Canadian Military Trying to Recruit More Immigrants

The Canadian Forces (CF) are looking for ways to recruit more visible minorities

The Canadian Forces are facing a challenge in recruiting enough minorities from mostly immigrant groups, according to a story in politics.ca.

Author Colin Horgan notes that among Asian and Arab-Canadians, the interest in careers in the military is low:

When Ipsos Reid asked non-Chinese Asian- and Arab-Canadians what line of work they might be interested in pursuing or would recommend to a younger person, no more than one per cent of those polled said they’d look for a job in the military.

Further, when asked which career they’d be least interested in pursuing, Ipsos Reid found “the military tops the list.” Thirty-one per cent of Asian- and Arab-Canadian youth (and 25 per cent of those polled from the community) told the polling firm that a career in the military would be of least interest to them, “followed distantly by other fields.”

Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) commissioned the Ipsos Reid survey that returned the findings as part of its effort to understand minority attitudes toward the Armed Forces.

The Ispsos Reid report on the survey states that the DND is seeking better recruitment strategies for increasing the representation of this demographic in the armed forces in order to “comply with Employment Equity (EE) Act requirements and ensure operational effectiveness”.

In 2010, the Armed Forces set a target of visible minorities making up 12 percent of its personnel in 2013, but nearly three years later, it is only 5 percent.

The Canadian Armed Forces also struggles to recruit Canadian Aboriginals, which contrasts with the experience of the US military, where Native Americans have the highest per capita enlistment rates of any ethnicity in the country.

Canadian Criminologist Praises Immigration’s Crime Fighting Effect

The drop in the Canadian crime rate since the early 1990s corresponds with an increase in immigration levels, a relationship criminologist Michael Kempa attributes to the strong family bonds of recent immigrants and the value they place on education and civic responsibility

In a special to cbc.ca, one of Canada’s largest online news publications, criminologist Michael Kempa says immigration is helping reduce the crime rate in Canada.

Kempa writes that the drop in the crime rate since the 1990s has corresponded to, and been helped by, a large increase in the rate of immigration.

He quotes Toronto Police chief Bill Blair as saying that “immigration is good for the crime rate”.

The reason? “Recent immigrants have strong bonds to their families, a commitment to the values of education and engagement in community and public institutions,” says Kempa.

The down-side is that as the immigrant groups integrate into Canadian communities and adopt Canadian culture, their crime and delinquency rates approach the Canadian average.

Kempa recommends to Canadians to try to adopt the values of strong family bonds and commitment to education and community/public-institutions that keep recent immigrant groups away from crime.

This is the second story in the past year by major Canadian news media trumpeting the crime-reducing effects of immigration. MacLean’s magazine published a story last summer on findings by University of Toronto researchers that link increased immigration with reduced crime rates.

Canada’s North Will Need Up To 70,000 Workers by 2020 – Conference Board of Canada

Yellowknife, the largest city in the Northwest Territories. A report released on Monday projects that, by 2020, up to 70,000 new jobs in the North will be supported by additional mining output in the region.

A report released on Monday by the Conference Board of Canada, one of the country’s most respected public policy research organizations, predicts that mining in Northern Canada will support an additional 43,000 to 70,000 jobs in the region by 2020.

The report estimates that the value of the annual output of mining activity in the North will grow at an annual rate of 7.5 percent – more than three times the projected GDP growth rate – to nearly double from $4.4 billion in 2011–12 to $8.5 billion in 2020.

The 74 page reports focuses most of its recommendations on improving communication and cooperation between mining companies, aboriginal groups, and local, provincial/territorial and federal governments.

It also calls for increased government investment, in the way of government-private partnerships, to build the necessary infrastructure in the North, and a simpler regulatory approval process by integrating environmental assessments made by various levels of government.

If these measures are taken, the report concludes, the people of the North and the rest of Canada, stand to benefit from increased exports as the industrialization of India and China boosts global economic growth and demand for minerals.

Immigrant Income Levels Depend on Canadian Immigration Program

Data from the Statistics Canada report on the income of immigrants, released in December, shows large differences in the economic performance of immigrants depending on which immigration program they were admitted through (Moxy)

In the second part of our series on the recently released Statistics Canada report on the income of immigrants, we delve deeper into the data and look at how various economic class immigration programs compare for immigrants who arrived between 1986 and 2010. The first part can be found here.

Among the most important immigration-related issues for the federal government every year is picking the right mix of immigration programs to make up the annual quota that it sets aside for new permanent residents.

The major priorities that the federal government seeks to meet in selecting the allocation are:

  • meeting the humanitarian commitments it has set for itself to re-settle a certain portion of the world’s refugees
  • accommodating Canadians whose family members live abroad and who they would like to re-unite with through family class immigration sponsorship
  • admitting immigrants that will contribute to Canada’s economy and meet its investment and labour needs

To meet the last objective, the federal government currently allocates 60 percent of the permanent residence quota to economic class immigration programs, which consist of the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the business class programs, and the provincial nominee class programs.

Historically, the skilled worker program (FSWC) has contributed the largest portion of Canada’s economic class immigrants, but there have been calls to increase the proportion admitted through programs in the business and provincial nominee classes.

The provincial governments in particular have frequently called on the federal government to allow them to pick a greater share of Canada’s immigrants through their respective provincial nominee programs (PNPs), which has resulted in their quotas being increased from 2,500 in 1999, to over 30,000 in 2009.

Whether the FSWC should remain the mainstay of Canadian economic-class immigration or whether the PNPs, or perhaps business class programs, should continue to see their role expanded, is a question that the StatCan report can help answer.

The 30 year longitudinal study (we have only reproduced 24 years of it, as we assessed the data from 1980-1986 to be too limited to be useful) has a few surprising findings.

Income of immigrants by immigration program. Skilled worker class immigrants see the most wage growth over the 24 year period.

Early success for PNP immigrants, long-term success of the skilled worker class immigrants

Immigrants admitted through the FSWC earn significantly more than those admitted through the business classes, and after seven years in Canada, more than PNP class immigrants.

Average income in 2010 for skilled worker class immigrants. The graph shows rapid income gains in the first few years following immigration, followed by more gradual income growth

PNP-class immigrants earn nearly double what other immigrants earn in the first year of their permanent residence. This is most likely due to the fact that a person needs to already be in Canada and working to qualify for most provincial nominee programs, whereas immigrants who become permanent residents through the FSWC or business class programs arrive in Canada for the first time on the day they receive their permanent residency.

The data shows that the PNPs’ lead in income quickly closes, as FSWC immigrants see rapid income gains in their first few years in Canada.

Average income in 2010 for provincial nominee (PNP) class immigrants. PNP-class immigrants start out with much higher incomes than other economic-class immigrants

It should be taken into account however that the data on PNP-class immigrants that arrived in the early 2000s is quite limited, given the provincial nominee programs admitted fewer than 10,000 immigrants for most of the first of half of the 2000s, so the long term income growth statistics for the PNP class could change over-time.

Poor performance of business class immigrants

The business class immigrants, despite having met demanding minimum net worth requirements to qualify for immigration to Canada, have lower income levels than skilled worker and provincial nominee class immigrants, especially in the first few years after they arrive.

Over the long run, their income gradually converges with the skilled worker class, but this takes nearly 24 years and it never meets the level of their skilled worker counterparts.

One partial exception to this is immigrants from the Africa and Middle East region. Business class immigrants in this group see their income surpass skilled worker class-immigrants from the same region after 24 years.

Average income in 2010 for business class immigrants. Business class immigrants from the Africa and Middle East region see significant income growth over a 24 year period

Cause of business class under-performance

Ideally, business class immigrants, with their substantial capital and business experience, would be the biggest contributors to the Canadian economy among the country’s immigrant population.

One possible explanation for their lower than expected incomes is that they keep their investments abroad.

Canada, which has relatively high average personal income tax rates, is out-matched in investment opportunities by many regions in the world, like the rapidly developing Asian country of South Korea, which has average personal income tax rates and government expenditure levels that are one third lower than Canada.

While business-class immigrants could choose to remain invested abroad, skilled worker class immigrants likely benefit from working in Canada, since it is a high-income country that provides better wages than the vast majority of the world, and in any case they have few options other than working and earning their salary in Canada, since labour is not mobile like capital.

If investment opportunities in Canada being comparatively poor is in fact the cause of lower than expected income performance of business class immigrants, this is not a problem that the federal government can fix by changing immigration selection rules.

New Canadian Immigration Program For Entrepreneurs To Launch April 1

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) would like to help Canada create an equivalent to Silicon Valley, pictured above, with a new Start-Up Visa for venture-backed entrepreneurs

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced today that the Start-Up Visa, which will grant permanent residence to entrepreneurs who receive funding from Canadian venture capital firms, will launch on April 1st.

“Our new Start-Up Visa will help make Canada the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest to launch their companies. Recruiting dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy,” said Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in promoting the new program.

The launch of the Start-Up Visa is part of a re-structuring of Canadian immigration rules to make them more flexible and focused on Canada’s economic needs.

Under the federal government’s new immigration framework, CIC can create immigration programs that are tailored to meet a particular economic need, and admit a limited number of permanent residents through them per year.

The Start-Up Visa, along with the Federal Skilled Trades Program which launched on January 4th, are the first of this new breed of the limited quota, tailor-made programs, and are designed to meet specific shortages in high-growth sectors in Canada’s economy.

Start-Up Designation

In order to qualify for a Start-Up Visa, an entrepreneur must receive funding from an angel investor group or venture capital fund.

CIC will delegate Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) the authority to designate members of their associations to be eligible to participate in the program.

The Immigration Department is also working with the Canadian Association of Business Incubation in order to include business incubators in the list of eligible funding organizations.

Income of Canadian Immigrants Varies Depending on Time, Country of Origin

British immigrants to Canada, which include renowned news broadcaster Peter Mansbridge, have the highest average income among immigrant groups of different regions of origin (Geoff Campbell at Mount Allison University)

This is the first of our two part series on the recently released Statistics Canada report on the income of immigrants. We analyse income trends for immigrants from different regions of the world who arrived between 2006 and 2010. The second part of this series can be found here.

Data released last month by Statistics Canada shows large variance in the average income of immigrants across groups divided by country of origin and date of arrival in Canada.

The data looks at income-receiving immigrants from six geographical regions: 1) Africa and the Middle East, 2) Asia, Australasia and the Pacific 3) South America and Greenland, 4) the United States, 5) Europe except the United Kingdom, and 6) the United Kingdom.

It tracks the immigrants’ incomes from 1980 to 2010, to find trends in income growth over time. In this report, we look at the 2006 to 2010 period to analyze the income growth of recent immigrants.

The results, seen below, show incomes rising as an immigrant’s time as a permanent resident in Canada increases.

For the newest cohort – those who arrived in 2010 – the average income was $19,548 in 2010. For those established in Canada the longest, since 2006, the average income as of 2010 was $29,151, a 50 percent advantage relative to the most recently arrived group.

Among different world areas, immigrants from the United Kingdom had by far the highest average income. Those who landed in 2006 had an average income of $55,081 by 2010. Immigrants from the United States followed, with those who had arrived in 2006 earning an average of $48,345 by 2010.

The remaining regions saw much lower average incomes, which were closer to the average income for the total immigrant population due to the fact that their members made up the majority of immigrants to Canada over the period.

Immigrants who had arrived in 2006 from the African and Middle East area, the Asia, Australasia and the Pacific area, and the South America and Greenland area, earned on average $28,944, $25,694, and $28,173 per year, respectively, by 2010.

In the middle of the pack were immigrants who had arrived in 2006 from the ‘Europe outside of the United Kingdom’ area, who earned $33,564 by 2010.

The data confirms previous findings that link proficiency in an official Canadian language and knowledge of Canadian culture with better economic performance for immigrants in Canada.

Canada’s immigration programs have been reformed in the past year to place greater emphasis on language ability, in order to select immigrants more likely to successfully integrate into Canada’s economy and labour market.

Regulatory Compliance Costs Canada’s Economy $6,000 per Employee, Possible Relief on the Way

Regulations cost Canadian businesses nearly $6,000 per employee per year, with most of that cost borne by small businesses

A report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), which represents Canada’s small and medium sized businesses, estimates that the country’s regulatory burden costs Canadian businesses nearly $6,000 per employee per year, with the cost falling heaviest on small businesses.

The report, done in partnership with auditor KPMG, also found that compliance costs are higher in Canada than the US for businesses in all size categories except the largest – those with 100 or more employees – for which per employee costs in Canada, at $1,146, are slightly lower than the $1,278 cost in the U.S.

For the smallest businesses, which are categorized as those with 5 or fewer employees, regulatory costs in Canada average $5,942 per employee, significantly more than the $4,082 per employee cost in the US.

In the survey outlined in the report, 31 percent of Canadian business owners said they may not have gone into business if they had known the burden of regulation, a discouraging finding for Canada’s business environment.

The report is the second major analysis in the last year showing that regulations are placing a heavy burden on Canada’s smallest economic players.

A study by the Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network (CLSRN) last October found that occupational regulations are preventing many of Canada’s immigrants from working in their field of study, at a cost of $2-5.9 billion a year to the country’s economy.

A turning of the tide

Like most OECD countries, Canada has experienced gradual regulatory creep over the past several decades, as a diverse array of labour and business interest groups have promoted the expansion of regulations in their respective sectors, to limit the competition they face from the greater labour and business markets.

The trend could see a reversal over the coming years though, with the seminal Red Tape Reduction Action Plan. The plan is one of the most ambitious regulatory reform initiatives in Canadian history, and includes:

  • A One-for-One Rule which will require compliance costs imposed by the enactment of new regulations to be offset by an equal reduction of regulatory compliance costs through the reduction of existing regulations.
  • A Small Business Lens which will require regulators to take into account the costs imposed on small businesses by regulations.
  • The publication of Forward Plans, which will inform businesses of upcoming regulatory changes 24-months in advance of their enactment, to allow them to prepare for the changes.
  • Service Standards that set targets for speedy issuance of licences, certifications and permits, and encourage the establishment of feedback mechanisms by regulators for businesses subject to licensure.
  • An Annual Scorecard which will publicize progress on reforms, in particular the One-for-One Rule, the Small Business Lens and the Service Standards.

In addition to the six systemic reforms, the plan requires 90 department-specific reforms over the next three years. The President of the Treasury Board of Canada, Tony Clement, described the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan as a “game changer” when it was unveiled last October.

Lawyers Representing Canadian Immigration Applicants Argue Unlawful Discrimination in Backlog Wipe-Out

Lawyers for 1,000 people affected by the Federal Skilled Worker application backlog wipe-out are optimistic about the comments made by presiding judge Justice Rennie at the hearing this week

Lawyers representing a group of 1,000 immigration hopefuls whose applications for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) were closed by the federal government under Bill C-38 argued in a hearing this week that the government’s decision violated the Charter of Rights and should be struck down.

The 1,000 litigants are among those affected by Bill C-38, which wiped out the 97,715 cases (according to the Toronto Star) in the backlog of FSWP applications submitted before February 27th 2008.

The lawyers for the litigants argued that since applicants were only permitted to apply at one visa office, which was determined by their country of residence, and the government set quota for visa offices assigned to applicants in Asian and African countries was not sufficient to process the applications they received as quickly as applications sent to visa offices assigned to applicants from Western Europe and the Americas, the law discriminated against Asian and African applicants, which put it in violation of the Charter of Rights and made it unlawful.

The litigants’ lawyers pointed out that 81.4 percent of the applications that were in the backlog were from Asia and Africa.

Head attorney for the litigants in the case, Tim Leahy, expressed optimism at the comments of presiding judge, Justice Donald Rennie, to lawyers representing the government, in which he criticized as “paternalistic” toward the immigrants their argument that the application backlog wipe-out would be better for immigrants since it would allow for a just-in-time set of immigration rules that creates shorter processing times for them.

He called on them to keep their arguments confined to why the backlog wipe-out benefits Canada.

Also criticizing the government’s argument that the application wipe-out was necessary to put in place a just-in-time immigration selection process, Justice Rennie asked why the backlog and just-in-time approach were “mutually exclusive” and couldn’t exist simultaneously.

The litigants have so far failed in their attempts to force the government to reverse the backlog wipe-out through the courts, and even if they succeed in the current case, will likely face an appeal from the government.

Canada’s Most Popular Immigration Program Will Not Have Priority List – Minister

The Federal Skilled Worker Program will not have a priority occupations list when it restarts on May 4th according to a tweet made by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney last August (Twitter)

A 140 character tweet from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney last August may have answered one of the most pressing questions about the updated rules of the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) when it relaunches in May: will it be limited to a select group of occupations?

The FSWP as it exists now is restricted to individuals qualified in one of the vocations on the priority occupations list.

The program is scheduled to begin accepting applications again in May of this year after a 10 month moratorium, and is expected to have a wide range of changes made to its selection rules.

One aspect of the program’s selection rules that was uncertain was whether a priority occupation list would exist under the revamped rules post-May 4th.

The Minister’s tweet on August 18th 2012, seen below, suggests it won’t:

Instead, applicants will be required to get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from one of the designated credential assessment organizations to determine their educational credentials’ equivalent value in Canada.

Canada to Accept 5,000 Iraqi and Iranian Refugees – Immigration Department

Iraqi refugees in Damascus, Syria. The Canadian government pledged to resettle 20,000 Iraqi refugees in Canada in 2009 and 2010 (James Gordon)

While visiting Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) office in Ankara, Turkey, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that the federal government will resettle up to 5,000 Iraqi and Iranian refugees who are currently residing in Turkey.

The move is intended to relieve pressure from Turkey, which is dealing with a massive influx of Syrian refugees.

Kenny said that the federal government would only accept “bona-fide” refugees that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) designates as refugees.

CIC says that the resettlement plan is intended to partly fulfil the commitment it made in 2009 and 2010 to resettle up to 20,000 Iraqi refugees.

The Canadian refugee program is among the most generous in the world, with only one country, Australia, accepting more per capita every year.

The government has increased the number of refugees it resettles every year for the past three years and plans on admitting 14,500 refugees and other individuals on humanitarian and compassionate grounds in 2013.