Tag Archives: immigrants

Looking for Brits’ opinions on expat and new immigrant meetup/support groups


“Come and join our Punching The Air While Celebrating On-Cue Expat Group … it’s really fun!”

Been a busy week for people wanting to pick our readers’ brains!

Next up is Ryerson student Lauren who wants your opinion on expat and similar groups. We featured the Toronto Brit Meetup Group a while back, but there must be more out there that Lauren can chat to.

“I’m a journalism student at Ryerson University and for an assignment I am writing about expat and new immigrant meetup/support groups and how they help or hinder newcomers to Canada in integrating into Canadian society. I was wondering if you have been involved in any such groups and if you’d be willing to talk with me about your experience, or if you know other people who have done so and might be helpful.”

Some example questions …

  • How did expat groups help you settle in? Do you feel like they helped you join in with wider Canadian society (beyond other expats)?
  • Do you feel “just” British, “just” Canadian or both? Why/what makes you feel that way?
  • Do you think you’ve become “Canadianized”? Which country do you think you fit in with better now?
  • Is your social group now mainly made up of Canadians, other expats (either British or not), or a mix of both? How does that compare to when you first moved here? (if here for longer)
  • Do you see yourself staying in Canada, returning to Britain or moving somewhere else long-term?
  • If you have lived as an expat in another country, how does your experience there compare with your experience in Canada? What made it easier/harder to establish a life there?

“I would be interested in talking to both recent newcomers, people who have been in Canada for years and everything in between. I would start with a fairly quick (10-15 minute) phone conversation and if people would be willing to meet in person for a more in-depth discussion than is easy to do over the phone, that would be great. If anyone is part of an expat meetup group that has an event/gathering coming up, that I could join in with, I’d love to do that too.

“The assignment is due in mid-April, but I’d like to hear from people as soon as possible, not to rush you!”

So, if you’d like to help Lauren out and tell her about your experiences, please e-mail her at lauren DOT lydia DOT der AT ryerson DOT CA — and thanks in advance!


So, what’s your point, Immigration Watch Canada?

Flyer distributed in Brampton by Immigration Watch Canada

Flyer distributed in Brampton by Immigration Watch Canada

CTV News reported the story of anti-immigration flyers being distributed in Brampton by an organization called Immigration Watch Canada.

From their website: “The destruction and senselessness  that naive Canadians (as well as those with sinister intentions) have created has caused many Canadians (especially those in Canada’s larger centres) to become very angry. These Canadians feel that this social engineering project has raised ‘Diversity’ to the level of a national goal. They feel this amounts to the country being ethnically cleansed and re-colonized.”

So, any Canadians reading this: do you feel that immigrants are re-colonizing and ethnically cleansing your country?

Would be interesting to hear the debate from both sides.

Here’s a quick backgrounder from the Government of Canada entitled “Facts in Canada’s Immigration History” for ready reference.

Canada welcomes record number of new Canadians/Express Entry

"Hi there friend! Is link bait and Google image search rankings good in Canada too?"

“Hi there little friend! Are link bait and Google image search rankings good in Canada too?”

So, two items of relevance crossed the 24/7-manned Brits in Toronto desk recently. Linked below for your reading pleasure.

Canada welcomes record number of new Canadians

“So far in 2014, Canada has welcomed more than 75,900 new citizens; the highest intake of new Canadians in almost four years. Canada has the highest rate of naturalization in the world with 85 per cent of eligible permanent residents becoming citizens. As a result, potential migrants have identified Canada as a viable place to migrate to, and since 2006, the CIC has received a steady increase in citizenship applications from around the world.”

Full story here.

Canada’s new immigration model will be called “Express Entry”

“Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced recently that Canada’s new recruitment model for economic immigration will be called ‘Express Entry.’ This new model is set to launch in January 2015.

“‘Express Entry promises to be a game-changer for Canadian immigration and Canada’s economy,’ said Minister Alexander. ‘It will revolutionize the way we attract skilled immigrants, and get them working here faster.'”

Full story here.

Canada wants to attract skilled newcomers … but might make it more difficult. Huh?

Canada wants you here, but it will be harder

Canada wants you here, but it will be harder

Two opposing snippets of news the Brits in Toronto crew spotted this week …

Attracting Skilled Newcomers to Canada

“Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) immigration ministers today reiterated their commitment to actively recruit economic immigrants that have the skills the Canadian economy needs most.

“Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Alberta’s Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk co-chaired the meeting of FPT ministers responsible for immigration. Economic immigration was a top priority for all ministers around the table.

“Ministers agreed to continue collaborating on building the new active recruitment model which is known as the Expression of Interest (or EOI) system. It is intended to transform Canada’s immigration system into one that is more responsive to labour market needs.”

Full story here.

Proposed Changes By Canadian Government Will Make Getting Citizenship More Difficult

“On February 6, 2014 Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander introduced into Parliament the first comprehensive changes to the Citizenship Act since 1977. Following Conservative government’s practice of giving political names to its legislation, Bill C-24, is titled ‘Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.’

“According to the Minister Alexander the Bill ‘will protect the value of Canadian citizenship for those who have it while creating a faster and more efficient process for those applying to get it.’ The cost of applying for Canadian Citizenship is also increasing to $400 from $200. This increase is effective immediately.

“Citizenship and Immigration Minister Alexander in a prepared statement also said, ‘Our government is strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship. Canadians understand that citizenship should not be simply a passport of convenience. Citizenship is a pledge of mutual responsibility and a shared commitment to values rooted in our history. I am pleased to bring forward the first comprehensive and overdue reforms of the Citizenship Act in more than a generation.’

Full story here.

So … Canada has programs in place on one hand to attract good people, but makes it harder for them to become citizens? Are we missing something here?

New Canadian Media — The Pulse Of Immigrant Canada

Just a tiny part of the whole website

Just a tiny part of the whole website. There’s more

Just a quick note that New Canadian Media launched its website this week. From its press release:

“Targeted at all Canadians, NewCanadianMedia.ca delivers news and views about the one-fifth of Canadians who are newcomers, covering issues and themes that are of particular relevance to this growing segment of the population. The site also features aggregated content produced by Canada’s multicultural media, to represent more fully ‘the pulse of immigrant Canada.'”

The publisher is George Abraham and you can read more of his thoughts here. Or connect via LinkedIn.

Brits in Toronto wishes them all the best in reporting what matters to new Canadian immigrants!

Is immigration turning away best, brightest?

Brits in Toronto really hopes not

Brits in Toronto really hopes not … would be bad

Travelling to the Brits in Toronto office yesterday during the polar vortex, my eye chanced upon a copy of Metro, the local free daily newspaper.

I opened it and was extremely concerned at what I read. “Pisceans should expect disappointing news from a tall, dark stranger.” (I always read my horoscope first.)

Then I noticed the headline story on the front page: “Is immigration turning away best, brightest?” I read with interest …

According to hopeful permanent residency applicants and an immigration lawyer, very skilled people are being rejected for no obvious reason that they can discern.

The article even goes so far as to report, “They say there are conflicting instructions for applicants and that immigration officers aren’t following the rules and are ignoring parts of their applications.”

Pretty worrying. But how can immigrants prove that? I’m not sure if there’s an appeals process or not. The kind of talented individuals that the Federal Skilled Worker Program was set up to attract are apparently not making it through.

Brits in Toronto are going to put out a few feelers to see if we can get some more information and post an update.

You can read the full article as a PDF here (right click/save as): Is immigration turning away best, brightest?

What you should know before moving to Canada

Get used to seeing this flag a LOT

Get used to seeing this flag a LOT

Just a quick link to an interesting article the Brits in Toronto crew were chatting about at our afternoon tea.

A group of mothers were asked, for an Atkinson Foundation project, to write imaginary letters home to a friend telling them what to expect if they’re thinking about emigrating to Canada. In the end, six women and two men participated.

Here are a few observations from those letters.

Mayday! Mayday! Curb idiotic radio presenters. Stop people from Ann Arbor, Michigan immigrating. Or it’s the end of the Canada we know!

Mayday! Mayday! Curb Idiotic Radio Presenters. Stop People From Ann Arbor, Michigan Immigrating. Or it's the end of the Canada we know!

Come on, give me a smile you granola-crunching, tree-hugging thug hugger

Until this morning, I thought Lowell Green was the name of a nice little British town in the middle of the countryside where residents washed their cars on Sunday, enjoyed a lunchtime pint and always said “Good morning, Bert, how’s the wife?” to the milkman.

How wrong I was. Thanks to the Globe and Mail’s media reporter Steve Ladurantaye who tweeted these quotes from Mr. Green, I was roundly educated.

“To summarize: CFRA’s Lowell Green believes there are forced marriages in Ontario because immigrants can watch satellite TV from homeland.”

“Lowell Green’s deep reflection on immigrants: ‘They can’t read Canadian books, and watch native television from their homeland everyday.'”

Where do I start?

First off, Mr. Green is an IMMIGRANT. According to Wikipedia — which is never wrong, and totally accurate, always — he was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and IMMIGRATED to Canada as an IMMIGRANT via the IMMIGRATION process. There’s a theme there somewhere. Stick with me.

So, having enjoyed a successful career as an IMMIGRANT to Canada, Mr. Green then goes on to write a book with the subtle, yet gentle, almost whimsical title of Mayday! Mayday! Curb Immigration. Stop Multiculturalism. Or it’s the end of the Canada we know!

Hard to tell from the title which way Mr. Green is leaning on the subject, and as I haven’t had time yet from my daily life of being a successful and contributory IMMIGRANT citizen to Canadian life, have not read the book.

But then again, according to Mr. Green, I “can’t read Canadian books.” Oh well. That’s that, I suppose.

And as for the satellite TV comment? I literally choked on my cucumber sandwich when I read that! As Steve Ladurantaye asked me, “Do you insist on watching Coronation Street?”

Oh yeah. All the bloody time. I can’t function in Toronto society without knowing who’s shagging who at the Rovers.


/Rant. I’m off to enjoy a lukewarm cup of tea and read about my fellow IMMIGRANTS to this welcoming country who are doing great things.

Yes, great … but do you have CANADIAN EXPERIENCE?

That million-dollar question every Brit will face at their first job interview in Canada.

“I like your track record, Mr. Smith. After quitting a highly successful law career, deciding that after 10 years the brain surgery field wasn’t for you and heading up the multi-national conglomerate and steering it into a $10 billion IPO, your resume is certainly impressive. But do you have Canadian experience?”

Argghhhh! It’s catch-22. How can you get Canadian experience if no one is willing to give you the chance?

I was VERY lucky. Landed a job within months of moving to Toronto and haven’t looked back since. But — I do say that we all make our own luck in life. I researched companies in Toronto six months before I left London, U.K., so was already ahead of the game before I landed. My first employer liked that initiative and I believe it helped land the role.

It breaks my cold English heart to see well-qualified immigrants not get the chance they deserve, and end up as taxi drivers or security guards. They leave a lot behind to start a new life in Canada, and then get a bad impression when no realistic job interview is offered to them after 200 application letters.

I won’t pretend to have a solution. But I have always believed that you hire people for the skills they bring to the table, their ability to do an excellent job, their track record and not because of where they’re from.

We should be embracing the highly skilled immigrants literally begging to come to this brilliant country and contribute to society.

A quick plug for Canadian Immigrant. You can read a lot of these tales of woe there in the letters section.

Update: Following a tweet, Settlement.org mentioned that they have an article on this very subject. Interesting to see that, and I quote, “In Ontario, employers cannot request Canadian work experience unless it is a legitimate job requirement.”