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The Oil Sands Story

Canada to reveal major changes to immigration policy

Canada invests $920 million in Ontario immigration

Canada hunts for trades people in Europe

Rural Canada gaining more immigrants


The Oil Sands Story

The oil sands story is one that describes one of the largest oil deposits in the world and identifies its future possibilities. Pioneers had a vision of the commercial applications of this incredible resource. Through various companies, government and scientific organizations, the oil sands have become a reality as a major supplier of oil for Canada.

The Resource - describes how the actual oil sands reserve came to be there.

Mining - BIG machines are required for open pit mining.

Extraction - extracting the bitumen from the oil sands takes place on a grand scale.

In situ - bitumen is extracted from the ground by drilling and the use of steam.

Upgrading - the molecules that make up bitumen are broken up in order to convert it to the final product: synthetic sweet crude oil.

The Environment - mining affects the environment and various practices continue to improve and lessen its impact.

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Canada to reveal major changes to immigration policy

Canada is likely to introduce major changes to its immigration policy, including plans to take in as many as 300,000 new immigrants annually within the next five years. The multiyear plan, which was to be presented to parliament late on 31 Oct., still needs cabinet approval.

Canada is on track to accept 245,000 immigrants this year, the high end of last year's target.

Immigration minister Joe Volpe says Canada plans to increase temporary workers to tackle the enormous backlog of 700,000 prospective immigrants. He says would-be newcomers now face waits of as long as four years to have their applications processed in Canadian missions around the world.

"We have to start thinking about the immigration department as a recruiting vehicle for Canada's demographic and labour market needs," Volpe told The Globe and Mail.

"We are producing more jobs than the labour market has workers for ... we're desperate for immigration."

Canada - a vast country slightly larger than the US, though much of it in the frigid north - has only 33 million people, compared with 296 million Americans.
Volpe wants to bring in more workers on temporary visas to fill positions in the trades - such as pipefitters and truck drivers. Canada issues about 95,000 such visas a year.

Canada uses a recruitment system to select new immigrants, attracting many highly educated people who complain their professional credentials are not accepted in Canada.

Many foreign doctors and engineers say they end up working as taxi drivers and waiters - a trend confirmed by Statistics Canada, which has found recent immigrants earn less than their Canadian-born counterparts despite higher levels of education.

Volpe says he plans to consult with the provinces, unions, business and immigrant-serving groups to better understand exactly what kinds of workers are needed.
Volpe is also planning to introduce a new "in-Canada" application that will allow temporary workers and students to apply for landed-immigrant status once they have worked there for a certain number of months.

This year's report on immigration is expected to show that Canada accepted 236,000 immigrants last year.


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Canada invests $920 million in Ontario immigration

The Government of Canada will invest an additional $920 million over the next five years in immigration-related issues Ontario. The funding is intended to help more newcomers reach their full potential in Ontario by increasing the money for services to help them settle, integrate and access language training. Joe Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and the Honourable Mike Colle, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, signed the Canada–Ontario Immigration Agreement.

The agreement formalizes how the two levels of government will work together in the area of immigration. It also signals a shared desire to optimize the economic benefits of immigration and ensure that immigration policies and programs respond to Ontario's social, economic development and labour market priorities.
Ontario welcomes more than half of all new immigrants coming to Canada every year.

"This is a significant milestone, laying a foundation for the governments of Canada and Ontario to work together in collaboration with municipalities and official language minority communities to improve the social and economic integration of immigrants in the province," said Minister Volpe.
"This is truly a landmark agreement for our province and a history-making investment in the successful integration of the 125,000 new immigrants Ontario welcomes each year," added Minister Colle.


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Canada hunts for trades people in Europe

Construction industry leaders from British Columbia (B.C.), Canada are hoping that skilled trades workers from Europe can help solve the province's skilled labour shortage.

Next month, Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) president Keith Sashaw will travel to Europe to promote B.C. construction-job opportunities Germany, England and Scotland. He hopes to recruit journeymen-level employees who can help meet increasing demand for workers on Olympic, major infrastructure and other projects.

European employees would then be hired in conjunction with the provincial nominee program, which allows provinces to expedite an immigrant's work permit and landed immigrant applications.

An immigrant with a confirmed job offer will receive faster processing of a permanent-residence visa application through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The employer must make the application on behalf of the employee.

The Construction Sector Council (CSC), a national organization funded by industry and government that aims to increase Canada's skilled construction workforce, estimates B.C. will face a 50-percent increase in demand for skilled trades workers by 2013. That means the province will require 60,000 new workers.

Driving the demand is Canada's aging population, increased demand for technological skills and a strong construction market. Several construction projects are ramping up this year and next as B.C. prepares to complete several major projects in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Sashaw's aim is to increase awareness of B.C. construction job opportunities on a global basis. He will act as a facilitator between companies and prospective employees at five career fairs, distributing information about each firm to potential recruits. Companies will then interview and screen employees, and assist in immigration processing. Companies who don't attend will still be able to have materials distributed at the career fairs free of charge.

The CSC and other construction industry groups have identified immigrants, women and Aboriginals as potential sources of skilled-labour supply.
But the national group warns language barriers, concerns surrounding the recognition of credentials and a lack of Canadian-based training make immigrants a long-term solution rather than a short-term fix.

However, Sashaw and other B.C. industry leaders say recognition of the European credentials should not be a problem, because British and German training standards are among the highest in the world and most of B.C.'s trades do not require certification.

The Calgary-based Canada West Foundation, a think tank which makes recommendations on government policy, has called for more use of provincial nominee programs to help fill skill shortages.

Vancouver-area construction industry leaders welcomed the VRCA's recruiting mission.

"We've got to do everything we can to increase the pool of skilled labour here," says Peter Simpson, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association. "If it means going to Europe to recruit the workers with skilled crafts, that's a good idea. We have to look at all the options."


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Rural Canada gaining more immigrants

Rural communities in Manitoba, Canada are experiencing immigration growth, despite recent statistics showing a marked decrease in Manitoba's population.

In the first three quarters of 2005, 17,867 Manitobans left the province for other parts of Canada while 11,656 people moved to the province, according to Statistics Canada. But thanks to a successful government program, the population drain isn't as bad as it could be.

In 2001, Manitoba started an initiative called the Provincial Nominee Program for Skilled Workers, created to energize the province's lethargic immigration numbers.

The program sponsors skilled workers from other countries who have obtained job offers in the province to become landed immigrants. Gerry Clement, the assistant deputy minister for Manitoba Labour and Immigration, says the program has helped lessen the impact of losing workers to Alberta and British Columbia.

"From an immigration front, we've almost tripled in the last five years," Clement said. "In 2000 when we started, immigration was 3,600 people per year. This year we've reached over 8,100. Our objective is to achieve 10,000 over the next couple years as an annual immigration."

While most new immigrants are settling in urban areas like Winnipeg and Brandon, a good chunk are moving to rural Manitoba. "Essentially 30 per cent of our provincial nominee movement, out of 4,600 individuals we sponsor every year ... close to 2,000 are destined to rural Manitoba."

Clement said the number of immigrants continues to grow as people who have settled in the province encourage other family members to join them.

Most of the new immigrants to Manitoba are from the Philippines, Germany, India and China. Rural towns like Russell and Killarney are only just starting to look at ways to attract immigrants, but Kola, just west of Virden, and Eastman communities like Winkler, Altona and Steinbach, have taken advantage of their agriculture base to create jobs and hire foreigners for those positions.

"There's a really significant movement of Germans to Manitoba. Many share a common history — many are Mennonites who were in Europe or stuck behind in Russia. They have relatives here going back a generation or two."

Dale Banman, the community development officer for Killarney and the RM of Turtle Mountain, has been in contact with several German families looking to move to the community.

Unlike many small towns in rural Manitoba, Killarney hasn't experienced a population decline. But the move to bring in new people is to support the burgeoning economy, and the need for carpenters and construction workers is very high.

"We're having a problem, especially in spring. We have to look very hard to find employees. There's definitely a need in the community."


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