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November 2002, Volume 9, Number 11

Canada: Skilled Immigrants, Economy

Denis Coderre, the federal Immigration Minister, proposed that skilled immigrants could win points and improve their chances of entering Canada if they agreed to live in rural areas that face labor shortages. Currently, about 52 percent of immigrants settle in Toronto, 15 percent in Vancouver, and 11 percent in Montreal.

The immigrants admitted under Coderre's "social contract" proposal would be probationary; they would have to sign contracts pledging to live in rural areas for three to five years after their arrival. After they fulfilled this promise, they would be immigrants entitled to live and work anywhere in Canada.

Canada's population was 31.4 million in July 2002, but the populations of many rural areas are declining.

An Algerian couple took refuge in a church to avoid deportation in October; the husband had been in Canada for seven years, and his wife for four years. Some 1,000 Algerians are subject to removal from Canada after a ban on returning them was lifted earlier in 2002.

Economy. For the second year, Westech Agriculture Ltd. had Mexican workers to help with its Fall 2002 harvest of strawberry plants that are later transplanted elsewhere on Prince Edward Island; 28 in 2002 and 21 in 2001. Canada has agreements with Mexico and four Caribbean nations for admitting migrant workers.

Canada's economy is expected to grow 3.4 percent in 2002, the fastest growth among G-7 countries. Canada created 400,000 jobs over the past year, making it "the new Northern Tiger" economy.

Robert Fife, "Rural labor shortage: Plan would impose settlement rules for newcomers," National Post (Canada), October 15, 2002.