Lilia Ordinario Joaquin, who worked under the table as a nanny while waiting for her immigration papers, celebrates after learning that Ottawa has exempted her from deportation.
Joaquin’s deportation exemption comes after a Star story detailed how the 52-year-old mother of five felt forced to work under the table while waiting for a work permit amid an immigration backlog.
Wednesday’s letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada said she did meet the eligibility requirements to apply for permanent resident status under the live-in caregiver program.
“Humanitarian and compassionate factors were assessed for the purpose of determining whether to grant an exemption from certain legislative requirements to allow your application for permanent residence to be processed,” said the two-page letter. Continue reading →
IAIN MARLOW - ASIA-PACIFIC CORRESPONDENTThe Globe and Mail
Macdonald Realty Ltd., which has over 1,000 agents and staff in B.C., said 33.5 per cent of the 531 single family homes sold by its Vancouver offices in 2013 went to people who the company said were a mix of recent immigrants and Canadian citizens.
Those buyers, the company added, tended to spend more money, too, with the average cost of a house sold to these clients topping $2-million, compared to $1.4-million on average overall.
The figures did not include Macdonald’s sales in suburban areas such as Richmond, Burnaby or North Vancouver.
The information is based on reports from the firm’s sales, anecdotes from its agents and Mr. Scarrow’s own experience working with mainland Chinese clients, and it’s a glimpse into the influence of mainland Chinese money on Vancouver’s real estate market, which is considered among the most expensive in North America.
Vancouver has been flooded in recent years by tens of thousands of investor-class immigrants from mainland China, who have seen the west coast city as a stable – and picturesque – place to park their capital in luxury property.
That has helped drive up the average price of a single-family home in Vancouver to around $1.2-million.
Mr. Scarrow, who noted the firm does not query buyers about immigration status, believes that investment flowing from mainland China into Vancouver real estate is a quantifiable phenomenon, but has not personally seen much of the more controversial type of buyer: Those from abroad who buy for investment purposes but never live in the city. “We still see very few pure investors from China who have no connection to Vancouver,” he says.
Getting a handle on foreign buyers is difficult and Macdonald’s survey is far from exact – though one major property developer in Richmond said “that sounds about right.” The federal government does not collect meaningful data on the number of foreign buyers purchasing Canadian real estate, leaving industry participants to debate the impact of foreign capital on the local market. And that debate has gotten heated recently, with some developers accusing others of racism and criticizing those who want to slap curbs on foreign investment. The issue is complicated by the fact that some of Vancouver’s ethnically Chinese-Canadian citizens with ties to Hong Kong view newer immigrants from mainland China with a degree of suspicion, assuming their wealth might have been accumulated in part by proximity to China’s Communist Party, rather than in a free market with the rule of law like Hong Kong.
The lack of hard data has also complicated discussions about the city’s affordability crisis and fuelled a local cottage industry where analysts attempt to decipher the scope of foreign money by looking at things like electricity usage in downtown neighbourhoods where some suspect foreign buyers have bought condos in which they never live. Continue reading →
Toronto city councillor pushes for “O Canada” change
Ceta Ramkhalawansingh wants city council to ask Ottawa to make the national anthem more gender-inclusive.
By:Zoe McKnight Staff Reporter, Published on Thu Aug 21 2014
In one of her only acts as a politician, interim city councillor Ceta Ramkhalawansingh wants to make history.
At Monday’s council meeting, Ramkhalawansingh will introduce a motion to request the federal government change the English words of Canada’s national anthem to be more gender inclusive.
If successful, singers of “O Canada” will eventually proclaim “true patriot love in all of us command” instead of “true patriot love in all thy sons command.”
“It’s about inclusion, and you’re really changing two words,” Ramkhalawansingh said.
Changing the national anthem requires an act of Parliament, not city council. But Ramkhalawansingh wants to push her colleagues in that direction.
“It’s my last city council meeting and I’m a feminist,” she said. “If you go back and look at the city’s history you will see the City of Toronto has provided leadership on many gender equality issues.”
The recommended word changes are based on the national “Sing all of us” campaign, founded by former prime minister Kim Campbell, author Margaret Atwood, Senator Nancy Ruth, former University of Toronto chancellor Vivienne Poy and educator Sally Goddard.
“It will be very interesting to see who supports and who may not support it,” Ramkhalawansingh said. “I can predict there will be a couple who won’t.”
Before joining city council, Ramkhalawansingh was a municipal civil servant for three decades and retired in 2010 as manager of diversity management and community engagement for the city.
My name is Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, and I moved to Toronto in August 1967. I came with my family, which included my mother, my father, my brother and a sister. The five of us moved here in part because our parents wanted us to attend university in Canada. We moved from Trinidad and Tobago, and although there are very good schools there, I think that they thought that travel and living overseas would be a very good thing for us to do.
When I moved to Toronto in 1967, I attended one year of high school and then entered the University of Toronto, where I became very involved in a range of student activities, in addition to going to school, of course. I became very involved in student government, as well as various course union programs. At that point in time in 1968 onwards, there was a move afoot to change the curriculum of the University of Toronto towards a more integrated, interdepartmental approach to curriculum, rather than very rigid programs of study. I became very involved in advocating and working towards establishing a feminist studies program.
Yaffa, who describes himself in tribunal documents as “a Muslim Canadian of African descent,” is the diversity and inclusion co-ordinator for Capital Health, which provides health services in the Halifax region. He did not return several requests for comment. Continue reading →
Immigration officials have recommended that Ottawa remove citizenship rights to babies born in Canada to non-citizens and non-residents even though the small number of cases doesn’t justify the costs.
The proposal, marked “secret” and with inputs from various federal departments, found fewer than 500 cases of children being born to foreign nationals in Canada each year, amounting to just 0.14 per cent of the 360,000 total births per year in the country.
The issue of citizenship by birth on Canadian soil once again raises concerns among critics over the current government’s policy considerations being based on ideologies rather than evidence and objective cost-benefit analyses. Continue reading →
TORONTO — Deborah Parsons thought she had secured love and a happy future when she sponsored her new Cuban husband to Canada nine years ago.
Instead, she brought home violence, debt and a now-convicted domestic abuser intent on bringing the rest of his family to his new country. And despite her repeated warnings to the immigration department about her husband’s past since coming to Canada, they won’t tell her what they are doing to ensure members of his family are not allowed to come here as well.
“Now that the veil of control and abuse has lifted, my hindsight has become quite clear,” Parsons, 45, wrote in a letter to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. “I was only used for sponsorship, then required to be the bread winner, a maid, a chef, a laundress, a secretary, an employment agency and a charity organization.” Continue reading →
Published Friday, August 15, 2014 8:53PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 15, 2014 9:46PM EDT
The federal government gave companies across Canada approval to hire temporary foreign workers for less than market wage in 2013, the Alberta Federation of Labour says.
The union said Friday it has obtained internal government documents that show Ottawa sanctioned companies to underpay temporary foreign workers last year, despite rules requiring employers to pay foreign workers the prevailing market wage for their region and skill set. Continue reading →
Posted: Aug 15, 2014 11:02 PM ET Last Updated: Aug 16, 2014 12:02 PM ET
The arrests of 21 undocumented workers during a vehicle safety blitz Thursday is causing controversy for the Canada Border Services Agency and Ontario Provincial Police.
On Aug. 14 the OPP, along with officials from the ministries of transportation and environment, and the CBSA, took part in a vehicle spot checks in northwest Toronto, around Wilson Avenue between Jane Street and Highway 400.
CBSA told CBC News on Friday it arrested 21 people who were “in violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.”
But, because the arrests were made during vehicle safety check, some question the methods and motivations of the CBSA and OPP.
Immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann said this is “not routine” and is, in fact, “a huge breach of public trust.” Continue reading →
The Alberta Federation of Labour says nothing short of scrapping the temporary foreign worker program is sufficient to protect the rights of Canadian workers.
President Gil McGowan says temporary foreign workers have been used as pawns by Canadian companies and paid below the median wage.
Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney announced changes in June to limit the number of foreign workers that large- and medium-sized companies can hire. He also toughened penalties for companies that violate the new rules and promised inspections to uncover abuses. Continue reading →