Canada is one desirable place to live - the true north strong and free has so much to offer its population; from boundless natural beauty and opportunities to commune with the great outdoors, to world class dining, a stable and thriving economy, and some of the best technological and healthcare services on the planet, there’s more to life north of the 49th than snow and hockey - although we do those best, as well.
Canada has a reputation on the world stage as an inclusive, compassionate nation, comprised of a mosaic style of nation-building as laid out in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988. First introduced in 1971 under former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the act declared that Canada would adopt a multicultural policy, respecting and recognizing a modern society that is made richer by its diverse languages, customs, religions, ethnicities, and cultures. We were first in the world to declare such a policy, ensuring that all Canadian residents receive equal treatment by the government.
Fast forward to 2018, and immigration and multiculturalism is facing a global identity crisis thanks to radicalized and changing political ideologies, as well as globalization, unstable economies, resource shortages, and overpopulation - among other widespread issues. As a result, immigration in Canada has had to roll with the punches and has had to make inevitable changes to stay current with its multicultural stance.
In this post, we’ll outline some of the key factors you’ll need to know to understand citizenship and immigration in Canada before moving to Canada.
Immigrating to Canada
When people apply to work, study, visit, travel through for an extended period, or live permanently in Canada, their journey will begin either with a visit to Service Canada while in the country during a trip, or by applying online. Each immigration program features a different application that will have different eligibility requirements, but each process will take about 10-15 minutes to get the ball rolling.
During this first process, you may be asked questions about your:
- Language ability in either of Canada’s two official languages - French or English
- Family members
- Education level
- Work experience
- Income and/or net worth
- Background or details on any current job offers within Canada
Based on your answers to these questions, Immigration Canada will tell the applicant what immigration programs they may be eligible to apply for, so answering accurately is critical to ensure success.
If you happen to be an international investor with the experience, ability, and skills to contribute to the Canadian economy while integrating into Canadian society with relative ease, you may be able to apply for permanent residence in Canada under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program.
Applicants who choose to apply under this pilot program are required to show a net worth of at least $10 million CDN through lawful profit-making businesses or investment activities - not including inheritance or via the worth or your current residence. During the pilot program’s first enrollment, successful candidates - Limited to 60 - are required to make a $2 million investment in Canada. These investments are pooled within the IIVC program and committed for at least 15 years as an at-risk investment and divided up between five fund managers to be invested in innovation-based Canadian companies.
If you happen to be 18 years of age or older, a registered person of First Nation ancestry, or a permanent residence yourself, you can sponsor certain relatives to live, study, or work in Canada, provided they opt to become permanent residents themselves. After proving eligibility, and submitting an online interest to sponsor form, the government reviews all submissions of applications and ultimately selects potential sponsors randomly to come and complete their application.
Sponsors can bring their children, spouses, parents, grandparents, etc to Canada, with changes made in 2017 so that sponsored spouses permanent residence status is no longer dependent on you living with your sponsor for a period of two years. Depending on whether or not your sponsored family member would like to work while in Canada, they may be able to apply for an Open Work Permit - but most applications may be filed using a sponsorship package for adopted children and other family members.
When sponsoring your parents or grandparents to become a permanent resident of Canada, you typically must prove during the application process that you can:
- Support them financially for 20 years (10 in Quebec)
- Ensure they do not require social assistance from the government
- Provide for your own essential needs and those of your sponsored parents and/or grandparents and their dependants.
Canada selects and usually accepts skilled immigrants as permanent residents based on their ability to contribute to the economy and settle in the country. Express Entry works by first creating an express entry profile outlining your applicable skills, education, language ability, and work experience. There are three separate programs:
Submitters may then complete an Job Match account to help them find applicable employers that require their skills within Canada. When a candidate receives an offer of employment, they are required to make changes to their application to include new info like start dates, employer name/address, labour market impact assessment number (LMIA), and a National Occupation Classification code (NOC) - if they have one. Next, the government will invite the highest ranked candidates in the skilled worker pool to apply for standard permanent residence. Candidates have 90 days to submit their permanent residence application.
In Quebec, the process is slightly different based on the differences to adapt to living there. To apply as a skilled worker in Quebec, applicants must first apply to the Quebec government for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ), and then to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to become a permanent resident of Canada (once approved by the province of Quebec). Part of this process includes medical examinations and police background check certificates.
Start-Up Visa / Self-Employed Immigration Programs
Canada also offers immigration programs based on an individual’s desire to start and build businesses in Canada that are innovative, can create jobs for Canadians, and can compete on a global scale by pitching/receiving support from a designated organization.
As a self-employed person seeking to become a self-employed resident of Canada in a cultural or athletic activity, or as a farmer - the applicant must either possess relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics and intend to be able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada, or possess experience in managing a farm, and intend to be able to buy and manage a farm in Canada.
In order to become a Canadian citizen, there is a lengthy application process that includes first having been in Canada for at least 1095 days during the last five years prior to the date you sign your application. Then, one must prove:
- Permanent Resident status
- Time you have lived in Canada
- Income tax filings
- Language skills
- How well do you know Canada?
- Includes crimes committed outside of Canada and/or serving a sentence outside of Canada
- On trial or charged with an indictable offence in Canada or and offence outside of Canada
- Or having been convicted in the last four years before applying for citizenship of:
- Indictable offence in Canada or an offence outside of Canada.
It’s important to note time spent either on parole, on probation, or behind bars do not count towards your time spent living in Canada. Those who serve in Canada’s Armed Forces may be eligible for a fast-track process. Applicants after their Canadian citizenship must also possess:
- Permanent Resident (PR) status in Canada
- no unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status
Your permanent residence status must not be in question. This means you must not:
- be under review for immigration or fraud reasons
- have certain unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status
- be under a removal order (an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada)
The Citizen’s Test and Ceremony are the final stage of your citizenship application. The citizenship test consists of a written test (but you may be invited to come in for an interview with a citizenship officer - with questions about the country including:
- Citizen’s rights
- Ways to positively contribute to Canada’s society
- Knowledge of physical and political geography
- Knowledge of cultural, social, and historical symbols
- Military and political history including:
- British monarchy
- Political system
- Branches of government
During the Citizen’s Ceremony, successful applicants will undertake the Oath of Citizenship, receive their citizenship certificate, and sign the oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form. Once signed - CONGRATULATIONS - you’re now a citizen of Canada!
Canada is the greatest country in the world, so why wouldn’t you want to come here and be a part of this great northern society? When people are granted citizenship to Canada, the population welcomes them with open arms, provided our new neighbours are dedicated to making this nation their home and protecting its multicultural values.
Welcome to the Great White North!