Policy alert - Macleans.ca
 

Policy alert


 

Stephen Harper promises loans for new immigrants.

On Wednesday, that was a promise of bridge loans for new immigrants to help cover the cost of having their foreign credentials recognized in Canada. Harper said the plan is aimed at helping foreign-trained workers get the education and training they need to integrate into the workforce. The loan program, which was hinted at in the ill-fated federal budget, would cost $6 million a year and cover expenses associated with training, exams and schools fees.


 

Policy alert

  1. He had a huge surplus, and five years….but only now when he wants the 'ethnic vote'……

  2. He had a huge surplus, and five years….but only now when he wants the 'ethnic vote'……

    • So an incumbent government is never supposed to introduce new proposals during an election, and get a mandate for them by the voters? So many of you on here claim you care about democracy. More likely, you only care about what you want. That's not why you force elections, never mind winning them.

      • People recognize a bribe when they're offered one, Dennis.

        • Why is this a "bribe?" It's just one hyped up accusation after another from you, isn't it.

          • You short of money this week?

            Does the Craig's list offer end when the campaign does?

          • Why aren't people allowed to question what you write on here without you engaging in lies and personal attacks? This is the Liberal vision that forced a fourth $300 million election in seven years, is it?

            In other words, you can't say why it's a "bribe." You'd rather lash out. Thanks. Next.

        • Yep, like the Libs bribing me with money for tuition.

  3. Oh wow, and not a sneering comment from Wherry to boot! There may yet be hope!

  4. Oh wow, and not a sneering comment from Wherry to boot! There may yet be hope!

    • he's still trying to decide whether he should say anything pithy about Iggnatieff's racist candidate it bring his reocrd of consecutive sneering at the CPC to and end

    • You, specifically you, are hereby prohibited from used "sneering" as an epithet against anyone, anywhere, ever.

      • or what? You're going to charge me with "contempt" of Parliament? lol. Next.

        • I was thinking "contempt of irony", lol.

          • Sounds just as trumped up as the other kind. lol

  5. So an incumbent government is never supposed to introduce new proposals during an election, and get a mandate for them by the voters? So many of you on here claim you care about democracy. More likely, you only care about what you want. That's not why you force elections, never mind winning them.

  6. This is the type of program that makes sense—-should be talked about more. I expect there to be very few comments here about it.

    Ted and thwim and Mike are busy " creeping " over at the Facebook post .

  7. This is the type of program that makes sense—-should be talked about more. I expect there to be very few comments here about it.

    Ted and thwim and Mike are busy " creeping " over at the Facebook post .

    • This does seem like a good idea. In my experience, stuff that is (a) small and (b) everyone agrees with generates very little discussion. I don't recall hundreds of comments on the Liberal's Veteran's education announcement which is also a great program.

      • You`re right, there was very little talk about the Liberal Veteran announcement and I wish there had been more critical analysis of it. At first glance it seems like a good idea to help our troops get back into general society after their tour overseas. However, since we seem to have a shortage of skilled tradesmen in the country and since these guys and gals would be somewhat trained in using their backs and arms as well as their heads it might have been better to direct them to Trade and Technical Schools rather than Universities.
        I know the media would rather talk about scandals and polls but I`m almost certain that the Party that connects with the people with good realistic ideas will be the one who wins any election.

    • Actually, I was commenting on the article about Harper promising an unbudgeted 2.2 billion to Quebec and saying how it wouldn't slow down the deficit recovery plans.

      My condolences.

  8. This sounds useful, but the amount of money seems woefully inadequate. Aren't there literally hundreds of thousands of new immigrants to Canada each year? thousands of whom would have difficulty getting their credentials recognized in a timely fashion? It seems to me that with only $6million per year, such a program could only either:
    (a) assist a very small fraction of those in need adequately (which usually means waiting lists and bureaucracy to administer them); or
    (b) provide everyone in need with inadequate assistance (on the order of the $60 tax credits this government is famous for).

  9. This sounds useful, but the amount of money seems woefully inadequate. Aren't there literally hundreds of thousands of new immigrants to Canada each year? thousands of whom would have difficulty getting their credentials recognized in a timely fashion? It seems to me that with only $6million per year, such a program could only either:
    (a) assist a very small fraction of those in need adequately (which usually means waiting lists and bureaucracy to administer them); or
    (b) provide everyone in need with inadequate assistance (on the order of the $60 tax credits this government is famous for).

    • That was my first reaction too – but then I assumed because they are LOANS that $6MM is the administration cost.

      • I hope your correct about that.

        Is the real barrier the cost of getting credentials recognized?

        I think there are more issues – language, Canadian experience as well as costs to write Canadian exams. But this seems like a good start. I hope it turns out to be very effective.

        • You and Ja n below both make good arguments. It's actually my big criticism of the Harper government – they only make "tick the box" policy.

          – Passed the accountability act – tick the box – actual accountability? No.
          – Child tax credit – tick the box – actual improvement in access to childcare? No.
          – Making Quebec a Nation – tick the box – actual improvement in relations with Quebec or Quebec's standing in Canada? No.
          – Spend money on prisons and change sentencing – tick the box – actual impact on crime? No.

          • All image and no substance.

            But in this case, the loans may help some to get Canadian credentials. I really hope so. It would be horrible to have new immigarnts borrow money and still wind up unable to work in their field.

          • … still driving a taxi, but now Dr (insert foreign-sounding name here) gets to add government loans to the debts s/he already has to immigration consultants… that's some progress!

  10. People recognize a bribe when they're offered one, Dennis.

  11. That was my first reaction too – but then I assumed because they are LOANS that $6MM is the administration cost.

  12. This does seem like a good idea. In my experience, stuff that is (a) small and (b) everyone agrees with generates very little discussion. I don't recall hundreds of comments on the Liberal's Veteran's education announcement which is also a great program.

  13. Ah, the latest promise to actually do something on this front which runs smack into the wall that, in many of the situations, the problem is not a lack of funds for training but that these people have no place to actually do the work required to re-certify appropriately (ie: doctors who can't get their medical sign-off because there's no hospitals with the money to create the residency space).

    If we're not prepared to tackle that reality, we may as well do them a favour and start telling people with qualifications to stay in their country where they can do some good and start importing Taxi drivers instead. Save everyone some heartbreak.

  14. Why is this a "bribe?" It's just one hyped up accusation after another from you, isn't it.

  15. Ah, the latest promise to actually do something on this front which runs smack into the wall that, in many of the situations, the problem is not a lack of funds for training but that these people have no place to actually do the work required to re-certify appropriately (ie: doctors who can't get their medical sign-off because there's no hospitals with the money to create the residency space).

    If we're not prepared to tackle that reality, we may as well do them a favour and start telling people with qualifications to stay in their country where they can do some good and start importing Taxi drivers instead. Save everyone some heartbreak.

  16. I can't speak for every profession in existence, but for one of the big ones we keep hearing about – medicine – the problem is often that the immigrants require participation in residency programs, which are the subject of competition amongst all graduating medical students. While loans for retraining seems nice, why not take the money and put it into more spaces for new doctors, accomplishing two things at once?

  17. I can't speak for every profession in existence, but for one of the big ones we keep hearing about – medicine – the problem is often that the immigrants require participation in residency programs, which are the subject of competition amongst all graduating medical students. While loans for retraining seems nice, why not take the money and put it into more spaces for new doctors, accomplishing two things at once?

  18. You short of money this week?

    Does the Craig's list offer end when the campaign does?

  19. Why aren't people allowed to question what you write on here without you engaging in lies and personal attacks? This is the Liberal vision that forced a fourth $300 million election in seven years, is it?

    In other words, you can't say why it's a "bribe." You'd rather lash out. Thanks. Next.

  20. I hope your correct about that.

    Is the real barrier the cost of getting credentials recognized?

    I think there are more issues – language, Canadian experience as well as costs to write Canadian exams. But this seems like a good start. I hope it turns out to be very effective.

  21. This certainly sounds like a worthwhile initiative, one that helps skilled immigrants smoothly transition into a position suited to their skills. Workforce integration should be a top priority for foreign-trained workers.

  22. Actually, I was commenting on the article about Harper promising an unbudgeted 2.2 billion to Quebec and saying how it wouldn't slow down the deficit recovery plans.

    My condolences.

  23. Yep, like the Libs bribing me with money for tuition.

  24. stop that.

  25. Gee, you ARE short of money.

    I'm sorry to hear that.

    Maybe if you got a real job?

  26. Sadly I agree, if it were a matter of sitting for and passing some exams there wouldn't be a problem. Often, it's needing to certify yourself by entering some sort of quasi-professional training where there just aren't the spaces.

  27. Upgrading an already existing national system is not the same …sorry.

  28. Upgrading an already existing national system is not the same …sorry.

  29. why is that any more a bribe than offering students $1000 a year, god your a hypocrite!

  30. Pay attention.

  31. given how much time you spend on these boards composing little two line ad hominems and generally being a bit%4, I'd say you were the one who needs a job.

  32. Pay attention.

    • To what? you've demosntrated your incapable of making a point without insulting someone. You have an extremly high opinion of yourself I know, but try and maintain a little perspective.

  33. given how much time you spend on these boards composing little two line ad hominems and generally being a bit%4, I'd say you were the one who needs a job.

    • Well you'd say that because you know nothing about me. You're just rattled over Harper's poor performance thus far, and think that attacking me will help that.

      Kindly return to the topic.

      • I thought you would of liked this regardless of who proposed it.

        • Yes and no.

          The last thing a new immigrant needs is to take on a loan obligation, and in any case money is not the problem.

          Professional association's and their job protection rules are.

          • It took you 5 comments before you made the argument above….why didn't you make it in your first comment?

          • Daffy Dennis

  34. he's still trying to decide whether he should say anything pithy about Iggnatieff's racist candidate it bring his reocrd of consecutive sneering at the CPC to and end

  35. Well you'd say that because you know nothing about me. You're just rattled over Harper's poor performance thus far, and think that attacking me will help that.

    Kindly return to the topic.

  36. To what? you've demosntrated your incapable of making a point without insulting someone. You have an extremly high opinion of yourself I know, but try and maintain a little perspective.

  37. And professional associations footdragging – I thought that was the real problem. Is Harper addressing that?

  38. I thought you would of liked this regardless of who proposed it.

  39. Yes and no.

    The last thing a new immigrant needs is to take on a loan obligation, and in any case money is not the problem.

    Professional association's and their job protection rules are.

  40. yes I know, 30 years a PC, world traveller, worldly about everything in fact if what you say on these boards is to be believed. You do remember don't you? I'm sure it gets hard to keep your story straight sometimes. What remains is that you're incapable of seeing policy in any light without your bias interfering. Perhaps Harper has had a few bad days, how does that impact on the quality of this policy?

  41. To the rest of the thread where your question has already been answered.

    I know you're rattled but please try to keep up.

  42. What is it with Liberals on here who smear on the one hand, then have the gall to suggest that it's Harper who isn't democratic?

    We needed an election to put these kinds of people in control again? Man.

  43. What is it with Liberals on here who smear on the one hand, then have the gall to suggest that it's Harper who isn't democratic?

    We needed an election to put these kinds of people in control again? Man.

  44. It took you 5 comments before you made the argument above….why didn't you make it in your first comment?

  45. Daffy Dennis

  46. Mmm no, I wasn't discussing my political affiliation, nor my travel

    Return to the topic.

  47. You and Ja n below both make good arguments. It's actually my big criticism of the Harper government – they only make "tick the box" policy.

    – Passed the accountability act – tick the box – actual accountability? No.
    – Child tax credit – tick the box – actual improvement in access to childcare? No.
    – Making Quebec a Nation – tick the box – actual improvement in relations with Quebec or Quebec's standing in Canada? No.
    – Spend money on prisons and change sentencing – tick the box – actual impact on crime? No.

  48. Mmm no, I wasn't discussing my political affiliation, nor my travel

    Return to the topic.

  49. All image and no substance.

    But in this case, the loans may help some to get Canadian credentials. I really hope so. It would be horrible to have new immigarnts borrow money and still wind up unable to work in their field.

  50. … still driving a taxi, but now Dr (insert foreign-sounding name here) gets to add government loans to the debts s/he already has to immigration consultants… that's some progress!

  51. At least one of Canada's chartered banks has an entire marketing strategy for new Canadians. These highly skilled people can't get a loan from a real bank because… why, exactly? If all they really needed was a little floater cash for everything to fall into place, there would be no need for a government to do this. And a whole lot of reasons why it is stupid for a government to do this.

    The reason it appears to make "sense" to so many people is because it is actually a very-high-risk loan, that I bet most real banks would not want to touch. Credentials recognition, training, exams & licensing are nowhere near a slam dunk. If Ottawa (and in many instances, the provinces) don't care to deal with that real problem, then this phony loan charade is a cruel waste of our money and of the new Canadian's time and optimism.

  52. At least one of Canada's chartered banks has an entire marketing strategy for new Canadians. These highly skilled people can't get a loan from a real bank because… why, exactly? If all they really needed was a little floater cash for everything to fall into place, there would be no need for a government to do this. And a whole lot of reasons why it is stupid for a government to do this.

    The reason it appears to make "sense" to so many people is because it is actually a very-high-risk loan, that I bet most real banks would not want to touch. Credentials recognition, training, exams & licensing are nowhere near a slam dunk. If Ottawa (and in many instances, the provinces) don't care to deal with that real problem, then this phony loan charade is a cruel waste of our money and of the new Canadian's time and optimism.

    • I suspect it's not a question of the investment being to risky, but there not really being programs in place to spend the money on.

      • Mike, maybe I am misunderstanding your point, here.

        Are you trying to convince me that lending money to someone (so s/he may invest in a non-existent strategy to better his or her life) is NOT a risky lending strategy?

        • I don't think there is much risk to the government as any borrowers are likely going to knock themselves out in order to repay.

          The risk is great for the borrowers but I know I read somewhere that the cost of taking Canadian exams for something was a prohibitive expense for new Canadians.

          This may not be the perfect solution but could it be helpful to some?

          • If there's so little risk to the lender, why aren't the banks doing the lending now? Why must the public purse be the loan shark?

            And the problem is that often new Canadians are FAILING these exams. Language? Different education? Different standards? Discriminatory design of the evaluating exams? Maybe a bit of each?

          • To a bank, new Canadians do not look like a good risk – no assets, little income, etc. I do think that even if they fail the exams, or whatever, or fail to improve their employment opportunities, they will find a way to repay money to the government.

          • So you are describing a perfectly acceptable — nay, an exemplary — credit risk that the banks don't want to touch. You are suggesting that governments are better judges of winners and losers when allocating other people's money than banks are when they are allocating their own.

            I confess you will have a challenge convincing me of the wisdom of such a stance.

          • Sorry, I thought I was discussing this with someone somewhat familiar with the issues involved. It is far beyond my ability to convince you of anything.

          • My loss, I am sure. Tonight could have been the night I came around to understanding how governments are so much better at picking winners and losers than is the private sector.

        • I suspect the loans won't actually take place for want of places that would meet a reasonable criteria.

  53. You`re right, there was very little talk about the Liberal Veteran announcement and I wish there had been more critical analysis of it. At first glance it seems like a good idea to help our troops get back into general society after their tour overseas. However, since we seem to have a shortage of skilled tradesmen in the country and since these guys and gals would be somewhat trained in using their backs and arms as well as their heads it might have been better to direct them to Trade and Technical Schools rather than Universities.
    I know the media would rather talk about scandals and polls but I`m almost certain that the Party that connects with the people with good realistic ideas will be the one who wins any election.

  54. You, specifically you, are hereby prohibited from used "sneering" as an epithet against anyone, anywhere, ever.

  55. "…suddenly."

  56. "…suddenly."

    • I beg your pardon?

      • A program to give loans to new immigrants to sort out their credentials or start businesses would be an easy pass for a minority Conservative government, as long as they didn't poison it with some crazy sidecar. The Liberals would support it, the NDP would support it, the Bloc would support it, and for a day everyone would get to say "look how well we can get things done when we work together", with the Harper Government taking the credit for introducing it.

        So had there been any will within the PMO at any time since 2006 to do so, by now they'd be able to campaign on "this was a priority, so we did something about it", rather than, "although we haven't really done much of anything to brag about yet, please believe us when we say this is a priority now that we're asking you to vote for us, and if we're re-elected we'll do it, y'know, sometime soonish".

        • Good point, but I think it was probably a brand new idea. It's a relatively tiny program, after all.

          • Also a fair point.

  57. or what? You're going to charge me with "contempt" of Parliament? lol. Next.

  58. I beg your pardon?

  59. $6 million is an awfully small number isn't it? That's basically postage costs for the federal government :)

    It will be very interesting to see if the concerted, but overwhelmingly superficial, push the Conservatives are making to the "very ethnic" vote will pan out for them or will their demonization of Tamils and the incessant drumbeat that Ignatieff isn't Canadian enough scare off those votes.

    My suspicion is that they may win one or two 905 ridings but the huge breakthrough will not materialize.

  60. $6 million is an awfully small number isn't it? That's basically postage costs for the federal government :)

    It will be very interesting to see if the concerted, but overwhelmingly superficial, push the Conservatives are making to the "very ethnic" vote will pan out for them or will their demonization of Tamils and the incessant drumbeat that Ignatieff isn't Canadian enough scare off those votes.

    My suspicion is that they may win one or two 905 ridings but the huge breakthrough will not materialize.

  61. I need an explanation. Immigrants are going to get loans, I gather they'll have to repay the money, to help them cover the costs of getting their foreign credentials recognized.

    But the organizations who recognize these credentials, the regulatory health colleges, bars, etc., are they more likely to recognize the credentials because the immigrants have more money to throw into this? To my knowledge, this remains mostly a problem a equivalency, or lack thereof, of degrees accorded in various parts of the globe.

    Will a medical degree from the Philippines be more likely to be recognized by CPSO because of this money or not?

  62. I need an explanation. Immigrants are going to get loans, I gather they'll have to repay the money, to help them cover the costs of getting their foreign credentials recognized.

    But the organizations who recognize these credentials, the regulatory health colleges, bars, etc., are they more likely to recognize the credentials because the immigrants have more money to throw into this? To my knowledge, this remains mostly a problem a equivalency, or lack thereof, of degrees accorded in various parts of the globe.

    Will a medical degree from the Philippines be more likely to be recognized by CPSO because of this money or not?

  63. The fundamental problem here is that much of that is "provincial territory" – in that it involves provincially sanctioned bodies and/or services of responsibility – and to make a real dent in it from a Federal level – where a lot of the responsibility for immigration lies – means being prepared to goto war with them over it.

    Which Stephen Harper would birth kittens before doing.

  64. The fundamental problem here is that much of that is "provincial territory" – in that it involves provincially sanctioned bodies and/or services of responsibility – and to make a real dent in it from a Federal level – where a lot of the responsibility for immigration lies – means being prepared to goto war with them over it.

    Which Stephen Harper would birth kittens before doing.

  65. since we seem to have a shortage of skilled tradesmen

    We've a shortage of lots of things. Limiting peoples future career choices based on a prior one is basically lock-in through stereotyping.

  66. I suspect it's not a question of the investment being to risky, but there not really being programs in place to spend the money on.

  67. Mike, maybe I am misunderstanding your point, here.

    Are you trying to convince me that lending money to someone (so s/he may invest in a non-existent strategy to better his or her life) is NOT a risky lending strategy?

  68. I don't think there is much risk to the government as any borrowers are likely going to knock themselves out in order to repay.

    The risk is great for the borrowers but I know I read somewhere that the cost of taking Canadian exams for something was a prohibitive expense for new Canadians.

    This may not be the perfect solution but could it be helpful to some?

  69. If there's so little risk to the lender, why aren't the banks doing the lending now? Why must the public purse be the loan shark?

    And the problem is that often new Canadians are FAILING these exams. Language? Different education? Different standards? Discriminatory design of the evaluating exams? Maybe a bit of each?

  70. To a bank, new Canadians do not look like a good risk – no assets, little income, etc. I do think that even if they fail the exams, or whatever, or fail to improve their employment opportunities, they will find a way to repay money to the government.

  71. So you are describing a perfectly acceptable — nay, an exemplary — credit risk that the banks don't want to touch. You are suggesting that governments are better judges of winners and losers when allocating other people's money than banks are when they are allocating their own.

    I confess you will have a challenge convincing me of the wisdom of such a stance.

  72. Sorry, I thought I was discussing this with someone somewhat familiar with the issues involved. It is far beyond my ability to convince you of anything.

  73. My loss, I am sure. Tonight could have been the night I came around to understanding how governments are so much better at picking winners and losers than is the private sector.

  74. I suspect the loans won't actually take place for want of places that would meet a reasonable criteria.

  75. I was thinking "contempt of irony", lol.

  76. A program to give loans to new immigrants to sort out their credentials or start businesses would be an easy pass for a minority Conservative government, as long as they didn't poison it with some crazy sidecar. The Liberals would support it, the NDP would support it, the Bloc would support it, and for a day everyone would get to say "look how well we can get things done when we work together", with the Harper Government taking the credit for introducing it.

    So had there been any will within the PMO at any time since 2006 to do so, by now they'd be able to campaign on "this was a priority, so we did something about it", rather than, "although we haven't really done much of anything to brag about yet, please believe us when we say this is a priority now that we're asking you to vote for us, and if we're re-elected we'll do it, y'know, sometime soonish".

  77. Sounds just as trumped up as the other kind. lol

  78. Good point, but I think it was probably a brand new idea. It's a relatively tiny program, after all.

  79. Also a fair point.

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