Aiden Strickland, a spokesperson on behalf of the immigration minister, said in an email to CIC News that these proposed changes will improve Canada’s ability to select applicants that match its economic needs.
“Through our growing pool of candidates seeking to become permanent residents, this will allow IRCC to conduct targeted draws aimed at selecting those in the queue that have certain language skills or health care qualifications to name a few examples,” Strickland wrote. “This will be essential in addressing Canada’s labour shortages.”
The changes are currently being discussed in the Canadian parliament. On May 19, Philip Somogyvari from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) presented the proposed changes to the Standing Committee on Immigration and Citizenship, a committee of elected officials that studies matters related to Canadian immigration.
Somogyvari, who is an IRCC Director General, explained the amendments would authorize the immigration minister to invite Express Entry candidates on a new basis, one that would support an economic goal identified by the minister.
“Eligibility requirements to be a member of a category would be established by the minister and could be based on factors such as work experience, educational background or language skills,” Somogyvari said.
“For example, if there was a desire to leverage immigration to support the growth of Canada’s tech sector, a category of Express Entry candidates would be created based on criteria such as their possession of work experience in their sector occupation and/or their possession of a related educational credential. Invitations could then be issued to the top-ranked candidates in that category.”
The draw details, including the unique eligibility criteria, would continue to be published on the IRCC website. The minister would also have to identify the economic goal they are seeking to support, and report annually to Parliament on the use of these draws. When asked by NDP immigration critic, Jenny Kwan, which occupations would be specified in these draws, Somogyvari said the government currently has no occupations listed.
Currently, the immigration minister does not have the ability to invite candidates from the Express Entry pool who have a particular work experience, educational credential, or who are French speakers destined to an official language minority community. If the proposed amendments to division 23 of Bill C-19 are passed, that could change.
“The changes themselves would permit, for example, the minister to focus on all French-speaking candidates within the Express Entry pool,” Somogyvari said. “Currently, while French-speaking candidates are provided with bonus points which will increase their ranking score, it may not invite all French-speaking candidates within the pool. Theoretically, with the proposed authorities in use, if the minister chose to do so, the department would be able to conduct an invitation round that would virtually invite all of the identified French-speaking candidates within the Express Entry pool.”
The process for determining which groups would be selected is still being developed. Somogyvari said the government would likely make such decisions after consultation with employer groups, stakeholders, the objectives within the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Employment and Social Development Canada, and provincial and territorial governments.
About Express Entry in 2022
Express Entry is an application management system for three immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).
To immigrate through one of these programs, foreign workers must express their interest in Canadian immigration by completing a profile in the Express Entry system. Candidates who are eligible for one of the three programs get a score based on their work experience, educational background, language skills, age, and other factors. IRCC invites the highest-scoring candidates to apply for permanent residence.
Recently, IRCC has only been holding invitation rounds for candidates who have received a nomination from a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). After accumulating a backlog in Express Entry applications during the pandemic, IRCC paused invitation rounds for the FSWP in December 2020, and then paused CEC draws in September 2021. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser recently announced that draws for these candidates would resume in July, and processing standards would return to six months for new applicants.
Somogyvari confirmed that the amendments do not impact existing or future processing times.
The current discussion
Kwan called for the government to list the groups that will be affected by the proposed act.
“I am troubled by the fact that there is no parliamentary oversight as to what these groups will be,” Kwan said to the committee. “There’s no process as to whether these groups will be fair, or how effective [the government] will be in selecting people who would provide economic contributions to Canada.”
“Without a transparent selection process where industries are able to provide formal submissions on which occupations are in need and an objective committee to determine the needs of these occupations, the process could become fodder for lobbying industries,” Kwan continued. “That’s not what we want. I think we need to have established criteria and a transparent process.”
The standing committee’s chair, Salma Zahid from the Liberal Party, agreed to request changes to the proposed amendments by May 27. The ministry of finance will receive the request, as it was the department that asked the immigration committee to conduct the study on the changes to Express Entry.
The letter will be received by the Standing Committee on Finance which will decide if the proposal in the letter should be converted into amendments to be proposed during its clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, which is scheduled to start on Monday, May 30 at 11 a.m.
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India tells Canada to remove 41 of its 62 diplomats: official
Canada needs diplomats in India to help navigate the “extremely challenging” tensions between the two countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday in response to demands that Ottawa repatriate dozens of its envoys.
India reportedly wants 41 of 62 Canadian diplomats out of the country by early next week — a striking, if largely anticipated, deepening of the rift that erupted last month following Trudeau’s explosive allegations in the House of Commons.
The prime minister bluntly spoke of “credible” intelligence linking the Indian government to the shooting death in June of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a 45-year-old Sikh leader India has long assailed as a terrorist.
The demand, first reported by the Financial Times, comes less than two weeks after the Indian government first called on Canada to establish “parity in strength and rank equivalence in our diplomatic presence.”
Canada has a much larger diplomatic corps in India, owing in part to the fact it’s a country of 1.4 billion people, compared to 40 million in Canada — about 1.3 million of whom are of Indian origin.
Trudeau would not confirm the reports Tuesday, nor did he sound inclined to acquiesce to India’s request.
“Obviously, we’re going through an extremely challenging time with India right now,” Trudeau said on his way to a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill.
“That’s why it’s so important for us to have diplomats on the ground, working with the Indian government, there to support Canadians and Canadian families.”
Canada, he continued, is “taking this extremely seriously, but we’re going to continue to engage responsibly and constructively with the government of India.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said largely the same thing.
“In moments of tension, because indeed there are tensions between both our governments, more than ever it’s important that diplomats be on the ground,” Joly said.
“That’s why we believe in the importance of having a strong diplomatic footprint in India. That being said, we are in ongoing conversations with the Indian government.”
During Tuesday’s daily briefing at the State Department, deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel was at pains to avoid exacerbating tensions any further.
“We are — and continue to be — deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau and we remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners,” Patel said, a message the U.S. has had on repeat for weeks.
“It’s critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice. We also have … publicly and privately urged the Indian government to co-operate in the Canadian investigation and co-operate in those efforts.”
Patel also demurred on the potential impact of an escalating tit-for-tat exchange of diplomatic staff on the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, a key element of U.S. efforts to mitigate China’s growing geopolitical influence.
“I certainly don’t want to get into hypotheticals,” he said. “As it relates to our Indo-Pacific strategy and the focus that we continue to place on the region, that effort and that line of work is going to continue.”
David Cohen, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, has already confirmed that the allegations were buttressed in part on intelligence gathered by a key ally from the Five Eyes security alliance, which includes the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, along with Canada.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s external affairs minister, confirmed last week that the subject came up in his meetings in Washington, D.C., with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser.
Trudeau’s allegation “was not consistent with our policy,” Jaishankar told a panel discussion Friday hosted by the Hudson Institute.
“If his government had anything relevant and specific they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. That’s where that conversation is at this point of time.”
Jaishankar went on to note that the issue of Sikh separatists living in Canada had long been “an issue of great friction,” notably after the 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182, the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history.
“In the last few years, it has come back very much into play, because of what we consider to be a very permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremists, people who openly advocate violence,” Jaishankar said.
“They have been given operating space in Canada because of the compulsions of Canadian politics.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2023.
With files from Mickey Djuric in Ottawa.
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All Flesh Redux
Director’s Notes, Stacey Christodoulou
MONTREAL October, 2023 – Combining polyphonic singing, dance, and theatre, All Flesh REDUX is a poetic journey through time and space. Part sing-a-long, Dadaist performance piece as well as a love letter to our planet, the work enfolds the public in an intimate theatre-in-the-round setting where humour, music, storytelling and movement reign. Bringing together the worlds of medieval composers Guillaume de Machaut, Hildegard von Bingen and modern composer John Cage, the company’s creation contemplates the unknowable past and the unimaginable future, and asks what acts of faith are possible in an uncertain world. October 13-22, seating is limited.
Director Stacey Christodoulou: “We could never imagine that the themes we spoke about in 2019 would become reality. In a certain way the show was prophetic. However, I believe that the message of creating beauty as a form of resistance is even more important now. The weaving of medieval song, contemporary dance and text continues our company’s interdisciplinary approach and reminds us that throughout history people have responded to turmoil with innovation and art.”
With: ENSEMBLE ALKEMIA (Jean-François Daignault, Dorothéa Ventura and Leah Weitzner), Stéphanie Fromentin, Erin Lindsay, Vanessa Schmit-Craan, Lael Stellick
Musical direction by Jean-François Daignault; scenograpy by Amy Keith; sound by Debbie Doe; costumes by Cathia Pagotto; lighting by David Perreault Ninacs and technical stage coordination by Birdie Gregor.
All Flesh REDUX
Studio Jean Valcourt du Conservatoire
4750, avenue Henri-Julien
Dates: Friday, Oct., 13, Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8pm; Sunday Oct. 14 at 3pm
Wednesday, October 18-Saturday, Oct. 21 at 8pm; Sunday, Oct. 22 at 3pm
Tickets/514 873-4032: $20, Students/Seniors: $15
Seating is limited
About THE OTHER THEATRE
Formed in 1991 by Artistic Director Stacey Christodoulou, The Other Theatre is devoted to contemporary creation. Working bilingually, their award-wining work has included adaptations, installations, theatre texts, and collectively written material performed in numerous venues in Montreal and abroad, including theatres, galleries, as well as a moving elevator.
Drawing inspiration from art forms other than theatre – dance, cinema, science, architecture, and the visual arts – the company presents evocative performances, grounded by thought-provoking texts. From a creole Macbeth, to sci-fi with polyphonic singing, to the horror of H.P. Lovecraft, their original creations are thrilling and visually striking. They have also presented the work of International and Canadian writers, giving them their French-language premieres in Quebec. Exploring the large existential issues of the time, The Other Theatre aims to move audiences to greater emotional connection and reflection, bridging communities and languages to create a hybrid theatre that is reflective of the cultural richness of Montreal. They value and foster artistic exchange, both locally and internationally and share their artistic process in Canada, the US, Europe and Mexico, through mentorships, workshops and cultural mediation in local communities and schools.
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All Flesh Redux