Winnipeg – Smart City

The Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF) has, once again, recognized the skills and intelligence of the people of Winnipeg. We are a “smart city”. This comes as no surprise. Winnipeg has been heralded as one of the most intelligent communities in the world many times before. The ICF compares 180 cities around the world, comparing the level of collaboration and innovation between metropolises in many countries to define a few as “smart cities”.

Tech-Savvy CitySmart City

The results of the 2021 ICF report confirm the obvious: Winnipeg is a leader in the areas of tech-savvy projects and innovation. As noted by CTV News:

In 2018, 2016 and 2014, ICF selected Winnipeg as a Top 7 Intelligent Community, recognizing the city’s global leadership in technology deployment, digital innovation and demonstrating a commitment to using data to improve the quality of life of all its citizens.

For residents of Winnipeg, we are constantly striving for community-led projects. This is part of the fabric of our city. Economic Development Winnipeg is leading the way to support tech-savvy projects and support the private sector to ensure we continue to be recognized an internationally-recognized “smart city”.

TEDxWinnipeg

I was honoured, back in 2018, to be selected to give a presentation at RBC Convention Centre with TEDxWinnipeg. It was yet another opportunity to connect with cutting-edge Winnipegers who were doing amazing projects. We had speakers from all walks of life who had initiated or were involved in amazing projects to better the lives of residents of our wonderful city.

TEDxWinnipeg is, in and of itself, a perfect example of the innovation and collaborative approach to projects in Winnipeg. It brings together thought-leaders from different fields to support innovative new projects to build our “smart city”.

If you are keen, you can watch my presentation on YouTube. 

From Mayor to the Street

Upon hearing the news, Mayor Brian Bowmen commented:

Being named to the international Top 7 list for the fourth time in 10 years and the ninth time for the Smart 21 list over the same period is strong validation that Winnipeg is a consistent competitor with cities from around the world. With a population that is expected to continue growing to a million people, Winnipeg is truly a world-class place to call home.”

I agree 100%. And immigration, with the MPNP program and the numerous universities and colleges that attract talent from every corner of the world, is the backbone on Winnipeg’s continued growth.

Here at CIL, we are thrilled to be part of helping the growth of Winnipeg and Manitoba. We look forward to celebrating when Winnipeg surpasses the 1 Million Residents mark. That will truly be a date to celebrate. We simply need to focus on short-term goals and help families, one at a time. We will get to 1M residents.

If you are reading this and you are interested in joining one of the “smart cities” of the world. Here at CIL, we would love to help you and your family achieve your immigration goals. Come and join us in Winnipeg. We look forward to working with you and helping you get settled in our diverse community.

Winnipeg – Top 10 in Canada

One of Canada’s most respected magazines, MacLean’s, released its 2021 list of “Best Communities in Canada”. They looked at the quality of life in all the major towns and cities across all provinces and territories. I am proud that Winnipeg has been ranked #6 in Canada.Winnipeg

As noted by MacLean’s:

Population: 778,602
Property tax as percent of average income: 1.8%
Annual days above 20C: 110
Crime Severity Index 5-year average: 116
Doctors’ offices per 100,000 residents: 694
Household members able work on a single internet connection: 12

Personally, I have moved 24 times and I have lived in 5 different provinces. Winnipeg has been our home since 2013 and it has been a great place to live for our family.

A list of communities in Canada, from #1 to #15 includes:

  1. Charlottetown, PEI
  2. Fredericton, NB
  3. St Thomas, ON
  4. Belleville, ON
  5. Edmonton, AB
  6. Winnipeg, MB
  7. Moncton, NB
  8. Cornwall, ON
  9. Brooks, AB
  10. No community is listed at #10
  11. Toronto, ON
  12. Saint John, NB
  13. Brampton, ON
  14. Saskatoon, SK
  15. Welland, ON

For the full list of communities, please click here and read the details at MacLean’s.

We have helped many professionals and families come to Manitoba through the MPNP-SWM program as well as the MPNP-BIS stream. In cases where the applicants’ have a procedural fairness letter, we have helped clients stay in Manitoba.

New PGWP

We cannot take credit for the news from IRCC that international students who have expired Post Graduation Work Permits (PGWP) will be able to apply for a new Work Permit starting 27 JAN 2021. This is very good news and it will help many clients. When I gave testimony to the parliamentary committee in NOV 2020, this was my testimony:

My third point relates to applicants in Provincial Nominee Programs. Many of these individuals are able to apply for Permanent Resident status based on their education and work experience in Canada. Once these workers receive PGWPtheir Nomination Certificate, they can apply for a bridging Work Permit that is restricted to their employer. This pandemic has resulted in many lay-offs and it has caused severe hardship. In my view, these Work Permits should be less restricted to avoid many issues, including potential problems with flag polling. For example, a NOC B worker could be allowed to accept a different NOC B position without having to obtain a new Work Permit. Similarly, I also urge more flexibility with Post Graduate Work Permits. They should not be limited to one PGWP per student.

It seems that IRCC may have listened. This is very good news.

There are 3 requirements for this new PGWP program:

  1. The Applicant must have a PGWP that expired on or after 30 JAN 2020, OR a PGWP that is going to expire in 4 months or less from the date of application;
  2. The Applicant must be physically present in Canada; and,
  3. The Applicant must have temporary status or be eligible to restore their status through a Restoration application.

During this pandemic, students and workers have been seriously affected. As the Minister said in his statement:

Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here.

It is, of course, nice to see this remark from the Minister. Unfortunately, this statement is not consistent with the decisions by Visa Officers around the world. Too often, Visa Officers refuse Study Permit applications on the basis they believe the applicant will not return to their home country at the end of their study period. So which is it? Does Canada want to make sure they go back? Or, following Minister Mendicino’s comments, does Canada want them to stay?

 

Success: MPNP PFL

We love the MPNP program. It has been said many times that it is the best PNP in Canada and it is a great program for many skilled workers both inside Manitoba and abroad. In some cases, the MPNP Officer may have concerns and those concerns must be made clear to the applicant(s). These concerns are stated in an MPNP Procedural Fairness Letter (PFL). We have helped many clients reply to PFLs over the years. In 2020, we helped a Chinese family who had serious issues. These are highly skilled professionals who accepted employment with a small business in Manitoba that did not keep good employment records. Their employer’s records caused problems with their MPNP application.

MPNP PFL

We worked closely with this family and their employer. We provided a strong package to support the discrepancies and we provided a clear explanation. In the end, the MPNP Officer accepted our explanation and this family is back on track to Permanent Resident status.

Procedural Fairness Letters (PFLs) are complex. They are issued when an issue/ concern has been identified by an Officer. We strongly urge any applicant who has received a PFL to seek and retain an immigration lawyer to help.

We also love feedback from clients. I know there are fraudulent reviews on Google from individuals who have never had contact with our team. Thankfully, almost all our reviews are from genuine clients who help our readers. Here is what this client wrote:

After 8 months awaiting for my MPNP apllication, we got a negative result by the PFL letter. I was engaged a misrepresentation for my application because of some mistakes were pointed out by MPNP office. I had thought that it would be end of my immigration to Canada until one of my friend recommend me to contact Clarke Law. Their proffesional work and expertise help us quickly address the reasons and prepared documents to reply the PFL letter. After 14 months from my initial submit my MPNP application, I finally got a approval letter for my application, I don’t know how to describe but I am thanksful for Clarke Law bring a hope to us. I would recommend Clarke Law for your immigration chanllenges if you have any.

We have helped many clients with MPNP issues and we look forward to building Manitoba’s economy. We also assist with the MPNP BIS stream and other MPNP paths to PR status.

Testimony at CIMM

I had the privilege of being invited to give testimony to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
(CIMM) yesterday. The CIMM has been investigating the impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian immigration system and my testimony is available on ParlVU. If you are interested, my testimony starts at the 17:12 mark. In particular, the Members of Parliament (MPs) are looking at the following points:

  1. application backlogs and processing times for the different streams of family reunification and the barriers preventing the timely reunification of loved ones, such as denials of temporary resident visas because of section 179(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and the ongoing closures of Visa Application Centers;
  2. examine the government’s decision to reintroduce a lottery system for the reunification of parents and grandparents; to compare it to previous iterations of application processes for this stream of family reunification, including a look at processing times and the criteria required for successful sponsorship;
  3. temporary resident visa processing, authorization to travel to Canada by individuals with an expired Confirmation of Permanent Residency; use of expired security and background checks for permanent immigration;
  4. the facilitation and issuing of visas and study permits for international students, with special attention to the experience of groups of international students (such as students from francophone Africa) and to the usual administrative delays and additional delays caused by the COVID 19 pandemic;
  5. refugee resettlement program, meeting the Government of Canada’s international commitments to settle convention refugees in Canada, work of Canadian civil society groups to bring privately sponsored refugees to Canada, and to extend a life boat to the people of Hong Kong facing persecution under the new National Security Law;
  6. severe and long-term economic impact of reduced immigration to Canada in 2020-2023;
  7. administrative costs and delays related to Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and consideration of possible solutions, including granting open work permits on a sector-by-sector basis to facilitate labour mobility; that LMIAs be biennial; that the duration of work permits be extended; that three-year work permits be extended annually;
  8. technological capability of the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and Passport Canada to work remotely or virtually, meet service standards and enforce applicable laws.
  9. that all testimonies received during a study pursuant to this motion be deemed included in further studies;
  10. the two pilot projects for Caregivers introduced as of June 18, 2019: (1) Home Child Care Provider Pilot; and (2) Home Support Worker Pilot; that the study examines the criteria and its effect on the caregivers who are trying to qualify under these programs toward the path for permanent status; that the Committee report its findings to the House; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the government table a comprehensive response thereto.
  11. that this study begin no later than October 27, 2020, that the Committee table its findings in the House upon completion and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the government table a comprehensive response thereto.

Here is a copy of my opening testimony to the CIMM:

Honourable committee members. I’d like to thank you for this invitation to provide testimony on the impact of COVID-19 on the immigration system. I would like to acknowledge that I am giving this testimony on Treaty 1 territory, the homeland of the Metis Nation and the ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples.

I am appearing before you today as an immigration and refugee lawyer with more than 12 years of experience. I started my career at an immigration law boutique on Bay Street in Toronto. From there, I practiced at a legal aid clinic, assisting low income residents and for the past 7 years, I have practiced exclusively immigration and refugee law in Winnipeg, Manitoba – the heart of our continent.

Today I will be making five brief points.

My first point is that IRCC needs to further digitize the system and expand online services. For example, Spousal sponsorships and Temporary Resident Permit applications could easily be submitted online. In 2018, the Refugee Protection Division at the IRB introduced the e-Post system and it has been very successful. Epost makes it is easy for counsel to see details of documents that have been uploaded. IRCC has started to use e-Post for refugee claimants inside Canada and this tool be useful in other contexts. In short, a robust online system may provide solutions to dealing with long processing times and backlogs.

For my second point, I strongly support the possibility of applicant’s posting monetary bonds for TRV applications in the context of a Spousal Sponsorship applications. These applicants are sufficiently motivated to become Permanent Residents through the family class that there would be low risk in the possibility of them overstaying their visa.

I have reservations, however, if a monetary bond were to become a requirement of all TRV applications. I would not want the TRV application to become out of reach for low income applicants.

My third point relates to applicants in Provincial Nominee Programs. Many of these individuals are able to apply for Permanent Resident status based on their education and work experience in Canada. Once these workers receive their Nomination Certificate, they can apply for a bridging Work Permit that is restricted to their employer. This pandemic has resulted in many lay-offs and it has caused severe hardship. In my view, these Work Permits should be less restricted to avoid many issues, including potential problems with flag polling. For example, a NOC B worker could be allowed to accept a different NOC B position without having to obtain a new Work Permit. Similarly, I also urge more flexibility with Post Graduate Work Permits. They should not be limited to one PGWP per student.

My fourth point relates to refugee claimants. As you know, the travel restrictions have essentially closed the border to claimants from the United States. Justice MacDonald at the Federal Court of Canada recently held the Safe Third Country Agreement is unconstitutional and it is disheartening this government has appealed this decision. Notwithstanding these extraordinary times, Canada has a strong humanitarian tradition that must be protected.

My last point relates to a collaborative approach.

Part of the reason I was attracted to this area of law is that it is generally non-confrontational. To deal with minor issues, I can easily call a CMO at the IRB, a Superintendent at a POE, an inland enforcement officer or a lawyer at the DOJ. Dealing with IRCC, by contrast, is a constant struggle. When an IRCC Officer makes a clear mistake, there is no easy mechanism to get it fixed. In my view, the Request for Reconsideration system is broken and MPs are far too often put in the difficult position to act intermediaries. Bad decisions by Visa Officers are often easy to appeal to Federal Court but judicial reviews expend a huge amount of time and resources for both the applicants and the government.

The Dual Intent guidance issued last month is a step in the right direction; however, it does not go far enough to emphasize flexible decision making. An Immigration Ombudsperson is a possible solution. In my view, there may be a tech solution to facilitate better communication with Visa Officers to address minor issues. In short, I would urge IRCC to adopt a more collaborative approach.

I believe there is great merit in continued consultations with stakeholders and thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

I look forward to further collaboration with MPs and IRCC Officers to deal with these issues. Hopefully, the report and recommendations that come from the CIMM committee will address the issues identified above. Many people have been adversely affected and there is still much that can be done to help.

As mentioned by Mark in his testimony to the CIMM, in some cases, media is also helpful to shed light on sympathetic cases. To this end, our office has built strong relationships with CBC, Global, the Winnipeg Free Press to advocate for our clients on every level.

Feature: Harvest Lodge

Harvest Lodge and the Warkentin family are always close to our hearts. This American family immigrated to Canada through the MPNP-BIS Warkentin familystream and they have built a strong business in Waterhen, Manitoba. Jon and his family take extremely good care of their guests and they have a solid 5 STAR rating on Google Business as well as a 5 STAR rating on TripAdvisor. I just spoke with Jon and they are open for bookings for Summer 2020. Please be mindful of travel restrictions from your neck of the woods. Currently, folks traveling from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the territories and northwestern Ontario are free to travel to Manitoba without any quarantine period. 

 

This is an opportunity for Manitobans to have a great vacation without leaving the province. Jon and his family are excellent hosts who can guide you on hunting and fishing adventures along Waterhen River or on any of the neighbouring lakes.

I was reading the reviews from guests and they are full of praise. Here is a review published on TripAdvisor from a Texan (MAJGabe) who stayed at Harvest Lodge with his 3 buddies:

We didn’t get in until around 11pm, but John and Karissa stayed up, welcomed us, had some snacks, and got us settled in. The accommodations were just perfect, and more than what I would have imagined. 4 grown men in a 3 bedroom cabin… […] and we each harvested a large chocolate black bear within 90 minutes of each other. Clayton (the guide) did an amazing job skinning, and we brought a portable vacuum sealer, so we immediately deboned it, sealed it, and put it in the freezer. Then we fished for the rest of the week. Maybe we drank too, I don’t remember. But we caught so much walleye that we limited out every day, put enough in the freezer to take home, and had a couple fish fry’s. Their entire operation is top notch, and their family felt like our family from the first day, and even more by the last. I would definitely recommend, and I want to come back for some waterfowl (hint hint). Thanks guys for an amazing time!

Please contact Harvest Lodge for their current programs and events. Depending on the season, they offer:Harvest Lodge

  • Six day Black Bear Hunt
  • Three day Waterfowl Package
  • Six day Whitetail Deer Hunt
  • Wolf/ Coyote Hunt

For the packages above, world class fishing may be included at no additional charge and the Warkentins take care of all the proper licensing regulations. Meals are provided by the lodge as part of the packages; however, if you prefer, there is a general store with groceries, gas and liquor for guests. Free parking is available, of course.

For the family, Harvest Lodge also offers bird-watching, tubing along the Waterhen River and a playground. During the winter months, the area offers snowmobiling adventures and, if you are lucky, amazing views of the northern lights.

As an immigration law firm, we have the pleasure of working with business owners to help them realize their goals. At the same time, business owners, like the Warkentin family, help to grow Manitoba and provide jobs to residents. If you and your family are thinking about a lodge in Manitoba, please send Jon an email and consider Harvest Lodge for your vacation!

 

PGWP Update

IRCC has announced increased flexibility with Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) for international students in Canada. This reflects the government’s recognition of the contribution of international students to the Canadian economy and to society in general. As stated by our former Minister of Immigration John McCallum, international students are the core of the Canadian immigration system and the government is committed to supporting these individuals who have proven their financial contributions to this country.PGWP

IRCC has explicitly stated the importance of international students to our immigration system. The Press Release states:

International education represents a significant economic benefit to Canada, with international students contributing $21.6 billion to Canada’s GDP and supporting nearly 170,000 jobs in 2018. International students are also often excellent candidates to apply to remain in Canada permanently, with nearly 54,000 former students becoming permanent residents in Canada in 2018.

Indeed, the numbers are clear. Many int’l students go on to work on a PGWP and they apply for PR status. This is a proven path. In Manitoba, it is even easier with the MPNP program.

IRCC has shown commitment to ensuring students have the support they need during COVID19:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on international students. In response to the health and travel restrictions that are in place, many designated learning institutions (DLIs) are offering their courses online.

Post-secondary institutions and prospective students alike are considering their approach to the fall semester. Both have sought guidance from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada regarding eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) for students starting at an eligible DLI this fall.

The government has announced increased flexibility with PGWP applications:

Under normal circumstances, criteria for the PGWPP limit an international student’s ability to pursue a program via distance learning, from inside or outside Canada, and time spent studying outside Canada is deducted from the length of the work permit for which they are eligible.

PGWPP eligibility will not be affected for international students whose fall 2020 courses will be online due to COVID-19. This is in line with guidance provided to students already studying in Canada or whose program had a spring or summer start date.

Students in this situation may begin their classes while outside Canada and complete up to 50% of their program via distance learning if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.

In addition, they will not have time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit for studies completed outside of Canada, up to December 31, 2020.

This is very good news. We have many clients who can take advantage of these updates to the PGWP. On 29 MAY 2020, Clarke Immigration Law will participate in a meeting with the Minister of IRCC as well as the Minister of CBSA to discuss further changes to help our clients. Continue to watch this space for details.

UPDATE: We have been advised that PGWP application may be extended, in some circumstances. In this past, this was not possible. Please contact our office for more information.

Pandemic Passports & CIB

Unsurprisingly, clients who have the financial means are seeking “pandemic passports” to secure access to countries with strong health care systems and economies. Canada, of course, is at the top of the list. This is not a new idea. I was invited by EB5 to present at an international immigration conference in Las Vegas, USA (back when we were all flying around going to conferences) and I presented on a panel for Citizenship By Investment (CIB). For those interested, I would look at:Pandemic Passports

  • Malta
  • Cyprus
  • The Grenadines

As noted by the Robb Report:

Now the super-rich are buying the ultimate insurance policy to make sure they will be able to travel to whatever virus-free, sunny bolt-hole they choose, if a second spike in Covid-19 infections triggers another global lockdown. The world’s wealthiest are snapping up multiple citizenships in countries around the world.

We have contacts at law firms to assist high Net Worth clients and we provide referrals. Please note that Canada no longer offers CIB programs and I would caution any client who is promised a “quick & easy” path to Canadian citizenship. In my mind, that sounds like a scam. We have a torrid history of politicians taking advantage of such programs and they have gone the way of the Dodo bird. (Incidentally, the United Nations was gifted a gold Dodo bird while I was there in 2003. The symbolism was unmistakable!) As far as CIL is concerned, clients who are interested in CIB and/or Pandemic Passports are not beneficial for the long term growth of the country.

Our focus is on helping clients and their families for the long term benefit of our clients and our country. We have assisted many clients through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program – Business Investment Stream (MPNP-BIS). This is a points-based system for entrepreneurs and investors who seek to either purchase a business in Winnipeg or outside the Manitoba Capital Region (MCR) or create a new qualifying business. MPNP has published the basic requirements for interested applicants. To qualify, please book a consultation to discuss. We recommend:

  • Net Worth: +$750,000.00 CAD (NOTE: the minimum is not recommended)
  • Strong Business Plan
  • Documented Source of Funds
  • Extended Exploratory Visit to Manitoba

Successful applicants will receive temporary status in Canada and a Work Permit. Once they have worked and satisfied the MPNP Officer (note: discretionary power) on the viability of their business, they may apply for Permanent Resident status. After they are granted PR status, they may make an application for Canadian citizenship.

Indeed, “pandemic passports” may be important in the future. For individuals who value Universal Health Care and who want to contribute to a country with good governance, a fair legal system and a society based on merit, Canada may be a good option; however, the applications are neither fast nor easy.

Success: MPNP BIS

We are thrilled to announce our business investor clients are now Permanent Residents of Canada. This family came to us in a desperate situation and they were interested in the MPNP BIS program. They are both highly accomplished professionals. He has a background in building and managing businesses in the financial section. She has a background in health management. They were seeking a better life for themselves and their five (5) children, including two (2) adopted children. One child has significant health issues.

MPNP BIS

This photo is being used with permission and it does not depict our clients.

With hard work and strong communication with the staff at the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) – Business Investor Stream (BIS), we were able to help this family navigate the Entrepreneur Pathway to PR status.

In this case, the family purchased a hunting and fishing lodge in rural Manitoba. The MPNP program, as well as IRCC, has expressed significant support for applicants who are interested in building rural communities. We have helped clients through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) and the government has announced the Municipal Nominee Program to further support the particular needs of diverse communities. We fully support this idea in principle as it recognizes the need for ground-level decision making. The one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

MPNP-BIS applicants have unique challenges and Clarke Immigration Law is known internationally for our work in this area. Alastair Clarke recently attended a meeting with senior staff at MPNP to discuss results from 2019 and plans for the future. This program is important for the development of the province and it provides mutual benefit.

We are thrilled with the MPNP BIS approval for this family and the IRCC decision to grant PR status. We wish them success with their business goals and a prosperous 2020. For more information on how we can help with your MPNP BIS application, please book a consultation. 

Lessons From 2019

We find ourselves at the end of another year. Indeed, the end of 2019 also marks the end of a decade. This is a time for contemplation and an opportunity to ponder lessons to learn for the future. I want to start but expressing my thanks and gratitude for my team. I am thankful every single day to work with an amazing group of professionals who put their hearts into their work. My main job is to provide guidance and support to ensure that we remain focused on providing the absolute best service for our clients.

I want to take time at the end of 2019 to think about lessons learned; hopefully, 2020 will bring positive change.

  1. Applicants Remain Vulnerable

Over and over and over and over, we have seen how applicants have paid thousands upon thousands of CAD dollars to shady representatives for poor service. I find it deeply frustrating and infuriating to see clients punished as a result of negligence. These applicants are the victims and they remain vulnerable. I recently attended an interview with a CBSA Officer and an Egyptian client shared her story. She paid an immigration consultant $15,000.00 for an application and she was not even eligible to apply. In my view, that is pure theft.

We are working with a Vietnamese family who paid a Chinese representative for a Study Permit. Completely wrong. Thankfully, CBSA started a criminal investigation against him and I hope his former clients are not punished.

In 2019, the Government of Canada took action “to help protect vulnerable people” against “fraudulent immigration consultants”. We will have to see if things get better in 2020 and the next decade.

  1. Canada is the New Hope2019

Clarke Immigration Law is based on Canada’s status around the world and I am constantly reminded how fortunate we are to live in one of the best (if not the best) countries. From our office, this past decade marks a strong collaboration with the news. We were called upon by CBC News, CTV News, Global News, Winnipeg Free Press and many other news sources to comment on different stories. Primarily, these stories stemmed from Canada as the New Hope in the world, replacing the United States as the “best” country for applicants from around the globe.

It was my pleasure as the only Canadian lawyer at the international EB-5 Conference in Las Vegas, USA. I was asked to present as a result of the interest by investors around the world in Canadian business opportunities, including the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program – Business Investor Stream. And, of course, I must mention the amazing people at TEDx Winnipeg who gave me the stage to talk about open borders and refugees which has been published on YouTube.

It is clear that 2020 will be a decade of growth for Canada and we will continue to work to build this country.

  1. Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

Generally speaking, I stay out of politics. I have worked with Members of Parliament from all political parties and we will continue to advocate on behalf of our client regardless of the party in power. That said, I firmly support the current Liberal government and I am hopeful for this coming decade.

My hope for positive political change in 2020 is also balanced with a plan to consider the worst. Minister McCallum made significant changes to IRPA that rolled back many of the inhumane changes by the former Conservative government; however, this government needs to do more. I feel privileged that we were able to work with the Liberal government to make changes to section 38 of IRPA (Medical Inadmissibility) on behalf of the Warkentin family.

  1. Uncertainty on the Horizon

As my mum often says, the only constant is change. There is no doubt that 2020 and the new decade will bring change. Here are a few predictions for this coming decade:

  • The Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba will continue to buttress immigration laws to attract STEM graduates and professionals;
  • The current Liberal government will focus on quicker processing times, including Family Class applications;
  • Regional migration and new programs that focus on smaller communities will thrive;
  • International students are the strongest stream for Permanent Resident status;
  • Refugees will be recognized for their economic contributions;
  • The changes to regulation of Immigration Consultants will fail and the government will be forced to revisit this issue.

We wish you all the best for 2020 and the coming decade. We have many reasons to celebrate 2019 and, at the same time, learn from past lessons.