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NEWS

 

Canada welcomes a record high number of newcomers in 2008  February 20, 2009  

Ottawa, February 20, 2009 — Canada welcomed an unprecedented number of permanent and temporary residents in 2008, according to preliminary data released by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) today.

“While other countries are talking about taking fewer immigrants, today, I am pleased to announce that in 2008, we increased the number of new permanent residents to Canada,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

Canada welcomed 247,202 permanent residents in 2008, 70,000 more than in 1998, and well within the government’s planned range of 240,000 to 265,000 new permanent residents for the year. An additional 193,061 temporary foreign workers and 79,459 foreign students resulted in a combined total of 519,722 newcomers for the year.

The higher number of temporary foreign workers reflects increased demand in the Canadian labour market last year. The hiring of temporary foreign workers is based on employers’ needs and labour market demand.

“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,” said Minister Kenney. “As minister responsible for multiculturalism, I am particularly concerned by short-sighted, divisive rhetoric that pits immigrants against Canadians in our economy.”

  

Minister Kenney welcomes new Canadians and honours Canada's most prominent national symbol  February 13 , 2009  

Gatineau, February 13, 2009 — Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today attended a special citizenship ceremony to mark Flag Day at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

“Since Confederation, Canada has welcomed more than 15 million newcomers from every corner of the world,” said Minister Kenney. “It is particularly fitting to welcome new citizens of Canada on the occasion of Flag Day.”

Seventy new Canadians from 37 different countries took the oath of citizenship at today’s ceremony, and 26 students from All Saints Catholic Secondary School reaffirmed their citizenship.    

   

Minister Kenney recognizes black Canadians' contributions to Canadian identity February 4 , 2009  

Ottawa, February 4, 2009 — The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, launched Black History Month today at the Canadian War Museum.

“The Government of Canada appreciates the valuable contributions of the black Canadian community to our national identity,” said Minister Kenney. “It is important that their achievements be celebrated and never forgotten.”

In December 1995, the Parliament of Canada officially recognized February as Black History Month, a time not only to celebrate, but also to learn about the experiences of black Canadians in our society and the vital role this community has played in the history of our country.

Black History Month 2009 will highlight the contribution of the No. 2 Construction Battalion of Pictou, Nova Scotia, in the First World War, and recognize black Canadian athletes’ achievements in athletics, especially Olympic sports. The month will also feature a one-day event in Ottawa tomorrow designed to develop young managers for museums of black Canadian history and help preserve the important contributions of black Canadians to our national identity.

Also, a popular photography exhibit of people and places recognized as nationally significant to Canada's history will travel across Canada. The exhibit was developed by Parks Canada in collaboration with Citizenship and Immigration's Multiculturalism Program.    

   

 

Minister Kenney announces increase in federal commitments to help newcomers settle in Canada   December 22 , 2008  

 

Ottawa, December 22, 2008 — The Government of Canada is keeping its promise in the Speech from the Throne to work with the provinces and territories to increase the uptake of immigrant settlement programs. Provinces and territories outside of Ontario and Quebec will be allocated more than $240 million in federal funding next year to help newcomers settle and integrate into their new communities, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, announced today.

“This annual support shows our government’s continuing commitment to help the development and continuation of important programs and services that can make a real difference in the lives of newcomers to Canada,” said Minister Kenney. “Programs, such as language training, job search and employment services, help newcomers integrate and succeed in Canada. As newcomers become productive and contributing members of the community, their success is Canada’s success.”

The funding represents an increase of over $40 million, or more than 20 percent from 2008-09. Funding for the provinces of Ontario and Quebec are provided for in separate bilateral agreements. (See backgrounder for a breakdown of the provincial and territorial settlement funding allocations outside of Quebec and Ontario.)

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has substantially increased funding to support settlement programs and services; an additional $1.4 billion is being invested over a five year period in all provinces and territories outside Quebec.

This includes programs and services to support newcomers in a variety of ways by providing: language training so they have the language skills to function in Canada; the information they need to better understand life in Canada and make informed decisions about their settlement experience; the required assistance to find employment commensurate with their skills and education; and help to establish networks and contacts so they are engaged and feel welcomed in their communities    

 

Minister Kenney announces 3-year renewable work permits for NAFTA professionals  December 15 , 2008  

 

Ottawa, December 15, 2008 — Professionals seeking to work temporarily in Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) can now receive work permits for up to three years, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, announced today. Previously, NAFTA workers were required to renew their work permit every 12 months.

“NAFTA work permits are an excellent option for North American professionals seeking to work in Canada including lawyers, doctors, dentists and teachers. In addition, this will also help Canadian employers remain competitive by ensuring they have access to necessary skilled labour,” said Minister Kenney.

“This extension, along with our Action Plan for Faster Immigration, will greatly benefit the Canadian economy by helping ensure greater continuity and stability for both employers and workers,” continued Minister Kenney. “In a time of economic uncertainty, highly skilled migrants encourage innovation and economic growth, making us more competitive economically.”

By easing the administrative requirements, employers can now be more confident that they will have access to the skilled labour they need for a longer period. The change matches the United States’ new rules on issuance of Trade NAFTA (TN) work visas to Canadian and Mexican professionals under NAFTA.

All three NAFTA countries (Canada, the United States and Mexico) recognize that greater work force mobility in North America, within certain professions, has net economic benefits.

    

 

Citizenship and Immigration Canada-Message from the Minister  September 20 , 2008  

Iam pleased to present the 2008–2009 Report on Plans and Priorities for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

Since Confederation, immigration has played a key role in the growth of this country, with more than 15 million people from every corner of the world coming to Canada in search of opportunity, refuge and hope. They are attracted to this nation’s values rooted in freedom, respect and hard work.

Canada is now home to its highest proportion of immigrants in over 75 years. The latest census reports that between 2001 and 2006, Canada’s population grew by 1.6 million persons, 1.1 million of whom were immigrants.

One of the key priorities for the Department is making our immigration system more responsive to labour market needs. The success of Canada’s immigration plan depends on attracting the right people to where they are needed and where they and their families will find opportunity.

We are seeing substantial growth in the demand for temporary foreign workers when Canadians can’t be found to fill jobs. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is an important tool to help employers respond to regional labour and skills shortages. We will continue to look for ways to make it more efficient for employers to get the people they need. We will also work with our partners to ensure that employers are meeting their commitments to workers, and that workers are aware of their rights.

Foreign students and temporary foreign workers often demonstrate that they have the skills and experience to succeed in our economy and our society. To take advantage of that, we announced the Canadian Experience Class in the last budget. This new immigration stream will allow certain skilled temporary foreign workers and international students with Canadian degrees and work experience to apply for permanent resident status without leaving the country.

We are working more closely with the provinces and territories to help them get the newcomers who meet their specific regional needs. Many of them are expanding their use of the Provincial Nominee Program to meet that goal.

The large number of people waiting to come to Canada is evidence that our country is a destination of choice for immigrants. But the number has grown to the point where people are waiting too long, and this is hurting our ability to attract the best and the brightest. The backlog has been building for a long while and reducing it will take time, but we must begin to address the problem.

Our Government is committed to making it easier for newcomers and their families to succeed. We have substantially increased funding for settlement services, committing over $1.4 billion in settlement funding over five years. This money is now being used to help immigrants improve their language skills, find jobs, or get referrals to community resources and counseling services.

As part of the international community, and in keeping with our humanitarian tradition, Canada will continue to use the refugee resettlement program to offer protection to those refugees most in need. We will continue to strengthen partnerships at home and abroad in order to contribute to finding durable solutions for more refugees, including those who have been in a refugee situation for a prolonged period.

At home, Canada’s asylum system is held up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a model for the world. We will look at ways to make it more efficient and to focus resources on those who truly need protection, while at the same time protecting the safety and security of Canadians.

The ultimate goal of our Immigration Program is citizenship. Citizenship sets a solid foundation for newcomers by promoting a shared national identity, a sense of belonging, loyalty and attachment to Canada, as well as rights and obligations. Through broad amendments to the Citizenship Act, we are taking action to fix past citizenship problems, to recognize Canadian citizens and to protect the value of Canadian citizenship for the future.

The Honourable Diane Finley, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

  

Canadian Experience Class now open for business   September 5 , 2008  

Ottawa, September 5, 2008 — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced that certain temporary foreign workers and students can start applying for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class starting September 17, 2008.

“With the Canadian Experience Class fully in place, Canada will be more competitive in attracting and retaining individuals with the skills we need,” said Minister Finley. “It, along with other recent improvements to modernize the immigration system, will go a long way in bringing Canada in line with its global competitors while further spreading the benefits of immigration into smaller centres across Canada.”

The Canadian Experience Class is a new avenue of immigration for certain temporary foreign workers and foreign student graduates with professional, managerial and skilled work experience. Unlike other programs, the Canadian Experience Class allows an applicant’s experience in Canada to be considered a key selection factor when immigrating to Canada.

The final implementation of the Canadian Experience Class reflects what wasproposed on August 9, 2008. The main difference is that those who have left Canada, but otherwise meet the requirements as workers or graduates, will be eligible to apply provided they do so within one year of leaving their job in Canada. Under the proposal, CIC had suggested that applicants would be required to have temporary resident status and be present in Canada to be eligible to apply. The Government of Canada has since chosen to cast a wider net to avoid missing those with the Canadian experience we want, through residency restrictions.

The final regulations for the Canadian Experience Class will be published in the Canada Gazette.

    

 

Government of Canada announces funding to help newcomers settle in Durham Region  September 5 , 2008  

Pickering, September 5, 2008 — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced funding to help six organizations in Durham Region deliver settlement services to an estimated 2,400 newcomers in the community.

The funding of almost $6 million will go to the Community Development Council Durham, Northern Lights Canada, the Women’s Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre of Durham, the Durham Region Unemployed Help Centre, Durham District School Board and the Durham Catholic District School Board. These organizations deliver a number of settlement services for newcomers including: referrals to community resources, advice and guidance, language assessment, language training, general information, and help finding a job.

A portion of this funding will go towards a youth mentorship program which pairs Canadian youth with newcomer youth to help the new arrivals adapt to the Canadian educational system. Newcomers will also be offered workshops on how to prepare resumés and find suitable employment.

“The Government of Canada wants newcomers to succeed,” said Minister Finley. “This funding will give them the support they need to settle into the Durham community. Since 2006, the Government of Canada has begun investing an additional $1.4 billion in settlement funding over five years to help newcomers integrate and succeed in Canadian society.”

“Our area has become more diverse in recent years as more newcomers are calling Durham Region their home,” said Tracey Vaughan, Executive Director of Community Development Council Durham in Ajax. “With the new funding and unwavering support from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, we will be able to provide newcomers with settlement services so they can become active participants in their communities.”

Settlement services are an essential part of the federal government’s immigration program. Through the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA), the Government of Canada has increased settlement funding for Ontario by a total of $920 million over five years. Under the COIA, CIC works with the Province of Ontario and immigrant-serving agencies to make a real difference in the lives of immigrants.

The 2008 Budget also introduced changes to modernize the immigration system, to shorten the time it takes to bring newcomers and their families to Canada. Under this system, newcomers will arrive with the skills required to integrate more quickly into the enconomy. In this way, newcomers will have more opportunities to find work sooner in the fields for which they have been trained and to benefit more from life in Canada for themselves and their families.

Newcomers to Canada can also turn to the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO), which helps internationally trained individuals find the information they need to get their credentials assessed and recognized more quickly. Established in 2007, the FCRO provides information, path-finding and referral services to help internationally trained individuals use their skills in Canada. There are now 320 Service Canada centres across the country offering in-person foreign credential referral services to newcomers.

CIC funds a number of programs that help newcomers settle, adapt and integrate into Canadian society. These programs are delivered in partnership with provinces, territories and service-providing organizations    

 

 

Government of Canada invests in Moose Jaw to help newcomers succeed  August 21 , 2008  

Moose Jaw, August 21, 2008 — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced funding to help the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council deliver settlement services to newcomers in Moose Jaw.

New funding of $390,434, covering the period from April 2008 to March 2009, is expected to help 100 newcomers access language and employment services as well as settlement and orientation services.

“Canada is committed to helping newcomers succeed,” said Minister Finley. “This funding for the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council helps ensure that newcomers continue to get the services and opportunities to successfully settle into this community.”

“The Moose Jaw Multicultural Council appreciates the past and present support of Citizenship and Immigration Canada,” said Tara Blanchard, Executive Director of the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council. “Now, more than ever, settlement, language and employment services are crucial to the successful integration of newcomers to Canada.”

Settlement services are an essential part of the federal government’s immigration program. For 2008-09, Saskatchewan will be receiving more than $5.5 million in basic settlement funding, an increase of more than $1.5 million over the previous year. Since 2006, the Government of Canada has begun investing an additional $1.4 billion over five years in settlement funding to provinces and territories outside of Quebec, which receives annual funding through a separate agreement.

Newcomers can also turn to the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO), which helps internationally trained individuals find the information they need to get their credentials assessed and recognized more quickly. Established in 2007, the FCRO provides information, path-finding and referral services to help internationally trained individuals use their skills in Canada. There are now 320 Service Canada centres across the country offering in-person services to newcomers.

CIC funds a number of programs that help newcomers settle, adapt and integrate into Canadian society. These programs are delivered in partnership with provinces, territories and service-providing organizations.    

Government of Canada invests in Moose Jaw to help newcomers succeed  August 21 , 2008  

Moose Jaw, August 21, 2008 — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced funding to help the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council deliver settlement services to newcomers in Moose Jaw.

New funding of $390,434, covering the period from April 2008 to March 2009, is expected to help 100 newcomers access language and employment services as well as settlement and orientation services.

“Canada is committed to helping newcomers succeed,” said Minister Finley. “This funding for the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council helps ensure that newcomers continue to get the services and opportunities to successfully settle into this community.”

“The Moose Jaw Multicultural Council appreciates the past and present support of Citizenship and Immigration Canada,” said Tara Blanchard, Executive Director of the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council. “Now, more than ever, settlement, language and employment services are crucial to the successful integration of newcomers to Canada.”

Settlement services are an essential part of the federal government’s immigration program. For 2008-09, Saskatchewan will be receiving more than $5.5 million in basic settlement funding, an increase of more than $1.5 million over the previous year. Since 2006, the Government of Canada has begun investing an additional $1.4 billion over five years in settlement funding to provinces and territories outside of Quebec, which receives annual funding through a separate agreement.

Newcomers can also turn to the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO), which helps internationally trained individuals find the information they need to get their credentials assessed and recognized more quickly. Established in 2007, the FCRO provides information, path-finding and referral services to help internationally trained individuals use their skills in Canada. There are now 320 Service Canada centres across the country offering in-person services to newcomers.

CIC funds a number of programs that help newcomers settle, adapt and integrate into Canadian society. These programs are delivered in partnership with provinces, territories and service-providing organizations.    

 

 

Canada's government continues consultations on immigration priorities with national stakeholders  August 15 , 2008  

Ottawa, August 15, 2008 — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, met today with national stakeholders from business, industry, labour and non-governmental organizations to discuss occupational priorities for immigration purposes.

This national round table was an opportunity to hear from key experts from a national perspective. It was an important element of cross-Canada consultation sessions with provinces, territories and stakeholders, including ethnic and immigrant-serving organizations, over the past month.

Today’s consultations focused on identifying critical occupational shortages in trades and professions across Canada, the role of immigration in responding to them, and any barriers to foreign credential accreditation. This information will help develop instructions for immigration officers on occupations that are identified for priority processing. The ministerial instructions, to be issued this fall, will focus on applications in the federal skilled worker category.

“There are shortages of workers in many professions and trades. These broad consultations with stakeholders have provided us with a picture of the most common and acute pressures across the country, and how immigration can play a role in addressing them,” said Minister Finley. “Our government is committed to helping newcomers and their families succeed when they come to Canada. Their success is our success.”

Following discussions with participants, the Minister emphasized the importance of provincial and territorial initiatives to better recognize foreign credentials in Canada. “We can’t prioritize occupations and professions in demand if there isn’t the necessary support and training available to help newcomers begin work in their chosen fields,” said Minister Finley.

The Minister reiterated that the instructions will not affect refugee protection, nor are they intended to affect the government’s objectives for family reunification. In fact, Canada already gives priority to applications from many family members, such as sponsored spouses and dependants. Eighty percent of these cases are finalized within eight months. “Reuniting families remains a priority for this government,” said Minister Finley. “We need to ensure that Canada continues to balance the needs of our Canadian industries in terms of labour shortages and family reunification for our newcomers.”

As face to face meetings with all stakeholders were not feasible, the public was invited to submit its input online. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) received over 550 submissions. This feedback, along with the input provided during the regional and national round table consultations, will inform the development of the ministerial instructions. Consultations were also held with Human Resources and Social Development Canada and the Bank of Canada.

The instructions follow on 2008 budget commitments to modernize the immigration system to respond to Canada’s labour market needs, reduce wait times for new applicants, and reduce the backlog of immigration applications. The budget allocates $109 million over five years to help meet these goals.

With this funding, CIC has begun recording occupational information for applications in the current skilled worker backlog. The Department will be referring applications of interest to the provinces and territories for possible processing under the Provincial Nominee Program. CIC is also working toward increasing capacity and efficiency in missions with the largest backlogs, centralizing the receipt of applications, and reconfirming the intentions of applicants facing the longest wait times.  

 

 

   

 

Notice to immigration applicants  August 1 , 2008  

Do you wish to immigrate as a skilled worker or businesspeople and are a resident of one of the above countries?


As of August 1, 2008, applications for a Certificat de selection du Québec (Québec Selection Certificate) from these countries must be submitted to the
Québec immigration office in Hong Kong for processing.  

 

 

Important information
If you submitted an application to the Québec immigration office in Damascus:

  • before August 1, 2008, and your file was subject to a preliminary review or you were interviewed, the review of your file will be finalized in this office. You should therefore send any missing documents to the Québec immigration office in Damascus and inform the office of any change in your file.
  • after August 1, 2008,your file will be transferred to the Québec immigration office in Hong Kong. All applicants concerned will receive a letter informing them that their file has been transferred.     

 

 

    

Government of Canada signs Youth Mobility Agreement with Poland   July 14 , 2008

Warsaw, July 14, 2008 — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today signed an agreement with Poland that allows youth from Canada and Poland to travel and work in the other country for up to one year. After signing, ratification will take place in accordance with Canada’s new policy on the tabling of international treaties in Parliament.

The signing of the Youth Mobility Agreement between Minister Finley and the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education, Mme Barbara Kudrycka, follows the announcement made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his visit to Poland in April.

“For more than a century, Poles have migrated to Canada and made great contributions to our country,” said Minister Finley. “More than 800,000 people in Canada trace their roots to Poland. This Youth Mobility Agreement provides young Canadians and young Poles with even greater opportunities to work and travel between our two countries.”

“Our goal is to give Canadian and Polish youth the opportunity to discover new countries and learn about the other culture,” added Minister Finley.

“Canada and Poland have a long standing and strong relationship,” said the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of Foreign Affairs.“ We co-operate in many areas to promote our common values of good governance, democracy and private sector development. The Agreement will serve to actively engage our youth to learn about our respective countries, develop skills for global careers and build networks to ensure an even stronger relationship between Canada and Poland for the future.”

Youth Mobility Arrangements have resulted in more than 22,000 young Canadians choosing to travel and work abroad in approximately 40 countries each year, and 36,000 foreign youth working and travelling in Canada.

The International Youth Programs are managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is responsible for issuing work permits to participants of the programs.

The signing of the Agreement between Canada and Poland offers people between the ages of 18 and 35 the opportunity to work and travel in each other’s countries. Benefits to participants of the youth programs include cultural discovery, international network building and gaining the skills and work experience to succeed in an increasingly globalized society.

This Agreement is another example of Canada and Poland working together to build a stronger relationship. On March 1, Canada lifted the visa requirement for Poland, allowing Polish citizens to visit Canada for up to six months without a visa.

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