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Live from Toronto


This is the current webcam view of Roy Thomson Hall at 60 Simcoe St. in Toronto as seen from the Southwest and looking Northeast. See the location here.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The end of summer

Night time at the CNE
We haven't really had a summer in Toronto this year. Tomorrow promises to bring only the second Heat Warning of the season, where normally we'd have at least a week or two worth of them.

Because the season never really kicked-in weather-wise, I didn't feel as strongly about getting out to the numerous summer festivals: Waterfront Festival, Taste of the Danforth, World Pride, Taste of Asia, Taste of Lawrence (plenty of food festivals, as you can tell!), Caribbean Carnival; Buskerfest and don't forget the Canadian National Exhibition...There are a lot of things to do every weekend.

Maybe my experience last fall of the Nuit Blanche festival coloured my thinking a bit too. During the festival, which runs one night in October from 6PM until 6AM, streets are closed down and interactive art displays are erected. Attendance last year - meaning people flooding the streets of Toronto - was 1 million people. I went out in it. It was crazy. I went to Nathan Phillips Square for a Ai Wei Wei installation. Trying to get through the square was an exercise in having your genitals introduced to 50,000 strangers. Not fun.

I'm going to try and get into the spirit of the festivals again though. May even hit the CNE this weekend. I love the activity in this beautiful city. I need to participate.      

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Crossroads - how should this blog continue?

Hi Readers,
I'm at a crossroads with your favourite immigration blog. Not quite sure how, or if I should continue to write on these big immigration matters, transition this to more of a "life in Canada" or "life in Toronto" blog, or simply call it a day after almost 10 years?

Any thoughts?

I'll let you know my conclusion soon.

- JH

Thursday, August 14, 2014

RT online - No longer welcome: Canada blocks fast-track visa program

Annoyed potential immigrants are planning to sue the Canadian government after Ottawa canceled the so-called ‘millionaire visa’ program, which had allowed tens of thousands of well-off foreigners to gain fast-track visa entry.

The scheme was temporarily frozen in 2012 due to a backlog of paperwork; however, the Canadian government announced in February that it was going to scrap the program permanently.

"This was not a program that was generating jobs, growth, opportunity in Canada and it was certainly not a program that was getting the immigrant investors we wanted," said Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander to CBS.

CBS also reports that around 40 organizations in the Vancouver metropolitan area say they are considering taking legal action against the federal government after it scrapped the Immigrant Investor Program. Vancouver has long been a haven for wealthy immigrants from Hong Kong and mainland China, due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the excellent standard of living in the city.

Read the full article here

Monday, August 11, 2014

Three years in Canada!

As of August 12, 2014, I mark my third year and the start of my fourth in Canada.

Has it passed so quickly? Yes it has. I pinch myself often: Three years as a permanent resident. All and all, it's been pretty wonderful. This is my home. This is my country.

I am content. Am I still adjusting? Absolutely. Do I miss the U.S.? Sometimes. It's mainly family that I miss, and dear friends. But that's the emmigrant's lot in life, and the path I chose. I'm still glad I chose it.

They say time flies when you're having fun, and there's not a lot to say when life is good.

Time is flying. There's not a lot to say.

Friday, July 25, 2014

CanadaVisa.com - A Summary of Quebec Immigration Today

Attorney David Cohen's excellent CanadaVisa site has lots of informative articles and is a great place to stay current on the legal twists and turns of Canadian immigration. Here's his latest on the state of immigration for skilled workers  to Quebec:

"Quebec immigration remains open to a wide range of applicants. In fact, immigrating to Quebec is a popular route to achieve Canadian Permanent Residency. With the goal of reducing processing times for applications, the Government of Quebec has introduced a number of changes to Quebec immigration programs in recent months. Permanent workers, investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed workers looking to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate should take note; spots are filling up quickly. Here is an overview of where these various programs stand today:"

Read the rest of the article here

Monday, July 21, 2014

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander - quotable quotes


On Express Entry program:
  • "We think we've done more than all other countries to make sure our programs are cutting edge..."
  • "Our doors are open, our programs have integrity (and) we're focusing immigration as never before on our economic needs as a country. And our reputation in the world for doing immigration well, for choosing incredible people and for helping them create successful lives in Canada ... has never been stronger."
  • "This is harder than it sounds to pull off."
  • "Express Entry will transform Canada’s immigration system into one that is faster and more responsive to economic and labour market needs. It will allow Citizenship and Immigration Canada to select the candidates who are most likely to succeed economically in Canada, rather than passively process all applicants in a queue..."
On revisions to program allowing citizens of India to visit Canada: 
  • "Successful applicants will be grouped for bulk processing and put through our visa office on a priority basis...its being launched as a permanent program after a successful pilot program..."
  • "Today's announcement is really about visitors for tourism - family or business...for work permits and study programs and immigration...nothing is changing today but all of that is getting faster as well… (from) January 1, 2015 we will offer six month processing for our economic immigration program...and this is a program that used to take 3­, 4 or more years..."
 


Monday, July 14, 2014

The National Post - Canada’s immigration enforcement system suffers from ‘orchestrated mismanagement,’ whistleblower claims

A former Canada Border Services Agency manager is blowing the whistle on the alleged “orchestrated mismanagement” of Canada’s immigration enforcement system, revealing a precipitous drop in the number of illegal immigrants deported at the same time as agency overspending and escalating detention costs.

“Simply put, more money was spent to produce less,” Reg Williams, the former director of CBSA’s Toronto enforcement office, says in a whistleblowing letter to the Privy Council that was obtained by the National Post.

The 23-page letter claims CBSA’s immigration enforcement is “unraveling” just as CBSA bosses are being considered for substantial bonus payments for their performance.

“As a retired public servant, taxpayer and citizen, I am deeply concerned … that the downward trend in productivity, if not addressed, will threaten community safety and security,” he writes in the letter, dated June 26.

“Taxpayers deserve to know why the immigration enforcement program has produced significantly less while spending significantly more.”

Read the rest of the article here

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Globe and Mail - PEI, Nova Scotia join Alberta in opposing changes to foreign worker program

Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s changes to the temporary foreign worker program are drawing criticism from Maritime labour ministers concerned the lobster and seafood industry will be dramatically affected.

The ministers are comparing the fishery to the agriculture industry, which is exempt, and allowed to employ the temporary workers. They have not asked for an outright exemption for the fishery.

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Globe and Mail - Scrapping TFW program for low-wage jobs will be on the table in 2016, Kenney says

They never really cared about you...When the political potato becomes too hot, the Tories always bail. Kenney was a huge champion on the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program when he was Immigration Minister. He showed up at every ethnic event possible. He was your best friend.

Then word got out that the TFW program was naturally being abused by a few big corporations. So who gets thrown under the bus? The workers themselves. Remember this next time you get a chance to vote (that's for all you immigrant citizens in the blogosphere).

The elimination of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for low-wage jobs will be on the table in 2016, says Employment Minister Jason Kenney, who is not backing down in the face of business criticism that the Conservative government is already going too far.

From the Canadian Meat Council to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, business groups are speaking out against Ottawa’s latest plan to cap the number of low-wage foreign workers and impose higher fees.

Read the rest of the article here


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Star - Canadian government’s citizenship bill faces legal challenge

Canadian and international rights groups are poised to launch a legal challenge against Ottawa’s proposed citizenship law, saying it would create two classes of citizens and violate the Charter’s mobility rights.

Under the “Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act,” they say, no one is safe from having their citizenship revoked, even those who were born in Canada if they have the right to dual citizenship in another country because of their immigrant ancestry.

“The new provisions for revocation of citizenship in Bill C-24 violate Canada’s international human rights obligations. They are divisive, discriminatory, retrograde and profoundly unfair,” Amnesty International 

Canada secretary general Alex Neve told a teleconference Thursday.

“The bill buys into and promotes a xenophobic and false narrative about true Canadians and others, a narrative that equates foreignness with suspicions.”

Read the entire article by Nicholas Keung here