May 29, 2023

Did you know that Canada has recently raised the median hourly wages for employers hiring temporary foreign workers? This is a positive step towards ensuring that these workers are paid a fair wage and are not being exploited by their employers.

The Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the federal ministry responsible for overseeing the labor market in Canada, has recently implemented changes to the list of median hourly wages used by employers hiring foreign nationals through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). These revisions are scheduled to take effect on May 31. The ESDC has provided guidance to employers regarding the wage requirements and the corresponding Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) streams for high-wage and low-wage positions.

According to the information available on the ministry’s website, the wages offered for a specific position will determine the appropriate LMIA stream that employers need to apply under. There are separate streams for high-wage and low-wage positions, each with its own specific requirements. If the wage being offered to a temporary foreign worker is equal to or higher than the provincial or territorial median hourly wage, employers are required to apply under the high-wage stream.

On the other hand, employers offering wages below the provincial or territorial median hourly wage must apply under the low-wage stream. These streams are designed to ensure that employers are offering fair wages to temporary foreign workers and that the labor market is protected.

The ESDC’s revision of the median hourly wages is aimed at ensuring that wages remain in line with the prevailing market conditions. By periodically updating the wage thresholds, the government can adapt to changes in the labor market and maintain fairness for both foreign workers and Canadian employees.

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These changes reflect Canada’s commitment to ensuring that the rights of temporary foreign workers are protected and that the program is aligned with the country’s labor market needs. By establishing clear wage requirements and LMIA streams, the government aims to strike a balance between supporting Canadian employers in addressing labor shortages and safeguarding the rights and well-being of temporary foreign workers.

Employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the updated wage thresholds and corresponding LMIA streams to ensure compliance with the revised requirements. The ESDC’s website provides detailed information and resources to assist employers in understanding the application process and meeting the necessary criteria.

In conclusion, the ESDC’s recent revisions to the median hourly wages for employers hiring temporary foreign workers through the TFWP reflect the government’s commitment to maintaining fairness in the labor market. The wage thresholds determine the appropriate LMIA stream, either high-wage or low-wage, that employers must apply under based on the wages offered. These changes are part of ongoing efforts to align the program with the needs of the labor market while protecting the rights of temporary foreign workers.

Among the latest list of median hourly wages, the territory of Nunavut stands out as the only region experiencing a decrease in wages for workers. 

Median Hourly Wages by Province or Territory
Province/territory Median hourly wages prior to May 31, 2023 Median hourly wages as of May 31, 2023
Alberta $28.85 $28.85
British Columbia $26.44 $27.50
Manitoba $23.00 $23.94
New Brunswick $21.79 $23.00
Newfoundland and Labrador $24.29 $25.00
Northwest Territories $37.30 $38.00
Nova Scotia $22.00 $22.97
Nunavut $36.00 $35.90
Ontario $26.06 $27.00
Prince Edward Island $21.63 $22.50
Quebec $25.00 $26.00
Saskatchewan $25.96 $26.22
Yukon $32.00 $35.00

Canada has established a welcoming environment for temporary foreign workers, employing a two-step immigrant selection process that enables them to gain valuable experience through work permits before pursuing permanent residency. This process has proven beneficial for both the workers and the Canadian labor market.

In instances where Canadian employers encounter job vacancies that remain unfilled due to a scarcity of qualified workers, they often turn to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP) to recruit foreign nationals for these positions. These programs have played a significant role in addressing labor shortages and sustaining economic growth in various sectors.

Canada Increases Wages for Temporary Foreign Workers

The second phase of the pathway to permanent residency involves Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) assessing the number and eligibility of temporary foreign workers who can be admitted as permanent residents. This step recognizes the contributions made by these individuals to the Canadian workforce and offers them an opportunity to establish a long-term presence in the country.

According to recent data released by the IRCC, Canada has seen the positive impact of the International Mobility Program (IMP) and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) on its labor market. The IMP has facilitated work permits for 183,710 foreign nationals, allowing them to contribute their skills and expertise to the Canadian economy. Similarly, the TFWP has supported an additional 135,820 individuals in filling crucial job positions that would have otherwise remained vacant.

To ensure transparency and assist applicants, the IRCC provides estimates of processing times for immigration applications on its official website. The processing timeframe for work permits obtained from outside of Canada varies significantly depending on the country of origin. While some applicants may receive their permits in as little as three weeks, others may face a longer processing time of up to four years. However, as a general guideline, most countries can expect an average processing time of three to four months.

Canada’s commitment to welcoming temporary foreign workers and providing them with opportunities for growth and integration showcases the country’s dedication to a diverse and robust labor market. By embracing foreign talent, Canada continues to strengthen its economy and foster global connections.

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May 27, 2023

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that effective August 10, 2023, four new language tests will be accepted for Student Direct Stream (SDS) applicants. The newly eligible language tests are CELPIP General, CAEL, PTE Academic, and TOEFL iBT Test. This means that SDS applicants can submit the scores from these tests to meet the language requirements for their study permit application.

By expanding its list of accepted language tests, IRCC is offering more flexibility to students in demonstrating their language proficiency. Moreover, this move aligns with the goal of the SDS program to provide faster processing times for international students applying to study in Canada while maintaining language proficiency standards. It is essential to note that the test results must demonstrate abilities in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Here are the specific requirements for each of the newly eligible language tests:

It is important to take note of them while selecting the right test to meet the language proficiency requirements. The announcement by IRCC is excellent news for international students interested in studying in Canada through the SDS program, as they now have more options to demonstrate their language proficiency. However, it’s worth noting that the tests must be taken in-person, and online proctored tests will not be accepted for SDS applicants.

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Student Direct Stream (SDS) The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a program that provides faster processing times for study permit applications for eligible students from specific countries. Here are the program’s key details:

  • Eligible students must be legal residents of: Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or Vietnam.
  • SDS applications have a service standard of 20 days for processing study permit applications for all eligible students.
  • The SDS program was launched in 2018 with the goal of providing faster processing times for international students who want to study in Canada.
  • Indian international students have been particularly interested in the SDS program since its launch.

In summary, the SDS program offers an expedited process for study permit applications for eligible students from specific countries. With a service standard of 20 days, this program is an excellent option for students who want to study in Canada while enjoying faster processing times.

Eligibility Requirements for the SDS

To be eligible for the SDS program, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be legal residents of specific countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or Vietnam.
  • Provide a copy of a letter of acceptance from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
  • Present a confirmation document for the applicant’s upfront medical exam.
  • Prove that they have obtained a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000.
  • Prove that tuition fees for the first year of study are paid.
  • Show proof of language test results completed within two years of the SDS application being received demonstrating an IELTS score of 6 in English or NCLC 7 for French.
  • Submit the application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).

By meeting these requirements, eligible students can benefit from faster processing times with a service standard of 20 days for study permit applications. Indian international students have shown significant interest in the SDS program since its inception.

According to a report by the IRCC, Canada welcomed over 800,000 international students at the end of 2022, marking the largest number in the country’s history. This represents a significant increase from 2008, where Canada’s international student population was only a quarter of what it is today. The surge in numbers can be attributed to both domestic and international factors.

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On the domestic front, the Canadian government and Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) have been actively recruiting international students for economic, social, and cultural reasons. Meanwhile, on a global level, the rise of the middle class has led to an increase in the number of students seeking higher education opportunities overseas. Canada has become an attractive destination for international students due to its high quality of education, reputation for multiculturalism, and the availability of work and immigration opportunities after graduation.

May 25, 2023

The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has invited candidates for the 13th Express Entry draw of 2023.

The draw is open to all three programs managed by the Express Entry application management system: The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

Candidates must have a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System score of 488 to be considered for the draw. This is the first all-program draw since April 26.

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This draw follows the most recent draw on May 10, where 589 candidates received ITAs in a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) specific draw. In a PNP only draw, candidates are only considered if they are in the Express Entry pool and have also been nominated by a Canadian province.

Express Entry Draws 2023

Throughout 2023, Express Entry has yet to establish a consistent pattern in terms of the number of candidates invited, the frequency of draws, or the specific type of draw.

In January, the draws followed the pattern seen before the pandemic, occurring every two weeks and inviting candidates from all programs. However, this changed in February when the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducted four program-specific draws between February 1 and March 1. Notably, February marked the first program-specific draw for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).

February witnessed three draws, and March saw one draw each week. Overall, more than 21,000 candidates received invitations throughout March, making it the second-highest number of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) issued in a single month in the history of Express Entry.

In April, the draw schedule returned to the pre-pandemic pattern of one all-program draw every two weeks.

Later in the year, it is anticipated that the IRCC will start conducting draws targeting Express Entry candidates based on specific attributes rather than solely relying on high Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores. This became possible when Bill C-19 received Royal Assent in June 2022.

The passing of this bill grants the Canadian immigration minister the authority to invite candidates who can best contribute to Canada’s economic goals by addressing the chronic labor shortages in specific sectors.

It’s important to note that Express Entry draws are entirely discretionary, determined by the IRCC and the immigration minister. As per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, there are no set rules dictating the timing of draws, the program from which candidates will be selected, the number of candidates invited, or the minimum CRS cut-off score. In other words, the IRCC is not obligated to follow a specific pattern or conduct draws at all if the minister deems it unnecessary.

Know more about Express Entry

The oversight of three Canadian economic immigration programs, namely the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class, falls under the management of the Express Entry application system.

Within these programs, candidates undergo evaluation through the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS assesses various human capital factors such as language proficiency, education, work experience, occupation, and age. Based on these criteria, candidates are assigned scores, and those with the highest scores have a greater likelihood of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residency.

As per the Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, Canada aims to welcome more than 82,000 new permanent residents through the Federal High Skilled immigration program (Express Entry) by the conclusion of 2023.

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May 24, 2023

Citizenship Week is held annually by IRCC to celebrate Canadian identity and welcome new citizens. The event will be marked by citizenship ceremonies across Canada where individuals will take the Oath of Citizenship and become Canadian citizens.

Citizenship Week is an annual event that celebrates Canadian identity and welcomes new citizens into the country. This year, the event will take place from May 22nd to May 28th, 2023, and will be marked by citizenship ceremonies across Canada. The honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has announced that he will attend ceremonies in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Vancouver, British Columbia to welcome thousands of new Canadians as citizens.

Citizenship ceremonies are significant events that mark the final step in obtaining Canadian citizenship. After completing the citizenship test and interview, individuals will be invited to attend a ceremony where they will take the Oath of Citizenship. This oath symbolizes an individual’s acceptance of the rights and responsibilities that come with being a Canadian citizen. Typically, the citizenship judge conducts this process.

As part of Citizenship Week, nearly 100 ceremonies are planned, aiming to welcome approximately 13,000 new Canadians. In the previous year, Canada surpassed its target for citizenship acquisition by receiving around 364,000 new citizens. As of the first quarter of 2023, Canada has already granted citizenship to about 85,000 individuals. Indians remain the largest group of newly added citizens, occupying around 19% of the total number. However, citizens from the Philippines, Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, China, the US, and the UK constitute up to 54% of this figure.

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To make the citizenship process more accessible, the IRCC has been implementing modernization measures such as online testing, virtual citizenship ceremonies, and online application trackers. These initiatives have enabled Canada to surpass pre-COVID-19 figures, with an average of nearly 30,000 individuals taking the Oath of Citizenship each month between April 1st, 2022 and March 31st, 2023.

Acquiring Canadian citizenship is highly beneficial since it relieves citizens of any residency obligations that come with being permanent residents. Furthermore, Canadian citizenship paves the way for obtaining Canadian passports and enables one to participate in municipal, provincial, and federal elections as a voter.

During Citizenship Week, everyone is encouraged to attend citizenship ceremonies taking place across Canada. In addition to physical attendance, Canadians may also join the livestream from Halifax on May 24th. This event provides an opportunity to celebrate Canadian identity and welcome new citizens into the country.

In conclusion, Citizenship Week is an important event that celebrates Canadian identity and welcomes new citizens into the country. The IRCC has been implementing modernization measures to make the citizenship process more accessible, resulting in a significant increase in citizenship acquisition in recent years. Acquiring Canadian citizenship is highly beneficial, providing relief from residency obligations and enabling participation in various elections. Everyone is encouraged to attend citizenship ceremonies taking place across Canada during this special week.

May 17, 2023

The Canadian province of Ontario recently pledged $768,000 to the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) in late March. The funding is aimed at tackling employment barriers for women, with a focus on increasing recruitment, retention, and advancement in non-traditional and growing economic sectors through CCMW’s “Addressing Barriers to Employment for Muslim Women” initiative.

This investment highlights the importance of organizations working to eliminate gender inequalities in Canada, particularly for newcomer women who continue to face challenges in achieving fair representation in the Canadian workforce.

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This article will provide an overview of the efforts made by Canada, both at the federal level through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and at the provincial/territorial level, to assist newcomer women arriving in the country.

There are a number of federal programs and services offered by IRCC to women immigrating to Canada, such as the Urgent Protection Program’s Women at Risk (WAR) initiative and the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot (RNWP) program.

The Women at Risk (WAR) program offered by IRCC extends assistance to women who require immediate protection or are susceptible, without the need to demonstrate their potential for settlement.

However, the women enrolled in this program and their dependents must successfully clear all mandatory Canadian entrance assessments, including medical and security evaluations, to qualify for aid under the Urgent Protection Program (UPP).

The Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot (RNWP) initiative aims to enhance the employment prospects and career progression of newcomer women in Canada by offering them settlement services and support. This program strives to promote equal and complete participation of racialized newcomer women in the Canadian economy.

Starting in January 2023, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be providing extra financial support for the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot Program.

In Canada, every province and territory provide assistance to newcomer women through various local organizations. These organizations offer support with settling into Canadian life, finding employment, preparing for citizenship tests, and even mentorship opportunities.

Below is a compilation of at least one organization that caters to newcomer women in each province/territory. For a comprehensive list of newcomer women’s services in each province/territory (excluding Quebec), please refer to this page from the Government of Canada.

British Columbia

The Women’s Economic Council, a Vancouver-based registered charity, is dedicated to promoting the involvement of all women in creating resilient and inclusive economies, particularly those who face multiple systemic obstacles.

Umoja Operation Compassion Society, located in Surrey, is a charitable organization that collaborates with recent immigrants and refugees of all backgrounds, providing tailored programs to assist immigrants with their daily lives and employment search. They also provide specialized services for women.

Alberta

The Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association is dedicated to offering a range of programs that assist immigrant women in managing their daily lives, securing employment, finding a mentor, and receiving language training that is relevant to their job or general needs.

The Making Changes Employment Association of Alberta, located in Calgary, is an organization that provides employment services to women. Their mission is to create a secure environment while empowering women in the community to advance their futures.

Saskatchewan

The International Women of Saskatoon – LEAD (Saskatoon) offers a range of programs and services tailored to support Canadian newcomer women. These include employment and job search assistance, specialized language testing, settlement resources, and community engagement aids.

Manitoba

Manitoba Start – Employment Solutions for Immigrants Inc. is an agency in Winnipeg that provides employment solutions for immigrants. They offer assistance with job search and integration into Canadian society, with specialized programs for women.

Ontario

Access Alliance Multicultural Health & Community Services in Toronto is a service provider for immigrants and refugees. Their goal is to enhance the health outcomes of individuals who have been made vulnerable by poverty and systemic barriers.

Immigrant Women Services Ottawa provides programs and services that focus on three main areas: crisis intervention and counselling, interpretation and translation, and settlement and integration. This information is available on their website.

Quebec

The Women’s Centre of Montreal is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to women who have recently immigrated to Canada. Their services aim to ease the settlement and integration process by offering individual support and group activities.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Association for New Canadians in St. John’s is a non-profit organization that provides settlement and integration services to immigrants and refugees. Their programs cover a wide range of areas, including settlement information, language learning, skills development, and employment support, all aimed at facilitating the integration of newcomers into Canadian society.

Nova Scotia

The YWCA Halifax is among the 32 YWCA branches across Canada that offer specialized services to women, with a focus on promoting their leadership, health, and wellness. Additionally, they strive to advance women’s economic and housing security, provide accessible and high-quality early learning and childcare, and work towards ending violence against women and girls.

Prince Edward Island

The Immigrant & Refugee Services Association PEI Inc. located in Charlottetown is a comprehensive organization that offers a range of services to support Canadian newcomers, such as language programs and aid in securing employment.

New Brunswick

The Edmundston-based Northwest Resource Centre for Newcomers Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting newcomers in integrating socially, economically, educationally, and culturally into the region. Their services include access to resources, mentorship and learning opportunities, as well as networking and support services.

Nunavut

Carrefour Nunavut in Iqaluit is a French-language organization that provides a range of services to job seekers, new immigrants, current workers, and entrepreneurs.

Northwest Territories

The NWT Literacy Council, based in Yellowknife, is a registered charitable organization that operates on a not-for-profit basis. Its mission is to promote and facilitate literacy and essential skills development in all of the official languages of the Northwest Territories.

Yukon

The Association Franco-Yukonnaise, located in Whitehorse, is a French-speaking organization that offers tailored services to newcomer women. These services include assistance with daily life tasks and support in finding employment opportunities.

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May 15, 2023

In January 2023, the number of permanent residents who arrived in under the Parents and Grandparents (PGP) increased by almost 60% compared to January 2022, with 2,065 new permanent residents welcomed. Canada aims to bring in 28,500 permanent residents under the PGP in 2023, and in 2022, 27,255 permanent residents arrived through the program, which was a 132% increase from 2021.

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Canada’s Immigration Level Plans for 2023-2025 target 465,000 permanent residents, with 106,500 under the family sponsorship category, which includes spouses, common law partners, children, and parents and grandparents under the PGP. In January 2023, Canada welcomed 50,885 new permanent residents, a 44% increase from January 2022. Canada has already welcomed 13,000 newcomers under both spousal/children sponsorship and the PGP.

How the PGP works

Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents have the option to sponsor their parents and grandparents for immigration Canada. If approved, the sponsored family member will receive Canadian permanent residence and may eventually be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. To qualify for the PGP in the past, sponsors had to meet certain requirements.

  • Submission of an Interest to Sponsor form on IRCC’s website between October 13, 2020 (12:00 PM EDT) and November 3, 2020 (12:00 PM EST).
  • Must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or a registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act.
  • Must be at least 18 years old and currently residing in Canada (proof of status required during the Interest to Sponsor phase).
  • Must meet the minimum income level required for the program, which includes the income of both the sponsor and their spouse if applicable. Proof of income must be provided to IRCC.
  • Must sign an undertaking to financially support the sponsored individual for 20 years, starting from the time they become permanent residents. The sponsor must also repay any social assistance benefits paid to the sponsored family members (if applicable) for a period of 20 years.
  • If the sponsor resides in Quebec, an additional undertaking must be signed with the province of Quebec.

Since 2020, all invitations to apply for the PGP have been given to applicants who expressed interest in sponsoring between October and November of that year. The most recent PGP lottery occurred in October 2022, and there are still around 155,000 potential sponsors in the pool.

Super Visa

The Super Visa is an alternative to the PGP that allows Parents and Grand Parents of Canadian citizens to visit Canada up to five consecutive years without having to renew their status. This visa is available all year round and is particularly useful for those who live in countries that require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) for entry into Canada. With the Super Visa, they can travel between Canada and their country of residence without having to continuously reapply for the TRV.

Parents and grandparents who already have a Super Visa can apply for an extension that can allow them to remain in Canada as a visitor for up to seven years. They can also enter Canada multiple times for up to 10 years. This means that they can visit their loved ones in Canada for an extended period of time without having to worry about constantly renewing their visa.

The Super Visa is also beneficial for parents and grandparents from countries that are exempt from a TRV, such as the United States. US citizens can enter and remain in Canada for up to 6 months per entry. However, with the Super Visa, visitors can enter Canada and stay for up to 5 years per entry. This is particularly useful for those who want to spend an extended period of time with their family in Canada.

Overall, the Super Visa is a great option for parents and grandparents who want to visit their loved ones in Canada for an extended period of time without having to worry about constantly renewing their visa. It is available all year round and is particularly useful for those who live in countries that require a TRV for entry into Canada.

To apply for the parents and grandparents visa, you need to follow a process similar to the TRV process. However, you must provide additional documentation to demonstrate that you will be able to support your parents and grandparents during their stay in Canada. This documentation includes:

  • A letter of invitation from your child or grandchild who lives in Canada.
  • Evidence that your child or grandchild meets the minimum income requirement (Low-Income Cut-Off or LICO).
  • Proof of your parental relationship with your child or grandchild, such as a birth certificate that lists you as a parent.
  • Proof of medical insurance coverage for at least one year from a Canadian insurance company.
May 11, 2023

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently issued 589 invitations to apply (ITAs) in a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) specific draw. Candidates required a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 691 to be considered for the draw. In a PNP specific draw, candidates are already in the Express Entry pool but have also received a nomination from a Canadian province. This is the fourth PNP specific draw of 2023, with the last one occurring on March 1 and inviting 667 candidates. All draws since then have considered candidates from all Express Entry programs.

Proof of funds

On May 2, IRCC announced that the amount of money that Express Entry applicants must have access to in Canada has changed. All Express Entry candidates must show proof of funds to demonstrate that they have enough money to settle in Canada. Proof of funds is not required for candidates in the Canadian Experience Class or for Express Entry candidates who are authorized to work in Canada and have a valid job offer. This is true even for those who apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Federal Skilled Trades Program. To stay eligible for Express Entry, candidates must now update their profiles to reflect that they still have the required amount of settlement funds. IRCC updates the amount yearly, based on 50% of the low-income cut-off totals, and varies depending on how many people a candidate must be able to support.

Number of family members Funds required (in Canadian dollars)
1 $13,757
2 $17,127
3 $21,055
4 $25,564
5 $28,994
6 $32,700
7 $36,407
If more than 7 people, for each additional family member $3,706

Express Entry

This draw follows the April 26 draw in which 3,500 candidates were invited with CRS scores of 483. IRCC also invited 3,500 candidates on April 12 with CRS scores of 486. This number of candidates per draw is half of what was seen over March when IRCC invited more than 21,000 candidates over four consecutive draws, three of which invited 7,000 candidates. The total number of candidates invited in March was the second highest in Express Entry history, only exceeded by a draw in February 2021 in which 27,332 CEC candidates received an ITA.

April also marks a tentative return to a normal draw schedule. Typically, until late 2022 and throughout March 2023, Express Entry draws occur every second week on Wednesdays. Draws occurred weekly throughout March. The March and April draws also showed a return to typical all-program draws. Throughout January and February this year, most draws were program specific for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). However, on February 2, IRCC held the first-ever program-specific draw for the Federal Skilled Workers Program.

The Express Entry application management system oversees three economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. Each program has unique eligibility criteria but are all similar in that candidates require skilled work experience. After a candidate self-evaluates if they are eligible for one of the programs, they must upload a profile on the IRCC website.

Express Entry uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to score and rank candidates according to a score they receive based on their profile. The system takes an individual’s work experience, occupation, language ability, education, age, and other human capital factors into consideration when assigning a score. The highest-scoring candidates are the most likely to receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Once a candidate receives an ITA, they have 60 days to send in their completed application. Once IRCC receives it, an immigration officer will review the application and decide if the candidate is approved.

May 8, 2023

The Bank of Canada recently announced that it would be holding interest rates steady at 0.25%. While this news may not seem particularly exciting, it is actually quite significant, especially for newcomers to Canada who may be looking to purchase a home or start a business. Interest rates play a crucial role in the Canadian economy, affecting everything from the cost of borrowing money to the value of the Canadian dollar. When interest rates are low, borrowing money becomes cheaper, making it easier for individuals and businesses to invest in their futures.

For newcomers to Canada, low interest rates can be especially beneficial. Many newcomers may be starting from scratch when it comes to establishing credit and building financial stability. Low interest rates can make it easier for them to obtain loans or credit cards, allowing them to build a solid financial foundation for themselves and their families. Additionally, low interest rates can make it more affordable for newcomers to purchase a home. Owning a home is a key part of the Canadian dream for many newcomers, but the high cost of housing in some areas can make it difficult to achieve. Low interest rates can help reduce the cost of borrowing, making it more feasible for newcomers to purchase a home and build equity over time.

For those who are interested in starting a business, low interest rates can also be an advantage. Starting a business requires a significant amount of capital, and borrowing money can be a key part of that process. With lower interest rates, borrowing becomes more affordable, which can help entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground and grow them over time. While low interest rates may be beneficial for newcomers, it is important to remember that they can also have downsides. For example, low interest rates can lead to inflation and make it more difficult for retirees who rely on fixed incomes to make ends meet. However, for those who are just starting out in Canada, the benefits of low interest rates are likely to outweigh the drawbacks.

The benefits of low interest rates for newcomers to Canada are numerous. Here are a few key benefits to consider:

  1. Access to credit: Low interest rates can make it easier for newcomers to obtain loans and credit cards. This is particularly important for those who are just starting to establish credit in Canada. By having access to credit, newcomers can begin building a solid financial foundation for themselves and their families.
  2. More affordable housing: In many parts of Canada, the cost of housing can be prohibitively high. Low interest rates can help make mortgages more affordable, making it easier for newcomers to purchase a home and build equity over time. This can provide stability and security for families who may be looking to put down roots in Canada.
  3. Easier to start a business: Starting a business requires capital, and borrowing money can be a key part of that process. With low interest rates, borrowing becomes more affordable, which can help entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground and grow them over time. This can create job opportunities and contribute to the local economy.
  4. Lower debt payments: For those who have existing debt, low interest rates can help lower monthly payments, making it easier to manage debt and work towards paying it off. This can be particularly important for newcomers who may be facing a range of expenses as they settle into their new lives in Canada.
  5. Boost to the economy: Low interest rates can provide a boost to the overall economy, leading to more job opportunities and economic growth. This can be particularly important for newcomers who may be looking for work or starting a business.

By making credit more accessible, housing more affordable, and business opportunities more feasible, low interest rates can help newcomers establish themselves and thrive in their new home.

Conclusion

The Bank of Canada’s decision to hold interest rates steady is good news for newcomers to Canada. Low interest rates can make it easier for newcomers to establish credit, purchase a home, and start a business. While low interest rates can have downsides, for many newcomers, the benefits are likely to outweigh the drawbacks. As always, it is important to consult with a financial professional before making any significant financial decisions.

May 6, 2023
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has recently released a report indicating that the average home price in Canada is expected to decrease by 4.8% by the end of 2023. This news may come as a surprise to many homeowners and real estate investors who have seen consistent increases in housing prices over the past several years. One of the factors contributing to this expected decline is the current state of the Canadian economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions in many sectors, including real estate. Many Canadians have been forced to adjust their spending habits, leading to decreased demand for housing in some areas. Additionally, the pandemic has resulted in a decrease in immigration, which has historically been a significant driver of housing demand in Canada.

Another factor contributing to the expected decline in home prices is the recent tightening of mortgage regulations by the federal government. In an effort to curb rising levels of household debt, the government has introduced stricter mortgage stress tests and decreased the maximum amortization period for insured mortgages. These measures are likely to reduce the number of potential homebuyers in the market, thereby decreasing demand and putting downward pressure on prices. However, it is important to note that this expected decline in home prices is not necessarily a cause for alarm. While it may be disappointing for homeowners who were hoping to sell their properties in the near future, it may actually present opportunities for potential homebuyers who have been priced out of the market in the past. Lower home prices may also lead to increased affordability and a reduction in household debt levels.

  It is also worth noting that the expected decline in home prices is not uniform across all regions of Canada. Some markets may experience more significant declines than others, depending on factors such as population growth, employment rates, and housing supply. It is always important to conduct thorough research before making any significant real estate investment decisions. While the news of a potential 4.8% drop in the average home price in Canada by the end of 2023 may present opportunities for potential homebuyers, there are also several things to be cautious of when considering purchasing a home in this market.

 
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
  1. Timing: It can be difficult to predict when the housing market will bottom out, and attempting to time the market can be risky. If you are planning to purchase a home, it is important to have a long-term plan and to be prepared for potential fluctuations in the market.
  2. Location: As mentioned earlier, the expected decline in home prices is not uniform across all regions of Canada. Some areas may experience more significant declines than others. It is important to conduct thorough research on the local housing market and economic conditions before making a purchase.
  3. Affordability: While lower home prices may seem appealing, it is important to ensure that you can still afford the monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, and other expenses associated with homeownership. It is important to take a careful look at your financial situation before making a purchase.
  4. Mortgage rates: While the Bank of Canada has held interest rates steady for now, mortgage rates could still fluctuate in the future. If mortgage rates rise, it could make it more difficult to afford monthly mortgage payments, even if home prices have declined.
  5. Home condition: When purchasing a home, it is important to carefully assess its condition to avoid unexpected repair costs down the line. If a home is priced low due to significant repairs needed, it may not be worth the investment.
  In conclusion, the expected decline in the average home price in Canada by the end of 2023 may come as a surprise to many, but it is not necessarily a cause for alarm. While it may be disappointing for some homeowners, it may present opportunities for potential homebuyers and lead to increased affordability in the long run. As always, it is important to conduct thorough research and seek professional advice before making any significant real estate investment decisions.