Who is ‘essential’? Immigrants and foreign workers overrepresented in designated jobs during COVID-19, a new report finds

Interesting and informative report, quantifying some of the numbers:

The pandemic has shed light on how immigrants and foreign workers are the backbone of the essential workforce that keeps the flow of goods and services uninterrupted during the crisis.

Now, for the first time, a new study has looked at the data to back it up.

Based on custom government data, the Conference Board of Canadaexamined the representation of immigrants and temporary foreign workers in sectors and occupations identified by Ottawa as “essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although immigrants only account for 23.8 per cent of the Canadian workforce, they are “overrepresented” in major essential jobs: transit and passenger transportation (39.7 per cent); food manufacturing (34.85 per cent); administrative and support services (29.84 per cent); truck transportation (29.71 per cent); nursing and residential care facilities (29.21 per cent); personal and laundry services (28.1 per cent); and food services and restaurants (27.43 per cent).

Temporary foreign workers are also an increasing source of labour in the farm and food manufacturing subsectors.

Work permit holders — who make up around 1.4 per cent of the overall labour force — are overrepresented in food services (3.4 per cent); accommodation services (2.7 per cent); professional and technical services and food manufacturing, both at 2 per cent.

“Immigrants and temporary residents are critical in the essential sectors and occupations. That’s very clear,” said study author Yilmaz Dinc, senior research associate at the Conference Board specializing in immigration.

“As the pandemic has shown, we don’t only need people with bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s degrees. We also need people with manual skills. We need truck drivers, nurse aides and workers in food manufacturing. It’s important to create an immigration pathway for people with those skills to arrive in Canada as permanent residents.”

The data also revealed a chronic problem within the country’s immigration system that rewards high education achievements and professional work experiences but fails to utilize those talent and match them with jobs that are commensurate with those qualifications.

The report found that overqualification is particularly common among newcomers working as nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates (45 per cent); transport truck drivers (28 per cent); and process control and machine operators in food and beverage processing (34 per cent). Similar trends are observed for temporary residents in these occupations.

Among truck drivers, for instance, more than 25 per cent of the immigrants and 16.8 per cent of foreign workers in the occupation have a bachelor’s degree even though their role doesn’t require one — an indication the study says that these workers’ skills and knowledge have been underutilized.

The study said immigrants who came under the economic class such as the federal skilled workers program — which often requires post-secondary education — constitute a significant proportion of the immigrant workforce in essential subsectors.

In 2015, 45.7 per cent of the 91,500 permanent residents working in food manufacturing and 52.6 per cent of the 89,000 permanent residents employed in nursing and residential care facilities came here as economic immigrants based on their skills and qualifications.

It’s not like migrants are drawn to essential jobs with low pay and little job mobility, said Dinc, but they have few options.

“These are hard jobs. Many of these sectors, again and again, face difficulties in attracting domestic labour. What happens is these sectors turn to newcomers and temporary residents to fill those vacancies,” he said.

“They are more readily available than some of the better-paying, better-quality jobs. And that’s how the overrepresentation of immigrants and foreign workers becomes stronger and stronger.”

To build a stable essential workforce resilient to disruptions such as a global pandemic, Dinc said policy-makers can’t just rely on the import of temporary foreign workers and on overqualified permanent residents, who would seek other opportunities that arise.

Over the longer term, governments and employers must address the precarious conditions faced by essential workers by improving the benefits and wages to recognize their contributions to the economy not just during pandemic times.

“You have to create pathways to permanent residency for these essential workers to fill essential job vacancies. On the other hand, there needs to be a fresh approach to compensation, career advancement and job mobility to make those jobs attractive not just to immigrants but also Canadians,” said Dinc.

Earlier this year, Ottawa rolled out a one-time special immigration program to grant permanent residence to 90,000 recent international graduates as well as temporary foreign workers with work experience in essential occupations.

Dinc said immigration officials must tweak their existing selection criteria to ensure regular permanent residence pathways are available for migrants to fill essential jobs.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/10/29/who-is-essential-immigrants-and-foreign-workers-overrepresented-in-designated-jobs-during-covid-19-a-new-report-finds.html

Quebec’s 2022 immigration plan is not enough to address labour shortages

The fallacy lies in repeating business arguments about immigration being the solution rather than being one element in addressing labour shortages. On the other hand, if the federal government and other provinces continue with expanded immigration levels, Quebec’s share of the population will continue to decline, leading to declining seats in Parliament in relative if not absolute terms.

And I suspect that immigration levels will not feature greatly in next year’s provincial election, given identity-related issues like Bills 21 and 96, along with federal-provincial relations and respective roles:

This morning, the province announced it would welcome up to 52,500 new permanent residents in 2022.

Unfortunately, the province continues to fall short of the targets it needs to support stronger economic growth.

Quebec currently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada. Its unemployment rate was 5.9 per cent in September compared with 7.1 per cent nationally. One of the reasons for its low unemployment rate is Quebec has one of Canada’s oldest populations. Over 20 per cent of Quebec’s population is aged 65-and-older, compared with 18.5 per cent nationally. Quebec also has a birth rate that is just as low as the national average, and one of the country’s lowest immigration rates per capita. When you put all this together, the province is facing significant labour shortages. According to Statistics Canada, Quebec is seeing among the highest increases in job vacancies in the country.

Labour shortages are problematic for several reasons. They make it difficult for employers to operate at full capacity, which makes it difficult for them to serve the needs of consumers. This, in turn, makes it difficult for employers to make investments, which hurts job creation and economic growth.

The topic of labour shortages has featured in Quebec media headlines throughout 2021 with stakeholders pointing to the need for higher immigration as part of the solution to better meet the province’s labour market needs.

For instance, the President of the Quebec Employers’ Council wrote an article in July providing ten solutions to tackle worker shortages, two of which pertained to increasing immigration levels and reforming the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). In September, Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters published a report that labour shortages cost the province $18 billion over the past two years, and it also called for more immigrants to help solve this problem.

To put Quebec’s immigration figures into context, the province was targeting the arrival of some 50,000 immigrants annually until it elected a new government in the fall of 2018. The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party successfully campaigned on a promise to reduce immigration by 20 per cent due to its believe more needed to be done to improve newcomer integration in the province. Under its first plan, CAQ set a target of welcoming a maximum of 41,800 immigrants in 2019.

Welcoming 50,000 new immigrants per year prior to 2019 was already low, so CAQ’s new policy created even greater pressure on the province’s economy. Even though Quebec has the authority to set its own immigration targets (an authority no other province or territory has), it continues to choose to welcome just 12 per cent of all newcomers to Canada, despite it being home to 23 per cent of Canada’s population. On a per capita basis, Quebec is now aiming for an immigration rate of 0.6 per cent. This pales in comparison to the immigration rate of 1 per cent that the Canadian government is pursuing under the Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023.

It is important to stress that higher levels of immigration will not solve all of Quebec’s labour market challenges. Analysts and commentators point out that a variety of solutions are needed such as more skills training and helping marginalized members of society access job opportunities. At the same time, immigration is a key part of the equation.

So, what is an optimal level of immigration for Quebec?

Given how significant the province’s demographic and labour force challenges are, a strong case can be made Quebec needs to set much higher levels.

A good benchmark would be setting Quebec’s immigrate rate at the same level as the targets currently being pursued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

This means that given its population of some 8.4 million people, it may be wise for Quebec to pursue an immigration target of 84,000 immigrants per year.

This figure may seem high but it would be in line with the national average and would allow Quebec’s immigration rate to catch up after lagging the rest of the country for many years. It would be difficult to increase immigration this dramatically in a short period of time, but the province could set a multi-year plan to gradually reach this figure within five years or so.

At the end of the day, however, CAQ was democratically elected and was given a mandate by voters to keep immigration in the province low. Nonetheless, CAQ also has a mandate to increase the prosperity of its province, and seeking higher newcomer levels without compromising integration is a key element of a prosperous Quebec.

Now that the province’s 2022 plan has been set, we can not expect Quebec’s immigration targets to be adjusted within the next year. But, by this time next year, Quebec voters will head to the ballot box to decide who will lead their next government. At that point, CAQ and opposition parties will have the chance to share their vision of the future for Quebec, including what each party feels is an appropriate level of immigration to support the province’s economy.

Source: Quebec’s 2022 immigration plan is not enough to address labour shortages

These Numbers Show How More Diversity on TV Leads to Increased Viewership

Of note:

Television that reflects the growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S.resonates with audiences and industry stakeholders, a study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) released on Tuesday shows.

In UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report for 2021, which covered the 2019-2020 TV season, researchers found that there was a general increase in hiring diverse talent for people of color and women, both for on-screen and behind-the-scenes roles, despite the challenges many productions faced during the pandemic. To collect the data, researchers tracked racial and ethnic diversity across multiple job categories for 461 scripted television shows across six broadcast networks, 29 cable networks and 15 digital platforms; they also tracked ratings and social media engagement.
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The study found that ratings and social media engagement for most groups, including white audiences, peaked for shows that featured casts that were at least 31% minority, while viewership among adults between the ages of 18 and 49 often peaked when a show had a majority minority cast. And for the first time in the study’s history, the percentage of scripted broadcast TV acting roles for people of color, which clocked in this year at 43.4%, surpassed the overall percentage of people of color in the U.S at 42.7% for ethnic and racial groups.

Darnell Hunt, dean of the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA, who co-wrote the report with his colleague Ana-Christina Ramón, says these significant shifts are indicative of the rise in streaming technology, which, through a non-traditional business model, has resulted in more shows by people of color and women being greenlit, which has paid off well. Increasing diversity in the U.S. also means that audiences are hungry to see themselves on-screen—a factor that will only become more important in the future; currently, 53% of all Americans under the age of 18 are people of color, putting the country on track to be majority non-white within two decades.

“People basically want to see the TV shows that look like America, that have characters they can relate to and have experiences that resonate with them,” Hunt told the Associated Press, pointing to the critical and commercial successes of shows like Insecure, which was created by and stars Issa Rae, and the Emmy award-winning Watchmen, which starred Regina King.

But there’s still plenty of work to be done in Hollywood when it comes to furthering diversity and inclusion, per the study. While numbers for representation on-screen have improved, this change can largely be attributed to increased roles for Black or multiracial talent. Asian Americans, who are the fastest-growing racial group in the U.S., Latinx and Indigenous people still remain mostly underrepresented in all acting categories. Both Hunt and Ramón attribute this to executive decisions that see diversity within a Black-white binary.

Behind the scenes, people of color face also face a large parity gap; in TV writing rooms across all platforms, while numbers were up for writers of color, they still made up less than 30% of the writers. This lack of representation was also evident for top roles like directors, show creators, and industry execs.

Source: These Numbers Show How More Diversity on TV Leads to Increased Viewership

Study: Religiosity in Canada and its evolution from 1985 to 2019

Interesting findings from the GSS. Census 2021 will include religious affiliation data which will allow for detailed socio-economic analysis:

A new study finds that Canada’s religious landscape has undergone significant changes in recent decades, including a decline in religious affiliation and a decrease in participation in individual and group religious activities.

The study “Religiosity in Canada and its evolution from 1985 to 2019” uses data from the General Social Survey to profile different patterns of religiosity in Canada and examine how they have changed since 1985.

A clearer understanding of how Canadians’ relationships with religion have evolved provides better insight into the country’s cultural and social history of the country and the diversity of today’s population. New data from the 2021 Census will soon update the portrait of religious diversity in Canada by providing detailed information on religious affiliations and the people with these affiliations.

Around two-thirds of Canadians report having a religious affiliation

In 2019, just over two-thirds (68%) of the Canadian population reported having a religious affiliation, and over half (54%) said their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important to the way they live their lives. 

More than one-third of Canadians (37%) reported engaging in religious or spiritual activities on their own at least once a month, and almost one-quarter (23%) reported participating in a group religious activity at least once a month in the previous year. 

Women were more likely than men to report having a religious affiliation (72% compared with 64%) or to consider their religious or spiritual beliefs somewhat or very important to how they live their lives (61% vs. 47%). They were also more likely than men to participate in religious or spiritual activities on their own at least once a week (36% vs. 24%) and in group religious activities at least once a month (26% compared with 21%). The same types of results are found by gender and age. Women are more likely than men to report having a religious affiliation, to participate in group or individual religious or spiritual activities, and to place a high value on their religious or spiritual beliefs, regardless of age.

Dynamics vary across regions

The diversity of regional dynamics has long been a fundamental characteristic of Canada’s religious landscape. For example, high proportions of non-affiliation have distinguished British Columbia for several decades and still characterize the province, with 40% of the population reporting no religious affiliation from 2017 to 2019.

In Quebec, religious affiliation is relatively high. However, more often than elsewhere, it goes hand in hand with low importance given to religious or spiritual beliefs. From 2017 to 2019, 40% of Quebec residents reported both a religious affiliation and low importance of religious or spiritual beliefs, compared with 15% to 25% in other provinces.

Trends in religion in the Atlantic provinces have generally been more stable than in other regions, particularly with respect to religious affiliation. However, the most recent data show particularly sharp contrasts between generations, suggesting that significant changes in the religious landscape have begun in these provinces. For example, from 2017 to 2019, those born between 1940 and 1959 were twice as likely to report both having a religious affiliation and considering their religious or spiritual beliefs somewhat or very important (74%) than those born between 1980 and 1999 (37%).

Participation in religious activities varies widely across religious affiliations 

Among those who reported having a religious affiliation between 2017 and 2019, nearly one-third (32%) had participated in group religious activities at least once a month. However, the frequency of participation in religious activities varied widely across religious affiliations.

For example, a majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses (86%), Latter Day Saints (80%) and Anabaptists (75%) participated in group religious activities monthly. In contrast, Buddhists (15%), Anglicans (19%) and those affiliated with the United Church (19%) had proportions of monthly group participation well below average.

There is also some variation in the importance given to religious beliefs by religious affiliation. Nevertheless, a majority of people of each affiliation reported that their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important, ranging from 62% for Catholics to 98% for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Declines in religious affiliation and participation in religious activities

Both religious affiliation and frequency of participation in group religious activities have trended downward in recent decades. For example, the share of people who reported having a religious affiliation fell from 90% in 1985 to 68% in 2019. Meanwhile, the share of those who attended a group religious activity at least once a month fell by almost half, from 43% to 23% over the same period.

Similar trends were also observed with respect to the practice of individual religious or spiritual activities and the importance given to religious and spiritual beliefs. For example, in 2003, 71% of people reported that their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important, compared with 54% in 2019. Finally, the proportion of people who engaged in religious or spiritual activities on their own at least once a week fell from 46% in 2006 to 30% in 2019.

Chart 1  
Evolution of the different religiosity indicators, 1985 to 2019

Chart 1: Evolution of the different religiosity indicators, 1985 to 2019

Religious affiliation and participation are less common among younger generations

In general, recent generations were less likely than the generations that came before them to report a religious affiliation, to participate in group or individual religious activities, or to place a high value on religious and spiritual beliefs in how they live their lives.

For example, at the same age, when they were 20 to 30 years old, those born between 1960 and 1969 were significantly more likely to report a religious affiliation (82%) than those born between 1990 and 1999 (54%). They were also more likely to participate in group religious activities (24%) than their counterparts born between 1990 and 1999 (14%). Similar trends were also observed for participation in individual religious or spiritual activities and the importance of religious beliefs.

The succession of generations displaying these forms of religiosity less and less often accounts for much of the decline in religious affiliation, practices and importance among the Canadian population over the past few decades.

In terms of religiosity, people born outside Canada differ more from those born in Canada among the younger generations

In general, people born outside Canada are more likely than those born in Canada to report a religious affiliation, to consider their religious and spiritual beliefs important to how they live their lives, and to participate in group or individual religious activities. However, this difference is more pronounced among members of younger generations.

For example, among those born between 1980 and 1999, those born outside Canada were much more likely than those born in Canada to report a religious affiliation (71% vs. 59%) or to consider their religious beliefs to be somewhat or very important (62% compared with 39%). In comparison, those born outside Canada between 1940 and 1959 were about as likely as their Canadian-born counterparts to report a religious affiliation (85% vs. 87%) and only slightly more likely to consider their religious beliefs to be somewhat or very important (74% compared with 66%).

Given that immigration is an important factor in Canada’s population growth, these trends could have an impact on the evolution of the various religiosity indicators examined in this study.

In addition, information from the 2021 Census will soon provide an updated picture of religious diversity in Canada. This information will provide a more detailed picture of religious affiliations and the people with these affiliations.

Source: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/211028/dq211028b-eng.htm?CMP=mstatcan

‘It’s really unconscionable’: Here are the cabinet contenders Justin Trudeau snubbed

The reality of cabinet-making and the various factors – regional, gender, ethnic/racial etc – and how that invariably leads some to not make it.

Visible minority representation in Cabinet was 16.1 percent in 2015, rising to 21.6 percent in 2019 and falling slightly to 20.5 percent in 2021:

While the shuffling of key ministers and the ousting of others dominated cabinet chatter on Tuesday, there were also questions about MPs thought to be cabinet shoo-ins who were nowhere to be seen.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s front bench shakeup saw the creation of a slightly expanded cabinet, with seven ministers remaining in their old posts, nine newcomers, and three members shown the door.

As for those left without a seat at the table, Quebec MP Greg Fergus is one of the names topping that list.

Fergus is set to start his third term representing the riding of Hull-Aylmer, and most recently served as parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, the president of the Treasury Board and the minister of digital government, among other positions.

“You get a guy like Greg who’s done everything right within his party, serving the country — and he gets overlooked,” said NDP MP Matthew Green, a member of the Parliamentary Black Caucus alongside Fergus.

“I just don’t understand it. It’s really unconscionable.”

Fergus, who declined to comment on this story, has done much more than partaking in a never-ending list of parliamentary roles, committees and associations: he also stood by the prime minister’s side during the 2019 election campaign after old photos emerged of Trudeau in blackface.

And even as Trudeau’s past actions loomed over his commitment to combating anti-Black racism the following summer, Fergus took a knee alongside the prime minister during a Black Lives Matter protest on Parliament Hill.

Fergus is one of several MPs from across the National Capital Region who were left without cabinet gigs on Tuesday.

Gatineau MP Steven MacKinnon, also a former Liberal party national director, was another contender who missed out on a spot. In Ottawa, former Ontario ministers Marie-France Lalonde and Yasir Naqvi, who each fit in Trudeau’s vision of a diverse cabinet, also failed to level up.

The region might have done with one more minister, said one government source who spoke on the condition they not be named, given that Catherine McKenna’s departure left only Ottawa-Vanier’s Mona Fortier representing the area.

Fergus and others might have filled that void, the source said, but Trudeau’s commitment to gender parity made that difficult.

The NDP’s Green, meanwhile, says the Liberal government will need to move past “this notion that they can only have a handful of Black people in cabinet.”

Ahmed Hussen was returned to cabinet Tuesday, while Toronto Centre’s Marci Ien became the first Black woman on the front bench in nearly two decades.

But Bardish Chagger’s ejection from cabinet left a potential opening for other picks from southwestern Ontario, like London West’s Arielle Kayabaga, the source said.

And while Atlantic Canada was well-represented among the 38 faces sent to cabinet this week, there are still those who were bypassed, said Lori Turnbull, director of the school of public administration at Dalhousie University.

Halifax MP Andy Fillmore was one of those options, Turnbull said, although one of the top contenders was Halifax West’s Lena Metlege Diab, a former Nova Scotia minister long speculated to fill the void left by former fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan.

Jordan’s Nova Scotia spot on the front bench was instead plugged by Central Nova’s Sean Fraser, a longtime MP who was handed the immigration file Tuesday.

“Every prime minister will have their own math … around how they’re going to put the pieces together and who they want to bring in,” Turnbull said.

“And one thing is that (Diab) represents Halifax West, which is a very safe Liberal riding. So it’s possible that if (Trudeau) is … sort of trying to solidify a seat, he doesn’t need to solidify that one with a cabinet post.”

Source: ‘It’s really unconscionable’: Here are the cabinet contenders Justin Trudeau snubbed

And this piece by Erica Ifill complaining about Greg Fergus’ absence from cabinet is silent about how Black representation in Cabinet has increased from 0 in 2015 to 2 out of 39 in 2021 (Ministers Hussen and Ien):

Fergus’ snub shows that for Black faces, the work is never enough

Dutrisac: Au diable le Québec! [immigration processing delays]

Complaints about slow processing of Quebec appliccations. Hard to know without better comparative data but Quebec’s policy decisions play a role:

Que le Québec soit en mesure de suivre ou non, le gouvernement Trudeau poursuit une politique énergique en matière d’immigration. Les seuils annuels d’admission sont passés de 280 000 à 350 000 ces dernières années. Comme la pandémie a contribué à réduire le nombre d’immigrants reçus, à la fois en raison des contraintes touchant les voyages internationaux et de l’exacerbation des lacunes administratives d’Immigration Canada, l’administration fédérale doit faire du rattrapage en 2021 et traiter 400 000 admissions.

Il semble que la bouchée soit très grosse pour Immigration Canada, qui peine à faire son travail adéquatement. Le ministère est empêtré dans l’accueil des réfugiés afghans et n’arrive pas à délivrer les permis de séjour aux étudiants étrangers en temps utile. Les détenteurs d’un certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) sont toujours aussi nombreux à attendre 26 mois en moyenne avant que le gouvernement fédéral ne daigne leur accorder leur résidence permanente pour qu’ils deviennent des immigrants officiellement admis avec tous les droits que ce statut confère.

En 2020, à cause des problèmes administratifs affectant les bureaux d’Immigration Canada en Nouvelle-Écosse qui traitent les demandes de résidence permanente, les autorités fédérales n’ont pu admettre le nombre d’immigrants prévu dans le plan d’immigration du Québec. Cette année, il appert que le rattrapage prévu de 7000 immigrants, ajoutés aux quelque 45 000 autres qui figurent dans le plan, ne pourra pas se faire parce que l’administration fédérale n’arrive pas à traiter les dossiers.

Dans le reste du Canada, l’octroi de la résidence permanente — Ottawa y est responsable de la sélection de tous les immigrants — est beaucoup plus rapide. Ainsi, il est de six mois avec le service Entrée express destiné aux immigrants qualifiés. C’est donc deux poids, deux mesures : une administration fédérale capable d’être efficace pour accorder avec célérité la résidence permanente à des travailleurs qualifiés dans le reste du Canada et la même administration qui a besoin de deux à trois ans pour faire la même chose au Québec.

Au sein des organismes d’aide aux nouveaux arrivants et chez les avocats spécialisés en immigration, on cherche à comprendre les raisons d’une telle disparité de traitement. Immigration Canada n’a plus l’argument de la réduction des seuils d’immigration décrétés par le gouvernement caquiste à son arrivée : le seuil établi par le gouvernement Legault pour 2021 équivaut, avec le rattrapage, à ceux fixés auparavant par le gouvernement Couillard.

En octobre 2020, le ministre fédéral de l’Immigration, des Réfugiés et de la Citoyenneté, Marco Mendicino, a lancé un programme afin d’accorder des points aux candidats « francophones et bilingues » pour Entrée express. Le gouvernement Trudeau avait annoncé son intention de porter à 4,4 % le pourcentage d’immigration francophone en dehors du Québec, alors qu’il était de 2,82 %. Ce nouvel objectif correspond à la proportion des francophones qui subsistent dans le reste du Canada. En avril dernier, le ministre a aussi ouvert une voie rapide pour accorder leur résidence permanente à 90 000 travailleurs temporaires et étudiants étrangers en sol canadien. Invité à adopter le même programme, Québec avait décliné puisque cette sélection définie par Ottawa ne correspondait pas à ses critères et parce que le programme était injuste pour les détenteurs d’un CSQ qui poireautent deux à trois ans avant de devenir immigrants reçus.

Il semble que les mesures portent leurs fruits, du moins du point de vue du ministre fédéral. Ottawa pourra compter sur de nouveaux arrivants francophones établis au Québec pour se rapprocher de sa cible. Le Journal de Montréal a rapporté que plusieurs travailleurs et étudiants étrangers établis dans la région de Montréal, désespérant d’obtenir leur résidence permanente, avaient déménagé leurs pénates en Ontario. Ils ont obtenu le précieux statut en quelques mois.

Il s’agit d’une forme de concurrence malsaine, qui s’ajoute à l’incurie administrative réservée au Québec. Le gouvernement Trudeau exerce une pression sur les fonctionnaires d’Immigration Canada pour qu’ils remplissent cette commande d’accueillir 400 000 immigrants cette année. Entre satisfaire les besoins du Québec et ceux du reste du Canada, les fonctionnaires fédéraux écoutent la voix de leur maître et favorisent le système d’immigration qui relève totalement d’eux.

C’est peut-être voulu, c’est peut-être systémique, mais ce qui est clair, c’est que ce traitement inéquitable sape le système québécois d’immigration.

Source: https://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/editoriaux/642762/ottawa-et-l-immigration-au-diable-le-quebec?utm_source=infolettre-2021-10-26&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=infolettre-quotidienne

«Malaise» autour du nouveau cours de citoyenneté

Of note, and not entirely unexpected:

Le processus de mise en place du nouveau cours Culture et citoyenneté québécoise provoque un « malaise » parmi les experts et les enseignants mandatés pour créer le programme, qui se sentent « instrumentalisés » à des fins politiques par le gouvernement Legault.

Selon ce que Le Devoir a appris, deux des cinq membres du comité de rédaction du programme ont démissionné au cours des dernières semaines. Des experts d’un autre comité, chargé celui-là de « valider » le contenu, envisagent de démissionner à leur tour devant la tournure jugée « partisane » de l’implantation du cours.

La fonctionnaire du ministère de l’Éducation qui était responsable du programme, Marie-Noëlle Corriveau-Tendland, a remis sa démission en mai dernier. Elle estime que la fonction publique « n’est plus un rempart administratif contre les interventions politiques ».

« Je sentais que pour satisfaire un ministre, on devait modifier le contenu d’un programme d’études. Ça m’a heurtée dans mes valeurs. Quand je suis allée au ministère, j’allais travailler pour l’État et non pas pour le gouvernement », dit Marie-Noëlle Corriveau-Tendland au Devoir.

Elle considère « normal » qu’un ministre cherche à influencer le processus menant à la révision d’un programme. Après tout, il a été élu pour gouverner. La machine administrative doit cependant s’assurer de respecter les façons de procéder afin de « dépolitiser la pédagogie ».

« Les experts trouvent bizarre qu’il y ait des annonces de faites avant même la fin des validations normales du programme », dit l’ex-fonctionnaire, devenue conseillère pédagogique dans un cégep.

Le nouveau programme remplacera le cours Éthique et culture religieuse (ECR), créé en 2008 dans la foulée de la déconfessionnalisation des écoles. Le cours remanié réduit la place des religions et accorde davantage d’importance à la citoyenneté, à la culture ainsi qu’à la laïcité, thème central de l’action gouvernementale depuis l’arrivée au pouvoir de la Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), en 2018.

Un engagement politique

L’annonce de ce nouveau programme, dimanche, avait des allures d’événement préélectoral. Trois personnalités (Dany Turcotte, Pierre Curzi et Ingrid Falaise) sont venues vanter les vertus du cours amélioré. Dans une vidéo diffusée lors de la conférence de presse, huit ministres et le premier ministre défilent à l’écran pour expliquer que ce programme contribuera à un « Québec fier ».

« On se sent en pleine campagne électorale », déplore une source bien informée des tractations entourant la naissance du cours. Cette personne a demandé à garder l’anonymat par crainte de représailles.

« On parle ici d’un simple cours offert au primaire et au secondaire, mais le gouvernement nous décrit quasiment comme les sauveurs de la société québécoise », lance une autre source qui n’est pas autorisée à parler publiquement.

Le ministre de l’Éducation, Jean-François Roberge, se défend de faire de la politique sur le dos des élèves. « La refonte du cours d’ECR était un engagement de notre gouvernement. Il était normal d’en faire l’annonce. En aucun temps il n’est question de politiser l’enseignement des élèves », indique Jean-François Del Torchio, attaché de presse du ministre.

« Les thèmes qui seront abordés lors de ce programme ne sont aucunement politiques, mais bien des thèmes qui reflètent la réalité quotidienne des élèves, comme les institutions démocratiques, le système judiciaire, l’environnement, l’éducation à la sexualité, la culture, etc. », ajoute-t-il.

« Déjà depuis dimanche, plusieurs enseignants nous ont contactés pour participer à l’élaboration du cours. Ils veulent contribuer », précise le représentant du ministre.

Cap sur les élections

De vastes consultations du milieu de l’éducation ont bel et bien eu lieu à partir de janvier 2020, mais le ministre Roberge a écarté à ce jour les opinions contraires à son projet, indique Marie-Noëlle Corriveau-Tendland.

En privé, des experts et des enseignants disent constater eux aussi que le gouvernement Legault cherche à mettre en avant sa vision politique de la nation québécoise. Cette vision n’est pas nécessairement mauvaise, selon nos sources. Certaines personnes y sont favorables, mais le réseau scolaire doit s’élever au-dessus de la mêlée pour produire un programme pédagogique exempt de partisanerie, souligne-t-on.

Une autre membre du comité de rédaction du nouveau cours, enseignante au secondaire, a récemment remis sa démission. Il ne reste ainsi que trois des cinq membres originaux du groupe chargé de pondre la nouvelle version du programme.

Selon nos informations, des membres du comité de validation — l’étape suivant la rédaction — s’interrogent à leur tour sur la suite de leur engagement. Ce groupe d’une quinzaine d’experts ne s’est réuni qu’une seule fois, en juin dernier. Il n’a eu accès qu’à un résumé de quatre pages du projet de programme.

L’identité des membres de ce groupe est tenue secrète. Tous ont dû signer une entente de confidentialité. La prochaine réunion du comité est prévue pour vendredi. Le cours Culture et citoyenneté québécoise doit encore être peaufiné avant son entrée en vigueur à la rentrée 2023, a expliqué le ministre Roberge. Des projets pilotes doivent avoir lieu à la rentrée 2022.

Mélanie Dubois, chargée de cours en formation des enseignants à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, a l’impression que le gouvernement veut accélérer la mise en place du nouveau programme avant les élections prévues dans un an, en octobre 2022. Elle trouve aussi « décevant » qu’aucun enseignant n’ait été invité à l’annonce du programme par le ministre, dimanche.

Source: https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/642852/education-malaise-autour-du-nouveau-cours-de-citoyennete?utm_source=infolettre-2021-10-26&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=infolettre-quotidienne

How Can Australia Rethink Its Immigration Policies?

The ongoing divergence between Canada and Australia remains, striking given how much the two countries have borrowed ideas and approaches from each other in the past:

Australia has begun having necessary public debates about its post-pandemic recovery. One of the more crucial elements of this recovery is how the country re-establishes its immigration program, which has effectively been paused for the past year and a half. In recent decades Australia’s national strategy has relied on sourcing a significant number of skilled migrants to off-set birthrates that are below the replacement level, drive economic activity, and enhance the country’s overall capabilities. That strategy proved successful.

Due to this, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has begun pushing for 200,000 skilled migrant visas to be issued annually, a return to the pre-pandemic average. However, advice provided to the new premier of New South Wales, Dominic Perrottet, indicated that Australia will require 2 million new residents over the next five years to meet labor shortages, effectively double the pre-pandemic intake. This would match Canada’s ambitious new target for its own national expansion (one it is already meeting).

In Parag Khanna’s new book, “Move,” the author argues that the post-pandemic world will see a fierce competition for young talent by migrant-accepting countries. Countries that are able to both attract and retain people will find themselves at a distinct advantage. Pre-pandemic Australia could rightly claim to be a lifestyle superpower, providing it with a serious asset for attracting these highly skilled migrants, yet the country’s highly protectionist response to the pandemic may have blunted this image.

While in recent decades Australia has offered migrants opportunities and ways of life that they otherwise may not have had, it has also not made fully accessing these opportunities particularly easy. Australia’s visa system is notoriously complex and expensive, with myriad hurdles to jump, and no clear pathway toward permanent residency. Migrants can spend a decade or more bouncing between an array of insecure short-term visas, limiting their ability to make long-term plans and subsequently limiting their ability to feel welcome and valued in the country. If Australia wishes to compete in a post-pandemic contest for skills it will need a less obstructionist visa system.

Yet there is more to this equation than just Canberra creating the administrative processes to maximize its power and potential. While states may be self-interested entities, they also face conditions that prevent them from acting perfectly in their own self-interest. Immigration can be an emotionally sensitive subject, making the politics around it difficult to navigate. There is a tension between what the country requires and what is politically achievable.

Australia, like other Western liberal democracies, is currently facing a crisis of confidence in its own ideas and values. Admittedly, Australia is not in as degraded a state as other similar countries, but a suspicion of liberalism – and its openness to the world – exists within the country and should not be ignored. This sentiment is born out of a paradox within the nation-state, where some elements within liberal societies believe that the state is undermining the nation.

The political psychologist and behavioral economist Karen Stenner has argued that liberal democracies have reached a stage of complexity that around one-third of their citizens have difficulty adjusting themselves to. These people value consistency, conformity, and homogeneity over difference and change. This disposition can tolerate changing societies under the right conditions, but it is susceptible to arousal and agitation through political demagoguery and media outlets that prey on their insecurities — leading to support for more insular and authoritarian styles of governing.

Following several decades of rapid social change, the COVID-19 pandemic could not have been a worse global-scale event for those who would like to keep this authoritarian disposition dormant. It has exacerbated the sense among some that states are acting against the interests of the public, leading to a further retreating into in-groups. The fear would be that this public sentiment now makes it far too difficult to re-establish Australia’s significant immigration program.

Yet Australia now faces not only economic conditions that require an increased labor force, but also strategic conditions that require an increase in state power. Canberra must confront the dual problem of a powerful and belligerent regional adversary in China alongside a primary security partner in the United States whose domestic instability is making it far less reliable. To negotiate this difficult terrain Australia requires more people to enhance its economic, diplomatic, defense, and cultural capabilities.

The serious question that Canberra must now ask itself is: How does it take the necessary steps to increase its capabilities without disrupting its own internal stability?

Addressing the culture of suspicion and contradictions at the heart of immigration process should be the first place to start. In recent decades Australia has asked migrants to provide the country with labor, knowledge, and taxes, but not civic engagement. Those who perceive that migrants are not “loyal” to the country have been aided in this perception by a visa system that doesn’t give migrants the opportunity to fully invest themselves in the country. There’s the potential to address both problems if handled correctly.

This would also require a change in public narrative, highlighting the courage and resilience of migrants, the honor Australia should feel at being chosen as a destination country, and the prosperity and social enhancement that flows from their contributions to society. If psychological insecurity is the political impediment to Australia’s expanded migration program, then migration as a tool to enhance national security should be emphasized.

The pandemic has offered governments the opportunity to rethink how they approach these key nation-building initiatives. It has also provided an example of what states can do when they focus their minds on a task. This should make it clear to Canberra that such necessary rethinking of immigration’s key role in Australia’s nation-building should not be deemed too difficult to pursue.

Grant Wyeth is a Melbourne-based political analyst specializing in Australia and the Pacific, India and Canada.

Source: How Can Australia Rethink Its Immigration Policies?

Ontario to ask Ottawa to help more PSWs immigrate

Of note:

The Ford government will be closely watching the shakeup of Justin Trudeau’s cabinet on Tuesday to see which Liberal MP takes over immigration.

That’s because whoever it is will largely determine the success of Ontario’s ambitious plan to fix its beleaguered system of long-term care.

The Progressive Conservative (PC) government’s plan is three-pronged: to pass legislation strengthening care standards in nursing homes; to spend $2.7 billion for 30,000 new beds; and to spend another $4.9 billion to hire 27,000 full-time workers.

But meeting the most expensive objective requires migrants, which in turn depends on Ottawa’s willingness to give Ontario the control it wants over jobs that tend to attract foreigners to the province.

“Ontario generally … is working with Ottawa for more flexibility (over) our immigration,” Ontario’s Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips said at an event hosted by the Canadian Club of Toronto last week.

“If we’re going to get those 27,000 people … there’s no way we get there without providing pathways.”

Before the last Parliament dissolved in August, Phillips spoke to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland about attracting more migrants to work as nurses and personal support workers (PSWs), he said.

The PCs plan to resume those discussions sometime after Tuesday, when the prime minister either renames Marco Mendicino as his minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, or appoints someone else.

The PCs want more autonomy in running the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), and for Ottawa to let it accept more immigrants through the program each year, said Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, last week.

A source close to McNaughton told iPolitics the PCs want to double the 8,900 immigrants Ontario accepts each year through the OINP, which is open to foreign workers, international students, and other would-be migrants who work jobs the Ontario and federal governments categorize as in need.

A foreigner who applies to the OINP has to be nominated for permanent residence by the provincial government, and his or her application must be approved by Ottawa.

In 2018, there were 56,000 full-time-equivalent positions in Ontario’s long-term-care sector, and 58 per cent of them were PSWs.

The 27,000 full-time-equivalent positions the PCs want to add over the next four years include 17,000 PSWs, according to comments made by Phillips that were reported by the Ottawa Citizen.

Currently, the OINP doesn’t consider PSWs “skilled workers,” thereby disqualifying them from most of the program’s streams. They can only qualify through the OINP’s “in-demand skills” stream, which has other complicating requirements, including that the applicant already has a job lined up in Ontario that pays more than the provincial average for the position, and that the applicant recently had a job in the same field in Ontario.

Many sectors in Ontario are short workers; government officials say 290,000 jobs are unfilled.

To attempt to fill them, McNaughton announced last week that the Ontario government will introduce a bill making it easier for people trained in certain professions outside Canada to become licensed in Ontario. While the bill would cover jobs in law, accounting, architecture, engineering, and plumbing, it wouldn’t apply to licensed health-care workers, however.

The PCs are interested in exploring similar legislation for immigrant health-care workers, but the sector’s complexity precludes them from McNaughton’s bill, said a source close to the minister.

Trudeau’s government shares some of the PCs’ goals for immigration and long-term care. During the federal election campaign, the Liberals promised to train 50,000 PSWs in Canada and raise their wages to $25/hour. Their platform also included promises to reform economic-immigration programs and to recognize more foreign job credentials.

While she’s in favour of classifying PSWs in a way that makes it easier for them to immigrate, it’s just “one piece of the puzzle” of filling the sector’s staff shortage, Donna Duncan, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association, told iPolitics.

The group represents 70 per cent of the province’s nursing homes, including those which are private, not-for-profit, and municipally run.

Source: Ontario to ask Ottawa to help more PSWs immigrate

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 27 October Update

The latest charts, compiled 27 October. Canadians fully vaccinated 74.8 percent, higher than USA 58.1 percent and the UK 68.2 percent).

Vaccinations: Canadian North ahead of Quebec, UK ahead of Canada, Japan ahead of Italy and France, Australia ahead of California. China fully vaccinated 76.4 percent, India 20.6 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: The chart shows the number of infections in Alberta starting to level off unlike the Prairies or British Columbia.

Deaths: Alberta deaths, along with the Prairies albeit to a lesser extent, continue to climb.

Vaccinations: Alberta vaccinations continue to surpass the Prairies. Immigration source country vaccination rates tapering off.

Weekly

Infections: UK ahead of New York.

Deaths per million: Alberta ahead of Ontario.

Useful analysis in the Economist on the effectiveness of vaccine mandates:

In the 24 hours after France announced that it would require proof of vaccination or a negative covid-19 test to enter many public spaces, 1m people signed up for jabs. Other countries are following suit: Italy imposed a vaccine-or-test policy last week.Listen to this story

How effective will such rules be? The response in France was robust, but many of those people might have sought jabs anyway. In American polls, most unvaccinated people say they do not intend to get shots.

Because jabs for covid-19 are new, the impact of mandating them will probably differ from that of requiring children to get well-established vaccines. However, history still offers relevant data on hardline refuseniks’ susceptibility to legal fiat.https://infographics.economist.com/2021/20211023_GDC100_2/index.html

The link between mandates and uptake of standard vaccines in childhood is murky. Much of Europe enjoys broad coverage without mandates, whereas poor countries’ edicts are often honoured in the breach. Even among countries with similar gdp per person, those with mandates do not vaccinate more—perhaps because only places with low uptake resort to coercion.

Another way to assess impact is studying changes over time when new mandates come in. Uganda’s long-run upward trend in jab rates actually flattened out after the country imposed a mandate. However, it only began requiring vaccines once 80% of children were already getting them.

In rich countries mandates have helped a bit. In 2016 Australia ended an exemption for conscientious objectors. Its jab rate for polio rose by three percentage points. After imposing new mandates in 2017-18 following outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, Italy saw gains in measles shots, and France in meningitis-C jabs. In six countries that have stiffened rules since 2000, the average gain was 2.2 percentage points.https://infographics.economist.com/2021/20211023_GDC100_3/index.html

The best evidence that mandates matter comes from America. Some states offer carve-outs from mandates only for medical reasons; others also recognise religious or philosophical ones. After adjusting for demographic and political characteristics that also affect jab rates, uptake in states with the fewest exceptions is 1.1 percentage points higher than in those with the most.

These effects sound small. But since jab rates cannot exceed 100%, mandates can only do so much if uptake is already high. Moreover, for diseases like measles, 95% of people need protection to reach herd immunity. A few percentage points can determine if outbreaks take off or fizzle out.■

Source: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/10/23/the-impact-of-vaccine-mandates-is-modest-but-potentially-crucial