Saturday, March 29, 2008


'Running out of sympathy'
Refugee claimant Laibar Singh had support of the Sikh community, but he's running out of friends

Brian Hutchinson, National Post
Published: Friday, March 28, 2008

Failed refugee claimant Laibar Singh is propped up in bed, a heat lamp fixed on his withered right forearm. He is ill.

According to his doctor, he should be in hospital. Instead, he's locked inside a white, two-storey house next to a large Sikh temple, and is attended to by priests and their subordinates. They say he's not going anywhere.

Before wearing out his welcome last week, Mr. Singh was lodged inside another Sikh house, owned by a different temple down the highway in Surrey. He also spent time in New Westminster, and before that here in Abbotsford, a 45-minute drive southeast of Vancouver.

He is tired of being shuttled from one safe haven to another as people attempt to manage his considerable needs while shielding him from Canadian immigration officials.

Frustrated border agents say they would like to enforce a long-standing deportation order against him. Despite repeated attempts to put Mr. Singh on an airplane, they haven't succeeded.

A 48-year-old labourer, Mr. Singh used a fake passport to enter Canada five years ago. He sought refugee status in Montreal, claiming he would be persecuted should he be forced back to his native Punjab, in India. That claim was found lacking and after his refugee application and subsequent appeals were rejected, Mr. Singh received a deportation order.

Rather than respect the order, Mr. Singh quietly moved on, to B.C.'s Lower Mainland. He then fell ill and was bedridden.

Somehow, he became a cause célèbre. In December, thousands of Sikhs converged on Vancouver International Airport and blocked attempts by Canada Border Services Agency officials to escort him to his flight back to India.

Mr. Singh was then spirited to Surrey, where others took up the cause. For a while, at least. "He's not our headache anymore," snaps one disenchanted Sikh elder in Surrey.

Officially, Mr. Singh still enjoys support from distant organizations and individuals, from the Canadian Labour Congress to author Naomi Klein. But here in B.C., he's fast losing friends.

A seven-person committee representing 21 local human rights groups and religious societies was formed this month to press his case. But it disbanded within days, after Mr. Singh allegedly reneged on an agreement to return to his native India.

Last week, leaders of the Surrey temple where Mr. Singh was offered sanctuary, solidarity and a large sum of cash sent him packing; they claim they were "double-crossed" by their former guest.

"He's a liar," declares Balwant Singh Gill, president of the Guru Nanak Sikh temple in Surrey, near Vancouver. "He said he would obey the laws of Canada and go home. We think it's in his best interest to go home. We even offered him $100,000 for medical treatment in India."

Half that amount was posted as a surety to the Immigration and Refugee Board, in order to buy some more time for Mr. Singh to recover from his illness and arrange his affairs in India. The money, raised by local supporters, has been forfeited, says Mr. Gill, thanks to Mr. Singh's intransigence.

"Nothing with [Mr. Singh] worked out the way we had hoped," he says. "We didn't even know anything about him, really. He kept changing his story all the time."

Mr. Singh admits that his story is confusing. His failed refugee application was based on an alleged fear of persecution in India: He claimed to have been the victim of a false accusation - that he was once a member of the Khalistan Commando Force, a terrorist organization seeking to form an independent Sikh state.

But Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board did not find this credible.

A widower with four children still in India, Mr. Singh was actually a sapper in the Indian army before becoming a common labourer.

He now says that fear of persecution is not an issue.

He wants to be allowed to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, based on his illness.

But there is confusion over that, as well. Mr. Singh's supporters and some reporters continue to assert that he suffered either a "stroke" or a "cerebral aneurism" while painting a house in Montreal two years ago, and that he is now a quadriplegic.

In fact, he was diagnosed with a spinal infection after moving to the Vancouver area. It is a debilitating illness - Mr. Singh lost the use of his limbs - but one from which he can at least partially recover. Indeed, his condition has improved, thanks to weekly acupuncture and acupressure treatments, and he can now move his arms. "I'm feeling okay," he said in a bedside interview this week.

His health problems should not preclude him from returning to India, according to his own physician. Appearing on a local radio program in January, Gulzar Cheema said "anyone in his condition with the proper medical treatment can travel."

Dr. Cheema also suggested Mr. Singh required better medical care than could be provided while in sanctuary inside a Sikh temple.

Everyone directly involved in the Singh case concedes that such care exists in India, albeit for a price. The $100,000 offered by former supporters would likely have taken care of that, says Mr. Gill, president of the Surrey temple.

Mr. Singh's care in Canada also has a price, one borne by taxpayers. Earlier this month, the Vancouver Sun reported that his public medical bills have already reached $491,900. That's in addition to the $62,947 the Canadian Border Services Agency has spent on its aborted deportation attempts.

None of this should count against him, or hinder his application to stay in Canada, argues Mr. Singh's lawyer. "It's not unusual" to be accepted on humanitarian and compassionate grounds because of health issues, says Zool Suleman.

Government officials are reviewing his client's latest application; they should also consider "the huge outpouring of concern and support that has come from across Canada," says Mr. Suleman, even if it's shrinking.

He cannot predict when a decision might come. In the meantime, his client remains in bed, inside another Sikh-owned house, where CBSA officials dare not tread for fear of offending religious leaders. Mr. Singh hopes not to wear out his welcome again.

National Post

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Canadians learn how Israel absorbed millions of immigrants

Ruth Eglash , THE JERUSALEM POST Mar. 25, 2008


Canadian immigration officials can learn a lot from Israel's success in absorbing and integrating more than three million immigrants over the past 60 years, according to visiting Canadian academics and experts on immigration, who are here this week to learn from local immigration experiences.

Part of the International Metropolis Project - an immigration think tank initiated and sponsored by the Canadian government that includes more than 40 member nations - the delegation will participate in a Canadian-Israeli Dialogue on Immigration, Integration and Identity being held Thursday and Friday at the Ruppin Academic Center.

"Israel has done an extremely good job of integration," Dr. Howard Duncan, Executive Head of the International Metropolis Project, told The Jerusalem Post this week.

Duncan said that Canadian officials were very interested in learning from Israel's immigration programs and policies, despite the major differences in practices between the two nations.

"Canada has an elaborate process of selecting immigrants with specific skills," explained Duncan. "And the only criteria Israel has for immigrants are that they fit in with the Law of Return." Duncan highlighted Israel's particular success at overcoming the challenges of integrating large numbers of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) and channeling their skills into the hi-tech industry during the early 1990s, as well as resettling more than 100,000 immigrants from Ethiopia.

While the Metropolis project focuses mainly on immigration, Duncan said that the new challenge for most nations worldwide is "not how to attract new immigrants, but how to make them stay in the country."

"The effects of globalization are enormous," he continued. "Today, we hear about people changing countries many times in their lives or about immigrants who return to their homeland. This is the new norm, what we call 'circular migration.'"

Duncan said this norm was a challenge for both Canada and Israel, which in recent years has seen a larger number of its citizens leaving the country than arriving.

Prof. Moshe Semyonov, from the department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University and Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Institute for the Study of Immigration at the Ruppin Academic Center, said that despite the high rate of citizens who leave, "Israel is committed to absorbing new immigrants."

"I consider Israel a success story in terms of immigration and absorption," he told the Post. "Within one generation, new immigrants generally become part of the system." Semyonov, who is also a member of the Metropolis International Steering Committee, continued: "Israeli society is highly committed to accepting new immigrants and here the whole system is geared up to accept them." Asked what Israel could learn from Canada's experience, Duncan pointed out that the influx of new immigrants, especially from the Pacific and Asia regions, into the North American nation over the past two decades has created "extraordinary levels of ethnic and cultural diversity, with more than 200 languages being spoken in Toronto alone."

Monday, March 24, 2008


Canadian HR Reporter

March 24, 2008

Immigrants don’t get much for $130,000
Nova Scotia scraps mentorship PNP and offers refunds
By Shannon Klie

An immigration program aimed at attracting business managers and entrepreneurs to Nova Scotia by promising them business mentorships was doomed from the start, according to an immigration lawyer.

Most immigrants want to settle in Alberta or British Columbia, because of the hot job market, or Ontario and Quebec, said Sergio Karas, a Toronto-based lawyer and chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s citizenship and immigration section.

“People in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are making valiant efforts to reverse that trend but, let’s face it, the jobs are not there,” he said. “Immigrants are going to go wherever the jobs are and business immigrants are going to go wherever the money is.”

The Nova Scotia provincial nominee program’s (PNP’s) economic stream fast-tracked potential immigrants, who paid $130,000, to permanent resident status and promised them a minimum six-month mentorship with a local business, for which they would be paid a minimum of $20,000.

“It was designed to provide newcomers to the province with an opportunity to gain some exposure to the Canadian workplace,” said Mary Anna Jollymore, director of communications for the Nova Scotia office of immigration. The hope was they would then open their own business in the province, she added.

But with a softer economy, immigrants who came to Nova Scotia under the economic stream had a hard time finding mentorships with local businesses. Those who did find placements were often working well below their experience level.

“It wasn’t meeting the needs of many of the nominees who were coming through the program,” said Jollymore.

Of the $130,000 program fee, $100,000 went to the mentoring business and $30,000 went to administration fees, including a $20,000 immigration consultant fee.

PNPs in other provinces also have business or entrepreneurial streams, most of which require a minimum investment in a current or new business of up to $400,000 (usually with the requirement the immigrant own at least one-third of the company). Some provinces, such as Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, require the immigrant to make a good faith deposit with the provincial government, usually about $100,000, which the immigrant gets back when the business investment is made.

However, Nova Scotia’s economic stream differs because the immigrant doesn’t end up owning part of the company in which he has invested $100,000.

The economic stream program stopped accepting applicants on July 1, 2006. The unused mentorship fees are in a $75-million trust fund and last fall the government offered $100,000 refunds to participants who lived in Nova Scotia for 12 months but never found a mentorship. About 600 of the 800 participants qualified for the refund option.

However, about 75 immigrants who did find mentorships are petitioning the government for a refund of the difference between the $100,000 and what the mentorship paid. Some of these immigrants told the legislature’s public accounts committee last month they felt betrayed by the province because their experiences didn’t live up to the promise of the program.

A former department store manager from Tehran told the committee his boss at a fish company told him to stay home because there wasn’t any work for him. An Iranian psychiatrist spent his time at a construction company studying for Canadian medical tests.

Many immigrants who came to Canada under the program didn’t bother to stay in Nova Scotia and immigrants who found mentorships want the government to use the fees these immigrants forfeited for their refund.

There were, however, some success stories from the program. John Huang, a food exporter from China, had a year-long mentorship with the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) in Halifax, during which time he worked on research projects to improve trade between Atlantic Canada and Asia.

“As a think-tank, we exist to draw new and innovative thinking to public policy ideas. By going outside of the country, you get a guaranteed different perspective on things,” said Charles Cirtwill, the acting president of AIMS, who added that Huang brought a valuable perspective on immigration and trade policy.

While working at AIMS, Huang also set up his own China-Canada import-export business in Halifax, and he became a member of the city’s chamber of commerce.

Where the program fell short, in Cirtwill’s opinion, was in matching immigrants with businesses. Despite having paid a $30,000 administrative fee, it was Huang, not Cornwallis Financial, the organization that administered the program, who found AIMS and convinced the institute to take him on, said Cirtwill.

“It was that matching piece that they were never able to fulfil the promise of,” he said.

Nova Scotia is redesigning the economic stream into an entrepreneurial stream that will more closely resemble that of other provinces, said Jollymore.

“We’re still aiming to attract the same kind of individuals who have an interest in setting up their own business down the road or have skills that would meet the needs of the local labour market,” she said.

While the majority of immigrants to Canada aren’t choosing to settle in Nova Scotia, there has been an increase in the number of immigrants coming to the province since 2001, said Jollymore.

The province had 1,474 total landings in 2003 and that increased to 2,585 in 2006. The province wants to reach 3,600 annual landings by 2010 and increase its retention rate from 40 per cent in 2001 to 70 per cent by 2010, she said.

“While it’s all well and good to bring people into the province, at the end of the day you want them staying here,” she said. “The targets are ambitious, but we’re on track.”

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Here is another bright idea from our politicians to poison our relations with the US, and to defy the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, as reported in the article below in the New York Times. It must be noted that US military service is VOLUNTARY, unlike the compulsory service required in many if you don't want to get into a bad situation, don't join the military!

March 23, 2008

War Dodgers


Next month, the Canadian House of Commons is slated to debate a resolution that would allow conscientious objectors “who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations” to apply for residency in Canada. The phrasing is vague but the intent is not. The war in question is the Iraq war, and the resolution represents the culmination of a four-year debate about what to do with the small but steady stream of American soldiers who have fled across our northern border to avoid fighting in Iraq.

It all began in Jan. 2004, when a young American with a long, serious face walked into the Toronto law office of Jeffry House to ask for help with what was at the time a highly unusual immigration case. The American turned out to be a soldier named Jeremy Hinzman, an infantryman in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He told House that his petition for conscientious-objector status was denied while he was stationed in Afghanistan. He crossed the border into Canada just days before his unit was to be deployed to Iraq. Of the more than 25,000 American soldiers who, according to the United States Department of Defense, have deserted since 2003, the Toronto-based War Resisters Support Campaign estimates that 225 have fled to Canada. (The D.O.D defines a deserter as anyone who has been AWOL for 30 consecutive days or who seeks asylum in a foreign country; desertion carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.)

The majority of the deserters in Canada have chosen not to make the authorities aware of their presence. Like any other illegal immigrants, they have settled for invisibility. A few dozen, though, followed Hinzman’s lead. Most found their way to Jeffry House. One young Army medic named Justin Colby read an AOL news posting about Hinzman’s case while stationed in Iraq. He telephoned House from Ramadi and showed up in his office a few months later.

House would eventually represent between 30 and 35 American deserters. Most of them, like Colby, say they joined the military in part out of patriotism. “I thought Iraq had something to do with 9/11,” Colby says, “that they were the bad guys that attacked our country.” But unlike Hinzman, most did not apply for conscientious-objector status. They tend to say they aren’t opposed to all wars in principle — just to the one they were ordered to fight. It wasn’t until Colby arrived in Iraq that he started to see the conflict as “a war of aggression, totally unprovoked,” he says. “I was, like, ‘This is what my buddies are dying for?’ ” Midway through his tour, he decided: “I’m never going to do this again.” He went AWOL the day before his unit left to train for a second deployment. House says that more than two-thirds of his clients have been deployed to Iraq at least once. “One is resisting a third deployment.”

Tens of thousands of American draft dodgers and deserters took refuge in Canada in the late 1960s and early ’70s. House was one of them. He packed up his car and left his home in Wisconsin 38 years ago to start a new life in Canada. The process was simple. “I came to the border and said: ‘I would like to immigrate to Canada. I’m refusing to serve in Vietnam,’ ” he recalls. Border officials had him type up an application for residency on the spot. “Four weeks later, I got my permanent-resident status.” But times have changed since Pierre Trudeau, then the prime minister, declared Canada “a refuge from militarism.” While Canada is still a relative haven for asylum-seekers, its immigration laws have tightened sharply, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a faithful ally of the Bush administration. (Harper has kept 2,500 Canadian troops in Afghanistan, whose deployment the House of Commons recently extended until 2011.) As a result, the new generation of war resisters find themselves in an uncomfortable squeeze. In today’s Canada, deserters like Hinzman really have only one legal option: to apply for residency as refugees.

“There’s a very clear Canadian precedent for the idea that no soldier has to participate in an illegal war,” House says. That precedent, interestingly enough, is a case in which an Iraqi Army soldier was granted asylum in Canada after fleeing to avoid taking part in the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But House’s first task was to prove that the Iraq war is illegal. His argument relied largely on his reading of international law. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees lays out a slender possibility for relief. Mere disagreement with the “political justification for a particular military action” is not sufficient. The action must be “condemned by the international community as contrary to basic rules of human conduct.” Only in that case can punishment for desertion or draft evasion “be regarded as persecution.”

Juridically, at least, House saw the case as straightforward. A British court had awarded asylum to a Russian deserter of the Chechen war on the same basis. (British case law often influences Canadian jurisprudence.) And there was the precedent of the Iraqi deserter. But convincing the Canadian courts to equate George W. Bush’s occupation of Iraq with Saddam Hussein’s attack on Kuwait was a politically daunting task.

In the end, House never got the chance. He showed up at Hinzman’s first hearing armed with evidence arguing for the illegality of the Iraq war: 13 four-inch-thick binders containing everything from former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s memos on the treatment of detainees to Human Rights Watch reports to the British Army’s documentation of civilian deaths at American military checkpoints. In March 2005, the immigration board ruled against Hinzman, insisting that its “authority does not include making judgments about United States foreign policy.”

A Canadian federal court upheld that decision in 2006, interpreting the relevant international law to apply only to high-level policy makers. “The ordinary foot soldier,” the court ruled, “is not expected to make his or her personal assessment as to the legality of a conflict.” All the documents in House’s 13 binders were thus irrelevant. House objected that policy makers are rarely asked to take up arms. But an appeals court ruled against him last April on other grounds.

“The present position is basically Pontius Pilate,” House told me last fall, not long before he hit the end of the legal road. In mid-November, the Supreme Court dismissed his request for an appeal. “It’s a huge loss,” House said at the time. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s the court deciding not to be involved in the controversy.”

The deserters’ fight has since passed out of the courts and into the hazy realm of politics. On Dec. 6, the Parliament’s immigration committee passed the resolution that would give American deserters a chance at residency. The vote broke down along party lines: the four members of the Conservative Party (which is currently in power but lacks a parliamentary majority) voted against it, but they were outnumbered by the seven representatives of the three major opposition parties.

Whether such unity will survive the full House of Commons debate next month remains to be seen. The Iraq war has been immensely unpopular in Canada, and the leaders of the Bloc Quebecois and the left-leaning New Democratic Party have both come out in support of the resolution. But Canadian M.P.’s tend to vote with far more party discipline than their American counterparts, and Stéphane Dion, the head of the Liberal Party, has not yet taken a public stance on the bill. Without his support, its fate is uncertain.

In the meantime, the deserters have little to do but wait. Though the United States Army does issue arrest warrants for deserters, it does not actively track them down; even at home, deserters are most likely to be apprehended if they are picked up for an unrelated offense. According to a State Department spokeswoman, the United States has made no diplomatic efforts to bring deserters home from Canada. And despite the Canadian Supreme Court decision in November, none have yet been deported. But, as House puts it, “the machinery is grinding along.” At least eight deserters, including Hinzman, have received Preremoval Risk Assessment notices, the bureaucratic preludes to actual deportation orders. It’s very unlikely, though, that the government will make any move before the parliamentary vote in April. Even then, the deserters’ supporters say they hope, the government might prefer that this issue disappear. Given the unpopularity of the Iraq war and the Harper administration’s narrow hold on power, “the Conservatives have nothing to gain if this issue becomes very public,” says Michelle Robidoux of the War Resisters Support Campaign.

Undeterred by the Supreme Court ruling, new arrivals are still showing up. Robidoux’s group has added five to its roster in just the last three weeks. For Colby, Hinzman and others, uncertainty in Canada apparently looks better than combat in Iraq. “Every day that I’m here,” Colby says, “I’m glad I’m not in Baghdad.”

Ben Ehrenreich is the author of a novel, “The Suitors,” and has written for L.A. Weekly, Men’s Vogue and The Times Book Review.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Immigration consultant guilty of misconduct

Truck driver clients didn't get Canadian jobs

March 20, 2008
Nicholas Keung

A Toronto immigration consultant has been found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to secure jobs for 24 Korean truck drivers she helped bring to Canada along with an immigration-consulting firm in Seoul.

After three months of deliberations, the discipline panel of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants ruled this week that Yolanda Simao failed to provide quality service to the drivers despite her claim she was not retained by the drivers and that her only client was the Korean recruiter.

The ruling, which stemmed from the four-year-old regulatory body's first disciplinary hearing in November, sheds new light on the often-murky relationship between prospective migrants, consultants and myriad unregulated recruitment agents overseas.

It also redefines the scope of what is considered immigration work by consultants who, due to a recent expansion of Canada's temporary foreign worker program, are increasingly doubling up their duties by acting as employment recruiters helping overseas workers obtain work permits.

In their complaints, the drivers said they each paid thousands of dollars to the unregulated recruiter in Seoul, who teamed up with Simao to find them Canadian employment.

The drivers said they were told they would earn $60,000 a year and could expect to get Canadian permanent residency after getting a work permit. However, the jobs evaporated because their English was not up to par.

Their story was one of many profiled in a Star investigative series last year that looked into unscrupulous immigration advisers. The regulatory body is also probing another case involving Mississauga's CWC Immigration Solutions Inc., run by CSIC consultants Gurpreet and Kamalpreet Khaira.

The disciplinary panel's decision against Simao hinged on the definition of a client-consultant relationship. Simao argued that her job was done when she successfully obtained work permits for the drivers.

"If the panel takes Ms Simao's view, then there are indeed a limited number of occasions when a consultant can be said to have entered a consultant/client relationship," the 23-page decision explained.

"While she may not have known (the drivers) or even met them, Ms Simao represented their interests to (Service Canada)."

The Star's "Lost in Migration" series, which won a 2007 international Online Journalism Award in the public service category, can be seen at

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


This is deja vu: Canada just lifted the visa requirement for citizenship of Czech Republic and Hungary, and Czech and Hungarian citizens of Roma origin are again busy trying to find creative ways to make bogus refugee claims. When will Canada learn? (rhetorical question...). We need to prevent a repeat of the situation and reject these claims immediately to discourage a flood of applicants. See Toronto Star report below:

Czech asylum bids watched in Ottawa

Spike in applications, mostly by Roma, since visa requirement ended

March 19, 2008
Nicholas Keung

Canada has seen a rising number of Roma asylum seekers since lifting its visa requirement for Czech Republic visitors five months ago – and more are expected now that four other eastern European countries have been given the same exemption.

This month, Canada extended visa exemptions to Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Lithuania. All but the latter are populated by ethnic Roma, known colloquially as gypsies, who continue to face discrimination and social isolation in eastern Europe.

The European Union has been pressuring Canada to open its border to all 27 member states, eliminating barriers that especially involve eastern Europe.

Immigration Minister Diane Finley dropped the visa requirement for the Czech Republic as of Nov. 1.

Since then, claims for asylum by Czech visitors, in most cases Roma, shot up to 83 by the end of December, from zero the previous year. This past January, 45 more claims were entered.

There are concerns this could lead to a repeat of the 1996 influx of an estimated 4,000 Czech Roma into Canada after travel restrictions were eliminated. The majority were granted refugee status, but not before Canada reinstated a visa requirement.

This time, the Canadian government has made it known unofficially that should the number of Czech refugee claimants leap to 580 this year (or 2 per cent of all such claims Canada expects to process), it will restore the visa requirement.

At the Toronto Roma Community Centre on Springhurst Ave., executive director Paul St. Clair said he has been fielding calls from eastern Europeans wanting to learn more about coming to Canada."If we open the border, we open the border. We shouldn't limit how many refugees can apply from a country," said St. Clair, whose centre has files on about 40 Roma families seeking asylum since November.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the status quo between the two countries is based only on diplomatic assurances. "There is no 2 per cent (sanction) but it is important to remember that visa requirements are regularly reviewed," said spokesperson Danielle Norris.

Eliminating visas is a win-win for both countries in terms of trade and tourism, Czech Republic ambassador Pavel Vosalik told the Star, adding that using the 2 per cent yardstick to determine entry conditions for Czechs isn't fair.

He questioned the legitimacy of asylum applications, saying Czech natives are now free to travel in Europe if they decide their homeland lacks adequate security.

Canada now requires visas of only two EU members, Romania and Bulgaria. Norris said the eventual goal is to end those barriers as well.


The decision below, just released, shows how NOT to cross the border. Obviously, these individuals did not have legal counsel to advise them as to how to deal with their immigration situation, which could have easily have been resolved without incident if they had not tried to do so much fancy footwork.

Canada (Minister of Citizenship & Immigration) v. Bodine

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Alison Colette Bodine

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Immigration Division)

M. Tessler Member

Heard: October 31, 2007
Judgment: October 31, 2007
Docket: A7-00753

M. Tessler Member:

1 Canada Border Services Agency alleges that Ms. Bodine is inadmissible to Canada for misrepresentation. Misrepresentation is a potential ground of inadmissibility found in section 40(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act . It reads as follows:

40. (1) ...a foreign national is inadmissible for misrepresentation

(a) for directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of this Act

2 The structure of my decision will be as follows. I will summarize generally the circumstances that led to the allegation. I will briefly discuss what this hearing does not concern. I will then look at the evidence and make some specific findings of act. Then I will move on to the legal issue.

3 Ms. Bodine is a citizen of the United States and neither a permanent resident nor a Canadian citizen. At approximately 2:00 a.m. on September 10th, Ms. Bodine arrived in her car at the Peace Arch border crossing. Her car was filled with many items, including a large chest, several backpacks and a bicycle. Ms. Bodine was examined by CBSA Officer Kelly Emmett (phonetic). Her car was also inspected by Officer Emmett and another officer. Officer Emmett noted that Ms. Bodine had more belongings than would be required for a trip to Canada for two to three months. She did not have any proof of available funds or of a US address to which she would return. Officer Emmett formed the opinion that Ms. Bodine would not leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for her stay in Canada. Ms. Bodine did not protest Officer Emmett's decision and agreed to voluntarily withdraw her application to enter.

4 Around noon on the same date, Ms. Bodine returned in her car to the same border crossing. At this time her car contained only a few items, including a single backpack. Ms. Bodine was admitted to Canada. She did not advise the officer who examined her at the primary inspection line that she had been allowed to voluntarily withdraw from Canada earlier in the day. She did not advise the officer that she had in her possession the information suggested by Officer Emmett that she have available.

5 A few minutes later, Andrew Barry (phonetic), a Canadian citizen, approached the border seeking to re-enter Canada. In his car were many of the items Ms. Bodine had had in her car when she sought to enter Canada earlier that morning. Among these items were personal papers of Ms. Bodine's, including an expired passport. When CBSA learned from Mr. Barry that Ms. Bodine had entered Canada a few minutes before, the belongings were seized and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

6 Canada Border Services alleges that when Ms. Bodine sought to enter Canada the second time, she misrepresented or withheld the fact that she had been refused entry earlier that day. CBSA also alleges that Ms. Bodine misrepresented the amount of belongings she was intending on bringing into Canada.

7 Now, I want to talk for a moment about what this hearing is not about. It is not about Officer Emmett's decision to deny Ms. Bodine entry into Canada. I am not here to look behind that decision. I will tell you that I am not sure that I agree with Officer Emmett's decision. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is very clear at section 22(2) that a person can have a dual intent when coming into Canada. It reads:

22. (2) An intention by a foreign national to become a permanent resident does not preclude them from becoming a temporary resident if the officer is satisfied that they will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay.

8 In my estimation, there was very little before Officer Emmett that suggested Ms. Bodine would not comply with the requirement that she leave Canada at the end of her visit. In fact, Officer Emmett had Ms. Bodine's computer file that showed that she had complied in the past with all requirements placed on her by Immigration authorities. She had been in Canada recently, as recently as the summer. She had just completed her Bachelor of Science degree at UBC in May after four years on study permits. For part of that time, she had an off-campus work permit. In four years, I would imagine she had made many friends and connections in Canada and might have had some interest in visiting them and perhaps seeking to live in Canada permanently.

9 Officer Emmett concluded from the quantity of belongings in Ms. Bodine's car that she would not leave Canada at the end of the period authorized for her stay. I am rather bewildered by that conclusion in the face of the provision for dual intent in the legislation and Ms. Bodine's untarnished record with Canada Immigration authorities.

10 It would not have been improper for Ms. Bodine to have been thinking about permanently living in Canada. It would not have been improper of her to seek to live with her partner for an extended period of time. All she was required to do was remain in status; that is, leave by the end of her authorized period or apply for an extension, and not work or study without authorization. These were concepts that Ms. Bodine understood well. Officer Emmett could simply have reminded Ms. Bodine of her obligations under the Immigration Act but instead chose to refuse her admission. Ms. Bodine was probably unaware that if she had been politely insistent, the question of her admission could have been adjudicated at a hearing such as this.

11 This hearing is also not about Ms. Bodine's political opinion or affiliations. Ms. Bodine was of the view that Officer Emmett's decision to deny her entry was influenced by antiwar literature found in her car. This was Ms. Bodine's impression of her interaction with Officer Emmett, but not Officer Emmett's recall of the event. The evidence is not at all conclusive on this subject. Officer Emmett says she never saw the literature. Ms. Bodine says Officer Emmett brought a sample from the car and asked her about it.

12 Perhaps Officer Emmett saw some antiwar literature and it influenced her decision to not admit Ms. Bodine. This would have been improper as it relates to no ground of inadmissibility and it would ignore the Charter right to freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression and freedom of association. Nonetheless, this just brings us back to what I originally noted: Officer Emmett's decision to deny Ms. Bodine entry to Canada is not the subject of this hearing. What I have offered is an opinion on it. I have no authority to overrule it.

13 Now I will address the substance of this hearing. There are essentially two issues. The first issue is a factual issue: what happened at the border when Ms. Bodine sought to enter Canada the second time. The second issue is a legal issue: did she make a material misrepresentation when she came to the border the second time.

14 Ms. Bodine asserts that when she was denied to Canada, she decided to change her plans regarding Canada. She drove into Blaine, Washington and slept in her car. In the morning, she received a call from Simon Fraser University about a teaching assistant position she had applied for. She decided then that she would attempt to come into Canada for a couple of days to see about the job. In order to address two of Officer Emmett's concerns, Ms. Bodine obtained an ATM receipt showing her account balance and a statement showing her home address in Colorado.

15 In the meantime, her boyfriend, Mr. Barry, drove to Blaine to meet her. According to Ms. Bodine, she gave Mr. Barry his belongings that had been in her car, including the bicycle. She also gave him the chest that primarily contained the antiwar literature that Ms. Bodine felt caused her to be turned away at the border. According to her testimony, she transferred to Mr. Barry's car only things belonging to him and that when she approached the border the second time, she had with her only her belongings, her personal belongings, including a backpack and some other bags. She admitted that she inadvertently left a folder full of personal documents in the chest.

16 The Minister presented in a post-hearing letter a receipt for the seized goods, those seized from Mr. Barry's car, indicating that seized from Mr. Barry was a bike, a bike rack, helmet, wooden chest, two black bags, two red bags and a beige bag. Officer Dempsey, who inspected Mr. Barry's car, stated in a statutory declaration that the trunk of Mr. Barry's car contained several backpacks and a chest.

The trunk contained several backpacks and a large chest that contained goods such as several photo albums, old letters, old bills, unopened letters, several notebooks with notes, many old books, women's clothing, women's shoes, a certificate of achievement for a course that was completed, personal file folders filled with personal information, artwork. Political and cannabis literature was found within the contents. Inside one of the backpacks was an expired passport of a woman, as well as other picture identification.

17 Because these are items that Officer Dempsey personally inspected and seized, I prefer his statutory declaration over Ms. Bodine's oral testimony. Ms. Bodine attempted to minimize the significance of the transfer to Mr. Barry's car. She testified that only Mr. Barry's belongings and the political literature were moved. But in fact Mr. Barry's trunk contained many of Ms. Bodine's own possessions, including clothing and personal documents, and these were not just inadvertently in the chest but also in one of the backpacks.

18 I draw two conclusions: First, that Ms. Bodine unburdened herself of the bulk of the items from her car to create the impression to border officials that she was bringing into Canada no more than what she would need for a short sojourn in Canada, once again, in order to address Officer Emmett's concerns. Second, at this hearing Ms. Bodine wanted to create the impression that transferring the bulk of the items was not a calculated act; at least, it was only calculated in respect of the political literature that she felt had hindered her admission previously.

19 I think it is clear that when Ms. Bodine decided to attempt to enter Canada again, she gave regard to the CBSA officer's advice. She prepared herself by having an ATM receipt showing her bank balance, some proof of a US address, only those belongings needed for her visit and no eyebrow-raising political material.

20 The statutory declaration of the border officer who examined her on her second attempt to enter Canada reveals that the officer does not remember very much of the encounter, but does offer the opinion that if Ms. Bodine's car had contained all of her belongings, she would have been referred for a secondary examination. This opinion has no influence on my decision.

21 Ms. Bodine testified that she told the border officer that she was seeking to enter Canada for two or three days. She did not advise the officer that she had been allowed to leave earlier the same day. She was not referred to a secondary examination and therefore was not asked for the documents to show her funds and connection to the US.

22 This leads me to the second issue: whether there was a misrepresentation in law. There was considerable argument about whether and to what degree Ms. Bodine owed a duty of candour, in other words, a duty to spontaneously disclose to the border officer that she had been refused entry earlier that day. In my opinion, it is unnecessary to make this determination.

23 Misrepresentation may take many forms and occur in a variety of circumstances. It may occur when completing application forms for status in Canada, for example by claiming to be single when actually married. It may occur by presenting false documents, such as a fraudulent acceptance letter for a college. It may also arise from omissions, by the withholding of information relevant to one's admission, for example by not disclosing an existing criminal record when asked. This last example relates to the requirement in subsection 16(1) of the Act.

16. (1) A person who makes an application must answer truthfully all questions put to them for the purpose of the examination and must produce a visa and all relevant evidence and documents that the officer reasonably requires.

24 Clearly in this case Ms. Bodine was not asked by the officer about the quantity of belongings she was bringing into Canada. She was not asked because she was displaying only a minimum of personal effects. She was not asked because, as I have found in fact, she had transferred most of her belongings to Mr. Barry's car. The purpose of doing so was unquestionably to mislead the examining officer into believing she was bringing into Canada less than she actually was. I characterize this as either indirectly withholding information or directly misrepresenting. Not much turns on how it is phrased.

25 A misrepresentation must be of a material fact. "Material" means in context relevant to that person's admission to Canada and it's very case-specific. "Material" also relates to what a person objectively knows to be relevant to the border officials.

26 In this case, seeing only a few things in Ms. Bodine's car, the border officer's interest was not piqued. This is precisely what makes Ms. Bodine's misrepresentation material. She knew that a car full of possessions would attract unwanted attention, as it had when she tried to enter earlier the same day. She knew that she had been denied admission to Canada because, among other concerns, reasonable or not, she had had with her too much stuff. By removing the bulk of the belongings, she foreclosed or averted further inquiries, or in other words, she cut off an avenue of investigation for the officer.

27 This connects to the final element of the allegation: whether the misrepresentation induced or could have induced an error in the administration of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act . If one withholds or misrepresents information that is relevant to whether or not one is admitted to Canada, then it creates the potential for an error in the administration of the Act; that is, the potential for admitting someone who may not be admissible. I appreciate that Ms. Bodine felt her earlier refusal of admission had been unjustified, and I am inclined to agree, but that did not justify Ms. Bodine in turn playing fast and loose with border officials.

28 In summary, I am satisfied that all the elements of the allegation have been established and I am required to make an exclusion order against Ms. Bodine, which I hereby do. So I'll conclude this matter and provide Ms. Bodine with the order.


Saturday, March 15, 2008


The federal government introduced yesterday legislative amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that would allow the Minister to control the ever increasing application backlog, limit the number or new applications, set priorities in processing and timeless. Here is a summary as set out in today's Globe and Mail newspaper:


Bill expands minister's control over immigration

New legislation, buried in budget implementation bill, gives minister power to decide the number and type of people allowed in

March 15, 2008

OTTAWA -- The federal Conservatives are moving to give the Immigration Minister more power to control the number and type of people allowed into the country - and the speed with which they are welcomed here.

New legislation tabled yesterday would also allow the minister to cap the backlog of potential immigrants and cut off applications if the queue gets too long.

Immigration Minister Diane Finley told the House of Commons that the changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are aimed at increasing the number of workers coming into Canada.

"Our government has two objectives," Ms. Finley said. "The first is to bring more newcomers here to fill the jobs and be reunited with their families. The second is to do it faster."

Among other things, the new legislation says a visa "may" be issued to applicants who meet federal requirements.

For those who are inadmissible, the minister may still grant permanent resident status if it is justified on compassionate grounds or "by public policy considerations."

And the law would give the minister the power to set the number of applications, by type, processed in any year.

The changes in the Immigration Act are buried in a massive budget implementation bill. That means the opposition parties will have to approve them or bring down the minority Conservative government - something the Liberals have been unwilling to do.

But Liberal MP David McGuinty said the proposed rules would dash the hopes of large numbers of immigrant hopefuls.

He pointed to processing waiting times for immigrants, which have increased by 20 per cent over the past four years. More than 800,000 people are currently stuck in limbo on waiting lists.

"The government is so desperate to close the door on immigrants that it will ignore the painful mistakes of previous Conservative governments that tried to do the very same thing," Mr. McGuinty said.

"Why does the minister insist on closing Canada's doors to the newcomers we desperately need to fuel our labour and our population growth even though history shows this is absolutely the wrong approach?"

Ms. Finley replied that the Conservative government welcomed more immigrants to Canada last year than in most of the preceding 100 years.

"Not only are we doing more, we are doing it better," she said. "In the family reunification class, we have made that a priority, and now cases are getting processed 20 per cent to 40 per cent faster than they did under the previous government."

Olivia Chow, a New Democrat from Toronto, said Liberal governments let the backlogs grow "and the Conservative solution is just as absurd: They just will not take as many applications."

Ms. Chow urged the minister to instead bolster resources at Canada's overseas offices and relax the immigration point system. She said the target number of immigrants into Canada should be equal to 1 per cent of the population - or 330,000 people - to renew the work force and drive the economy.

The government says there were 429,000 foreigners allowed into Canada last year, but that included temporary workers and students in addition to 251,000 permanent residents.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


The following appeared in today's National Post and, if true, it is long overdue. While the details are still sketchy, it appears that the government is finally admitting its failure to manage the immigration system, which is under enormous pressure and buried under the weight of over 800,000 applications.

Tories set to accept fewer immigration applications

John Ivison, National Post
Published: Thursday, March 13, 2008

OTTAWA - The federal government is set to reduce the number of new immigration applications it accepts in a dramatic change of policy aimed at cutting the backlog of nearly 900,000 people who have already applied to enter Canada.

Sources say Immigration Minister Diane Finley will table an amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as early as today. The new legislation will limit the number of new applications accepted and processed annually.

The act currently requires the government to process every application that enters the system -- a provision that has led to the huge backlog and a wait-time of around four years for an application to be processed.

"It isn't sustainable," said one source, who added that the overall number of immigrants admitted to Canada is more likely to increase than fall in the coming years, even if the number of new applications accepted drops dramatically.

It is believed the amendment will be included as part of the legislation to implement the federal budget, making it a confidence matter.

Maurizio Bevilacqua, the Liberal immigration critic, said the Conservatives don't understand the role immigration plays in Canada's history. "The Conservatives are shutting the door on immigration because they fail to understand its importance to our labour markets and our nation-building. The lack of resources devoted to this issue shows they are not serious about immigration," he said yesterday.

In this year's budget, the government allocated $22-million to modernizing the immigration system. "It is not fair for prospective immigrants to wait for years before being considered, and it is not desirable to wait that long for the immigrants the country needs," the budget said, adding that the proposed changes will "more effectively manage the future growth in the inventory, such as addressing the number of applications accepted and processed in a year." The changes are designed to establish a "just-in-time" immigration system, where the wait time is reduced to an average of a year.

Ms. Finley has emphasized that the government is seeking to bring the "best and the brightest" to Canada.

"Immigration will play an increasingly important role in our long-term growth and prosperity, and we will continue to look for innovative ways to bring in talent from around the world," Ms. Finley told an audience in Mumbai, India, last November.

But critics contend that the new policy will target "economic class" migrants coming to Canada for work, rather than "family class" immigrants being reunited with Canadian family members, or cases where immigrants are admitted on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

"The Conservatives are attacking family reunification but it attracts many skilled workers to come here," Mr. Bevilacqua said.

The government has made no secret of the fact it sees itself in competition with countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom for the most qualified immigrants. This is likely to mean the vast majority of applications accepted in future are from the "economic class" of migrants that currently make up around 60% of newcomers.

Canada accepts about 250,000 immigrants a year, a figure that has increased since the Conservatives took office. The backlog of applications grew from 50,000 when the Liberal party took office in 1993 to around 500,000 in 2000. By the time the Conservatives came to power in early 2006, it was around 800,000 and in the past two years that number has grown to around 875,000.

Some estimates suggest that as many as one-quarter of current applications are more than six years old.

The Liberals made a number of attempts to eat into the backlog. For example, when Liberal MP Dennis Coderre was immigration minister in 2002, he raised the total number of points required for admission to 75 from 70 (points are allocated on the basis of language skills, education and job offers).

However, under pressure from the Liberals' ethnic voting base, the party backed down and reduced the number of points required to 67.

In 2005, with an election pending, then Liberal immigration minister Joe Volpe announced he would increase the number of immigrants by 100,000 a year -- a rise of 40% from existing levels at that time.

The Conservatives have long argued the Liberals allowed political, rather than economic, factors to dominate their immigration and refugee policy.

A report by the Fraser Institute in 2005 suggested that only 23% of immigrants are net fiscal contributors to Canada at a cost to the taxpayer every year of more than $18-billion (although 60% of immigrants are from the "economic class," fewer than half that number pass the points test -- the remainder are spouses and children).

The government says it has already taken a number of measures to make the system more flexible and efficient, including the establishment of Foreign Credentials Referral offices in China and India and moves to make it easier for foreign students and temporary workers to obtain visas.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Nigerian man charged in international fraud scheme

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

March 11, 2008 at 4:27 AM EDT

A Nigerian repeatedly deported from Canada appeared in court briefly yesterday on charges stemming from what police describe as one of the most elaborate stolen-for-export fraud scams Toronto has seen in years.

Police say the operation trafficked in everything from electronic gadgets to expensive rental cars spirited abroad in containers, from credit card fraud to the creation of phony health cards and social insurance numbers, was in business for more than 18 months, and netted up to $10-million.

And near the centre of the web, police say, was 39-year-old Edmund Ezemo, purportedly a Toronto resident, but in fact an illegal immigrant from Nigeria, who, with the aid of three passports and an array of forged documents, has slipped into this country at least eight times.

"He's got his hand in all the cookie jars ... he's been deported eight times; this will be the ninth," said Detective Dominic Sinopoli of North York's 23 Division.

An alleged accomplice arrested in December is also charged, and police are still seeking to question at least two or three others. Detectives believe the alleged ring was anchored in Nigeria, where wire-transfer documents seized in police raids suggest much of the merchandise ended up.

The operation came to light late last year when a North York electronics firm reported being defrauded of nearly $750,000 worth of goods, encompassing everything from consumer staples to elaborate mobile photo labs worth an estimated $80,000 apiece.

Those items were paid for with cheques that had been falsely certified, giving the thieves at least a week to disappear before the cheques bounced, police said.

Dozens of high-end rented cars are also believed to have been stolen and shipped abroad.

In addition, hundreds of credit card owners across Southern Ontario may have been defrauded when the thieves used bona fide names to create phony credit cards.

Scores of fake health cards, SIN cards, passports and other pieces of identification were also seized in the raids, and police suspect there are plenty of victims who have yet to step forward.

Mr. Ezemo is in custody at the Metro West Detention Centre and facing at least 25 fraud- or theft-related charges.

"Basically, he's saying nothing," Det. Sinopoli said.

Monday, March 10, 2008


B.C. a major centre for fake IDs: Border Services

Chad Skelton
Canwest News Service

Monday, March 10, 2008

VANCOUVER - British Columbia has become an international centre for the production of fake ID cards, and a "loophole" in Canadian law means police in the province are largely powerless to stop it, according to an internal report by the Canada Border Services Agency.

"Several producers of counterfeit documents appear to be operating in British Columbia," states the CBSA report, obtained by The Vancouver Sun through the Access to Information Act. "Unfortunately, police agencies have found these activities difficult to prevent."

The problem, according to the CBSA report, is that under the Criminal Code, someone can only be found guilty of forgery if police can prove they intended their product to be used as a fake.

"Canadian counterfeiters are well aware of this loophole, and use euphemisms ('novelty ID,' 'for entertainment only') and/or lengthy disclaimers in order to circumvent the law," the report states.

A B.C. man who sold "novelty" IDs online was successfully convicted of forgery in 2005. But such cases are rare.

Nanaimo RCMP spokeswoman Const. Jen Allan said her detachment launched an investigation in January into a Nanaimo-based website offering fake U.S. drivers licences - - but dropped the case after deciding it couldn't prove intent.

"The disclaimer on the website basically relinquishes the company from any guilt, in that they're very clear that the use of the ID is. . . for entertainment purposes only," said Allan.

The fact the site still sells fake IDs bothers police, said Allan, because the cards could be used by minors to buy alcohol, or make it easier for criminals to commit identity theft.

"Obviously this company cannot ensure that these IDs, novelty or whatever, aren't being used for illegal activity," she said.

While police have had difficulty pursuing criminal charges against makers of fake ID, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act gives CBSA some authority to prevent the import and export of forged documents.

Using those powers, CBSA has begun seizing order forms for fake ID mailed to B.C. from outside Canada.

In 2006, CBSA made 45 such seizures involving 55 requests for fake IDs. In 2007, it made 89 seizures covering 117 orders.

"Nearly all Canadian addresses currently identified in connection with mail-order 'novelty' identification are located in south-western B.C.," the report states.

At least a half-dozen slick B.C.-based websites sell fake ID cards online - primarily U.S. drivers licences - although many receive orders at the same post office box in Nanaimo, suggesting the sites may be linked to the same person.

All the sites insist their cards are novelty items. But they charge between $69 and $100 per card and stress how realistic they look - including magnetic strips encoded with the cardholder's name and holographic images.

One site using a Nanaimo post office box,, even boasts it has a "proven reputation," noting how it has been referred to by name in articles and books about identity theft.

Its order form also includes a warning to customers: "Do not write the words 'drivers license' anywhere on this order form or it may be seized by customs."

An email sent to the site's operator did not receive a response.

While police say it is difficult for them to go after producers of fake ID, there is some legal precedent for doing so.

In 2005, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Eric Rice found Mahmood Sommani guilty of four forgery-related charges for offering realistic "novelty" IDs out of a Vancouver office.

"The manner in which he conducted his business amounted virtually to an invitation to people to obtain forged documents for illegal purposes," Rice wrote, sentencing Sommani to six months in jail.

Sommani's conviction was upheld by the B.C. Court of Appeal last year.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


The legendary Mayor of the City of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion, who is going strong at age 91, is right on when she complains about the cash being doled out to multicultural groups which do not integrate into society. See National Post story of today :

Multicultural cash divides us: Mayor

McCallion says grants used to set immigrants apart

Natalie Alcoba, National Post
Published: Thursday, March 06, 2008

Peter J. Thompson, National Post File

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion criticized federal multicultural funding as dividing immigrants instead of uniting them, and called for better integration of newcomers.

"An awful lot of money is spent on multiculturalism and on keeping our immigrants separated rather than integrated," Ms. McCallion said in an interview.

"They've been given all kinds of money over the years to have their own organization, their own programs, and I think there should be more money spent on integration, in other words, encouraging them to get involved in all the organizations within a community like the service clubs and the sports groups."

Ms. McCallion said she knows the value of cultural groups and does not want to "cut off" their funding.

However, she argues in favour of stepping up outreach efforts that help integrate the growing number of new residents who are choosing to live in the cities outside of Toronto.

According to 2006 Census data, Peel and York regions had the highest immigrant population growth in the Greater Toronto Area, with a 32% and 34% increase, respectively, from 2001 to 2006. Toronto, by comparison, had the lowest in the region, with a 2% increase.

Immigrants now make up about half of Toronto's population, 49% of Peel region's and 43% of people living in York.

Ms. McCallion first raised her concern about multicultural funding during a discussion of the Census data at Mississauga council last week.

Experts say that when it comes to managing Canada's diversity, multiculturalism and integration should work in tandem.

"I think the mistake that is often made is that multiculturalism separates people, but in fact it is a policy of integration," said Wsevolod Isajiw, author of

Understanding Diversity.

He said by allowing immigrants to retain their customs and identity, they become more secure in the Canadian system, and a greater part of it.

"Certainly, it's worthwhile to spend some money to invite immigrants of various cultures and identities to participate together, to exchange ideas together," said Mr. Isajiw, professor emeritus at the University of Toronto.

Some argue that such a policy of "interculturalism," which works to establish cohesiveness in a rainbow of cultural identities, should be the wave of the future.

"We know that by 2017 visible minorities will actually become a majority here in Canada and that speaks volumes," said Sandeep Agrawal, an expert on multiculturalism and ethnic enclaves from Ryerson University.

While it may develop organically, Mr. Agrawal argues for a systemic approach that encourages groups to engage in a cross cultural dialogue.

Ms. McCallion wants to see more immigrants participating in civic groups, in sports clubs and arts committees.

"We have to go out and invite them to join us," she said. "A lot of them are shy because they've come to this country and they're not accustomed to the service clubs. So we have to go out of our way to make sure that we make an effort to integrate, not just to leave it up to them."

She said more organizations should follow the Mississauga Hockey League's lead, which has a new program to encourage children from different cultural backgrounds to lace up and hit the ice.

"That's what has got to happen in all the sports groups," she said. "[Immigrants] have a major contribution to make to all organizations.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Immigration Policies Force U.S. and Canada Employers to Boost Recruiting Efforts

Survey of human resource professionals cites challenges and solutions

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Roughly two-thirds of human resource professionals in the U.S. (66 percent) and Canada (65 percent) say tougher national immigration policies have caused their companies to increase efforts to recruit and retain local talent.

A report released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA), “2008 Global Talent Sourcing in the U.S. and Canada,” also examines how and why foreign workers are recruited.

“Human resource professionals value the local labor pool but know that sometimes the most highly qualified talent is found in the foreign workforce,” said Susan Meisinger, president and chief executive officer of SHRM.

Of the HR professionals polled, 25 percent in the U.S. and 35 percent in Canada said the primary reason they recruit foreign nationals is an inability to successfully attract local workers with the necessary skills. That difficulty in hiring qualified local people is particularly acute in fields requiring highly scientific or technical skills, such as in health care.

Canadian firms (37 percent) are more likely than U.S. firms (17 percent) to hire foreign national workers to fill vacant positions during the next 12 months. When asked if their organizations “most likely will not hire” foreign workers within the next 12 months, U.S. HR professionals (47 percent) agreed nearly two to one over their counterparts in Canada (25 percent).

“A tightening labor market is forcing organizations to increasingly rely on immigration as a source for new talent. Governments and corporations alike must ready themselves to take on this challenge,” said Lynn Palmer, CCHRA CEO.

The HR professionals reported seven key actions taken by their companies as a result of tightened immigration policies:

Increased efforts to recruit and retain citizen and legal-resident workers: U.S. (66 percent), Canada (65 percent).
Recruited foreign students pursuing education in the employer country: U.S. (19 percent), Canada (24 percent).
Decided against outsourcing internationally: U.S. (18 percent), Canada (14 percent).
Hired foreign nationals under different types of visas due to unavailability of preferred visa types and/or delays in document processing: U.S. (16 percent), Canada (22 percent).
Decided to outsource internationally: U.S. (11 percent), Canada (16 percent).
Hired local national into foreign subsidiaries first then transferred when possible: U.S. (11 percent) and Canada (12 percent).
Set up international “virtual” teams: U.S. (6 percent), Canada (5 percent).
Other notable survey findings include:

Paperwork processing time was cited as the most frequently encountered challenge in recruiting foreign workers, according to HR professionals from both countries.
About one-half of HR professionals from the U.S. and Canada said the average verification and hiring process for foreign national workers is more time-consuming now than it was just two years ago.
HR professionals from the U.S. reported the greatest average degree of difficulty in hiring foreign national workers was from countries not included in NAFTA, consistent with recent visa supply shortages. HR professionals from Canada reported the greatest average degree of difficulty in recruiting citizen and landed immigrant status workers.


The latest release of figures from the most recent Cesnus in 2006 shows that immigrants are better educated than ever. However, other sets of statistics from the same Census also show that unemployment amongst immigrants is higher than in the general population, and that recent waves of immigrnts do not do as well as previous ones. So, what is the problem> We are bringing educated immigrants with skills that do not translate into jobs in the labour force and we need to retool the system: if we need computer programmer sand engineers, why do we waste processing resources on PhDs in philosophy and geography? We need to establish different priorities, so we can tap into the educated immigrants who can find jobs only. Also, not all degrees are created equal and that is a factor that must be considered. See this article from the Globe and Mail today:

Immigrants better educated than general population

March 5, 2008

Alberto Fonseca arrived in Canada last summer from Brazil, armed with job experience, a master's degree and a place in the geography PhD program at the University of Waterloo. Next week his wife - a master's student in urban planning - will join him.
Together they plan to spend the next four years studying, polishing their English and perhaps starting a family. Depending on how things work out, Mr. Fonseca says they may remain in Canada, far from family and friends.
"It is tough, but that is part of the fun," said Mr. Fonseca, 30, who picked Waterloo because of its expertise in mining sustainability, his area of research.
Increasingly, newcomers to Canada are like Mr. Fonseca and his wife, bringing with them a level of education that exceeds that of the general population and accounting for a growing proportion of those with university and advanced degrees.
Close to one-third of immigrants are university graduates, compared with 23 per cent of the general working-age population, according to numbers from the 2006 census released yesterday. Those numbers also show a huge jump in qualifications of the newest arrivals, with more than half of those who came to Canada between 2001 and 2006 holding a university degree.
At more advanced levels, the gap is even wider. Immigrants now account for close to half of all those in Canada who hold a PhD and 40 per cent of those who have a master's.
"These figures are quite dramatic," said Claire Morris, chief executive officer of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, which has long called on governments to increase funding for graduate studies. "Given the growth in jobs for advanced-degree holders, we haven't been producing the number of graduates we require."
"These figures are quite dramatic," said Claire Morris, chief executive officer of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, which has long called on governments to increase funding for graduate studies. "Given the growth in jobs for advanced-degree holders, we haven't been producing the number of graduates we require."
The census figures indicate that about 57 per cent of all those who hold a PhD - both immigrants and Canadian-born - earned their degree in Canada.
What the numbers do not indicate is whether these recent, highly educated arrivals are putting their credentials to work. "The whole skills recognition issue is a complicated topic. It is one we are hoping to do more research on," said Roland Hébert, an analyst with Statscan's Centre for Education Statistics.
In the case of Mr. Fonseca, he said his wife will likely take a job as a babysitter or in a restaurant at first, but hopes to eventually work in her field. "All of a sudden you come here and you are considered a nobody," he said.
By and large, the new census numbers paint a picture of a country in which education levels are generally on the rise, but where specific groups and regions still lag behind national averages. They show the most educated population is concentrated in major cities and in the youngest group of working Canadians, those between 25 and 34. About 29 per cent of young adults in this group had a university degree in 2006, compared with 18 per cent of those between 55 and 64. By contrast, younger adults were less likely than this older group to be educated in a trade.
Sixty per cent of all working-age adults had some form of postsecondary education in 2006. At the other end of the spectrum, 15 per cent had less than high school.
Young women are more likely than their male counterparts to have a university degree - 33 per cent, compared with 25 per cent. Business is the top choice of study for both genders, with one in five graduates from colleges and universities specializing in this area. The top 10 choices of areas of study were quite different for men and women after that No. 1 pick. Women favoured the health professions and education, men mechanics and repair technologies and engineering.
Individuals with higher levels of education were also more likely to pull up stakes and move to other parts of the country - especially the booming provinces of Alberta and B.C. The census numbers show Alberta gained more than 10,700 residents with university degrees between 2001 and 2006 and British Columbia added about 9,900 to its population.
Saskatchewan lost more than 5,400 university graduates during this same period, and Manitoba shed about 4,400.

By and large, the new census numbers paint a picture of a country in which education levels are generally on the rise, but where specific groups and regions still lag behind national averages. The most educated population is concentrated in major cities. Alberta and B.C. are benefiting from the migration west of highly educated workers.

National average 23%

Canadians living in major urban areas are far more likely to have a university degree than the national average, with city dwellers accounting for 83 per cent of all university graduates. These cities had the highest concentration of university degree holders in 2006:
Ottawa-Gatineau: 35%
Toronto: 34%
Calgary: 31%
Vancouver: 31%
People's Republic of China: 3.070
India: 1,200
United States of America: 1,010
Iran: 910
Russian Federation: 780
By region
Europe: 27%
Africa: 11%
Central and South America, Caribbean and Bermuda: 5%
U.S.: 7%
Asia: 49%
Oceania and other**: 1%U.S.
**Includes Greenland
Note: University degrees include bachelor's degrees, certificates above a bachelor level, doctoral degrees in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, law, master's degrees and doctor of philosophy degrees.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Here is the "follow up to the confirmation of the confirmation after the denial" by US presidential candidate Barack Obama on the story that CTV broke, where a "senior official" with the Canadian Embassy in Washington revealed that Obama aides basically told the Canadian Embassy that his anti-NAFTA stance was simply talk to win in Ohio. My take on this: someone is lying...big surprise....and the source stands by the story. Obama campaign mum on NAFTA contact with Canada