REPORT: Immigration, #Econ4Tmro: John McCallum

Co-Hosted by the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy and the Toronto Region Board of Trade

Keynote: Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Chair:

Sandra Pupatello, Co-Chair #Econ4Tmro, Pearson Centre; and Strategic Advisor, PwC Canada.

Following the Keynote speech there will be a short panel discussion of 3 speakers who will offer their ideas on the topic.

Watch this space – more info to follow.
Immigration and the #Econ4Tmro
Date: May 24, 2016, 12:00 am to 12:00 am
For more information:

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REPORT: “Immigration and the #Econ4Tmro”

with the

Hon. John McCallum

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

PANEL:

PANEL DISCUSSION

Following the Minister’s Keynote address

Moderator:

Sandra Pupatello, Co-Chair, #Econ4Tmro, Pearson Centre;

and Strategic Advisor, PwC Canada

◾Janet L. Bomza, Partner, National Practice Leader – Immigration; PwC
◾Catherine Chandler-Crichlow, Board member, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council; President, 3C Workforce Solutions
◾Andy J. Semotiuk,S. and Canadian Immigration Lawyer, Pace Law

Opening Remarks

Jan de Silva, President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade

Highly respected in the business community, Ms. De Silva has served terms as both Chair and President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Chair of Canada China Business Council, Beijing. She has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and a Woman of our Time by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. In 2012, Ms. De Silva was named to the Canadian Board Diversity Council’s inaugural Diversity 50 List of board ready candidates and presently serves on the boards of Intact Financial Corporation (TSX:IFC) and Blue Umbrella Limited an Asian based due diligence and risk management service provider. She holds an MBA from Ivey Business School of Western University received an honorary doctorate by Thompson Rivers University.

Immigration
◾Canada is heavily dependent on immigration for a competitive labour force and by 2030 it will also need immigrants for net population growth
◾The influx of people, cultures, and languages has increased Canada’s connection to the world and made it more competitive
◾Immigration can help address the “3 T’s”: trade, transport, and talent
◾Increased funding for transportation to address the existing transport deficit has demonstrated that there is a shortage of the required talents in Canada to address this deficit
◾The ability to attract the best and the brightest from around the world is critical to innovation in the start-up and tech corridor which spans from Toronto to Waterloo, Ontario.

Key note address by the Honourable John McCallum

In his speech, Minister McCallum identified three areas of prime importance regarding Canadian immigration policy and the economy:
1.Assessing the current number of immigrants admitted into Canada and facilitating their integration and their ability to help grow the Canadian economy
2.Admitting more international students to become permanent residents in Canada
3.Making immigration more flexible and reducing the bureaucratic process for businesses that want to bring in skilled labour from other countries

Minister McCallum’s expanded arguments on the areas of importance in considering innovation in Canadian immigration policy:

1.Canada has currently granted residency to 300,000 immigrants this year and is seeking more in order to remain competitive on international markets with an aging population. As such, our country needs to make itself attractive to the best and the brightest potential emigrants from around the world to entice them to come to Canada rather than going elsewhere. In order to do this, changes to the Citizenship Act have been introduced to reduce barriers to citizenship and to ensure that there is only one class of Canadian citizenship, rather than having tiers. The enfranchised and skilled workforce will allow Canada to be more competitive on the international
market and will enable our population numbers to continue to grow with our economy.

2.Admitting more international students to become permanent residents in Canada yields a substantial number of benefits to the Canadian economy. These individuals are generally young, educated in Canada, familiar with Canadian culture, and can speak at least one of the two official languages in Canada. This provides another opportunity for Canada to court talented migrants who are already connected with a Canadian community. Minister McCallum stated that he “[could not] think of a group of people more appropriate or more beneficial to become permanent residents than international students.” To accommodate them and make the process for permanent residency more efficient, legislation will be introduced to give international students full credit for the time that they have spent in Canada and will add additional points to the express entry process to give students studying in Canada greater access to enfranchisement.

3.Making immigration more flexible and reducing the bureaucratic process for businesses that want to bring in skilled labour from other countries will allow Canadian companies to be more competitive on the open market by having the best employees supporting them. A step towards facilitating businesses in this way is to restrict the use of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which assesses whether jobs being filled by incoming migrants could otherwise be done by Canadians already in Canada. This test works well for assessing positions to be filled by temporary foreign workers, but it undermines the objectives of global competitiveness if it is used to prevent skilled immigrants from coming to Canada and strengthening our economy.

Panellist Perspectives

The following perspectives were provided in response to questions put to the panellists from the moderator, Sandra Pupatello:

Janet Bomza, Partner, PwC Canada

Janet has over two decades of experience managing one of Canada’s largest and leading North American immigration law practices. Having practiced exclusively in the field of immigration law since commencing her legal career, Janet is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law and is considered an expert on Canadian immigration and cross-border matters.

Remarks:

Immigration:
◾Immigration is key to driving economic growth in Canada because economic growth depends on a country’s ability to attract foreign investment and encourage economic development by industry.
◾Businesses need sufficient skilled labour to meet demands for their goods or services on domestic and international markets
◾In Canada, there is currently a skilled labour shortage and immigration is needed to fill the skills gap
◾Immigration allows Canada to remain competitive on international markets because foreign investment is focussed in countries which have ready access to skilled labour or can gain access to it quickly through a fluid immigration system

The temporary foreign worker program:
◾Essential part of Canadian competitiveness on the international stage
◾Allows companies to fill skill gaps and critical labour needs, which can enable Canada to attract foreign talent to kick start new industries and facilitate economic growth
◾Predominantly used to attract foreign nationals who have skills that Canadians don’t or to fill positions that Canadians don’t want to.
◾Allows quick entry into Canada of very skilled foreign nationals, which has positive effects on the economy by filling skill gaps

The express entry program:

It is heavily weighted in favour of those with Labour Market Impact Assessments, but should be extended to recognize individuals working with alternative work permits under the International Mobility program
◾It needs an occupation skills list which looks for skills Canada will require in future, rather than just those which we need today

Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow, President, 3C Workforce Solutions; Board member, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow has over 30 years human capital development experience with specializations in the areas of workforce research, executive and leadership development, curriculum development and implementation, technology mediated distance learning and program evaluation. She has consulted to international agencies such as the World Bank, The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Malaysia. She also has extensive experience in the private sector and advises leaders on organizational change and staff development. She has conducted high-level needs analyses for both industry sectors and large organizations for the development of integrated education and training curricula designed to meet the learning needs of diverse stakeholder groups.

Remarks:

Immigration:
◾A country can’t have economic development without focussing on its human capital, which means that countries need people with specialized talent and knowledge to be competitive
◾Immigration is about bringing in people who can continue to help us grow the nation and help Canada reach new levels of competitiveness
◾For best outcomes in the immigration process, there needs to be a focus on integration of immigrants in to Canadian society through professional and language training.

Challenges in matching equivalencies in education and experience for immigrants:
◾Canada does a good job of matching equivalencies in terms of education
◾The challenge for new immigrants is matching the experience of individuals with skills and competencies that are currently needed by Canadian industry
◾Next steps would include having conversations with employers to find out where there are jobs currently and where they will be in the future, learning what skills are need to fill these jobs, increasing the federal focus on labour market research, sharing all of this information with training programs and centres for new immigrants, and increasing support and funding for training programs and centres on the part of the federal government

Integration agencies:
◾They tend to focus on a specific business sector and geographical jurisdiction
◾The federal government can help integration agencies by working with them to help the agencies to see where jobs are and will be in the future and by giving information about opportunities and the market ecosystem to immigrants before they arrive in Canada

Andy Semotiuk LLP, Immigration Lawyer

Andy J. Semotiuk is a member of the California, New York, Ontario, B.C., and Alberta Bars. As leader of the Manning & Kass Immigration Law Team, his focus is on immigration work visas for professionals and executives as well as on spousal sponsorships. With more than 30 years of legal experience, Mr. Semotiuk has worked in all areas of U.S. as well as Canadian immigration law.

Remarks:

Immigration:
◾It allows Canada to bring high level investors and their families to Canada, which results in generations of investment in the Canadian economy

Comparing US and Canadian immigration systems:
◾The US has Foreign Immigration Investor Program, which allows foreign nationals to immigrate if they invest $500,000 in regional projects which are privately organized and approved by the US government.
◾Canada doesn’t have a comparable system, but the federal government should consider implementing one.
◾Canada did have a comparable program to the United States, but it was removed by the former Conservative government

Immigration procedural processes in the US which Canada should adopt:
◾If an immigration file is to be rejected, the applicant is sent a Request for Evidence in which he or she is provided notification of the shortcomings of the application and is given an opportunity to send in more materials to overcome the problems within a specified period of time, say for example 60 days, before a final decision is made
◾The Canadian approach is simply to deny the case without providing an opportunity to correct deficiencies which forces applicants to go to the federal courts to correct a problem, or to start from scratch all over again
◾If their immigration file is rejected, individuals can file a “motion to reopen” or a “motion to reconsider”, which has department review the file again and keeps the challenge out of the courts
◾The US has expedited processing times for certain kinds of cases which allows individuals or businesses to pay a fee and have their processing time shortened to two weeks.

Follow Up Remarks by Hon. John McCallum

Immigration:
◾In order to get political traction, the conversation going forward has to be about how immigration benefits Canadians, not about how it benefits business or immigrants themselves

Temporary Foreign Workers:
◾A balance needs to be struck between admitting too many and too few temporary foreign workers and priority should be given to those on a trajectory towards permanent residency

Accelerated programs for immigration:
◾If companies want to have an expedited entry program for their employees, they should pay for the administrative cost of accelerating the immigration process for these individuals

Investor Programs:
◾A program like this would create the appearance of individuals being able to buy their citizenship
◾Such programs have historically not been executed effectively
◾If the program can be made politically palatable and be demonstrated to be effective, the Government of Canada would consider it
◾Preference would be given to those who want to come to Canada with their family and skills, rather than those whose first priority is simply to make an investment

Closing Remarks

Joe Mancinelli, International Vice President, LiUNA

A leader, friend, father and proud grandfather, Joseph Mancinelli is an avid supporter of community development, inspiring growth and influencing change to build better, sustainable, and prosperous communities built by the brothers and sisters of LiUNA.

Immigration:
◾An important part of immigration is having and funding a vehicle for training new Canadians
◾Canada needs immigration to replenish the labour of retiring individuals leaving the workforce

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