests that part of the unemployment problem (although perhaps only a modest part) is Quebec’s standing as “l’État providence” – that is, as the province with the most generous social benefits. The study’s authors, the Université de Montréal’s Brahim Boudarbat and Maude Boulet, note that the 2001 census shows that immigrants age 25 to 54 in Quebec obtained a whopping 52 per cent more public money than did their counterparts in the rest of Canada. The authors note this hardly spurs some people to work at a poorly paid job.

The problem here is not only with freeloading but also with the Quebec government’s immigrant-screening process and social-benefits rules. They do too little to guard against parasitism.

A bigger problem is Quebec employers’ well-known reluctance to recognize diplomas and experience acquired elsewhere than in North America or Europe. The study says this wariness is more acute here than in Ontario or B.C. Given that most immigrants are visible minorities, the study suggests racial bias can play a role.

The study does not deal with it, but Quebec’s business establishment is notably remiss about putting out a welcome mat for visible minorities. Example: Of the 25 members of the Montreal Board of Trade’s board of directors, not one is a visible minority.

The Quebec government itself is part of the problem. On the one hand, it recognizes the economic imperatives of attracting more immigrants and, indeed, it is doing so: It settled 49,500 immigrants last year, the most since 1991. On the other hand, it fails to use its own colossal civil service as a model by hiring immigrants or even their born-in-Quebec offspring.

To be sure, politicians say they want to do better. In 1990, the Bourassa government expressed embarrassment that a minuscule 1.7 per cent of its public service was from the cultural communities (loosely, first- or second-generation immigrants); it said it would double the rate by 1994. Only now, 16 years later, are we reaching Robert Bourassa’s modest interim target. Most other provincial governments are miles ahead.

No other province needs immigrants so badly. No other province has so much power to choose desirable applicants. And yet, of the three provinces that receive the lion’s share of immigrants, Quebec has the most trouble easing immigrants into roles in which they can contribute to society.

Crazy.

haubin@ thegazette.canwest.com
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Quebec+much+trouble+attracting+immigrants/2917753/story.html#ixzz0lS0EWIW5

Regulator Cautions the Public: Only Use Immigration Representatives Authorized by the Canadian Government

/CNW/ – The RCMP charged an uncertified immigration consultant in Windsor with fraud yesterday, prompting the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) to warn consumers who might decide to hire a paid immigration representative to only hire one that is authorized by the Canadian Government.
Francesco Salvatore (Sam) Burgio is facing eleven charges for fraud after clients allegedly paid his firm thousands of dollars to submit their immigration applications and got no service in return. CSIC revoked Burgios membership in 2006.
That should have set off red flags for anybody who was considering hiring him, said John Ryan, CSIC Chair and Acting CEO. Most people would never consider hiring an unlicenced doctor or lawyer, and consumers need to realize that hiring an uncertified immigration consultant is just as unwise. Its easy to check because there is a list of all current and former members on the CSIC website.
Only members of CSIC, a provincial or territorial bar, or Quebec notaries can advise, represent or consult clients on immigration matters before the Government of Canada for a fee.
CSIC membership is important because CSIC members must meet rigorous ongoing educational requirements and adhere to strict Rules of Professional Conduct. In addition, CSIC provides extensive consumer protection measures by offering a complaints and discipline process, requiring members to carry errors and omissions insurance and maintaining a client compensation fund.
Unfortunately uncertified immigration consultants, known as ghost agents, have exploited legal loopholes that allow them to continue offering immigration services with little danger of law enforcement taking action.
CSIC has long advocated for legislative changes that would introduce penalties for those who pretend to be Certified Canadian Immigration Consultants. We look forward to the changes promised by the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants is the professional regulatory body for Certified Canadian Immigration Consultants. Established in 2004 it currently has nearly 1,700 members. CSICs mandate is to protect consumers of immigration consulting services. Consequently, it is responsible for ensuring the education, competency testing and the discipline of its members. CSIC also requires its members to carry errors and omissions insurance and to contribute to a compensation fund. The best way to find a CCIC is via CSICs toll free referral line, 1-877-311-7926.

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