Sunday, August 29, 2010

Best Places to live in Greater Vancouver

Best Places to live in Greater Vancouver
Feb 16, 2007

This is a poll of 650 homeowners throughout the lower mainland of British Columbia conducted between January 23 and February 10, 2007. "Liveability" is based on these types of criteria: amenities in the region, real estate prices, cost of living, restaurants, convenience, transportation, community planning, liklihood of staying in the region, public safety, government (taxes),

#1-Port Moody/Anmore/Belcarra 6,500 +< 7,000 pts.
#2- White Rock 6,000 +< 6,500 pts.
#3- West Vancouver 5,500 +< 6,000 pts.
#4- Port Coquitlam 5,000 +<5,500 pts.
#5- Richmond 5,000 +< 5,500 pts.
#6- Coquitlam 5,000 +< 5,500
#7- Surrey 5,000+< 5,550 pts.
#8- Langley 4,500 +< 5,000 pts.
#9- North Vancouver 4,500 +< 5,000
#10- New Westminster 4,500 +< 5,000
#11- Vancouver City 4,500 +< 5,000
#12- Burnaby 4,500 +< 5,000


Port Moody/Anmore/Belcarra This area of the lower mainland is ROBBINS ranked #1. Homeowners in this survey were on average the oldest (49) and were more likely to have committed to staying the region. Anmore Belcarra could probably use a coffee bistro or Starbucks of their own, but if you are willing to pay 1 to 1.5 million for your home without a guarantee of street lights or finished roads, there must be something to like. Port Moody is a meca of new retirement with tremendous old city charm, and modern living accommodations, Port Moody/Anmore/Belcarra has 'it' all going for it. Despite some contention over transportation issues for this region, residents have one of the highest rates of self-employed/lower rates of travel to and from work with help to ameliorate the aforementioned problems at least in the minds of respondents.

White Rock- Like PM/Anmore/Belcarra, White Rock has water, beaches in fact. High end homes aren't cheap here but residents don't care, they have it all. Homeowners in this poll are more inclined to be working nearer to home.

West Vancouver- The average age of our homeowners in West Vancouver was lower than we had expected (47). This could be because many respondents who we suspected were older did not want to take our survey which may have skewed the age, or perhaps there are more younger people with the kind of income which can afford the prices of these homes. West Vancouver has it all, the ocean, nearness to Whistler, and downtown Vancouver.

Port Coquitlam- This area of the northeast sector has 'snuck up' on everyone as a top place to live in the Greater Vancouver region. A well organized city hall, quaint small town feel in the city centre, lots of amenities, good schools, and reasonably affordable housing makes Port Coquitlam a desirable destination for homeowners.

Richmond Tsawwassen- Richmond Tsawwassen has it all, amenities galore, wonderful shopping, (fairly) reasonable real estate prices (for Vancouver), close to the ocean, a major airport and now rapid transit.
Coquitlam- Coquitlam is really a fabulous place to live with excellent shopping and amenities. close to Port Moody/Belcarra/Anmore beaches and the ocean, there are all types of styles of accommodation from million dollar homes to real cool areas of older homes. Plenty of parks and recreation, Coquitlam is on the move.

Surrey- Canada's largest municipality (area) Surrey has really come a long way in the past few years. Great parks, art and an interesting mixture of culture, it has everything anyone would want and reasonable prices. Travel over the bridge(s) brings Surrey's ranking down somewhat (as it does other cities and municipalities with greater dependence on bridge travel).

Langley- this is a fabulous place to live with plenty of amenities, great sports and recreation (tremendous support in the community). Langley Township responses ranked as high as an area in the region and anyone who has been there would be able to understand why the residents love it so much. Transportation development will make Langley the place to live in the coming years.

North Vancouver- This has got to be the place of all places to live. It isn't easy to buy a home here, and many of our respondents were younger with a good average income (home) but not as high as its sister city West Vancouver. The bridges can be frustrating for residents here who appear to travel these almost as frequently as the folks in Surrey.

New Westminster- Imagine being able to purchase a penthouse condominium on the water in Greater Vancouver for under $500,000. New Westminster really has it going on if you like a mixture of old, and funky. You can lease business space for unbelievable rates, and purchase an older beautiful home for an excellent price. For my money the best real estate values in the lower mainland are in New Westminster.

Vancouver- Vancouver is a fabulous city. Great restaurants, the ocean, Kitsilano, Stanley Park, everything you can imagine is right here, but it isn't cheap and prices aren't going to go down. Vancouver's rankings for public safety, policing and transportation (fears about transportation elsewhere as well) have brought down the overall score for Vancouver.

Burnaby- Burnaby has amazing parks and the people living here are quite happy to pay their taxes to ensure the city remains one of the most beautiful in the region. Complaints ranged mostly about transportation and creeping undesirables in some traditional areas such as the heights, but particularly in south Burnaby.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

10 Ways to Get "Canadian Experience"

Top 10 Ways to Get Canadian Experience

By Shawn Mintz

Are you Internationally Educated? If so you should congratulate yourself. You are brave and courageous. It takes a very special person who can leave their country and start over in Canada. The following are the top ten ways to find work in Canada:

  1. A good way to learn about your occupation in Canada is to have information interviews with people who are working in your field, associations and licensing bodies. An information interview is when you meet with someone and ask them questions about what they like about their job, dislike and the future potential to name a few.

    This will help you become better informed about the industry. There are other ways to find out about your field such as websites and printed reports. However, talking to an expert or someone already employed will give you a greater insight.
  2. Certain terminology in your occupation may be different in Canada. You may want to go to the library and the Internet to learn the language your industry uses.
  3. Start to reformat your résumé to a Canadian style. Information that may have been relevant in your own country may not be relevant in Canada. In some other countries it’s normal to write your marital status, age and religion. In Canada this should not be mentioned. We have the Ontario Human Rights Code, which protects us against discrimination. Also, have someone look over your résumé before you send it out. You can go to a non-profit employment service and have your résumé critiqued for free.
  4. 80% of the jobs are unadvertised and in the ‘Hidden Job Market’. Tapping into the ‘Hidden Job Market’ involves a lot of networking and making cold calls. These two methods may seem a little intimidating but they are worth trying. 20% of the job market consists of jobs that are advertised on the internet, newspapers and trade magazines. I recommend using these methods a little bit during your job search. However, if you focus on the ‘Hidden Job Market’, there’s less competition.
  5. In your own country you probably had a big network of contacts, however in Canada your network may be small. I have a challenge for you. It’s time to re-build your network in Canada. Socialize with people, attend job search workshops offered by your community, volunteer, attend job fairs and join associations. Talk to everyone! Your family doctor, your children’s teacher or a priest may be able to help connect you to people. Remember that people like to help other people.
  6. Unfortunately you may not be able to have the same job in Canada right away. Try to find a job that’s related to your field of expertise. If you are an engineer find a job as a technician or technologist. Research the positions that are related to your occupation and apply to them. Getting your foot in the door of a company is a great start. Once in, you will probably be able to apply to internal openings
  7. Through volunteering, co-op, on-the-job programs and job trials you will be able to prove your skills and abilities to a Canadian employer, learn about the Canadian workplace culture, gain ‘Canadian Experience’ and build your network. Use your availability to volunteer. If a company doesn’t have current openings say, “I understand that you do not have current openings but I would love to volunteer for you company.”
  8. When asked ‘Do you have Canadian Experience?’ don’t just say no and feel that you have been rejected and that all employers are looking for this so called ‘Canadian Experience’. Tell the employer how your skills are similar to the skills that they are looking for. Also tell them how your international experience will help to benefit the company.
  9. Prepare yourself for an interview by researching the company, position and yourself. Sell your skills to the employer by telling them stories of your accomplishments and achievements. You are a small company selling your most valuable product – yourself.
  10. Stay positive, be persistent, proactive, follow-up with all contacts and maintain your motivation level. If you keep trying, good things will come. You can do it and you will do it. Good Luck.

Version 2 for lower language benchmarks

Top 10 Ways to Find a Job in Canada

  1. Learn as much as you can about a job you want by asking someone who works in that field for an “information interview” (a friendly talk that gives you a chance to ask them questions about the industry and the job you are trying to get).
  2. Every industry in Canada uses special words (called “jargon”) for machines, documents and routines that are used in that workplace. It is a good idea to go to the library and the internet to learn the jargon your industry uses.
  3. Create an English-language résumé (see “What is a Résumé and Why Do I Need One?”, if you don’t have one. You may find that some information that was required in your own country should not be included in your Canadian résumé. For instance, in Canada, your marital status, age and religion should not be mentioned. You should also have someone read your résumé before sending it out. Most non-profit employment services will do this for free.
  4. Only one out of five jobs is advertised on the internet, newspapers or trade magazines. All other jobs are in the ‘Hidden Job Market’, which means they are not advertised. The best ways to find out about these jobs are networking and making cold calls. “Networking” is a word for getting to know people in the industry. A “cold call” is when you go to a company that is not advertising any jobs, to ask if they are hiring. This can be scary, but since not as many people apply for these jobs, you will have a better chance to be hired.
  5. In your own country you may know many people in your field, but in Canada, you must build a new “network”. Meet as many people as you can by volunteering, joining associations, and attending job search workshops and job fairs. Talk to everyone! Your family doctor or your children’s teacher may be able to introduce you to people who can help you. Remember that people like to help other people.
  6. If you had a good job in your own country, you may not be able to get the same job in Canada right away. Look for jobs that are related to the work you know how to do. Once you are working for a company, you will have a better chance to find out about and get the job you really want.
  7. Through volunteering, co-op, on-the-job programs and job trials (see “Learn While You Work” on page 16) you will be able to prove your skills to a Canadian employer, learn about the Canadian workplace, gain ‘Canadian Experience’ and build your network. If you are able to volunteer, this can help you get your first job. For example, if an employer doesn’t have current openings say, “I understand that you do not have current openings but I would love to volunteer for your company.”
  8. If you have no ‘Canadian Experience’ do not feel bad. Explain to the employer how your skills are similar to the skills that they are looking for. Also tell them how your international experience can help the company.
  9. Before an interview, learn as much as you can about the company and the job. Sell yourself to the employer by telling them stories about what you have done.
  10. If you keep trying, good things will come. You can do it and you will do it.

Good Luck.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Agora que a coisa começa de verdade né? Queria fazer um relato aqui sobre oportunidades de trabalho e um email que troquei com uma recrutadora profissional na área de tecnologia no Canadá:

Q.: "Consider two professionals, with very similar professional backgrounds and skills but there's only one available position for hiring. Both professionals are legally authorized to work in Canada however one lives in Canada, the other doesn't. Given these variables, statistically speaking who has more probability to get the position in the end?"

A.: "I can not be sure what the answer is to this question as it will vary depending on the company. But if I were betting on this scenario I would assume 9.5/10 times the local candidate will always be chosen. Companies do not like to take on risk and having someone come from outside the local area always presents a risk for companies."

E agora José? Sabático na cabeça?

Alguém tem alguma opinião à respeito?

Answers answers

Aí sim, fomos surpreendidos novamente....

Recebi as respostas às perguntas que fiz. In fact, falei com a simpaticíssima Fernanda Albano do Consulado Canadense. Foi ela quem ficou no lugar da Maria João.

Sem mais delongas, vamos às respostas....

- 12 meses de validade do visto: o período não pode ser mudado e inicia-se com a chegada dos exames médicos em Trinidad e Tobago. Não é possível fazer outro exame para 'zerar' o período. O que ela recomendou é que façamos o landing process antes do expiry date no visto. Senão o visto perde a validade e aí bau bau, tem que recomeçar todo o processo.

- Uma vez feito o landing process, voce pode sair e voltar quantas vezes quiser com o Permanent Resident card. Ele permite múltiplas entradas no país e pode ser solicitado (assim como o SIN card) assim que chegar no Canadá. Porém, esse documento demora mais ou menos um mês para ficar pronto. Portanto, caso voce saia do país antes de ter o PR card, depois voce tem que solicitar um passaporte temporário chamado de travel documents ao consulado para poder reentrar no Canadá. [EDITADO 29/Abril/2014] Caso voce tenha que sair e re-entrar no Canadá sem ter o PR card emitido, voce precisa de um Travel Document (Permanent Resident Abroad). Eu tive que fazer um e o processo foi relativamente rápido.

- Para manter o staus de permanent resident, voce tem que comprovar moradia no Canadá por pelo menos dois anos em um total de cinco anos.

- Uma vez que o permanent resident visa é carimbado no seu passaporte, quaisquer outros vistos Canadenses pré-emitidos no seu passaporte serão revogados. As subsequentes entradas e saídas devem ser feitas da maneira descrita acima.

Agora tenho que começar a programar a viagem que deve acontecer em Janeiro ou Fevereiro 2011.

I hope this helps.

Der Doppelgänger

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Finalmente recebi a tal carta do Consulado solicitando o pagamento das taxas no HSBC e o envio dos passaportes. Eles enviam também uns adesivos com códigos de barras para serem colados nas capas dos passaportes.

Como eu já havia descoberto através do Casão, o visto vale por 12 meses após os exames médicos, o que significa que o meu visto só irá valer 7 meses, pois fiz os exames em Março/2010.

Queria saber se alguém conseguiu refazer os exames para conseguir os 12 meses de volta.

Mandei um email (outro) para o Consulado com essa pergunta, vamos ver se respondem.

Um outro ponto é se o "permanent resident visa" permite múltiplas entradas no Canadá. Se alguém souber a resposta, agradeço. Quero saber isso pois teremos que fazer algumas viagens de exploração para verificar moradia, educação, antes de uma decisão final.

Tá quase....

Saturday, August 14, 2010


De Fevereiro até Agosto? Alguma coisa só pode estar errada, não? Escrevi um email para o Consulado pedindo mais informações sobre o meu processo. Até meio que duvido conseguir alguma resposta mas o fato é que eles são solícitos (quando querem).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Speaking of which....

...tá demorando, não?

Canada's Immigration Doors Begins Closing

Canada has always been a favorite destination for many Lebanese emigrants. However, the country is now changing its immigration policies and is beginning to resemble a club open to a chosen few who possess the required skills, education and selective criteria to enter.

Last June 26, Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister for citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, announced that to be eligible to apply as a federal skilled worker, immigrants must either have a job offer from a Canadian employer or experience in one of just 29 in-demand occupations.

The government also intends to limit the number of applications considered for processing to 20,000 per year, in the federal skilled worker category, as a way of matching applications to labor market demand. “Within the 20,000 per year limit, a maximum of 1,000 applications per occupation will be considered. The limit does not apply to applicants with a job offer,” the government website reported.

This cap on the number of applications accepted is an unusual phenomenon in Canadian immigration policy, one not seen since the 1960s when Canada opened its doors to immigration.

The newly published list of occupations that Canada is seeking to fill at the present time focuses on the following fields: physicians, general practitioners, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, nurses, and social workers; restaurant and food service managers as well as chefs and cooks; business managers and insurance adjusters; and individuals working in construction, including carpenters, as well as mechanics, plumbers, electricians, machine operators and others.

Furthermore, changes have been introduced to the federal skilled worker stream, a points system program designed to select immigrants based on their education, work experience, language proficiency, skill, age, adaptability, and so on; as well to the Canadian Experience Class, which considers foreign workers and international graduate students already in Canada. Henceforth, applicants must include the results of an English or French language test with their application.

The language requirements have not changed with respect to the grades demanded in reading, writing, listening and speaking, but there are no exceptions anymore to the condition of having a language proficiency assessment performed in order to be eligible to apply as an immigrant. Previously, applicants were able to choose between two options: to do the English or French language test, or merely to provide sufficient documentation demonstrating language proficiency.

Therefore, even if you were born in the United Kingdom and taught English at Oxford University, you must still do the English test to qualify to apply for immigration to Canada under the new rules. Furthermore, you may well be an excellent carpenter or plumber, but if you lack the necessary language skills, you’re application is doomed.

The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is also proposing new changes to the immigrant investor program. Investors are eligible to making financial contributions to federal and provincial governments, earning them immigration status to Canada. The proposed regulatory changes – which are certain to be enacted into law soon – will require immigrant investors from now on to have a personal net worth of $1.6 million, up from $800,000, and to make an investment of $800,000, up from $400,000 as it stands today.

These changes reflect the confidence of the government in Canada’s ability to attract investors, even by doubling the benchmarks, since Canada’s economic reputation and banking system during the global financial crisis remained solid, indeed improved.

More ominously, in June Maclean’s, Canada’s national news magazine, published an article titled, “Who doesn’t get to Canada?” It cited a confidential memo showing that Canada may be engaging in preferential treatment for immigrants from some areas of the globe. The article asked: “A new emphasis on applicants from Asia – Chinese and South Asians – as opposed to the Caribbean and other areas, has drawn fire. Are we quietly engaged in country profiling?”

Even Canada’s refugee system is in the process of being revamped and readjusted to minimize abuses, and to make things quicker, fairer and final as far as appeals are concerned. Canada’s liberal refugee system is coming to an end after years of bogus refugee claims.

Therefore, the average Lebanese, or Arab national, who is thinking of emigrating to Canada as his or her ancestors did, is going to discover that entry is no longer as easy as it once was. On top of that, the Lebanese authorities are in no mood to facilitate emigration, because they wish to reduce the brain drain from Lebanon. Salim al-Sayegh, the social affairs minister, was in Ottawa in June, and in a presentation before the Canadian-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce there, he made a powerful case for limiting Lebanese emigration and attracting members of the diaspora back to Lebanon. He noted that about 4,000 Lebanese professionals emigrated to Canada each year, especially to Quebec, most of them under 30 years of age.

The doors to Canada are still open, but you have to have a special key to enter the country today, which means belonging to the chosen few.

Elie Mikhael Nasrallah is a practicing immigration consultant (CSIC) in Ottawa, Canada, and a commentator on public policy. He wrote this commentary for The Daily Star.