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Results: 1 - 30 of 534
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much.
If I heard you correctly, many of the individuals who are coming here will go to these communities with their landed status. Is that correct?
Natasha Kim
View Natasha Kim Profile
Natasha Kim
2019-06-17 16:12
We expect that if they're coming from abroad, they would submit their permanent resident application and could land as permanent residents when they arrive in Canada, or they might receive a temporary work permit while their PR application is being processed. If they're in Canada already, they can also apply under the pilot, but their application would be in process.
View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
Is it PR on arrival, or is it conditional PR after a set amount of time living in that community?
Natasha Kim
View Natasha Kim Profile
Natasha Kim
2019-06-17 16:22
It is not conditional PR; it's a permanent resident program.
Natasha Kim
View Natasha Kim Profile
Natasha Kim
2019-06-17 16:22
That's right. They can arrive earlier on a work permit, if that's helpful, but their PR application has to be in to us for that to happen.
View Larry Maguire Profile
CPC (MB)
Thanks.
So this pilot program isn't like the Atlantic one, in which you have to be there for a certain length of time before you apply for permanent residency? In this one, you are a permanent resident as soon as you get the job?
Natasha Kim
View Natasha Kim Profile
Natasha Kim
2019-06-17 16:26
Maybe I'll just clarify that the Atlantic immigration pilot is also a permanent residence pilot. It is based on permanent residence; it's not a temporary residence program.
View Larry Maguire Profile
CPC (MB)
So it's not a “stay there for six months and apply” thing. It's not like the temporary foreign worker program.
Natasha Kim
View Natasha Kim Profile
Natasha Kim
2019-06-17 16:27
No, there is an opportunity to come on a temporary basis while you're preparing your application under that program, but you need a letter of support from the province to do that.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much.
With respect to the Iranians, we've had long delays and we haven't been able to resolve this issue. I wonder if the minister can tell us what work is being done to reduce application processing times for Iranian nationals, and more specifically, for those whose applications have actually been received. Their medical, their security and their criminality checks have all gone through, but they are still stuck in the system. I wonder if I can also get the minister to commit to providing information to this committee, in writing, so that we can get to the bottom of this. Again, there are many Iranian nationals just stuck in the system—talent we want here in Canada—and they are ready to move forward.
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Under the Conservatives, the Iranian nationals were waiting twice as long as other nationalities for processing—
Mark Lewis
View Mark Lewis Profile
Mark Lewis
2019-03-19 11:23
Thank you for the opportunity to speak again on Parliament Hill about an issue that is near and dear to the hearts of carpenters across Ontario. We are a union that has 16 local unions across the province. We are the largest single source of apprenticeship in the trades in Ontario.
Our situation currently in Ontario and particularly in the GTA is approaching crisis levels. We are short of skilled tradespeople in virtually every facet of the carpentry trade in Toronto where our members work. In the GTA, or what I would think of as the GTA proper, we have three local unions: local 27, which is general carpentry; local 675, which is drywall and interior systems workers—these kinds of ceilings, for example; and local 1030, which does primarily residential work.
Our members work in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors on large infrastructure projects, buildings, universities and subway stations, and in the residential sector, significantly in the GTA.
We cannot fill the jobs right now. We provided the speaking notes. We rely heavily on our friends from BuildForce in terms of their economic analysis. What we're here to tell you is that those are not just statistics. Those are the crises that we face everyday when contractors phone us and say, “I have a project and I need 10 carpenters on Monday morning”, and we don't have them.
This is slowing down Toronto and all of the industries that make up Toronto. Toronto has grown significantly over the last 10 to 20 years. Construction has not kept up. Infrastructure projects are stacked one upon the other around the GTA. I urge you to look at some of the slides from BuildForce and look at the demands that there are.
On the flip side is the demographic crisis that we're facing in terms of the aging of the workforce generally and the aging of the skilled trades workforce in particular. Our membership is aging. Hopefully, it won't happen, but fully 40% of our members could be eligible to retire by 2030. We need new workers coming into our trade. We have put in our speaking notes materials all of the efforts that we, together with our employers, are making to recruit into our industry young Canadians and people who haven't previously considered work in the trades, and the efforts that we've gone to with regard to women, for example, to try to bring them into the trades. We still need help from immigration. We're urging you to consider a few different unique features of the construction industry when looking at a micro-localized solution for the GTA.
Employment in the construction industry with any particular employer is always, by its very nature, transient. Jobs start and jobs end. The model that we have within our immigration system of an employer reaching out to bring a foreign worker to Canada does not work for our industry. Our employers can't forecast their specific labour needs with enough certainty because they go contract to contract. Our industry, however, knows what we need. We can't tell you which contractor is going to get the drywall on a new hospital, so we can't tell you that that drywall contractor will need 50 board men. We can tell you, though, that one drywall contractor is going to get that work and that we will need 50 board people to put up the drywall.
What we are urging is that, in the GTA in the construction industry, consideration be be given to an industry-wide approach through the unions that are involved. It's one of the most heavily unionized sectors in the country.
The unions are a force and a player, and are willing to play a role with the employer associations to allow for broader industry-based immigration, and broader industry-based temporary foreign workers to come in, so they can be shared amongst the employers who need them. If it is done properly, through the unions and the associations, we feel we can negate any of the potential impacts of foreign workers being exploited.
My last point, very quickly, and this is what I wish to stress—allow the temporary foreign worker to transition to some sort of permanent residency status. We are urging you—pleading with you—to consider something for our industry and our tradesmen and women who come here. We have hard-working, decent people who come here as temporary foreign workers for two years and go to work every day. When I left this morning, going through Mr. Vaughan's constituency to the airport, there were construction workers out at 5:30 in the morning, to start work on those condos at 7:00 a.m. They work every day for two years and at the end of those two years, they have no hope of becoming permanent residents in this country, because we say as a nation that if you can't read or write English to an acceptable level, we don't want you.
We have brought with us two people who work at the sharp end of the process. Mr. Yorke and I have the easy part. Vlada Hershtynovich and Michael Randazzo actually do the intakes to try to navigate our members through the complex system that is immigration in Toronto. They have the unenviable task of telling hard-working carpenters, “You're good enough to have built those subway stations in Toronto for two years, but Canada doesn't want to keep you as a permanent resident because you can't meet the language requirements.”
We are urging you to recognize that for skilled tradespersons, if they come here and demonstrate that they can work at good jobs, at family-supporting wages—in some cases, $100,000 a year, because of the hours available in construction.... My friends from the Home Builders' will tell you what they pay their labour. These are good jobs. These are employers who are crying out to keep the workers, but we can't find ways to keep them here now because of—I wouldn't say anachronistic measures, but measures that don't make sense for construction workers. I don't want to sound.... Reading and writing are wonderful; they changed my world, but somebody has to build the library in which those books are kept. Somebody has to build these rooms and these buildings. Those people are just as valuable to the future of this country as anybody else.
I think that's our seven minutes.
View John Barlow Profile
CPC (AB)
View John Barlow Profile
2019-03-19 11:47
You're absolutely right. No one comes here for two years and wants to go home. I have Cargill in my riding, the largest meat processor in the country. I deal with this every single day. People want to come and be permanent residents.
You brought up an interesting suggestion, however, on the union side, if we can spread this around. What about a union-sponsored permanent residency program? Is that something you're talking about?
Mark Lewis
View Mark Lewis Profile
Mark Lewis
2019-03-19 11:47
What we would look to, as we see the model, is a union and employer association-sponsored program to bring in workers—you say the temporary foreign worker program is tainted, so I won't use that term—for a period of time and let them work flexibly across our industry. An employer might need masons today but might not need the masons tomorrow, whereas the employer in the next subdivision over needs them. We need to be able to spread around the workforce, and industry associations and unions can allow for that while protecting workers to make sure they're not exploited. Then, at the end of the assessment period, whatever it is—a year or two years—if people can demonstrate that they have continual employment in the construction industry, they can switch to a path of permanent residency.
Canada is competing for skilled workers with every developed economy in the world. Germany needs them; Australia needs them; everywhere needs them—except, I guess, the U.K., which is sending them away. People will come to the GTA if they think there is a way to stay. They're not that interested in coming for two years.
I would say regarding the provincial nominee program that we worked really hard to try to get our members into it and through it. That's what my colleagues do every day. Other than Irish workers, who have certain obvious advantages, the bulk of our members cannot pass the language requirements. They just can't—we've tried, with classes and so forth—and it's no fault of their own. You work 10 hours on a job site; if you then tell a guy that you have to go to English reading and writing lessons.... They work hard. Could we try to loosen it up, if those kinds of programs are going to work for our particular group of immigrants?
View Ramesh Sangha Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you to the panel for giving a very good education to the committee.
I'm from Brampton. My riding is Brampton Centre. Brampton is a very fast-growing community, and there's a shortage of housing in Brampton. I listened to your comments regarding language. I've come across numerous persons, those who came here to work as temporary foreign workers and now are old enough...I can't say they're retired, because they're not getting any pension. They're undocumented. They are living with their families. They are mostly Portuguese, Italian.... These people used to go back to their country, come back to Canada again in the summer and work here, but they have the same language problem now. They are not able to get the papers, so they are living with their families. They don't want to leave their families.
What do you suggest by way of special plans through which they can be given value for work done towards getting permanent residency?
Mark Lewis
View Mark Lewis Profile
Mark Lewis
2019-03-19 11:53
Is it undocumented workers we're talking about here? That's a somewhat different question from where we are in terms of the immigration system.
Clearly, and I'm not telling tales out of school here, there is an issue with respect to undocumented and under-documented workers, in the Toronto construction industry in particular. We know. We have union members working away on job sites who don't have the legal status to do so; nevertheless, they are being employed at full union rates with full benefits because we don't have the workers.
I'm not going to put my friends from the home builders on the spot, but I'm sure if you asked them in the hallways, they would acknowledge that every subdivision in Toronto has a share of undocumented workers.
We are a construction union. I spend my life defending workers. The most vulnerable workers in Canada are undocumented construction workers—
Mark Lewis
View Mark Lewis Profile
Mark Lewis
2019-03-19 11:53
—and if we could bring them into the system, I would love to do it.
Natasha Kim
View Natasha Kim Profile
Natasha Kim
2019-02-19 12:21
Thank you, Mr. Chair, for inviting IRCC to speak to the committee as part of the committee's study.
With an aging population that is contributing to more workers leaving the workforce every year than entering it, immigration will be a key source for population and labour force growth in the coming years. It will account for up to 80% of labour force growth by 2031.
At IRCC, we've certainly heard from many sectors about the challenges they're facing in terms of meeting the need for skilled labour to grow their businesses, improve exports and create more jobs. In addition to strategies for enhancing the participation of the domestic workforce, IRCC does recognize that new immigration will be an important component to meeting this need.
This is why the government's multi-year levels plan, which sets the number of permanent residents that Canada will accept every year, plans for year-over-year growth, with up to 350,000 new permanent resident admissions by 2021.
In addition to meeting Canada's commitments to family reunification and our humanitarian obligations, a key part of our levels plan is the emphasis it places on economic immigration. Nearly 60% of the 2019-21 multi-year levels plan is devoted to immigrants in the economic stream. The number of planned economic immigrants has grown almost 20% over the last three years.
Ontario, and in particular the GTA and the GTHA, receives the greatest share of permanent immigration overall, across all of these categories. In 2018, Toronto alone received over 106,000 new permanent residents, or about one third of all permanent resident admissions last year. Over 61,000—or about 60%—of these were permanent residents in the economic category. In addition to permanent residents, over 70,000 work permits were issued to migrant workers destined to Toronto in 2018 to work on a temporary basis.
Against that backdrop, I'd like to turn to an overview of some of our permanent economic immigration programs that may be of interest to this committee.
First, I understand the committee is interested in the Atlantic immigration pilot or, as we call it, AIP, and whether the lessons we're learning there could be applied to the greater Toronto and Hamilton area.
The AIP was launched in 2017 and seeks to address particular demographic challenges that have been faced in the Atlantic region. This included the challenge of attracting and retaining immigrants to that region. Prior to the launch of the pilot, retention of immigrants in the Atlantic provinces was the lowest nationwide. It ranged from 16% to 68%, compared to the national average of 86% or the 91% retention rate in Ontario.
Therefore, a key focus of the pilot has been how to integrate newcomers early on in the process. This includes requiring every applicant to have, in addition to a job offer, an individualized settlement plan and the endorsement of their province. While the pilot is employer-driven, in the sense of employers being the ones to identify and recruit candidates who can permanently fill jobs in the region, employers are also required to play a stronger role in the settlement and integration of recruited workers and their families in the Atlantic region.
It's important to note that, in comparison, Ontario does not face the same challenges in attracting and retaining immigrants as the Atlantic region. As noted earlier, it receives the most new immigrants on a yearly basis, has a retention rate of over 90%, and also receives secondary migration from other provinces.
However, there are other existing economic immigration programs that can help respond to labour needs and may be of interest to the committee. In the brief time I have available, I'll talk about just two.
First, there are our federal express entry programs, which can meet the need for skilled workers in the construction industry at the national occupational code or NOC levels O, A and B. This includes construction managers and supervisors, carpenters, masonry workers and welders, as well as those in the electrical trades. Under our federal skilled trades program, we have targeted draws for skilled trade workers under express entry. Using express entry, we provide points. Points are given for job offers where they are available, as well as for Canadian work or study experience. That allows more temporary foreign workers who are already here to then transition to permanent residents.
The second program I'll highlight is the provincial nominee program, which allows provinces and territories to address labour market needs, such as those in construction, that are more regional than national in nature. While our federal programs often seek to balance needs across the country and in different parts of our economy, the provincial nominee program enables provinces and territories to develop their own streams that are more employer-driven in order to address needs in the in-demand sectors and occupations.
For example, in 2017, Ontario introduced an in-demand skills stream to allow workers with permanent job offers in high-demand occupations, including those in the construction sector, to become permanent residents. Ontario also has a skilled worker stream that is available to workers with at least one year of cumulative paid full-time work experience in a skilled trade. This includes those in the industrial, electrical and construction trades, as well as in the maintenance and equipment operations trades.
In closing, Mr. Chair, I think it's important to note that unlike the temporary foreign worker program or temporary immigration, which are focused primarily on filling a certain job vacancy, permanent economic immigration does take a broader perspective. This means that, in addition to responding to labour market needs that may be present, we also look at indicators of an economic immigrant's ability to establish and adapt to a changing economy in the longer term. This often means looking at such attributes as language ability, education and work experience, and it often also includes their ability to have full-time year-long employment rather than seasonal work.
Those are some considerations that we take into account when we think about permanent economic immigration as opposed to filling job vacancies on a temporary basis.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. If there are any questions, we're happy to answer them.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
All right. Thank you.
Mr. Hussan, I think that's one of the key issues for all migrants, whether they be caregivers or otherwise. I think what I heard you say is that Canada should adopt a policy that clearly states that if you're good enough to work here, you're good enough to stay. That is permanent residence on arrival.
Syed Hussan
View Syed Hussan Profile
Syed Hussan
2018-12-11 17:17
Absolutely.
Historically care workers used to come here as permanent residents, and that was taken away. We know that historically most of the first wave of settlers were given land and encouraged to come here as farmers and given permanent residency. It is when racialized poor people from the global south started coming here and working.... When I talk about 12 hours of work, no breaks and lack of decent, dignified living, this is what people's experiences are. If people are working here, they should be able to get permanent status on arrival.
I want to add that we want to make sure that even if people are so-called “not good enough to work” then they shouldn't be deemed inadmissible, for example, for medical reasons. We want to create a society where everyone should be able to come here and live with dignity.
Very quickly, if the safe third country agreement is expanded, people will continue to come but in more and more risky situations. Migration is not going to stop until displacement stops. If people need to move, they will move. If we make it harder, we're just putting their lives more at risk.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
Was it easier to become a permanent resident in Canada than in any of the other countries?
La Trinidad Mina
View La Trinidad Mina Profile
La Trinidad Mina
2018-12-11 17:21
It was easier to get permanent residency in the United Arab Emirates than to get it here.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
Okay, so why did you choose Canada instead of the United Arab Emirates?
La Trinidad Mina
View La Trinidad Mina Profile
La Trinidad Mina
2018-12-11 17:22
I was thinking about the future of my children. In the United Arab Emirates, I wouldn't be able to raise them as.... My children wouldn't be able to play outside, for example. When they arrived at YVR in June, they went out of the airport and my son said, “Ma, the air is so clean.” He wouldn't have said that anywhere else in the world. Those small things made a difference, and I know that in Canada they will have a good future. They will be contributing citizens of their new country.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-12-04 11:03
Good morning. Welcome to the 136th meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Today we continue our consideration of the 4th report of the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business, wherein the subcommittee recommended that Bill C-421 be designated non-votable.
We are pleased to be joined by Philippe Dufresne, the House's law clerk and parliamentary counsel.
Thank you for being here today. It's great to have you back again and to have your wise counsel. We look forward to your opening remarks—or your remarks. That's the only reason we're here.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2018-12-04 11:04
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.
I'm pleased to be here with you today to assist the committee in its work as it considers the votability of Bill C-421. On November 29, 2018, the committee commenced consideration of matters related to private members' business regarding Bill C-421. The committee heard representations from Mr. Mario Beaulieu, the member of Parliament for La Pointe-de-l'Île and sponsor of the bill, and Mr. Marc-André Roche, researcher for the Bloc Québécois.
I understand that the conversation was focused on whether Bill C-421 complies with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and following that meeting the committee decided to invite me to appear to discuss some of the legal issues raised.
My remarks today will be focusing on the following topics. I will address the charter questions and the drafting of private members' bills. I will note the confidentiality of the private members' drafting process in my office. I will speak to the non-votability criterion adopted by this committee specifically, and the requirement that the bill does not clearly violate the Constitution. I will discuss some recent case law of the Federal Court of Appeal that may be helpful in identifying the parameters of this criterion. I will, of course, be happy to respond to any questions that the committee members may have about the specific constitutional issues that have been raised to date.
The legislative counsel working for my office are responsible for drafting bills for members who are not part of the government. In my opinion, this is an essential service for parliamentary democracy. We are committed to this mandate and we fulfill it with a great deal of enthusiasm. I am extremely proud of the dedicated team who does this work in a professional and impartial manner.
In addition to drafting the bill properly, the legislative counsel assigned to the bill advises the member if they believe that it raises issues related to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or to the Constitution of Canada. Depending on the nature of the issue, the counsel may suggest that the member contact the Library of Parliament to obtain further information or they will draft a formal legal opinion for the member. Those exchanges about the bill are confidential and cannot be divulged without the member's consent.
Constitutional issues may be resolved in various ways. For example, the counsel may discuss with the member and suggest an approach to mitigate the risks of violating the charter. The counsel may also suggest drafting a national strategy if the matter in question is rather under provincial jurisdiction, or if the member proceeds by way of a motion instead of a bill. Regardless of any concerns raised, the final decision to proceed with the bill rests with the member.
Confidentiality is extremely important to us. It is mentioned in the 34th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs dated March 16, 2000, in which the committee noted that the work of legislative counsel is covered by parliamentary privilege, which has an even higher legal basis, as it is provided for in our Constitution. The committee quoted the Speaker from March 13, 2000, who stated:
All staff of the House of Commons working in support of Members in their legislative function are governed by strict confidentiality with regard to persons outside their operational field and, of course, vis-à-vis other Members.
This is fundamental. When we serve you as legislators in providing the legislative drafting services, we do so with strict confidentiality. I will not be discussing today any conversations or advice that could have been given to any member on any specific topic. I am available and here to address the issues generally before you, and specifically, to talk about the criteria around non-votability.
As you know, a bill that is added to the order of precedence will be reviewed by the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business to determine its votability. An analyst from the Library of Parliament is assigned to assist the subcommittee when considerations relating to votability are raised. The analyst can provide information and analysis on the issue but cannot provide a legal opinion. The votability criteria are established by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. In the most recent version of the criteria established in May 2007, the four criteria are as follows:
Bills and motions must not concern questions that are outside federal jurisdiction;
Bills and motions must not clearly violate the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
We are most interested in that last criterion.
Bills and motions must not concern questions that are substantially the same as ones already voted on by the House of Commons in the current session of Parliament, or as ones preceding them in the order of precedence;
Bills and motions must not concern questions that are currently on the Order Paper or Notice Paper as items of government business.
Bills that fail to meet the criterion, with a clear violation of the Constitution Act, will be found to be non-votable.
To determine if a bill is non-votable, the question is not whether any given bills, or in this case Bill C-421 could violate the charter, but rather whether the bill clearly violates the charter, which is a higher standard for intervention. It is one that is more favourable to allowing debates about bills in the House. The process is internal to the House of Commons. As I've stated, it was set out and the criterion was adopted by this committee.
However, a useful comparison can be made to the standard applied by the Minister of Justice for the review of government bills for charter compliance pursuant to section 4.1 of the Department of Justice Act. This section requires the minister to “ascertain whether any of the provisions” of a government bill “are inconsistent with the purposes and provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”. It requires the minister to report any such inconsistency to the House.
In a recent decision, Schmidt v. Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal had to determine the interpretation of this criterion of ascertaining whether it's inconsistent. There were two possibilities: Are you going to ask whether it's likely in violation of the charter, or are you going to ask for a higher threshold?
In the decision written by Justice Stratas for the Federal Court of Appeal, the court found that the appropriate standard obliges the Minister of Justice to report when there is no credible argument supporting the constitutionality of a proposed bill, and not when the proposed bill or regulation may likely be unconstitutional.
The court held that, given the uncertain difficult jurisprudential terrain of constitutional law and the time when the minister is expected to assess proposed legislation, the only responsible reliable report that could be given under the examination provisions is when proposed legislation is so constitutionally deficient it cannot be credibly defended. In other words, the court affirmed that the Minister of Justice only needs to inform the House of inconsistency between a government bill and the charter when no credible argument can be made in support of the measure. The court added that this approach was justified, given the inherent difficulty in predicting the outcome of constitutional law cases before the courts.
The court gave a number of examples. The case law can evolve, the Supreme Court itself can change its previous findings, and a lot of the charter cases will be dependent on the facts that will be led in justification of any violation. It's difficult to predict, and that supported a strict standard. The court also noted that it made sense for the standard applied by the minister to be commensurate to the standard applied by this committee in determining votability.
Leave to appeal has been sought, in this decision, to the Supreme Court of Canada. It may not be the last word on this point, but it is to date, at this time, the last word on the interpretation. As a result, in a similar way, the committee examines proposed legislation to determine whether it clearly violates the charter, not whether it could violate the charter.
In my view, if we apply this standard, if you apply it, a bill would only be deemed non-votable in situations where no credible argument could be made in support of the bill's constitutionality. That is, in my view, a helpful standard because it helps to deal with uncertainties.
Justice Stratas talked about this in his decision, saying that there will be rare cases where it's so obvious and so clear that you can make this determination, but in others the standard will not be met. That's the question before this committee, and I will be happy to assist as best I can in answering any questions you may have. I know there were some specific charter issues that were discussed in the previous hearings, and I'm happy to address those.
Thank you.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-12-04 11:14
I'm just going to go informally and let people ask questions.
I just want to ask two things quickly, though. You talk about helping members of Parliament. Roughly how many people are you?
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