Immigration applications from victims of typhoon Haiyan in Philippines to be fast-tracked

A satellite shot of hurricane Haiyan

Canada’s immigration department says it is giving special consideration to Filipinos affected by typhoon Haiyan.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander’s office says it will give priority to applications from Filipinos who are “significantly and personally affected” by the typhoon that left thousands dead last weekend.

The note also says that Filipino citizens temporarily in Canada who want to remain will be assessed in a “compassionate and flexible manner.”

The announcement comes as the Canadian military’s Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART, heads for the hard-hit Philippine city of Iloilo.

The Canadian Forces are also helping with the deployment of a separate 12-member Canadian Red Cross field hospital.

Philippine authorities say Iloilo, one of two major cities on the island of Panay, was in the direct path of the typhoon and suffered 162 deaths and the destruction of 68,543 houses as a result.

Fertility of Immigrant Women Higher than Canadian-born

Immigrant women from Central Africa have the highest fertility rates according to Canadian census data (Steve Evans, CC license)

A recent study by researchers in the U.S. and Canada finds that immigrant women have slightly higher fertility rates than women born in Canada, reversing the trend from before the 1980s of lower-than-average fertility among immigrants.

The study, by Princeton University’s Alicia Adsera and University of Calgary’s Ana Ferrer, attributes the change in relative fertility rates to a shift of immigrant country of origin to regions with higher fertility rates.

Immigrants from countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia have the highest fertility rates according to Canadian census data compiled by the researchers.

The rising share of immigrants coming from these regions has changed the fertility profile of the average Canadian immigrant, the study authors conclude.

Immigrants from China, North/Central Europe and Eastern Europe were found to have the lowest fertility rates. Among immigrants from high-fertility regions, those from Central America and Central and Eastern Africa were found to have the highest fertility figures.

While the researchers found that the pattern of higher fertility rates among immigrants held even when other factors, like language spoken at home, intermarriage, and language of spouse, were controlled for, one factor that did predict native-level fertility rates was education, with educated immigrant women having on average similar fertility rates as native-born Canadians.

StatsCan Report Links Income to Life Expectancy

A new StatsCan report finds a clear relationship between income and health in Canada, with Canadians in the highest income quintile having the lowest risk of dying from multiple causes

A new report on the state of health in Canada by Statistics Canada finds a strong link between between life expectancy and income in the country.

The report uses data collected from 1991 to 2006 in a Canadian census study on mortality, and measures the age-standardized mortality rates (ASMRs) of Canadians in five income groups.

It found that individuals in the highest income quintile had the lowest risk of dying, and the risk increased progressively with each move down an income quintile.

The major causes of death that saw big differences between individuals with different levels of income were ischemic heart disease, cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lung, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

This suggests that a greater tendency among those in the lower income quintiles to engage high-risk behavior, in particular smoking, is a major cause of the differences in health outcomes.

A large difference was also seen in rate of death due to communicable diseases, with individuals in the lowest income quintile being 3.5 times more likely to die from HIV/AIDS than those in the highest.

Healthy immigrant effect

The link between income and health outcomes could explain the ‘healthy immigrant effect’, which is an observed phenomenon in which immigrants tend to arrive in Canada in a state of health that is better than members of the general population, but see a deterioration in their health in the years following their arrival.

As the income gap between recent immigrants and the general Canadian population has steadily increased since 1980, one result could be that the income-related health effects of immigration on new Canadians could have grown.

Income and population centres

The relevance of income to health is also worth considering when deciding where one should live in Canada.

Canadian census reports show that there is a sizeable personal income gap between rural and urban Canada, with urban areas having per capita incomes that are more than one fifth higher than rural districts.

The income gap between rural and urban Canada is paralleled by a life expectancy gap, with city-dwellers and those living within commuting distance of cities living longer than their rural counterparts.

Among Canadian cities, those with the highest median household income are Ottawa, the country’s capital, where it is $94,700, the Albertan metropolises of Calgary ($89,490) and Edmonton ($87,930), the capital city of Saskatchewan, Regina ($84,890), and Oshawa, Ontario ($82,270).

Canada Has The Best Reputation In The World According To New Survey

Canadians at a parade in Vancouver. Canada has ranked first in the world in the last three RepTrak global surveys on country reputations (CICS News)

A new study on national reputations, called RepTrak, finds Canada has the best reputation of any country in the world. It’s the third year in a row that Canada has taken the top stop in the annual survey.

RepTrak, which is conducted by the Reputation Institute, surveyed more than 27,000 people from G8 countries to create its rankings. Explaining the results, the Reputation Institute’s Fernando Prado said Canada had done an effective job of communicating its strengths:

“Canada’s results confirm that it is only possible to maintain a strong reputation in the long-term when a country has the ability to transmit its leadership globally in each of the three key criteria: an effective government, an advanced economy, and an appealing environment.”

“A country’s reputation is its personal calling card,” said the President and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), Michele McKenzie.

She added, “We’re not just inviting the world to visit us; we’re capitalizing on our positive reputation to open new doors and create new opportunities for Canada, such as the impact of the business events travel sector on our economy.”

The different components of reputation measured in the survey were levels of trust, esteem, admiration and respect, and perceptions of 16 attributes of a country, including whether it is a safe place to visit, a beautiful country, has friendly and welcoming residents, has progressive social and economic policies, and is run by an effective government.

Canada scored 76.6 out of 100, followed by Sweden (76.5), Switzerland (76.3), Australia (76.1), and Norway (74.1). The lowest scoring countries were Russia (36.7), Nigeria (34.0), Pakistan (28.8), Iran (22.6), and Iraq (21.2).

This survey found many non-G8 countries had improving reputations, led by Singapore, Taiwan, Peru, Brazil, South Korea, Poland and the Ukraine, which as a group saw an average increase of 5.3 points in their reputation score from 2009 to 2013, which helped them gain ground against the five top countries, which had a smaller 3.5 point increase in their score over the same time frame.

The Reputation Institute says the survey shows a correlation between country reputations and the economic situation of countries, which explains the faster rate of improvement in the reputation of developing countries.

CIC Releases Immigration Information Through New Open Data Portal

The new Open Data Portal provides data under the ‘Open Government License’, which allows use, modification and re-use of the data by anyone (Government of Canada)

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) joined other departments of the government of Canada last week in the launch of the groundbreaking Open Data Portal, which promises to make much of the data collected by the Canadian government freely accessible to the public.

Praising the new data portal, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said:

“The new Open Data Portal is a remarkable tool that enables Canadians to easily access important information about immigration to Canada, and use this information to spur innovation and economic growth. I encourage all Canadians to visit our datasets if they have not yet done so as the information is useful and relevant, and there is great potential for its use.”

CIC says that its datasets are already among the most popular, with the six most downloaded belonging to it. Among the types of information included are the countries of origin of Canadian immigrants, the number who were admitted through each immigration program, the cities and provinces where immigrants settled, and application inventories and processing times.

The launch of the Open Data Portal is in line with the Open Data Charter of Principles that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper promoted at the last G-8 Leaders Summit in Northern Ireland. The Charter calls on governments to release data they collect in online registries and give users unrestricted rights to use and re-use the data.

The Charter also includes standards to raise data quality and increase interoperability and comparability, as well as prioritizing the early release of high-value data types.

The federal government says that its practices currently meet or exceed the requirements of the Charter, which demonstrates the country’s commitment to transparency and Open Government.

The Open Data Portal is hosted on data.gc.ca, and contains datasets provided by over 20 federal departments and agencies.

Canada Top Country for Immigrant Businesses – Financial Post

Canada tops the list of countries to start a business according to a new article in the Financial Post (Martin Cajzer)

An article featured in last Friday’s Financial Post makes the case for Canada being one of the best countries in the world for immigrants to start a business.

Among the factors that make Canada such a welcoming place for immigrant entrepreneurs are its business friendly environment and immigration program, says author Chris Riddell:

The World Bank labelled Canada the best place in the G-7 to start a business, and thanks to an open immigration policy, a comparatively easy one to enter. Add a strong banking system, growing job market, and high standard of living, and it’s no wonder it tops immigrant entrepreneurs’ list.

For many, the government’s Start-Up Visa launched in April is making Canada an even more appealing place.

For business people considering Canada as a destination for immigration, there are three points to consider:

  • The per capita income of new immigrants is well below the Canadian average, with the gap growing since the early 1970s despite the average level of education of recent immigrants increasing in the intervening time. The longer an immigrant is in Canada, the closer their income tends to be to the Canadian average.

  • Immigrants and first-generation Canadians make up a sizeable percentage of Canada’s millionaires, at 48 percent.

  • The average income of immigrants who are admitted into Canada through the business class immigration programs is slightly below that of immigrants admitted through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), despite the former group having had to meet stringent capital and business experience requirements.

Taken together, it suggests that:

1) immigrants who arrive through economic class non-business immigration programs, like the FSWP, are likely not at a significant disadvantage compared to their business class counterparts in their chance of creating a successful business, that

2) immigrants are likely more entrepreneurial than the general population, and that

3) many immigrant business people fail for the few that succeed.

Matt Man, a successful immigrant businessman profiled for Riddell’s article, advises immigrants who are starting their business to try to get as much face-time as possible to improve their chance of success:

“Face to face can always make up for some of what I lost due to my accent or the way I’m communicating.”

Ontario Government Objects to New Federal Job Grant Program

The new Canada Job Program will provide up to $15,000 per person for the training needed to qualify for a job. The Ontario government says the funding cuts required pay for the new program threaten other programs that vulnerable workers rely on (Tomas Castelazo)

The provincial government of Ontario says the diversion of federal funds from existing employment and training programs to the new Canada Job Grant program would threaten vulnerable workers including youth and new immigrants.

The Canada Job Grant program will spend $300 million in federal funds per year and will require matching funds from provinces and territories.

The program will provide grants of up to $15,000 per eligible individual to upgrade their skills for a new job. Employers will apply for the grants on behalf of unemployed and underemployed Canadians that they seek to hire for a job, and will contribute one-third of the grant money.

The Ontario government says that the $194 million in federal funding it currently receives supports many of its employment and training initiatives, including literacy and apprenticeship programs, and a reduction of this transfer to pay for the Canada Job Grant would hurt vulnerable Ontarians.

The federal government says that the new grants program will help 130,000 Canadians become trained for jobs every year, and that paying for it by reducing federal funding for other employment and training programs is necessary for its goal of controlling spending and balancing the budget.

The government is currently seeking the input of the provinces on ways to improve the job grants program.

Immigration Reduces Canadian Bilingualism Since 2001

The percentage of Canadians that report being bilingual declined from 17.7 percent in 2001, to 17.5 percent in 2011, according to Statistics Canada

The influx of immigrants accounts for a slight decline in Canadian bilingualism over the last decade, according to Statistics Canada.

Approximately 17.5 percent of Canadians in the 2011 Census reported being able to speak both English and French. This was down from a peak of 17.7 percent in 2001.

In 1961, the rate of French-English bilingualism was only 12.2 percent, and over the next several decades increased, until the 2001 peak. The increase was largely a result of the instatement of official bilingualism by the government of Pierre Trudeau in the 1960s.

The set of legislation enacted required federal government services to be offered in both French and English, and that both languages be given equal standing in communication with the federal government.

The Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act of 1985 further promoted bilingualism by requiring all packaging in Canada to display both French and English text.

Over the last decade however, as immigrants pushed the total population up, the bilingual population did not increase fast enough to maintain the proportion attained in 2001.

This was a consequence of immigrants outside of Quebec being less likely than native-born Canadians to be bilingual.

As a result, even as the population of bilingual Canadians increased by approximately 600,000 since 2001, to 5.8 million in 2011, their share of the population declined slightly.

Capital City Ottawa Voted as Canada’s Most Boring City

Downtown Ottawa. Canada’s capital city was voted as the country’s most boring in last week’s “Boring Awards”

(Via Global BC) Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, beat out five other nominees to be voted as the country’s most boring city in the annual “Boring Awards” ceremony held last Tuesday.

Other cities nominated for the most boring title were: Laval (Quebec), Lethbridge (Alberta), Abbotsford (British Columbia), and Brampton (Ontario).

Despite being the most boring, Ottawa is also the “richest” large city in Canada according to a 2010 study by Statistics Canada, which found that it had the highest median gross family income of the major metropolitan areas in the country.

Lucrative jobs in and close to government provide the city with a steady source of consumer spending that supports a range of industries and helps it maintain an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent – below the 7.2 percent national average.

Combined with relatively affordable housing, the city was found to provide the best quality of life by the Money Sense ‘Canada’s Best Places to Live – 2012′ index.

B.C. Spends Less On Health, Has Healthiest Population in Canada

Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada. B.C. is ranked as having one of the best health care systems in Canada thanks to high ratings on the health-related lifestyle habits and health outcomes of its residents (Arnold C.)

British Columbia has the healthiest residents among the Canadian provinces according to a new Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) study.

The B.C. provincial government spends less than almost all other Canadian provinces on health care, but still comes out on top in the health care ranking thanks to the healthy lifestyles of B.C. residents, who have the lowest smoking rates in the country.

The CBoC report rates provincial health care system performance according to a total of 90 indicators within four categories: Lifestyle Factors, Health Status, Health Resources, and Health Care System Performance.

Lifestyle Factors measures the behavior of a province’s population that affects health, including the rate of smoking, heavy drinking, obesity, fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity.

B.C. has the best score in both the Lifestyle Factors and Health Status categories, which was enough to earn it one of only three As granted in the Overall Performance rating.

The other provinces scoring an A in Overall Performance were Alberta and Ontario. Both provinces have more government spending on health care than B.C., and both received a higher score in Health Care System Performance, which measures disease screening, waiting times and accessibility for procedures, effectiveness of treatments and the appropriateness of treatments.

Residents of Alberta and Ontario fell short of British Columbians in their health status however, with lower birth weights, higher infant mortality, and more years of life lost to illness.