BY , TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2011
Vancouver, Canada, market data
|Vancouver Metro Area|
|Population (2010 estimate)||2,374,628 million|
|Population growth (2001-10)||+19.5%|
|Total closed sales (2010)||30,595|
|% change closed sales (2009-10)||-14.2%|
|% change closed sales (April ’10-April ’11)||-8.2%|
|Sales per person||1 sale per 78 people|
|Benchmark sales price (April 2011)||$622,991|
|% change benchmark sales price (April ’10-April ’11)||+5%|
|% mortgages in arrears (British Columbia, Feb. ’11)||0.49%|
|% of sales distressed (March 2011)||+60%|
|% household income needed to afford a house||77.8%|
|% unemployment (April ’11, 3-month moving avg.)||11.8%|
|Rent-vs.-ownership ratio (% households in 2006)||35%/65%|
ECONOMISTS PIERRE FORTIN AND PIERRE EMMANUEL PARADIS URGE QUÉBEC TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF IMMIGRANT INVESTORS
- having a net worth of at least $1.6 million;
- agreeing to invest $800,000 at 0% interest for five years;
- having adequate management experience.
Image via Wikipediaby on May 30, 2011
A former immigration boss in Canada is calling for the country’s annual immigration intake to be increased by 100,000 a year to match needed population targets.
Robert Vineberg, a former Director of Federal-Provincial Relations at Immigration Canada, said policy changes are needed to boost numbers in most provinces.
He pointed out that the major political parties are failing to address the issue despite agreeing that Canada needs to increase immigration levels by 1% per year.
Now a research fellow at the Canada West Foundation, he argued that Canada’s native labour force is stagnating. Most provinces, and particularly the Western Provinces, want to increase their population and see increased immigration as a major way to do so. The way to expand the federal immigration streams is not to freeze growth in provincial programmes but to increase overall levels during the next several years,’ he explained.
‘An increase in immigration levels by 50,000 to 300,000 per year would bring the ratio back to the 0.87% figure of two decades ago. An increase of 100,000 to 350,000 per year would see Canada finally achieve the one-percent-per-year goal that all parties ostensibly espouse,’ he added.
His comments have been made as a result of Canada’s major political parties failing to address the issue of how many immigrants Canada needs, despite all of them expressing support for an increase in Canadian immigration.
He also hit out at a recent study from the Fraser Institute which suggested that immigration costs Canada as much as $23.6 billion a year. Economists Herb Grubel and Patrick Grady used statistics from the 2006 census to argue for a reduction in immigration.
They said that immigrants received on average $6,051 more in benefits than they paid in taxes and that this weak economic performance of recent immigrants is costing Canadian taxpayers between $16.3 billion and $23.6 billion a year.
Vineberg said that the average income of immigrants in Canada more than 15 years before the 2006 census was actually higher than for native-born Canadians. ‘This turns the Fraser Institute’s analysis on its head and suggests that immigrants are net contributors to government revenues if their entire working life is considered,’ he said.
The data used can lead to diametrically opposed conclusions, he added and described the study as not addressing the issue. ‘The whole principle of such analysis is faulty,’ he said, adding that it zoomed in on one small aspect of the economics of immigration and ignored the larger picture entirely.
I’m an immigrant.
Let’s get that out of the way first in this reaction to the Fraser Institute’s disingenuous study asserting that immigration costs Canada as much as $23.6 billion a year.
Researchers Herb Grubel and Patrick Grady — both of whom are also immigrants and presumably don’t consider themselves a burden on the economy — conclude that in 2006, immigrants received on average $6,051 more in benefits than they paid in taxes.
On the basis of this snapshot, they advocate restrictions upon immigration. However, the narrowness of the data set suggests the broad conclusions don’t have sound foundations.
Indeed, the arguments sound suspiciously like those of the old Reform Party, which gave gloomy voice to utilitarian assumptions about acceptable skill sets and wealth required of prospective immigrants.
Of course, anxiety about the potential financial burden of newcomers is well established, if misplaced, in framing immigration policy for Canada.
Similar concerns were expressed about Irish immigrants in the mid-19th century. Central Europeans, Russian Jews, Scandinavians — even the English — have all been subjected to worries that they got more from their new country than they contributed.
So, here we are in 2011 faced with two successful immigrants, both indisputably valued and productive members of Canadian society — let’s leave aside the amusing irony of the Fraser Institute issuing tax-deductible receipts to wealthy contributors so they can pay less tax — fretting that new immigrants don’t pay enough tax to cover their cost to Canadian society.
This sounds like the venerable “I’m in the lifeboat, pull up the ladder” argument.
I say venerable because the notion that the most recent arrivals are paying insufficient tax and drawing excessive benefits remains one of the persistent memes in Canadian society.
And it is almost always based on selective statistical evidence while ignoring the unassailable fact that of the 34 million people in Canada, 33 million are either immigrants or the descendants of immigrants who helped to build a national economy which ranks in the top eight globally.
I’m not alone in my doubtful reaction to the Fraser Institute’s study.
Robert Vineberg, a senior fellow at the Calgary-based Canada West Foundation, notes that the average income of immigrants in Canada more than 15 years before the 2006 census was actually higher than for native-born Canadians.
On average, those immigrants paid more in taxes than they got in benefits, Vineberg observes.
“This turns the Fraser Institute’s analysis on its head and suggests that immigrants are net contributors to government revenues if their entire working life is considered,” he says. The data used can lead to diametrically opposed conclusions, he notes, and suggests “the whole principle of such analysis is faulty.”
Vineberg argues that immigrant contributions are much broader than their tax contribution. For example, an immigrant nanny earning less than average income often enables both native-born parents to earn higher salaries and therefore to pay higher taxes.
So it all depends where you take your snapshot.
When my father brought me to Canada as an infant 63 years ago, the only job he could find was on a garbage scow, although he was a qualified machinist. He worked filling paint cans and delivering bread at considerably less than the average income. He had five kids in school. That snapshot would show him – and me – as a social cost rather than a benefit.
Later he became an award-winning journalist, still writing at 87. And those five kids – two are newspaper columnists, one works for the navy, another provides research and management consulting to big health care organizations, one is a successful artist. By that snapshot, he’s a benefit rather than a social cost.
Vineberg concludes: “By zooming in on one small part of a complex phenomenon, the Fraser Institute … has come to conclusions that may appear correct but, if the assumptions involved are examined closely, are unfounded. This does not make a constructive contribution to the needed debate.”
Under its mentorship programme, TiE Toronto has turned million-dollar dreams of many budding entrepreneurs into reality. “Many of the entrepreneurs we have mentored for the past 10 have created multi-million-dollar companies in a matter of years,” TiE Toronto president Suresh Madan told media .
Giving the latest example of successful entrepreneurs mentored by Indian techies, Madan said: “Just last November, Indo-Canadian Haroon Mirza sold his start-up Cognovision to Intel for $25 million. An engineering graduate, Mirza had a vision, but he didn’t know how to go about it.
“So he came to TiE in 2006 and our people guided him to set up his company. By 2010, he became a multi-millionaire when Intel bought his company.”
Cognovision, which created a unique software to measure customer attention span on a particular product while browsing in a superstore, was also chosen ‘Canada’s 2009 Innovation Leader.’
“Cognovision’s software helps advertisers and product companies to know which product is getting how much attention from customers,” Madan said.
According to him, another entrepreneur mentored by TiE has just sold his company – Ecologic Engineering – for eight million dollars. “Considering that two of the entrepreneurs mentored by us have sold their companies for millions in the last six months shows that TiE mentoring has been very successful in Canada.”
“At TiE, we – a group of successful entrepreneurs – have come together to give back to the community. Rather than donating at temples or charities, we have decided to do something practical to help budding entrepreneurs,” he said.
Currently, 75 TiE members are mentoring 400 budding entrepreneurs – more than 75 percent of whom are Indo-Canadians.
“At 40, when you land here as an immigrant, you either update your skills and join some job at the bottom or become an entrepreneur. That’s what TiE is teaching so that new immigrants become their own masters,” the TiE chief said.