Thursday, July 26, 2012

Immigration and economy of Canada

Just read a very good article at Calgary Herald. Finally someone has written down the real facts related immigration process and further tale of the immigrants. It may be helpful for prospective immigrants to realize actual reality here. I also believe that the government also should take some action to develop the situation. Otherwise overqualified immigrants may create an issue for the economy here. So here is the text of the article: 

"Textbook economics suggests immigration should lift productivity. After all, new immigrants open up trade opportunities; they diversify the engines of economic growth; they offer new and different perspectives on business; and they inherently take risks in hope of greater gains — a key ingredient of innovation.
Yet the results have been quite different. A recent study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found immigration has no impact on overall productivity. In Canada, it appears immigration is, in fact, working to reduce productivity given the chronic underemployment of immigrants in the country. According to some estimates, 20% of the increase in the U.S.-Canada productivity gap over the past decade can be attributed to immigration.
A male immigrant who arrived in Canada in the 1970s made about 80¢ on the dollar relative to a Canadian-born worker, and he was able to narrow the gap at a rate of roughly 1¢ per year. Today, despite the fact two-thirds of newcomers have post-secondary education, their earnings have dropped to close to 60¢ on the dollar and the gap is narrowing at a much slower pace. Nearly half of the individuals who immigrated to Canada between 2001 and 2006 are overqualified for the jobs they occupy.
This disparity is not without a price. I estimate that the current employment and wage gaps between new immigrants and native-born Canadians, cost the economy slightly more than $20-billion in forgone earnings. And more than 20% of working-age male immigrants leave the country within a year of arrival.
Addressing productivity is becoming increasingly crucial for the Canadian economy. An aging population means that just to stabilize the ratio of working-age to non-work in gage population would require tripling the annual number of new arrivals for decades — something not being contemplated. So without a significant increase in immigration-based productivity, the aging profile of the Canadian population will work to reduce the standard of living of all Canadians.
Many recent changes in Canada are modeled on Australia, which maintains a 50% smaller earnings gap between its native-born and non-native-born workers than Canada. The key here is the recent move by the Canadian government toward an increased use of temporary, employer-driven, lower-skilled workers, while still making it easier for successful temporary workers to gain permanent status through the Canadian Experience Class program.
However, the program should not grow much larger than its current size. Immigration policy should not be based on short-term job market considerations. Too heavy a reliance on short-term, unskilled foreign workers might improve job market flexibility in the near term but will reduce its growth potential in the long term due to the comparatively limited ability of low-skilled workers to adjust to changing labour market conditions.
Even the Federal Skilled Workers program, which is supposed to take a long-term approach, is not immune to short-term bias.
Out of the 29 preferred occupations in the FSW program, no less than one-third of preferred occupations are directly linked to the construction industry. It is not a stretch to imagine many of these immigrants will find it difficult to find or maintain employment in a slower housing market.
The FSW should direct its attention to the job market of tomorrow by developing an information infrastructure system designed to identify emerging trends in labour-market activity. That should be supplemented by a much simpler and efficient credential-recognition process. While difficult to achieve, the ideal situation would be to establish a single regulator assessing credentials for each occupation.
The bar on language proficiency should also be raised.
The move in Australia toward mandatory pre-immigration English-language testing in the late 1990s is probably the most important distinguishing factor explaining the performance advantage of Australian immigrants relative to the Canadian experience. In Canada, language skills have also proven critical to success. Those in the FSW program who are proficient in either national language are 50% more likely to find a job and earn close to 40% more than FSWs who are minimally proficient in either language.
Immigration is critical to Canada’s economy but it is clear some inherent barriers exist that prevent us from reaping the full economic benefits new Canadians have to offer. We need to address these to continue to improve productivity and sustain our standard of living."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Picnicking at Forgetmenot Pond

As you know me I cannot sit at home when the weather is fine and mountains are around... Therefore, I have decided to visit Forgetmenot Pond in Kananaskis Country. We have been in Elbow Falls before, which is very close to the Pond. Landscaping there is amazing. While driving you can enjoy excellent views. Like this

The best way to travel from our home to there is highway 22x. I like this road. Farms are in right and left. And as I am driving towards mountains, the view is amazing...

Do I looks satisfied?

Yes daddy, you do!
When we arrived to the fall we discovered picnic site at Elbow River and Elbow Fall close to it. Here is the picnic site and the fall.

Just wanna warn you about someone. Remember this guy:

He offered us to take our picture. We gave him our camera and when we were looking around where to have a sit, he tried to run away with our camera... He was joking with us! Thanks to him for taking our family picture at Elbow Falls.

And a very nice squirrel that did not reject us to pose for the camera:

Stop, I was trying to write down about our today's trip... OK, the road was familiar for us from our Elbow Falls trip. So driving 10 more kilometers straight we reached to the pond. It is an artificial pond created by human being. It has very interesting name, Forgetmenot. Russian bloggers whom I follow call it Незабудкин Пруд. And I read about it when I was in Baku, Azerbaijan. While we were there my wife offered to rename the pond to ChinaPond. Why? Because 99% of the people who was there today was Chinese. No one was speaking English around. An only language we heard there was mandarin or cantonese...

The pond was really busy. No available parking spot was there. It was hard to find free table for picnicking. But the view was excellent... 


As usually cooking kabab...
 The water was so clean that I was not able to stop myself from swimming there.

I feel GOOD!
 But the water was also sooo cold... Brrrr...

Better if they warm the water...:))))
 But my lovely daughter was ready to warm me when I am out.

Another wonder for us was wild strawberries. When I was walking around the pond with the kids I found three strawberries:

I came back, left kids and decided to collect more strawberries. To be honest I was not sure that I will have success as it is early for the strawberries at this time of the year. Most of them have not matured yet. But I was lucky to find some:

They are so yummy!
And couple more pictures from our way back:
Elbow River

My tank in harmony with the road..
I will strongly advice to visit both places, Elbow Falls and Forgetmenot Pond. They are amazing places which are very close to the city. Only just 65 and 75 kilometers, respectively.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Edmonton vs. Calgary, my comparision

After moving to Calgary from Edmonton I remembered the periods when I was deciding where to immigrate to Edmonton or Calgary. At that time I was not able to find any article comparing them from immigration point of view. Therefore, I decided to write it down when I have enough experience here in Calgary. So today I will have lots of words and no pictures... I would like to indicate that all the facts is based on my impressions and none of the is based on the official numbers. For the sake of clarity I will divide my post to several subheadings:

My first impression about Calgary was that it looks like my home city, Baku. Traffic jam is everywhere.  I have noticed that road system in Edmonton is designed better than in Calgary. In Edmonton I was able to choose between several alternative roads from one part of the city to the opposite part. However, in Calgary I am limited in only couple of highways. In my opinion that is main reason creating the traffic here.

The other thing I have noticed in Calgary is road constructions. It creates impression that the city is still under development. However, in Edmonton an only road construction we have noticed was last part of the Anthony Handey belt road. But quality of the road surface is better in Calgary. As regards the belt road, Calgary even not close to Edmonton. Edmonton already finished it, but Calgary is just at the start...

Prices in Calgary is a little bit higher than in Edmonton. Gas price is 3 cents higher. Food and accommodations has the same difference, close to 3%. Most probably it is affected by the salary levels. As I know Calgary has pay rates more than Edmonton.

Shopping in Calgary and Edmonton is different. Edmonton has West Edmonton Mall, which was largest indoor shopping mall in the world until 2004. It is very convenient having shops, cinemas, eating, kid's playground, beach under the same roof. In Calgary you need to find all of the them separately. We are not able to find alternative of Galaxy Land here in Calgary. It is indoor attraction for kids(and not only) at West Edmonton Mall. But my wife noticed that quality of clothes here is better than in Edmonton. May be being close to the US affects it.

Driving habits

One of the first things surprised me when I was traveling to Calgary was driving style of the local people. Speeding was looking usual. Maneuvers done by the drivers were similar to my home city. To be honest in my home city people has more aggressive driving style))). First 8 months we spent in Canada we have never faced with speeding or aggressive style of driving. However, in Calgary you can easily meet people speeding or passing you aggressively...

Oooohhhh... I do not want upset Edmontonians, however Calgary is much and much better than Edmonton in nature. Calgary has very different landscaping in different part of the city. North-West of Calgary remembers me Tbilisi, capital of the Republic of Georgia. For the reader from North America I would like to note that it is not State of Georgia in the US, it is an independent country located between Black sea and Caucasus mountains. The South-West looks like Switzerland. To be honest I have never been in Switzerland, but based on the videos I have watched they have something similar.
However, Edmonton has very straight landscaping. I can not comment which of them is better for the living standards, but for me personally Calgary looks much, much better. It can be very subjective. As my native village-Alpan, where I spent most of my childhood and all my school vacations has very similar landscaping.

Now it is raining in Calgary. I have opened the windows, switched of the lights, sat down on the sofa and closed my eyes. And felt myself in Alpan... Same sounds, same smell... Looks like I am starting having homesick again... Alpan is located very close to Caucasus mountains and has very similar nature with Calgary. Icy mountains are not strange for me. I used to see icy Shah Dagh each morning when I was a child. So, I feel happy each day living in Calgary as I feel myself very comfortable. But from other part I remember and miss my native village, mountains more and more... Here we have visited Banff, Lake Louise, Elbow Falls which are really amazing!!! I will have different posts on this trips.

Hope my post will be helpful for the people choosing between Calgary and Edmonton. And hope my Edmontonian friends will not bear a grudge against me for this post...

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Today Canada celebrates its 145th anniversary. Just for the information the 1867 Constitution Act officially proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, initially with four provinces – OntarioQuebecNova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Are you aware that July 1st was celebrated as a Dominion Day until 1982. Currently this day is celebrated as a national holiday in all Canada and called Canada Day. To be honestly I am very happy that I have chosen Canada to move in. And this is my holiday hereafter. In order to celebrate the holiday we visited Prince's Island Park today. It was very interesting there for us and for kids. We have not noticed how 4 hours passed there.

Now today's the most famous song in Canada...

I started loving this anthem when I was in Azerbaijan. Especially, Celine Dion's singing is most lovely for me. Hope you will enjoy, too.

Happy Birthday Canada!!! We love you, as we never loved any country before...