Monthly Archives: November 2014

Ontario introduces legislation to maximize benefits of immigration

Disembodied hands making connections far above a map of the Earth

Disembodied hands making connections far above a map of the Earth

A little snippet of news the Brits in Toronto crew stumbled upon today …

“Ontario is reintroducing its first-ever Immigration Act that would, if passed, assist the province in working with Ottawa to maximize the economic benefits of immigration.

“Immigrants help grow a stronger economy by leveraging their networks and forging new global connections that will keep Ontario competitive in international markets.

“The province will also redesign the Provincial Nominee Program to respond to expected increases in the federal government’s allocation of economic immigrants.

“Maximizing Ontario’s immigration programs is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.”

Full article here.


Canadian immigration laws to re-unite families

It's too late for Steptoe's son to bring him to Canada ... but not for your family members!

It’s too late for Steptoe’s son to bring him to Canada … but maybe not for your family members!

Wouldn’t it be great to be reunited with your parents and grandparents in Canada? Well, according to an article on that may be easier in 2015.

But demand may be very high …


“The Canadian Parent and Grandparent (PGP) sponsorship program is likely to reopen for new applicants in January 2015.

“The program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parents and grandparents to come and live in Canada; demand for these visas is very high. This year the visa quota was reached within the first month of the start of the new visa allocation period. It is expected that the situation will be similar in 2015.

“Applicants are encouraged to begin preparations now, to ensure that applications are submitted on time and contain all the correct documentation. Sanwar Ali, of says, ‘Because there are a limited number of visas available, it is very important that you have your application ready to submit as soon as the new visa allocation becomes available — this will give you the best chance of success. Although it is inevitable because of the limited number of visas available that many applicants will be disappointed.’

“Processing times can take years. In the meantime you may wish to apply for the Parent and Grandparent super visa, which allows entry to Canada for up to two years at a time. The visa is valid for up to 10 years.”

Full article here.

Let’s all help fellow Brit Benjamin find a job!

Benjamin never sent a photo so here's a dog dressed as Kiss "drumming" up some support

Benjamin never sent a photo so here’s a dog dressed as Kiss “drumming” up some support

We got a nice e-mail from Benjamin who is interested in moving to Canada and, being the smart bloke that he is, has started doing his job research in advance. He asked for some PR so here’s his e-mail, bold is ours …

“Dear Brits in Toronto,

“I’ve been thinking about moving to Canada for about a year now and I had no idea where to start. I knew I would need a job but that it would be hard to find one. So first off, I would like to say thanks for helping people with that on your awesome site. Also, congratulations on the best new website award!

“While I was at university I went on an Erasmus exchange program to study (partly) in Lyon, France, and I had an amazing nine months living and taking in a new culture. This experience has given me a real desire to move and live abroad, and after a lot of research I decided Canada was the best place to move.

“I am a 22-year-old who graduated from the University of Cumbria with a BA (hons) Business Management in July, and at the moment I’m working part time at the local Tesco. With my degree I am interested in going into Recruitment, Banking, Wealth Management or any other positions that may be available and that I have the right skill set for. Hopefully this will seem quite attractive to employers!

“Thank you for reading this. I look forward to hearing from you soon, and hopefully I’ll be able to get you a thank you pint in Toronto.”

Always happy to oblige, Benjamin. If anyone out there can help, you can e-mail him at ben_scaife AT hotmail dot co dot uk or connect on his LinkedIn account.

Good luck mate!

Successful Brits in Toronto: Quin Parker

Quin forgot to send us a photo, so here's a little piece of home. (Sorry, got some dust in my eye ...)

Quin forgot to send us a photo, so here’s a little piece of home. (Sorry, got some dust in my eye …)

Quin Parker is the Deputy National Digital Editor at Metro. His Twitter bio explains a few more nuggets of info: “Expat Toronto Brit in the Lagrangian point between journo and tech.”

We asked the Brits in Toronto office intern to look up “Lagrangian” on Wikipedia:

The Lagrangian, L, of a dynamical system is a mathematical function that summarizes the dynamics of the system. For a simple mechanical system, it is the value given by the kinetic energy of the particle minus the potential energy of the particle but it may be generalized to more complex systems. It is used primarily as a key component in the Euler-Lagrange equations to find the path of a particle according to the principle of least action.

So, now you know.

Over to you, Quin …

What made you decide to choose Toronto as a city of choice? Did you plan a permanent move, or wanted to “try it for a while and see how it goes” and it turned out to be longer than planned?

We planned a permanent move from the beginning — the whole reason my wife (who is Canadian) and I moved here was because it was a place we could put down roots … something difficult in London unless you have six figures in your bank account.

I’m now at the point I could find it difficult to see myself living back in the U.K. I did name my dog Bakerloo, though, and both my children’s names are common in Northumberland.

This is a city I feel I belong in. As for why Toronto? Well, my wife is from Mississauga. She got a job in the city first, and I joined a few months later. Loved it when I first visited, love it now.

What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?

Planning as far ahead as you can is key, really. When I started as an editor at The Guardian website in 2007, I knew that it would be a step towards our family moving to Toronto. Still, I’ve learned that little counts on paper and you have to network and meet people.

Face time (no, not the app) is even more important here. Otherwise, your applications get caught in automatic filters. It is hard. “Informational interviews,” which to British people are the most awkward concept in the world, are quite important — you can ask to meet people at orgs you want to work for, for coffee. And they often say yes. Weird, huh? But use them.

Hell, if you are in media, just moved to Canada from the U.K., and want to try out the concept, you’re welcome to contact me …

But do permit me a few puffs of Metro’s trumpet here. I’m proud to be part of a diverse newsroom in Toronto that actually reflects the city we live in. Three of the senior editorial staff were born outside Canada.

Given my own perspective, I certainly don’t discount resumes of people settled here but with no Canadian experience.

What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?

Best: All the big box stores are in malls or out in the suburbs, so Toronto has no problems with the “clone town” epidemic that has taken over the U.K.’s towns and cities. Every neighbourhood is different and characterful.

I particularly like The Junction, with the high street brewery, the optometrist that does evening rock gigs, the Icelandic-Japanese furniture store named after the Swedish word for “milk,” something that seems to be open but just has a single motorcycle in the window, and the tax preparation service with the Commodore Vic-20 proudly on display. That’s a level of eccentricity British people are usually accused of.

Worst: Many people say the traffic. I’m going to say the drivers. Toronto drivers disregard rules, not in an exciting edgy Lena Dunham way but in an obnoxious walrus-crossed-with-a-toddler way. Indicators are magic levers that make the car beside you speed up, and speed limits are literally just a suggestion.

Let me talk to Brits who are non-drivers (particularly those from London): wait till you get here to learn to drive. They give licences to basically anybody. You might even be able to find a local walrus to help you prepare for the test.

Do you make an effort to connect with other Brits in the city, or just meet them when chance allows it? Any recommended pubs/eateries/other places for homesick Brits to meet each other and network?

I’m in the Meetup group, which is great for reviving e-mails about where all the British people are going to be … but I’ve never actually made it, for some reason. I don’t think there is an actual “British” area in the same way as there are other countries, because there never is really, right?

You will usually find cross-pollination with lots of Toronto hipsters drinking strong tea and eating omelettes at The Bristol Yard on Christie.

Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.

Learn to love thermal underwear. You will find yourself staring at the sky wondering if it was ever that open, high and blue. High quality tea is available in most supermarkets. High quality Brie is not.

You will feel like a novelty with a different accent and then, somehow, you will forget you talk differently. The pavement is the road, the sidewalk is the pavement, nobody actually says “eh.”

Full stops go inside quotes and everybody understands it makes no sense but they do anyway. You pretty much have to join LinkedIn, sorry.

Camping is not, in fact, sleeping in a field conveniently close to a pub, but actually involves the possibility of bears.

If you are sponsored by your spouse, lean on them but find your own connections — it’s heavy going on a relationship if your partner is your only friend.

There are raccoons! Squirrels are the wrong colour.

You only have to go to one Jays, Leafs or Raptors game — you don’t have to become a fan, but you have to go to one game.

Religion occupies a much more central role in people’s lives here, therefore somehow it matters less.

On a bicycle, don’t undertake a Toronto taxi unless you want to start a new career in the exciting world of purée.

Visit the city’s ravines.  It’s quite alright to go to Google Maps and scroll through the ludicrous vastness of this country and get overwhelmed: Do it every few weeks, so you don’t forget about it.

Canada needs to walk the talk on multiculturalism

If you stare long enough you'll start to see trees and a log cabin

If you stare long enough you’ll start to see trees and a log cabin appear

The Huffington Post Canada’s blog published an interesting article recently posing the question: Is ethnic discrimination alive and well in Canada?

The author is David Langtry, Acting Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

A couple of snips:

“According to a Statistics Canada report from 2006, 40% of immigrants admitted in the business or skilled worker class leave within 10 years. About 20% of working-age male immigrants leave Canada in the first year.

“So what’s going on? Language skills, social skills, barriers to recognition of foreign credentials, the absence of social networks, and lack of cultural awareness are all factors.

“But so is discrimination.

“Philip Oreopolous, a University of Toronto economist, sees ample evidence of bias and prejudice in the workplace. When he emailed 6,000 fake resumes to prospective employers, he found that skilled applicants with ‘ethnic names’ received fewer calls for interviews than those with ‘English-sounding’ names. Just having the ‘right name’ means a 40% better chance of getting your foot in the door.”

Full article here.

Win two flights home!

Get those photos out and tweet them

Get those favourite photos out and tweet them

Thought our readers would like to know that British Airways are currently running a contest to win two tickets home. All you have to do is …

“You can feel The Welcome of Home sooner than you imagine by taking part in our ticket contest. Tweet a photo that reminds you of home and where your home is, for a chance to win two round trip flights back to see your loved ones. Be sure to include hashtag #WelcomeOfHome.”

Here’s the link. Good luck!

Let’s all help fellow Brit Gareth find a job!

Caption goes here

Gareth dreams of being on a GO Train heading to his engineering job. You could make it happen

It’s time again to reach out and try to help a fellow Brit find a job!

We got this e-mail from Gareth:

“I came across your website today during a regular search of mine for opportunities for British people in Canada.

“My name is Gareth, I am a British citizen still living in the U.K. I am looking to emigrate to the Toronto area in April 2015. I am engaged to a Canadian citizen from that area and we will be getting married in May 2015. Once we are married, we will make the application for a permanent visa through the spouse route.

“As this could take six months or even more I am looking for ways to allow me to emigrate and work in Canada earlier. The most likely method I see is if I were to get on the IEC 2015 program — however, I know this is risky due to the low number of spaces available and how quickly they fill.

“I studied Chemical Engineering as a student to masters level and I know there are lots of opportunities in Engineering and for my discipline in Canada. However my profession was taken off the list this year that would have allowed me to apply for an open visa through my own qualifications.

“As a result, if the IEC didn’t materialize, the only way of me being able to work in Canada for the initial period following the wedding would be to have a job offer from a company sponsoring me as a foreign worker. I have found this very difficult to find because I have currently been working for two years out of university so I do not yet have the experience that most companies look for when hiring temporary foreign workers.

“Do you think there is anything you or the site would be able to help with in regards to finding such a company? I know it is just a matter of time before I will have a permanent visa and things will be so much easier but I am hoping it is something I can make happen sooner rather than later.

“Thanks for any help you are able to offer.”

Gareth is also a nice chap as he has done volunteer work attending two STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) events, including ongoing mentoring of a small group of local high school children, designed to encourage young people to take up STEM subjects as future careers.

So, if any nice companies out there can assist this proactive bloke in getting a good start in Toronto, please contact him at garethr1989 AT gmail DOT COM — cheers.

Good luck, Gareth!

Spitfire Kitchen is now open!

Woof woof. Woof. Woooffff. Woof woof woof. Woof.

Woof woof. Woof. Woooffff. Woof woof woof. Woof.

From the Brits that brought you The Feisty Jack, we have word that their restaurant — Spitfire Kitchen — is now open for business.

From their Facebook group:

Spitfire Kitchen is now open. As of now we will be open from 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. we are located at 132 Sixth Street which is Lakeshore and Islington (South Etobicoke or West Toronto, depending on who you ask…)

What is it? It’s a bit of everything; we have a massive selection of imported British imports, but not the fake stuff, real imported goods. God bless the Cadbury factory in Toronto … but if you’re a Brit you know it’s not the same — all of our imports are actually imported.

As well, we have a big selection of frozen ready-made meals for you to take home, no fillers, no chemicals, real food. Shepherd’s Pie, meat pies, sausage rolls, fruit pies, etc.

We also have a great selection of homemade jams and preservatives. Further to that we have a full coffee bar, espresso, flavored coffees and a massive tea selection that you can enjoy with a great table. If the weather is nice we have our outside patio and we are fully Wi-Fi and media-enabled.

On Saturday and Sunday we’ll be doing brunch from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

We hope you will come by and check it out!

New to Canada SuperShow and Information Expo from November 8-9, 2014

We got chatting to Rhonda Jacobson, Community Outreach Manager, New2Canada SuperShow and Expo today on Twitter, keeping our conversation to 140 characters or less, and she sent us some information that may be of interest to those new to Canada …

From the press release:

New to Canada Resources is proud to present Canada’s largest show and exposition for newly settled Canadians. Featuring over 70 exhibitors from all three tiers of government, local community resource and support groups, and the private sector, The New to Canada SuperShow and Expo promises to be a must-attend event for all newcomers.

Unlike the many “job fair” type shows that frequent the GTA, this is the first all-encompassing newcomer expo in Eastern Canada, with specialized exhibits and seminars targeting the most important needs of new Canadians, from settlement issues and changing regulations, to recreation programs and local diversity support services.

The show takes place at The International Centre, Mississauga, on Saturday, November 8 and Sunday November 9. Admission is free for those who register online at, or at the door.

And it’s open to anyone with an interest in newcomer issues, as well as the general public.

Some of the more than 70 featured exhibitors include: Service Ontario, York Region, The City of Mississauga, OCASI (, major colleges and retraining organizations, job search strategy organizations, along with many smaller, hard-to-find community support groups … the grassroots organizations helping with the many and varied settlement challenges that a newcomer faces when immigrating to Canada.

There is also a free Welcome Pack for qualified show visitors upon presentation of a PR Card.

The GTA’s unique and highly diverse ethnic and multicultural foundations will surely make for an interesting and informative show.

Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson discusses the nature of citizenship

Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson

Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson

Here’s an excellent article in The Varsity (the University of Toronto’s student newspaper) about former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and her thoughts on — among other things — citizenship.


“Citizenship is a subject Clarkson is well-acquainted with, having come to Canada as a refugee from Hong Kong at the age of three, as well as in her work as Governor General.

“‘Well, I founded the Institute for Canadian Citizenship … so when they approached me to do the talks, citizenship was the word that really got me,’ she explained.

“In Belonging, she writes, ‘It is worth noting that the motto of the Order of Canada is “to desire a better country.” This motto indicates, with typical Canadian understatement, that the country is not a wonderful basket of goodies to which we and others contribute and draw interest from. Instead, it assumes that as citizens we are proud of our country and therefore we will help make it better.'”

Read the full story here.

Say hello to Nick Noorani, founder of Canadian Immigrant magazine

Caption here

This man’s forgotten more about Canadian immigration than you’ve had Sunday roast dinners

This is our new feature where we say hello to someone who — although they may not be a Brit — has made an important contribution to the life of Brits in Toronto somehow.

Hello Nick Noorani!

You’re probably most well-known for starting Canadian Immigrant magazine. What made you realize there was an outlet for that kind of subject matter when you founded the magazine?

From the time I landed in 1998 (from Mumbai, India), I was intrigued with the lack of information for immigrants … and so was born Arrival Survival Canada — a handbook for immigrants written by an immigrant!

The idea for the magazine came to me in a 3:00 a.m. dream in March 2003. I wrote down the idea and later that year when I was laid off I started the magazine. By that time I had been in publishing for five years and with a background in advertising and marketing, I felt well equipped to start the magazine.

I did extensive research with immigrants and saw a very clear niche — a magazine for all immigrants — not any one ethnic group. Something that would reflect Canada!

The magazine went on to change the media landscape as well as the information and motivation that immigrants needed, but I felt more needed to be done in the pre-arrival area so in 2010 I left the magazine (that I had by then sold to the Toronto Star) and started

We conduct monthly webinars in various countries including the U.K.! Check us out!

A lot of highly skilled immigrants come to Canada and end up in survival jobs, doing security or driving taxis. What advice do you have that can enable them to realize their true potential?

For the love of God please do research your profession before you come here! Most immigrants search jobs before they come, not their profession, and then find that they have years of studying to do in order to get their degree recognized!

Secondly, be prepared to start one or two rungs lower. Remember it did take you years to reach where you are in your home country … it may just take a few in comparison.

And lastly, have a cheerful disposition and the challenges will seem easier to deal with!

If you could go back to 1998 when you immigrated to Canada and give yourself some advice about what to expect in the years ahead, what would it be?

Again, I would say the things I said before: research your profession, choose the location based on labour market information, be prepared to start one or two rungs below, be flexible and go out and make lots of friends!

What’s your thoughts on the new Express Entry system being introduced in January 2015?

Express Entry will move the process to a demand-based one rather than a supply-based one. When immigrants come to Canada with jobs in hand, the settlement process is much faster and everyone benefits.

Open question: this is your chance to share some wisdom on being a successful immigrant to Canada.

Get involved. This is now your country, and sitting on the sidelines will always make you feel a stranger who is, well, sitting on the sidelines! I volunteer, mentor and am involved on several boards where I continue to try and make a difference in my new adopted home!

Favourite pub in Toronto?

The Spotted Dick.

Excellent advice, Nick, and keep up the good work you do to help immigrants to Toronto/Canada!