‘They’re not lining up anymore’: Policy must respond to the need for skilled immigrants

If you’re an engineer in China or Brazil, you have a good life. Why come and freeze in Canada, right? It’s a truism that Canada is a nation of immigrants, but in the years ahead, demographics — an aging population and low birthrate — and changing employment patterns, with increased demand for specific skills, indicate the role of immigrants in the Canadian economy will only grow, reported the National Post Nov. 13. One major barrier to successful immigration is the issue of qualification and employment. Dr. Luin Goldring is a professor of sociology at York University and co-author of a recent Institute for Research on Public Policy study on immigration and employment, has found a relationship between the circumstances in which workers new to the country are employed and their long-term economic prospects. What the study found was a relationship between entering Canada with a temporary status and having precarious work in one’s first year in Canada, and remaining in precarious work over time. Workers entering Canada on a temporary basis, the IRPP study shows, are more likely than permanent immigrants and Canadian-born workers to find and remain in precarious employment.  Read full story.

Jettisoned: No golden parachute
The idea that Nova Scotia’s politicians leave office with golden parachutes seldom rings true for those at the grassroots level. Municipal councillors cannot collect employment insurance and most — if not all — do not get a severance package if they are defeated. That there is neither a social safety net nor severance for municipal politicians is “absurd,” considering that would be expected in the private sector, said a York University political science professor, reported Halifax’s Chronicle Herald News Nov. 13. But more than that, Robert MacDermid said, it could further discourage lower- and middle-class candidates from offering, knowing that the job comes with little financial security. “If we want to have our elected representatives come only from the wealthiest individuals, then, yes, we should cut the salary, we should cut the pension benefits (and) we should cut the benefits they get when they’re defeated, because that will suit the rich. Read full story

Federal Courts eyeing plain-language Internet help for self-represented litigants
Swamped by a rising tide of self-represented litigants, the Federal Courts are planning “novel” changes to demystify their often-baffling legal processes for people who can’t afford lawyers. The changes are described in a new report that reviewed existing Federal Courts rules, and also calls for new tools to curb abusive and wasteful litigation, reported the Ottawa Citizen Nov. 12. When the current rules were enacted in 1998, most parties in the two Federal Courts — the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal — were represented by legal counsel, the report says. Today, many litigants can’t afford legal representation and more and more are trying to present their own claims and defences. When they do, they run up against court rules that even many lawyers find confusing. “To self-represented litigants trying to comply, the rules often seem to be a collection of legalese arranged in a baffling order,” the report acknowledges. Sean Rehaag, an Osgoode Hall Law School professor, doubts the proposed changes will do much to enhance access to justice for people challenging immigration and refugee decisions, which make up more than half of the Federal Court’s caseload. Read full story.