Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Social Affairs, Science and Technology
Issue 13 - Evidence - May 7, 2014
OTTAWA, Wednesday, May 7, 2014
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, met
this day at 4:14 p.m. to study the subject matter of those elements contained in
Divisions 11, 17, 20, 27 and 30 of Part 6 of Bill C-31, An Act to implement
certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and
TOPIC: Division 20 of part 6.
Senator Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: I would like to welcome you to the Standing Senate
Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
I'm Kelvin Ogilvie, Senator from Nova Scotia and chair of the committee. I
ask my colleagues to introduce themselves, starting on my left.
Senator Eggleton: Art Eggleton from Toronto, deputy chair of the
Senator Cordy: Jane Cordy from Nova Scotia.
Senator Chaput: Senator Maria Chaput from Manitoba.
Senator Nancy Ruth: Nancy Ruth from Toronto.
Senator Enverga: Senator Tobias Enverga from Ontario.
Senator Eaton: Nicky Eaton, Ontario.
Senator Stewart Olsen: Carolyn Stewart Olsen, New Brunswick.
Senator Seidman: Judith Seidman from Montreal, Quebec.
The Chair: Thank you, colleagues.
I will remind all that we are here today to deal with the subject matter of
Division 20 of Part 6 of Bill C-31, otherwise known as the budget bill.
We have witnesses with us today whom I will identify and invite in the order
we have agreed that they will appear. I welcome, from Citizenship and
Immigration Canada, Maia Welbourne, Acting Director General, Strategic Policy
and Planning; and David Manicom, Director General, Immigration Branch. We also
have Alexis Conrad, Director General, Temporary Foreign Worker Program,
Employment and Social Development Canada.
By understanding, we invite Ms. Welbourne to make her comments first.
Maia Welbourne, Acting Director General, Strategic Policy and Planning,
Citizenship and Immigration Canada: Mr. Chair and members of the committee,
my name is Maia Welbourne and I'm the Acting Director General of Strategic
Policy and Planning at Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today about Bill C-31,
specifically, Part 6, Division 20, related to legislative amendments that CIC is
making to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to prepare for the
implementation of a new application management system called Express Entry.
Following my opening remarks, my colleague David Manicom will also speak to
Part 6, Division 20, on proposed amendments related to the Immigrant Investor
Program and Entrepreneur Program, followed by Mr. Conrad from ESDC.
As you may be aware, CIC is working to create a new application management
system for economic immigration programs. Recently branded as ``Express Entry'',
this application management system will facilitate the selection of skilled
immigrants who best meet Canada's economic and labour market needs and is a key
component of reforming Canada's immigration system.
Economic Action Plans 2013 and 2014, and the most recent Speech from the
Throne, have underscored the government's goal to make the immigration system
more efficient, flexible and responsive.
As an electronic and fully automated system, express entry will be a
mandatory pre-application step for all prospective federal skilled worker,
federal skilled trades and Canadian experience class applicants and for a
portion of provincial nominees.
Within this system, there will be a two-step process where prospective
applicants will express their interest in immigrating to Canada by providing
information electronically about their skills and work experience. Candidates
who meet certain eligibility criteria will be placed in a pool where they will
be assigned points according to a published ranking system on the basis of their
skills and work experience and other key characteristics.
As a second step in this process, CIC would then invite the most highly
ranked candidates in the pool, including those with job offers or provincial
nominations, to apply for permanent residence in one of the economic immigration
I will now briefly explain the amendments that we are proposing in Bill C-31.
In order to situate these provisions more clearly, I am going to discuss them
in a different order than they appear in the bill. I will start with clause 301,
then discuss clause 300 and conclude with clauses 306 and 307.
To prepare for the launch of express entry, CIC is working to modernize its
systems and its business lines. To help ensure that applications for permanent
residence under express entry are processed within six months, clause 301 seeks
the authority to require applicants to submit their application for permanent
residence electronically, unless they have a disability or other circumstances
that prevent them from doing so. This will require forthcoming regulatory change
to take effect.
Since the adoption of Bill C-4, the department has made further policy
refinements to ensure that Express Entry is designed and implemented in a way
that makes the immigration system fast and responsive. This means that certain
legislative provisions introduced last year in Bill C-4 are no longer necessary
and are being repealed in Bill C-31.
It has become clear, for example, that certain provisions introduced in Bill
C-4 last year ran the risk of slowing down applicant processing times.
One of those provisions required candidates who receive an invitation to
apply to report any changes in their circumstances or attributes to CIC before
they made an application for permanent residence. For example, such changes
could have included updated work experience or language testing results. A
companion provision authorized the minister to cancel an invitation to apply in
cases where candidates' change in circumstance meant that they no longer met the
criteria on the basis of which they were invited.
A key amendment being proposed in clause 300 is to require that claims made
in express entry submissions be maintained at the time a candidate makes an
application for permanent residence. Candidates will be ranked and invited to
apply for permanent residence based on the qualifications they claim to have in
their express entry submissions. Therefore, this amendment will ensure that
candidates still have these qualifications when they apply for permanent
residence. The system will be flexible enough to allow candidates to update
their circumstances and attributes, such as language testing results or work
experience, prior to the issuance of an invitation to apply and/or at
application for permanent residence stage.
The series of amendments proposed in clauses 306 and 307 are more technical
in nature and are being introduced to solidify the existing legislative
framework that express entry is being built upon. In brief, these amendments
will permit the provinces and territories to utilize additional levels space
under the express entry system using a portion of their respective provincial
nominee programs; establish that candidates who do not make an application for
permanent residence within a certain time frame after receiving an invitation to
apply are ineligible to receive another invitation to apply unless they submit a
new expression of interest and all applicable criteria and conditions are met;
clarify the minister is authorized to give ministerial instructions that relate
to all components of the express entry system and submission process; permit the
use of language test results or educational credential assessments provided by
designated third-party organizations to determine certain assessment of points
in express entry; and allow for flexibility in the coming into force of the
provisions in this bill.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, these amendments will help CIC to implement the
Express Entry system by January 2015. Express Entry will allow the department to
strengthen the immigration system by making it fast and flexible in a way that
will contribute to Canada's economic growth and promote positive outcomes for
David Manicom, Director General, Immigration Branch, Citizenship and
Immigration Canada: Economic Action Plan 2014 announced the government's
intent to terminate the federal immigrant investor and entrepreneur programs,
and to eliminate their associated backlog of applications. This is part of the
Government of Canada's plan to build a fast and flexible immigration system that
contributes to the country's economic success.
As you've already heard, CIC is also moving toward a just-in-time system that
recruits people with the right skills to meet Canada's economic and labour
Large backlogs of applications are the biggest challenge to Canada's
immigration system. The backlog of immigrant investor and entrepreneur program
applications represents more than 70,000 persons and acts as a drag on the
immigration system as a whole.
The decision to terminate these programs and their backlogs is the result of
an in-depth program review undertaken over the last several years, which
concluded that these programs were out of date and of limited economic benefit
The entrepreneur program was designed in the 1970s when the federal focus was
on small business. Today, a more globalized economy requires a shift toward
innovation, productivity and creating better jobs and stronger businesses that
can compete on a global scale.
The immigrant investor program grants permanent residency to investors in
return for a five-year loan of $800,000, $400,000 prior to 2010. These loans,
typically financed by Canadian banks, are serving a limited need given the
requirement to repay them within five years. We are now 15 years into the
current investor program, and less than half of the funds on loan by investors
are actively invested in the Canadian economy.
Eliminating these programs and their backlogs will allow the government to
test new approaches to attracting high value business immigrants to Canada that
will better fuel the continued growth of the Canadian economy.
In this vein, CIC launched the Start-Up Visa pilot program in April 2013 to
attract the best and brightest entrepreneurs from around the world, with ideas
for new business ventures.
Economic Action Plan 2014 also announced that the government will introduce a
new immigrant investor venture capital pilot project, which will require
immigrant investors to make a real and significant investment in the Canadian
economy in return for the benefits of Canadian residency.
The government will also undertake consultations on a potential Business
Skills pilot program to address any gaps in immigration programing with respect
to attracting valuable business talent.
To set the stage for this shift to more innovative business immigration
programming, amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act contained
in Bill C-31 provide for the following: Applications to the immigrant investor
or entrepreneur program for which an officer has not made a selection decision
or an approval in principle before February 11, 2014, and have not been
finalized before Bill C-31 comes into force would be terminated. Where an
application is terminated, CIC will return any fees to the applicant that the
applicant had paid, without interest. The amendments also provide for the return
of any investment that may have been made by an immigrant investor program
applicant whose application is terminated. We expect these circumstances to be
very rare, but this provision ensures that we can give the applicant their money
back if their application is terminated, as opposed to locking it in for five
years. This provision has no fiscal implications.
Finally, a provision is also included to set out that there is no right of
recourse or indemnity against the Crown in connection with the termination of an
application. This is intended to include, for example, claims for damages,
accumulated interest or loss of income.
These changes will contribute to building a fast and flexible immigration
system and allow the Government of Canada to focus on attracting experienced
business people and raising investment capital that is of maximum benefit to
Alexis Conrad, Director General, Temporary Foreign Worker Program,
Employment and Social Development Canada: The amendments introduced to
section 32 of the Immigration and Refuge Protection Act provide authority for
the Governor-in-Council to make regulations to promote and enhance the
regulatory compliance of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by establishing a
system of administrative monetary penalties for employers of temporary foreign
workers. The amounts of administrative monetary penalties and the contraventions
to which they would apply will be set out in the Immigration and Refugee
This amendment follows from the Government of Canada's commitment in Economic
Action Plan 2014 to further strengthen the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to
ensure that employers comply with program requirements and that employers are
deterred from breaking program rules. An AMP system will fill a gap in the
current compliance regime between other administrative measures such as bans and
The introduction of this amendment stems from the comprehensive review of the
TFW program that is currently being undertaken to ensure that the program
continues to operate in the national interest. I would like to note that the
first program changes coming out of this ongoing review were announced in April
2013 and included a suspension of the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion
Initiative and removal of the wage flexibility policy. Employers must now pay
temporary foreign workers the prevailing wage rate for the occupation where the
work will take place.
In July 2013, a number of additional reforms were implemented that restricted
employers from identifying non- official languages as job requirements in LMO
applications, expanded job advertising requirements for employers and introduced
a fee of $275 per TFW position requested on an labour market opinion to ensure
that taxpayers aren't burdened with paying the cost of processing an LMO. In
addition, employers are now asked for information on their LMO application that
allows us to better assess where TFWs are being used to facilitate the
outsourcing of Canadian jobs.
Additional changes were brought into force on December 31, 2013. These
changes gave ESDC the authority to conduct inspections to make sure employers
are meeting program conditions and to ban non-compliant employers from the
program. In addition, ministerial instructions were issued that give ESDC and
CIC the authority to suspend or revoke LMOs and work permits, or refuse to
process LMO applications in order to protect the labour market and temporary
Building on the reforms that have been introduced to date, Economic Action
Plan 2014 announced additional measures to help strengthen the LMO process.
These changes will continue to strengthen the program and ensure that Canadians
are given first opportunity at available jobs.
The amendments proposed in this bill will be key to enhancing the TFWP
compliance regime and will be an effective mechanism to encourage employer
compliance with TFWP rules.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. We would be happy to answer any questions the committee
members may have.
The Chair: I will open the floor to questions, starting with Senator
Senator Eggleton: I'll start with the last comments on the Temporary
Foreign Worker Program. This program has been around for a while and still has
some basic good to it; but, boy, is it getting out of control. In spite of these
various measures of these dates you mentioned, Mr. Conrad, it's still out of
In 2005, there were about 100,000 people coming into the country. Now we're
up to 338,000, as of the figures in 2012. Interestingly, the top five
non-live-in caregiver occupations in 2005 were musicians, singers, actors,
comedians, producers, directors, and related occupations. By 2008, the top five
had shifted to food counter attendants, kitchen helpers, cooks, construction
trade helpers, labourers, light-duty cleaners, and then musicians and singers.
There has been a fair bit of controversy of late with respect to McDonald's
and other food counter operations where many people are complaining that jobs
are being taken away from Canadians.
How is the government going to tighten up the labour market opinion, LMO? You
mentioned additional measures to help strengthen the LMO process. Like what?
What are you going to do that will stop this situation from happening? These
people are taking jobs away from Canadians and this thing needs some reform. How
can you demonstrate to us the reforms that are now being put into effect
particularly with respect to the labour market opinion?
Mr. Conrad: I believe the amendments before us today are actually an
important step in the program's evolution. As I mentioned in my opening remarks,
at the end of last year, on December 31, regulatory changes came into force that
transformed the inspection regime by which we verify employers' compliance with
program requirements and dramatically increased those inspection powers. These
proposed amendments will enable the ministers to bring forward administrative
monetary penalties. I sincerely think that the strength of the compliance system
is an important tool for employers to know that sanctions and severe sanctions
are associated with not complying with program requirements.
The changes I mentioned to the upcoming assessment strengthen the program. On
each labour market opinion application entered, a variety of checks are done on
both the employer and the labour market for which the employer wants to bring in
workers. We give each application a significant amount of scrutiny.
Senator Eggleton: Wait a minute. Those are nice words, but give me an
example of something you're doing differently now — unless you're telling me you
weren't scrutinizing those LMOs before and I assume you were. What are you doing
differently now? You can see what's happening now. What are we doing to stop
this McDonald's kind of thing?
Mr. Conrad: To that example in particular, as I mentioned, the changes
to the compliance regime are extremely significant and have strengthened the
compliance aspects of the program. The minister has been forceful in his
statements around punishing employers who break the program rules. As far as the
specific case you mentioned, the minister has announced a moratorium on labour
market opinion applications from any employer working in the food services
sector pending the outcome of the review.
Senator Eggleton: We could go on with that for some time, but let me
go to Ms. Welbourne.
You talked about express entry. All our documents to this point in time talk
about an expression of interest or EOI system. I take it this has evolved into
something that has the brand name of ``express entry.'' Not a bad name. Express
entry won't be used for any temporary foreign workers; it's only for skilled
workers, et cetera.
On the invitation to apply, you say that a companion provision authorized the
minister to cancel an invitation to apply in cases where Canada exchange
circumstance meant that they no longer met the criteria on the basis for which
they were invited.
Is that relevant to the clause in here? It's section 290 of the Economic
Action Plan 2013 Act. Proposed subsection 10.1(2)(5) says the minister may
cancel an invitation to make an application if the invitation was issued in
error. Is that what it's talking about or is it something different?
Ms. Welbourne: That's something different. The one you just referred
to continues to be in play. It allows the minister —
Senator Eggleton: What criteria can the minister use? Let's not talk
about the current minister. Let's talk about any minister of any political
stripe at any time. How do you prevent abuse of that? The minister can call
anything he likes in there, I guess. Are there any criteria?
Ms. Welbourne: For the invitation-to-apply regime?
Senator Eggleton: No, no. For the application —
The minister may cancel something that he or she deems to be in error.
Ms. Welbourne: It would have to be clearly some kind of error. It's
not the same as the previous section you were asking about, where there's been a
change in an individual's circumstance.
Senator Eggleton: Does it say that anywhere in the bill that it has to
be this or that?
Ms. Welbourne: No. That's where it is. I think it's well understood
what an error would be.
Senator Eggleton: Let me go to this matter of the new programs coming
on. When will the investor venture capital pilot project come into effect?
Mr. Manicom: The final details haven't been announced yet. The
intention of the government is to develop a program that will require immigrants
to make a real and significant investment in the Canadian economy. It wouldn't
simply be a loan, in effect, as the current one is.
The assumption at this point is that the pilot program will be low-volume,
high-impact and address funding gaps in the availability of risk capital in
Canada — for example, support for early stage start-ups. Unlike the prior
immigrant investor program — which wasn't really an investment and was a bit of
misnomer as it was an interest-free loan — in the concept that we're developing,
the investor will need to accept the risk inherent in investing in early-stage
ventures. That's the intention of that program.
Senator Eggleton: That's the intention. That's fine. When are we going
to see criteria on this? How will that surface?
Mr. Manicom: The minister will be doing consultations in coordination
with Industry Canada over the next little while, and he will be looking to
announce the details of the new pilot program later this year.
Senator Eggleton: Finally, on this, you say you want to get this
replacement program into a just-in-time system, which sounds fine, but, for the
second time in a year, we're seeing the department come forward and ask for
permission to cancel a whole bunch of applications that are in the system. Yes,
you're going to cancel the immigrant investor program and the entrepreneur
program and replace them with this new one, but there are 63,000 applicants in
the first one and 78,700 in the second one that you're just going to cancel out.
Are you going to offer them an opportunity to go into the express entry system?
Isn't there some sense of fairness? These people have been waiting for a
response. They have been in the queue, and now suddenly they're told to get lost
— or are they?
Mr. Manicom: We understand that the individual applicants may be
disappointed. They will be eligible to apply for any of the Government of Canada
programs for which they may qualify. They will get their application fees back.
The decision has been taken because of a very large accumulation of inventory
occurring over many years when the government accepted far more applications
than there was sufficient space in the levels plan to process. It was felt that
if we were going to move toward a just-in-time system without waiting until 2020
or 2025 to work our way through these very large backlogs, then this was a
decision that needed to be taken in the national interest.
Senator Eggleton: Of course, the government could have provided more
resources to be able to go through those applications.
Mr. Manicom: It was not a resource issue.
Senator Eaton: Ms. Welbourne, I will start with you. The express entry
system sounds wonderful. You will do everything electronically. How will you
check people's references? I could write to you and say, ``I can do this, this
and this, and these are my qualifications and this has been my experience.'' How
will you check that?
Ms. Welbourne: Well, there will be a number of ways. As part of this
system, individuals will be required to provide language test results as well as
an educational credential.
Senator Eaton: Do they go and take a language test that you approve of
somewhere in their home country?
Ms. Welbourne: They will be required to provide language results in a
format that is internationally available, like an IL score or something with a
Canadian Languages Benchmark, up front, as well as an assessment of their
educational credential by an organization that we recognize to do such
assessments. Then they provide information. It is all online, and it is all
automated, so it's not verified by an officer unless and until an individual is
invited to apply and does apply for permanent residence. At that time, they will
be asked to provide the normal kinds of supporting documents that they're
currently asked to provide in terms of a permanent resident application. That's
when the officer will assess that.
In terms of deterring individuals from providing false information that may
lead to their being invited to apply when they shouldn't have because it was on
the basis of false information, there will be fairly strong deterrents built
into the system and communicated to the candidates in the form of candidates who
have been found to have misrepresented themselves or provide fraudulent
information or documents will not be permitted to apply for permanent residence
again for a period of five years.
Senator Eaton: Have you done any pilot programs? Have you tested this
in any way?
Ms. Welbourne: The actual system?
Senator Eaton: Yes.
Ms. Welbourne: The current system is being built, but we do have some
experience as a department with the idea of electronic applications, for
instance, in some of our temporary resident lines.
Senator Eaton: Clause 300 is to require that claims made and express
entry submissions be maintained at the time a candidate makes an application for
permanent residence. Candidates will be ranked and invited to apply for
permanent residence, et cetera, and this amendment will ensure that candidates
still have these qualifications when they apply for permanent residence.
I'm invited to apply. Am I invited to apply for permanent residence after
you've given a preliminary look at my electronic application? Is that it?
Ms. Welbourne: Maybe it would be helpful to just walk through the
steps along the way, as we envisage.
Senator Eaton: Yes.
Ms. Welbourne: It will be a fully automated front-end system.
Individuals who wish to come to Canada in one of the economic streams I
mentioned — the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class or the
Federal Skilled Trades Program or part of the Provincial Nominee Program — will
be required first to fill out online what we call an expression of interest, but
an online form that asks for details about their credentials, experience and so
on. On that basis, it will be determined whether they are eligible for at least
one of the programs being managed through express entry.
If they are eligible, they will be admitted to the pool, is the language
we've been using. Once in the pool, they will be ranked using what we're calling
the comprehensive ranking system. Points will be awarded —
Senator Eaton: How long will that take? I fill out an expression of
interest and send it in. It makes it into the pool.
Ms. Welbourne: It's instant. You fill out the online submission, you
hit ``submit,'' and you get told ``you're in'' or ``I'm afraid you're not
eligible because . . .''
Senator Eaton: I get put into the pool, and then?
Ms. Welbourne: You move into the pool. You'll be given a score that
gives you a sense of how well you've done and how well you will likely do the
next time the department issues invitations to apply. For instance, we are
figuring out whether that would be on a weekly or a biweekly basis, whatever the
Senator Eaton: If my score is 75, it's not 100?
Ms. Welbourne: It's not 100. It's more complicated than that. But say
you get a score of 500, you will be able to assess, given information on our
website, how likely it is with a score of 500 for you to be invited to apply.
You will see that in previous draws, a previous round of the department or the
system inviting candidates to apply, that everybody with a score of 475 and
above was invited. Therefore, you're going to get a sense that you have a good
Senator Eaton: Will the average change? In other words, if one week
the average is 450 and they get asked, but a month later suddenly there are a
lot of people hitting 750 and 800, then I would fall off, wouldn't I?
Ms. Welbourne: Exactly. It will change over time. It depends. You are
always ranked against all the other people in the pool at that point in time, so
there is no hard number above which you are guaranteed to be invited. It is your
standing compared to all the other individuals in the pool at the time that the
invitations to apply get sent out.
Senator Eaton: I see. And how long do I remain in the pool?
Ms. Welbourne: We haven't totally come to ground on that, but we're
thinking probably about a year. Your individual expression of interest will
remain valid for a year. If you're not invited to apply within that year, you're
out, but you can go right back in again if you want.
Senator Eaton: I can reapply and hope my skills are better?
Ms. Welbourne: As long as you continue to meet the eligibility
requirements, you can go back in.
Senator Cordy: I'm starting to get used to Citizenship and Immigration
appearing before us on a budget bill, and that's sort of scary to me.
I'd like to go back to Senator Eggleton's line of questioning regarding the
Temporary Foreign Worker Program. To say that this program has run amok is
certainly an understatement because of all the concerns we've heard about
recently. We know that, as Senator Eggleton said, in 2009 the number of
temporary foreign workers was 280,769, and in 2012 it increased to 338,189. We
have to keep in mind that this was during a recession when a number of Canadians
were losing their jobs.
We've also heard reports of Canadian workers who have been fired and replaced
by temporary foreign workers. We've also heard of cases of Canadian employees
who were training temporary foreign workers who would then take over their jobs,
as was the case with a bank in Canada.
We know that a lot of work has to be done in this area. We also know that
perhaps the number of job openings was not as high as it once was, given the
numbers coming out of the department.
Would the department give us the kinds of jobs being offered to temporary
foreign workers — the kinds of jobs being offered in specific communities? We
know that there are pockets across the country where jobs are required, but we
also know that there are jobs in some locations where employment rates are quite
high, and yet temporary foreign workers are being brought in. Does the
department have that information? Would you be willing to release it to
Canadians so they can see it?
Mr. Conrad: The department obviously tracks every detail around where
temporary foreign workers are approved for entry. ESDC approves the employer
request or refuses the employer request for a given number of foreign workers
for a given occupation in a specific location for a fixed period of time. The
employer then has a decision after they've received the approval whether to
proceed and formally request a foreign worker. There's always a mismatch in the
number of positions approved and the number of foreign workers who enter because
a significant number of employers find Canadian workers during the time after
they apply and before they're approved or even during the time from when they're
approved to when they find a foreign worker to enter the country. In fact, as
part of the labour market opinion advertising requirements we require employers
to continue to advertise a job until the labour market opinion is approved or
We track all the statistics in terms of which positions are approved by
region and by occupation. I obviously don't have the specifics with me, but I'd
be happy to provide the committee with any of that information it feels is
Senator Cordy: It would be great if you could send that information to
The Chair: What the senator has asked for could be an enormous amount
of data, and we have a limited amount of time here. This will have to be limited
to a representative answer that you could get to us within a matter of days.
Senator Cordy: Good point; thank you, chair.
The Chair: Presumably, there would be useful examples, at the very
Senator Cordy: Perhaps having the numbers for each region would be
helpful, if you have that. You said you have that information.
Mr. Conrad: Yes. I have the numbers per year and per program stream,
but I don't have the provincial breakdown with me.
Senator Cordy: You said that employers have to demonstrate that there
is no Canadian who is either qualified to take the job or is willing to take the
job. Yet, we've heard stories, particularly over the past few months, about
Canadians who are losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers. Could you tell
us what an employer has to do? You said an employer has to show that they have
advertised for the position, but I've heard that the advertising is very short.
Could you give me specifics on what an employer has to do to demonstrate that
they do not have a Canadian who can take that job?
Mr. Conrad: The requirements differ a little bit between agricultural
jobs and low-skilled and high-skilled jobs. Generally, as far as the
advertisement goes, we require the employer to advertise in several different
types of media. We require them to advertise generally through the national job
bank or provincial job bank. We require them to advertise at the prevailing wage
and indicate what the wage is and details around the job. As I say, we require
them to advertise not only before the LMO application is made, but also during
the process. For most applications before they come in, we require a minimum of
four weeks' advertisement in more than one medium; and then we require them to
continue that advertising until we actually make a decision on the labour market
opinion application. As I said in my opening remarks, over the last few months
those advertising requirements have been lengthened.
Senator Cordy: You said in your comments that the minister's language
was forceful. I'm not speaking of a specific minister but the minister at the
time we heard about the bank issue where Canadians were actually training
temporary foreign workers who were then going to take over their jobs. The
language was pretty forceful at that time as well. How is the new forceful
language going to ensure that Canadians are not losing their jobs?
Mr. Manicom: Mr. Conrad is best placed to answer the question specific
to the labour market opinion process. The incident you're talking about with
regard to the Royal Bank of Canada and the Indian software company iGATE were
individuals not subject to the labour market opinion process. They came in under
Canada's international trade obligations through the General Agreement on Trade
in Services, GATS.
With regard to the particular incident, details were reported in the media.
They are media reports. The department has no evidence specifically that the
program criteria were violated. However, the government is doing a review of the
provisions of that program, which are reciprocal in nature. They do not subject
the individuals to a labour market test in exchange for the same treatment by
Canadian citizens seeking to work internationally.
That incident is not related specifically to the labour market opinion
process and the broader issues that have been recently in the fore in that
Senator Cordy: Nonetheless, the indications we got were that Canadians
were training foreign workers to come in and take their jobs.
I'd like to address Citizenship and Immigration Canada. You held
consultations on the immigration investor program in 2012, but the summary
report has never been publicly available. Is it available?
Mr. Manicom: I don't believe so, madam.
Senator Cordy: Why would it not be available? If we're making changes,
it would certainly be helpful for us as a committee and let Canadians to know
what the findings were in terms of those public consultations. Were the findings
the reason for the changes in terminating the inventory of investor class
applications? That would be helpful information for us to know. Is there a
reason that it has not been made public?
Mr. Manicom: I'd have to verify that. These consultations were
conducted by the minister. I'd have to verify whether summary documents are
The decision to terminate the program was based on both the consultations and
the analysis by the department going back some time and redone recently to look
at the economic impact of the program. We've been conscious for some time that
the economic benefits were relatively limited. The government had been making
prior changes to the program to increase the dollar value. Increasingly we felt
that providing Canadian citizenship and permanent resident status in exchange
for an interest-free loan and the real value of that, especially in a low
interest rate environment, was quite minimal.
Our ability to analyze the economic impact continues to improve, so we're
able to do statistical comparisons, for instance, of taxes paid over a lifetime
by individuals in that category versus our other economic categories. We found,
for example, that the average immigrant investor program participant paid
$200,000 less in taxes over a 20-year career than a federal skilled worker paid.
So it was about the relative priorities.
Senator Cordy: You've made those types of comments in your speech to
us. I just find it unusual that, for the public consultations that were made,
the public doesn't have access to a summary report on it. That would certainly
be very helpful to me, looking at these changes that are being made.
Mr. Manicom: I'll have to verify, but I don't believe a public summary
has been prepared.
Senator Seidman: I might start, Ms. Welbourne, with you, just to
clarify a few issues. I'd just like to be sure: You said the express entry
program is a new application management system. That would mean that it's not a
new entry program; it's a new management system. I just want to be really clear.
Ms. Welbourne: Yes. If I can clarify, it's a system, not a program.
It's a system that will allow us to manage applications in the programs to which
it will apply. It is a pre-application step that will be mandatory for the
federal programs that I've talked about as of January 1.
Senator Seidman: When the express entry program is implemented, will
applicants apply for those specific programs that exist, that you mentioned, or
will they make more general application and then be directed to a program that
is pertinent for their requirements or their talents or skills?
Ms. Welbourne: To try to put it a slightly different way, individuals
who wish to come to Canada in one of those three federal programs will no longer
be able to just apply for permanent residence in one of those programs. They
will be required, as a first step, to express their interest through this online
system. Only those who are invited to apply will be permitted to submit an
application for permanent residence. It's an application management system in
the sense that we will control the number of applications coming in in a way
that we have not been able to thus far. We will only invite the number of people
to apply for which we have processing capacity and levels space in our annual
Senator Seidman: You've answered my final question to you, which was
what the advantages are of this program yet to be implemented over the current,
Ms. Welbourne: The other element I would add is that because of these
innovations and this new approach, we'll be able to offer a six-month processing
service standard, which will be a significant improvement over the current
processing standards for permanent residence applications.
Senator Seidman: Thank you. That really helps.
Mr. Conrad, if I could ask you a question or two. My understanding is that
Citizenship and Immigration Canada and HRSDC can inspect premises to verify
compliance, and they may require employers to provide documents or report at a
certain time or place to answer questions. Would you explain how that inspection
process works, please? For example, how are inspection sites chosen? Is it at
random, or do you get a complaint? How does that work?
Mr. Conrad: Without getting too much into the details of how we select
specific employers to be inspected, we do certainly a representative sample of
employers using the program. We have several different program streams, and we
ensure that there's a representative sample from different program streams,
because the requirements are different. We do a large volume of random
inspections. We also do a large volume of risk-based, where we feel inspections
should be particularly targeted. In response to complaints from a variety of
sources, including through the tip line that the minister introduced recently,
we follow-up on all of those complaints. It's a mix of complaint-driven, risk
and random inspections.
Senator Seidman: I think you said you do, though, have some kind of
selection process by industry?
Mr. Conrad: We actually have quite a sophisticated internal model that
we use in terms of using predictive analytics and other tools to decide which
companies to review. It is a weighting of various variables, as I said, between
program streams, geographic location and a range of other activities that are
mostly hidden from public view, to be honest.
Senator Seidman: Would you have any data to share with us on the
number of inspections performed and the success of these inspections?
Mr. Conrad: I don't have the specifics with me, but I know the
minister was asked at committee for similar details. I can make sure the
material the minister committed to is circulated more broadly.
The Chair: You're saying that the minister will what? How will this
get to the committee?
Mr. Conrad: Sorry. I will, through my own department, make sure that
the information that has already been requested by another committee is sent to
The Chair: It will need to reach us by or before next Tuesday in order
for us to consider it.
Mr. Conrad: Understood.
Senator Seidman: If I might ask one last question of you, Mr. Conrad:
How will the monetary penalties help to ensure compliance with the program?
Mr. Conrad: The administrative monetary penalties by themselves are a
deterrent tool, and their existence is meant to be a deterrent rather than
punitive, per se, although obviously if an employer is given a penalty, then
there is obviously a punitive aspect to it.
Right now we have a system where the consequence of employers being found
non-compliant with the program is a program ban. It's a two-year ban. We feel in
some cases a monetary penalty is a more appropriate tool to use, either in
addition to some kind of ban or in and of itself, because there are certain
types of employer actions where the potential to be handed a monetary penalty is
more significant than a ban. For example, there are employers who only use a
program once, and a program ban would not be a useful sanction as it wouldn't be
a deterrent, whereas a monetary penalty would be.
Senator Seidman: So you have the ability to distinguish in that sense?
Mr. Conrad: In fact, yes, through the regulatory process, the minister
will be outlining the kinds of sanctions and the circumstances in which
different sanctions would apply.
Senator Seth: Thank you for your information and for being here.
My question is for Ms. Welbourne. You have said that established candidates
who do not make application for permanent residence within a certain time frame
after receiving an invitation to apply are ineligible to receive another
invitation to apply unless there's some new expression of interest and all
eligible criteria and conditions are met.
My question is the following: What time frame do you give once I'm already
eligible and you have invited me to apply for permanent residence? Can you
explain to me ``expression of interest'' and ``conditions are met''? I was okay
the first time you invited me to become a permanent resident. What will make me
not okay the next time? What will change?
Ms. Welbourne: I'll break that down into two pieces. We haven't
finalized the period within which an individual would be expected to submit
their application for permanent residence following an invitation to apply, but
it will be likely in the order of a couple of months. An individual will receive
an invitation to apply, and they will be asked to submit their application
completed within a period of about two months. When they receive the invitation
to apply, if for whatever reason they're not ready to proceed, they will
actually be given the possibility to go back into the pool, so to speak. They
will be permitted to say, ``No, I don't wish to accept this invitation to apply
at this time; I wish to go back.'' Only those who have committed that, yes,
indeed, they do want to proceed will be limited by this time period. That's just
to avoid a situation where we have a lot of potential applications in limbo and
to keep the system running.
The implications of not submitting the application for permanent residence
within that period are that, if they wish to be considered again, they would
have to resubmit an expression of interest. As long as they met the criteria for
eligibility — they are still eligible for one of the programs managed through
the express entry system — they would be able to essentially go right back into
Senator Seth: Citizenship and Immigration Canada wants to create a
pool of skilled labour to meet the needs of industry. I think you have already
given some information about the pool system to Senator Eaton; and I understood.
What types of professionals make up the pool? Are they doctors, engineers,
administrators? What would be the process for professional accreditation for
pool candidates once they are selected?
Ms. Welbourne: As noted, the express entry system will apply to
individuals who wish to come to Canada under one of the three federal programs
or some portion of the provincial nominee programs. These are highly skilled
individuals. To qualify for one of the federal programs, you have to be working
at the national occupational classification level of O, A, or B, which means
you're managerial, professional, or have skilled trades, which would be B level.
They are the kinds of individuals we would look at. They're the individuals who
currently come to Canada in one of those three programs.
In terms of changes to credential recognition processes, there's nothing
about express entry that changes any of those requirements. There is nothing
additional within the express entry in terms of credential recognition
processes. Those continue to operate the way they have operated. There is work
ongoing, I'm sure you're aware, to continue to work at credential recognition
issues. The express entry system is more a reflection of the current program
parameters and any changes that may occur over time to credential recognition
requirements or whatever will be reflected within the express entry system. They
are not changed in themselves by the express entry system.
Senator Seth: I do not yet understand what it would be for
Ms. Welbourne: We're talking about doctors, engineers, professors and
skilled tradespeople such as electricians and plumbers.
The Chair: I think we've got that. Next question?
Senator Seth: I'm not clear, but I'll leave it there.
The Chair: There's a range of professionals and those are clear
Senator Seth: That's fine. Suppose I'm a doctor in India and I apply
here. How would I be taken? How would I be working as a professional here? That
was my question.
The Chair: You said explicitly that doctors can apply within these
programs; is that correct?
Ms. Welbourne: Yes, absolutely. But what they have to do in order to
qualify to be able to work in Canada is separate from express entry. That's what
I'm saying. Nothing about express entry changes the requirements or the steps
that would have to be undertaken for somebody who is qualified to work as a
doctor overseas to come to work as a doctor in Canada once here. It doesn't
Senator Seth: Okay. Thank you.
Senator Enverga: I'm interested in the express entry system. Foreign
workers already here can apply to this express entry system. Am I right about
Ms. Welbourne: Who do you mean by foreign workers?
Senator Enverga: Temporary foreign workers already in Canada already
who want to apply for the express entry system.
Ms. Welbourne: If they meet the eligibility requirements for one of
the programs, then, yes, they could do that.
Senator Enverga: Will live-in caregivers be able to apply if they have
the right requirements?
Ms. Welbourne: The express entry won't apply to the live-in caregiver
Senator Enverga: Senator Eggleton mentioned that the government could
have added more resources to fix the backlog. Mr. Manicom, you mentioned that it
was not an issue of resources. Could you elaborate on that? Why is it not an
issue of resources?
Mr. Manicom: Canada has an annual levels plan submitted to Parliament
each year. By that plan, the government states its intention to admit a certain
number of permanent residents overall and a certain number in each category. The
department cannot process more applications than the annual Immigration Levels
The fundamental driver of backlog accumulation is not departmental resources;
it's the fact that we had for many years unmanaged intake. We took everyone who
applied, but we had carefully managed and quite successfully managed output to
meet and not exceed the annual levels plan as submitted to Parliament. The
number of applications we can process each year is driven by the levels plan.
Senator Enverga: The department of Employment and Social Development
Canada proposes to increase the powers of the minister through regulations by
the Governor-in-Council to implement administrative monetary penalties for
non-compliance with current regulations. The minister has made statements
recently that there are laws in place to punish employers who abuse the
Temporary Foreign Worker Program under the Criminal Code. Can you explain why
the minister needs administrative powers in addition to this?
Mr. Conrad: There are any number of behaviours that employers could
exhibit while using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Certainly a certain
percentage, and some have been in the public eye and the news, have been
criminal in nature and a criminal response and referral to the police or another
law enforcement body is the appropriate step to take.
Certainly, the vast majority of compliance problems we uncover with the
program are minor and administrative in nature. They range from a farm worker
being paid one cent an hour more than was advertised or one cent less. We have
other cases where vacation allotments have been calculated on base pay but not
on overtime pay. Those are clearly a different type of compliance problem.
Sometimes employers don't keep proper records. So there are different kinds of
compliance problems that aren't criminal behaviour, although there are a couple
of high-profile cases of illegal criminal behaviour.
For the vast majority we have an administrative compliance system where we
verify that employers have complied with the program requirements. If they
haven't, we force them, for example, to pay the farm worker back or to fix the
problems where they can. In cases where the infraction is not criminal in nature
but it's severe enough, they will be banned from the program. At any given
point, a decision is made about the employer's behaviour and whether it's
criminal and should be referred to law enforcement or whether, through the
department's administrative system, it should be inspected and sanctioned.
Senator Chaput: My first question is for Mr. Conrad.
In your presentation, you talked about modifications to programs which
included suspending certain initiatives. One of the initiatives that was
suspended was the policy of wage flexibility. That is what you said.
Could you tell me more about that policy? When did it come into force? When
will it be suspended and why?
Mr. Conrad: Wage flexibility gives employers paying Canadians a
certain wage the ability to reduce the amount of pay for some temporary foreign
workers. I believe it was 15 per cent for high-skilled occupations and 5 per
cent for low-skilled occupations.
Senator Chaput: Less?
Mr. Conrad: Less than the prevailing wage if they were paying a
Canadian in that same job that wage. There was a bit of flexibility to allow
them to reduce the foreign worker's wage by those percentages to make them match
up better with what they were paying Canadians.
To be honest, offhand I can't remember the date it was put in place. It
ended, I think, April 29 last year. One of the main reasons behind that was in
truth few employers actually used the flexibility. When we looked at employer
usage and how that was being managed, it turned out to be basically a non-issue
and seemed like it was a fairly poorly understood but also an unnecessary
program requirement. So the minister made the decision to end the flexibility.
As I said, it was far less than 5 per cent of employers who actually used it.
Senator Chaput: Could the result of such a policy be that an employer
would hire people that he can pay less, which would leave Canadians aside? Could
the hiring of someone at a lower wage have been a possible consequence?
Mr. Conrad: I would say no.
Senator Chaput: No?
Mr. Conrad: It would only be in the situation I described, where the
employer pays a Canadian the same salary. So I would say that there is not
really any impact.
Senator Chaput: Thank you. My second question is for Mr. Manicom. In
your presentation, you said that the government would conduct consultations on a
possible pilot project concerning business skills. This project was also
mentioned in Canada's Economic Action Plan 2014, where possible consultations
When do you think these consultations will happen? And what are the main
elements that will be part of this business skills program?
Mr. Manicom: We will conduct consultations on two potential pilot
projects, first on the venture capital program, and we will conduct
consultations with industry specialists so that the government can implement the
program which brings the greatest added value to the economy, and to the sector
where there is the greatest financial need. Consultations on this pilot project
will begin in the next few weeks, but the details have not yet been decided.
That initiative will be followed by a second, somewhat more complex
consultation, later in October or perhaps next spring. We want to know if it
would be possible to implement a program that would capitalize on business
In the past, we were not really able to do so. Frankly, competing countries
cannot implement a program that truly capitalizes on innovation, and real
entrepreneurship. We think that with a small-scale pilot program, and through
consultation with the public and with business people, we can try to use fairly
objective, but also targeted, criteria in order to find a small number of people
with real experience, people who have attained broad success, people who have
the talent necessary to develop new businesses, collect capital, capitalize on
innovation, and so on.
This is a concept that we would like to carefully and cautiously explore
within the pilot program.
Senator Chaput: When you say ``talent,'' do you mean ``skills''?
Mr. Manicom: Yes, skills, not only to show that they can manage large
business deals, but to show that they have been successful internationally. We
would like people from the business sector to tell us where Canadian industry is
currently falling short, for example by taking a small business as an example,
to see if it would be a good idea to move forward, and to determine how to move
forward, by examining and defining criteria.
Senator Chaput: The goal of this exercise would be essentially to
match talented people with businesses looking for talent? Is that it?
Mr. Manicom: Yes, and to try to develop the program, which would be
more effective than previous programs.
Senator Chaput: In your opinion, could this concept be developed into
a pilot project this year? Next year?
Mr. Manicom: As for the first program, the venture capital program,
which is more advanced, consultations will help us flesh out the details. We
intend to implement this program probably early next year.
The timeline for the second project is less clear; the consultations will be
more exploratory in nature. We do not have a date set, but it would certainly
not be before the middle or the end of next year. We will wait and see.
Senator Chaput: Do I have time for another short question?
Ms. Welbourne, in your presentation, you mentioned that the assessment of
qualifications would be carried out by designated third parties. Could you give
me an example of a designated third party?
Ms. Welbourne: Yes, of course.
The two obvious examples are language testing institutions. They provide
language testing to candidates and the results are recognized by CIC, as well as
organizations that have been designated to provide assessments of education
credentials. This is something that is currently in place in the Federal Skilled
Worker Program as a requirement, and there are already designated organizations
that provide this for that purpose.
Senator Eggleton: Last week on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program,
of course, the discussion was all about McDonald's, but there's a new employer
in today. It turns out to be the federal government. At least five federal
government departments and one minister's office have requested temporary
foreign workers in the last two years. They mention which departments, but they
haven't got all the details as to what kind of workers these were, except in one
case. Apparently, Public Works and Government Services said that the department
is hiring people for the Translation Bureau. It says here that news of seeking
temporary foreign workers for the Translation Bureau came as a surprise to the
Canadian Association of Professional Workers President Claude Poirier, who
previously served as president of the Translation Bureau. He's quoted as saying:
``Locally, we always can find someone.''
What's this all about?
Mr. Conrad: Senator, to be honest, I haven't seen the specifics of the
case that you're talking about in the news, which I suspect has probably been
quite recent, so I can't comment on the specific situation.
This question has come up before in terms of the federal government's use of
temporary foreign workers. We have looked into it.
Last year, for example, we did find that Public Works actually had used a
number of temporary foreign workers as interpreters generally between two
languages, neither of which are Canada's official languages. We often found that
they would bring in people for a couple of days, if there was a foreign
delegation, to work as an interpreter, if there was more than one foreign
delegation. For example, Canada may not have someone who is a certified
interpreter between Croation and German.
While I can't speak to that specific example, I do often find, when the story
comes out later, that it's slightly different than what was first reported.
Health Canada, for example, does occasionally bring in specific scientists who
teach something for a few days, and that's generally been the type of use that
the Government of Canada has had for foreign workers.
Senator Eggleton: That's quite plausible. The former president of the
Translation Bureau says that they can always find someone locally. Anyway, have
a look further at this, because there are five departments and one ministerial
office in total involved here. I'd like it if you can find out more about what
kind of positions we're talking about and what kind of rationale was used by the
federal government to hire these people.
I want to come back to the express entry system. Senator Enverga and I both
talked about this question of the backlog, and you said you have to manage the
intake. Yes, I understand that. There are quotas, but of course you can still
leave people in and they'll come up next year, but they're being removed.
They're being removed, but is it really going to get any better? ``Express
entry'' is a very appealing piece of terminology here. If you get tonnes of
people applying, how can you manage that? What makes you think that by
cancelling this backlog you're not going to get into another backlog?
Ms. Welbourne: Maybe I'll start with the express entry just to make it
clear that the express entry system as a pre- application stage will only apply
to the federal skilled worker, Canadian Experience Class and federal skilled
trades class, and a portion of the provincial nominee program. These are the
only individuals who will be managed through the express entry system.
Senator Eggleton: How many applications will we get per year in those
Ms. Welbourne: The important thing about the express entry system is
it will be tied to our levels plans, and only those individuals who are invited
to apply have the right to submit an application for permanent residence. In
fact, we hope to get many expressions of interest and candidates in the pool,
but only those who are most qualified and will do the best in the Canadian
economy will be invited to apply. In that way, we align the number of
Senator Eggleton: I'm still at the first step. I'm still where they
send in the electronic ``we'd like to,'' and you get deluged with those kinds of
things. That's going to take a long time, and you will develop another backlog.
Ms. Welbourne: No. It's fully automated. It's an online application.
There's no officer intervention. It's an IT system. Decisions are made by the
system whether individuals are accepted into the pool or not. It's
instantaneous. All of that is fully automated, an electronic system. It's only
at the point where an application for permanent residence has actually been
received by the department, and that will also be an electronic application, so
Senator Eggleton: So the automated system can tell them whether they
comply or not. If they comply, what is the next step? The next step is to put in
a full application?
Ms. Welbourne: If they're invited to apply, they will be permitted to
submit an electronic application for permanent residence. That's all online.
When that's received, that's the first time an officer handles the file and does
the assessment as per the normal process right now.
Senator Eggleton: I just don't see how you can avoid getting into
The Chair: On this point, she explained it earlier. At the end of one
year, they fall off, and then they have the opportunity to come back in.
Senator Eggleton: I see.
Ms. Welbourne: Just to go back to clarify, as David mentioned, there's
an annual levels program that sets the number of admissions per year per
program. We will align the invitations to apply with that plan. We will only
invite the number of individuals to apply that we can accommodate within the
Senator Eggleton: All right.
What about the foreign credential problem that has been going on for some
time now? People come over here with expectations. Senator Seth mentioned a
doctor in India. We know from previous discussions that you have to go through
quite a bit of retraining and examinations, et cetera. People have an
expectation that they're going to be able to practice whatever profession they
did, whether it's doctor or engineer, whatever. They come over here and find
it's a different reality.
Is there something you can do to better prepare these people to better deal
with this? We've been talking for a long time about trying to get a better
handle on this, but I don't see anything that's a big breakthrough yet.
Mr. Manicom: As Maia mentioned, the expression of interest system is
an application management system, so it's not related in either a positive or
negative way to this very important issue. Government, along with the provinces,
has been devoting enormous time and effort to improve our credential recognition
opportunities and information to clients, but it's a two-part question. It's
ensuring that those who do have equivalent credentials have relatively easy ways
to get those credentials assessed, but many people's credentials will not be
equivalent. It's partly about providing good communication to people.
I think we took a major step forward over the last year or so when we began
the Education Credential Assessment. Now, when you apply in the Federal Skilled
Worker Program, in the future in the express entry program, you will be required
to have professional bodies who do this for a living provide an equivalency
review of your credential to the Canadian standard. That doesn't complete the
credential recognition process. Let's take pharmacy, for example. That will tell
the applicant that their pharmacy degree from India, the Philippines or France
is or is not equivalent to the standards of a Canadian pharmacy degree. They
still may need to do exams. They've still may need to pay fees and so forth to
get their credential as a pharmacist once they get to Canada, but this is a big
step forward because they know there is a general equivalence.
Senator Eggleton: They will be doing that over there, where they are
now, as opposed to after they get over here?
Mr. Manicom: They'll be submitting their documentation to a designated
education credential assessment agency before they apply.
Senator Eggleton: Is that a government agency? It's not private, is
Mr. Manicom: There are several private agencies designated by the
government through a call-for-service-proposals process in 2013.
Senator Eggleton: Quebec has a different system than the other
provinces. Is that system going to stay in place? They have their own version, I
think, of the investor immigration program. Are they going to continue to
operate that? Are other provinces going to get those options as well?
Mr. Manicom: With regard to the investor program, Quebec, under the
terms of the Canada-Quebec accord, will be able to continue their investor
program. As you know, our minister has expressed some concerns about how that
program operates, and we continue to work with Quebec to try to ensure that a
larger proportion of the individuals they select in their investor program do
have the genuine intention of residing in Quebec.
At this point, as far as I understand, Quebec intends to continue to keep
their present model of the investor program, that is, the interest-free loan,
with whatever value one feels that adds.
I think all we would say is that we hope that our program going forward will
demonstrate that there is a better model and then Quebec will make their own
decision about whether or not they wish to continue with their current program.
Senator Eggleton: And you're not offering it to any other provinces?
Mr. Manicom: No. The other provinces do not have the ability in law to
run a passive investment program. They do have entrepreneur programs for active
business engagement. It's a complex federation, senator.
Senator Eaton: I'd like to talk about the immigrant investor program.
I walk into an embassy in Hong Kong and say, ``I'd like to invest $1 million in
Canada.'' Will that get me a passport? Or, ``I'm investing $1 million in the oil
sands in Suncor.'' Would that get me a passport?''
Mr. Manicom: No.
Senator Eaton: All right. I walk in and say, ````I would like to
invest $1 million in Canada.'' Would that get me a passport?
Mr. Manicom: No. Right now, there is no federal investor program, so
it doesn't matter what you want to invest or how much. We don't give you
permanent resident status in exchange for your money.
If the Budget Implementation Act is approved, there will be no federal
investor program. It will be replaced, we think, early in the next year by the
venture capital program, of which we are finishing the design details.
Conceptually there, an individual who meets both some human capital criteria and
some business expertise criteria, and who is prepared to make an at-risk
investment in the most-needed parts of the Canadian economy managed by a
professional fund in some way, using market principles, may be able to get
permanent resident status. It will be a small number, though.
Senator Eaton: I guess it's not fair to question you because you're
still drawing it up.
Mr. Manicom: Yes, and I hope I'm describing it in ways identical to
those our minister has spoken publicly about it to date.
Senator Eaton: I think you have. I won't press for further details
right now. I'll wait until next year when you come before the committee.
Mr. Manicom: We'll be bringing the final details forward after the
consultations. We really want to do the consultations with the sector experts to
get the design right. I think the Government of Canada and all our competitor
countries feel that no one has yet designed a really good immigrant investor or
business program, so we would like to be the first.
Senator Eaton: The idea is if people invest their money in this
country, we also want them to live and work in this country. Is that right?
Mr. Manicom: Yes, and we also want to use their money where it's most
needed. If you can put the money in the right part of the Canadian economy where
there are financing gaps and if the money is at risk, then you can leverage that
money in entirely different ways than you can in an interest-free loan. An
interest-free loan, in today's interest-rate environment, is of pretty limited
The Chair: Mr. Manicom, I think it would be difficult to have a lower
degree of success than the previous investor program, so we certainly hope that
your pilot project works. If you can come up with those characteristics and
criteria of evaluating individuals that can actually tell you who will be a
successful entrepreneur, I think Canada will in fact lead the world in a number
of ways following that. I wish you great success there.
I have to say, given the various major things that this committee has
reviewed, all the way from health care in Canada and so on, I'm absolutely
delighted to hear about your new approach to evaluating the express entry
program. In all the other areas we have been pounding different departments,
shall we say, and one in particular, with regard to the critical need for data
to be submitted electronically, to be collected —
Senator Eaton: We won't name them.
The Chair: We don't name that department at all, no.
What you describe, Ms. Welbourne, is, to my mind, tremendously refreshing. We
have also reviewed a number of these immigrant programs and the major issue has
been the one that Senator Eggleton has today reflected on, and has always
reflected on in these issues, and that is the tremendous backlog and the impact
that has on individuals and the inability to relieve them of the frustration of
the long wait with no success in the end.
To do something on the basis of the actual application process being very
short in time in terms of the initial evaluation to being determined to be
qualified to enter the express pool and then to be able to deal with that
electronically, in real time, against an evaluated need, at least some relative
evaluation based on experience of the actual need and the numbers that therefore
can be accepted, by the end of roughly a 12-month period to be able to relieve
people of the anxiety that they will actually be able to continue will be of
enormous benefit to individuals who are going to apply, and they still have the
opportunity to requalify, resubmit and reapply. They're not just in a long list
that stays there for 10 or more years.
I must say that from my perspective — and I'm speaking personally here, not
on behalf of the committee — this is the first major advance in large
application data issues that have come before us in the time that I've been on
this committee. I'm absolutely delighted to hear about it. I think that, even
with reasonable success, it will be a major step forward in helping employers
and individuals — especially the individuals — applying to enter Canada.
The final thing that I would like to say is we slipped a bit into the issue
of professional qualifications at the level of medical people. In these areas, I
certainly hope that Canada will maintain a requirement for very clear evaluation
of medical qualifications, in particular, and other serious professional
qualification for which lives are at stake — this could be in aerospace
engineering and other areas — and that it will maintain a very high level of
rigour with regard to establishing equal qualifications. We have too many
examples of what happens when things slip through in those areas. Again, I'm
speaking personally here.
With that, I want to thank you very much for your appearance today. I think,
certainly from my perspective, you've helped us a great deal with this division
in all aspects of it. I want to thank my colleagues for their questions which
have drawn out many of the issues that are going to be important to us in
sending our advice forward.
I want to repeat that nothing that arrives to us in information beyond next
Tuesday morning will be accepted as any part of our deliberation.