China is buying Canada

China is buying Canada: Inside the new real estate frenzy

How China’s affection for Canada’s real estate is reshaping the nation’s housing market well beyond Vancouver

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Paul Shen can tick off the reasons Mainland Chinese people buy property in Canada as surely as any fast-talking B.C. realtor. Some long to escape the fouled earth and soupy air of their country’s teeming cities, he explains, while others are following relatives to enclaves so well-populated by other Chinese expats they hardly feel like foreigners.

The richest, of course, regard homes in the West as stable vessels for disposable cash, but Shen lays no claim to such affluence. Last spring, the 39-year-old left behind his middle-management advertising job in Shanghai to seek the dream of home ownership he and his wife couldn’t afford in their home city. “We just followed our hearts to begin a totally different life,” he tells Maclean’s, adding: “We can make the house dream come true in Canada.”

The starting point was one-half of a modest duplex near downtown Victoria, close to the university where his wife is seeking a master’s degree, and priced about right for their limited means. Selling points ranged from the quiet of the street—perfect for their six-year-old son—to the stunning Vancouver Island vistas all around. High on his list, though, was Victoria’s comfortable distance from the bustling Chinese communities of B.C.’s Lower Mainland. As Shen—betraying his limited knowledge of pre-settlement Canadian history—puts it: “We wanted a place that would allow us to live with the natives.”

It’s hard not to smile at his idealism. Substitute any one of two dozen nationalities, after all, and you have a chapter in Canada’s cherished narrative of migration, settlement and shared prosperity.

But as a Chinese newcomer with a buy-at-all-costs resolve, Shen also personifies a phenomenon dividing those “natives” he’d like to call his neighbours. In the past five years, the flow of money from mainland China into Canadian real estate has reached what many consider dangerous levels, contributing to a gold-rush atmosphere in the nation’s leading cities, while stirring anger among young, middle-class Canadians who feel shut out of their hometown markets.

Its impact on Vancouver’s gravity-defying boom is the best known—and most hotly debated—example, as eye-popping price gains leave behind such quaint indicators as average household income, or regional economic activity. “We’re bringing in people who just want to park their money here,” says Justin Fung, a software engineer and second-generation Chinese-Canadian who counts himself among those frustrated by Vancouver’s surreal housing market. “They’re driving up housing prices and simply treat this city as a resort.”

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Burgers ‘N Fries Forever’s owner says their meat has been halal since ever

‘It’s 2015’: Ottawa burger joint responds to anti-Muslim comments

Burgers ‘N Fries Forever’s owner says responses to halal toppings include: “I’m not going to eat here because you include Muslims.”

An Ottawa burger joint quoted Prime Minster Justin Trudeau to respond to anti-Muslim Facebook commenters who apparently didn’t like the fact that halal beef bacon was an option on the menu.

In a sponsored post on Facebook, Burgers ‘N Fries Forever advertised the burger topping – made from the belly of a cow as opposed to a pig – alongside a photo of three Muslim women wearing a hijab about to take a bite out of a burger.

Jennilyn Morris charged and convicted under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Remittances: $24 billion a year sent home from Canada

Prison time for first Albertan convicted under refugee protection laws

‘They felt like second-class citizens,’ judge says of exploited foreign workers

By Janice Johnston, CBC News Posted: May 20, 2016 4:59 PM MT Last Updated: May 20, 2016 7:36 PM MT

Jennilyn Morris is the first person in Alberta to be charged and convicted under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. (CBC)

​An Edmonton woman who once told an employee “if you can stand, you can work” has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for exploiting more than 70 foreign workers.

Jennilyn Morris is the first person in Alberta to be charged and convicted under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Teodora Bautista was one of her victims.

The single mother wanted to provide a better life for her five children in the Philippines.

To do that, she came to Canada because she believed she could make as much working one day here as working three days back home.

On April 22, 2009, Bautista arrived in Edmonton as a foreign national, sponsored by Morris.

She signed a contract with Morris that promised her a 44-hour work week doing residential and commercial cleaning for $11.44 an hour.  

Reality was much different.

Stats Canada: In 2011, 20.6% of the total population was foreign born

Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada

Table of contents
Highlights

Immigration

  • In 2011, Canada had a foreign-born populationFootnote1 of about 6,775,800 people. They represented 20.6% of the total population, the highest proportion among the G8 countries.
  • Between 2006 and 2011, around 1,162,900 foreign-born people immigrated to Canada. These recent immigrants made up 17.2% of the foreign-born population and 3.5% of the total population in Canada.
  • Asia (including the Middle East) was Canada’s largest source of immigrants during the past five years, although the share of immigration from Africa, Caribbean, Central and South America increased slightly.
  • The vast majority of the foreign-born population lived in four provinces: Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta, and most lived in the nation’s largest urban centres.

Dramatic demographic shift in the past 25 years in Canada

The changing face of Canadian immigration in one chart

A look at the dramatic ways immigration to Canada has shifted over the last 25 years

Crowds of people line up at Keele Station in Toronto. (Hannah Yoon/CP)

Crowds of people line up at Keele Station in Toronto. (Hannah Yoon/CP)

On Wednesday, the Pew Research Centre in the U.S. published an interactive tool that tracks the makeup of immigrant populations around the world using data from the United Nations Population Centre. While the accompanying article mostly focused on the flow of immigrants into America—the country is home to the largest number of immigrants in the world, with 46.6 million people living in the U.S. who were not born there—the tool also offers an opportunity to see the dramatic transformation of Canada’s own immigrant population over just the last 25 years.

Drawing on the Pew Research tool, here are the 10 largest immigrant populations in Canada as of 2015, and how their numbers looked in 1990, 2000 and 2010. Note, the graph doesn’t show the annual number of immigrants to Canada in those years, but instead is a snapshot of the total number of people from each country at those times.

(For best results on mobile, view in landscape mode.)

The graph drives home how the face of Canada has shifted over such a relatively short period of time. The growth in the number of immigrants from China, India and the Philippines has been remarkable, with the number of immigrants from China in particular jumping from 170,000 to 710,000 over that time. As for Pakistan, the birthplace of what is now Canada’s 10th largest immigrant population, it wasn’t even in the top 30 of source countries to Canada in 1990.

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Konrad Yakabuski thinks Quebec needs more immigrants

Why Quebec needs more immigrants
Globe and Mail reporter Konrad Yakabuski.KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, May 16, 2016 6:00AM EDT
Last updated Friday, May 13, 2016 5:10PM EDT
145 Comments

Something quite predictable happened when Quebec’s Liberal government recently suggested increasing the number of immigrants the province accepts each year to 60,000 from the current 50,000. The blowback was immediate, the critics apoplectic, and the government’s retreat expeditious.

Quebec’s population is aging faster than anywhere in Canada outside the Atlantic provinces. Its work force is shrinking, creating labour shortages in some sectors. The novelty of policies aimed at getting Quebeckers to have more babies – cheap daycare and generous parental leave – has worn off. Quebec’s birth rate fell for the sixth year in a row in 2015. At 1.6 births per woman of child-bearing age, it’s down from a 2009 peak of 1.73, and now matches the national average.

A recent government white paper warned that maintaining immigration at the current 50,000 annual level would lead to a “marked” decline in the working-age population between 2016 and 2031, putting a damper on economic growth and everything that flows from it. Starting at 60,000 immigrants a year, however, the work force would continue to grow well into the future.
A healthy discussion of immigration thresholds would consider these factors while reviewing the longer-term evidence. Since the adoption of the province’s Bill 101 in 1977, requiring the children of immigrants to attend French-language schools, several cohorts of new Quebeckers have embraced la langue de Molière and successfully integrated into francophone society. The proportion of Quebeckers speaking French at home remained a robust 82.5 per cent in 2011, while almost 95 per cent of all Quebeckers could speak French, according to Statistics Canada.

Yet, despite such reassuring evidence, opposition politicians showed the usual reflexes in denouncing the government for merely raising the possibility of an increase in immigration. Granted, immigration is a touchier subject in Quebec than anywhere else in Canada, given francophone Quebeckers’s perception of themselves as a threatened minority within North America. As the debate about the former Parti Québécois government’s Charter of Values demonstrated in 2013, the perceived threat is not merely linguistic, but cultural and religious, as well.

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