Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Leader of the Official Opposition St├ęphane Dion Stresses Importance of Immigration for Canadian Economy

Speaking with members of the Chinese community in Markham, just outside of Toronto, newly elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Stephane Dion discussed his plans to keep Canada competitive in the global economy. Mr. Dion highlighted immigration as a crucial element, helping to address Canada's labour shortage.

The speech at a meeting of the Federation of Chinese Canadians is part of a tour by Dion to raise his profile following his recent election as the leader of the Liberal party. A good deal of the speech dealt with a vision of a sustainable Canadian economy. Mr. Dion argued that sustainability applied not just to the environmental impact but also to the labour force. "In 2010, 100 per cent of the manpower growth in Canada will come from immigration, many from Asia" said Dion. With such an important role to play in growth Dion argued that we must do more to facilitate immigration, settlement and adjustment.

Dion paid particular attention in his speech to improving the recognition of foreign credentials. He argued that the failure to do so slows growth by limiting the ways that foreign-trained individuals may contribute to the economy. The Liberal leader also suggested that "there are a lot of things we can do" for the government to make newcomers more aware of available jobs.

With parliament on recess for the holidays, the Liberal party is gearing up for a likely election in the upcoming year. Earlier in the day, Dion made announcements of key members of the team that will direct the party's next election campaign. Mr. Dion was chosen as leader at the Liberal Party's convention in early December.


Canada’s New Government to Extend Off-Campus Work Program to More International Students

OTTAWA, December 14, 2006 — The Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced that Canada’s New Government will begin discussions with interested provinces and territories to expand the Off-Campus Work Permit program to include private institutions on a pilot basis.

As a result of the pilot, foreign students studying at approximately 75 additional institutions could be eligible to apply for off-campus work permits. The program, which allows international students at post-secondary institutions to work off-campus, is currently available only to students at publicly funded universities and colleges.

“International students contribute to Canada’s intellectual and academic environment, and make our university and college campuses centres of rich and diverse cultural exchange,” said Minister Solberg. “The proposed expansion gives the Canadian educational system a competitive advantage for attracting the best and brightest from around the world.”

To ensure appropriate controls, the pilot project will apply only to programs and institutions recognized or authorized by the provinces and territories to confer degrees. Provinces and territories interested in participating in the pilot project will need to negotiate memoranda of understanding with the private schools in their jurisdiction and monitor the implementation of the program.

After a series of successful provincial pilot projects at public institutions, Minister Solberg launched the Off-Campus Work Permit program nationally on April 27, 2006. Over 8,300 international students have already benefited from the initiative. Prior to the introduction of this program, these students were restricted to holding jobs on the campus of the educational institution at which they were studying.

“We want to help more international students get the Canadian work experience they need to adjust to life in Canada, particularly if they wish to stay. These students will be part of a significant labour pool from which regions facing labour shortages could draw. This is a win-win measure – helping students and helping the community,” concluded the Minister.

For more information (media inquiries), please contact:

Pema Lhalungpa
Press Secretary
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Lisa Borsu
Media Relations Spokesperson
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

For more information about the Off-Campus Work Permit program, please visit the CIC website, at the following links:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Becoming Canadian: From Immigrant to Citizen

Every year, more than a quarter of a million people enter Canada as immigrants. They have chosen this country as a land of opportunity or they are escaping poverty, oppression or war.

Many have struggled to get here and may have come with nothing but the clothes on their back. Others are well established in their home countries. But they all experience the immigration process.

One out of six Canadians was born outside of the country. Canada is home to about five million immigrants. Immigration has touched most of us in one form or another.

Immigrants and refugees face many challenges in this country - everything from getting a job to figuring out how to open a bank account.

Would you have what it takes to navigate the system and become a citizen of Canada? This website will help you find out.

Applying to become an immigrant: