Toronto Star Ad

Our Ontario newspaper display ad

Our display ad in Canada’s largest-circulation newspaper, the Toronto Star, ran for the first time on Sunday August 16, 2020.
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uring the Canadian COVID-19 period, newspapers everywhere found their advertising base drying up. It wasn’t hard to figure out. The advertisers were squeezed by their revenue hit during the virus. Newspapers, magazines, radio and TV saw their own revenues shrink as advertisers cut back on expenses to look for buyers where were largely staying home.

Here in the Greater Toronto area in Ontario, Canada’s largest province by both population and economy, our largest newspaper chose to spotlight businesses like ours: small businesses owned and operated by people of colour or persons of indigenous origin by offering selected businesses an opportunity to run a display ad in The Star, for many of them their first print ad in Canada’s largest newspaper.

So, we applied and were chosen as one of The Star’s participants. And here is the final product! Click the ad to see a full-size rendering.

Much of our business development activity consists of a virtual outreach using social media. We have our own direct mail list. Folks use it to tell us something about themselves, as a preliminary to asking us if we can help them. And a day after the ad ran, lo and behold, the phone rang. That was nice, and I hope we can help the individuals who started by saying, “I saw your ad in the paper.”

Maybe you are reading this, and thinking you need help with your own citizenship and immigration issue.

For individuals

Permanent residency: Is immigration a bigger challenge during the COVID-19 time? You bet it is! But it can be done, and we’ve landed folks in Canada to begin a new life during the COVID-19 months;

Business class: Did you know that Canada is the only country in the world that has free trade agreements with every large economy on earth? If Canada’s access to the world, sound economy, low tax rates, fair and honest business systems could help you serve clients from Canada, maybe we are a fit to help you come to Canada and make your fortune;

Spousal and family sponsorships: Once you are relocated to Canada, how do you get your spouse here? Your children? Your parents and maybe your grandparents? We have done it for clients many times. We know how to do it for you;

Caregivers: Families in Canada need caregivers to look after their kids, parents and grandparents, and family members with disabilities. Good families, and proud Canadians often originate from a caregiver who came to Canada to help other Canadians;

Temporary work permits: Foreign nationals, students and others without status in Canada often need skilled help and advice in gaining landed immigrant status to stay in Canada and build their lives;

Student Permits

New approval process: study travel to Canada

Upper Canada Immigration works with students and their families.
Students can work with us to obtain permission to travel to Canada to begin, or continue, their study programs. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
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tudents planning to start school in Canada in the fall semester can now breathe a sigh of relief. Immigration, Refugees and Citizen Canada (IRCC) has announced implementation of  a two-tiered approach to issuing study permits: you can get approval now contingent on supplying documentation and other necessary papers later. COVID-19 measures have been in place in Canada since March 18, 2020 and in most source countries in the world.

  • Visa Access Centres have been closed, borders have been shut down and  obtaining  official documents have become almost impossible;
  • Students who may have obtained a study permit prior to March 18 were/are exempt from the imposed travel restriction placed on Canada’s borders.

Nonetheless, such students, upon arrival at a port of entry are still subject to an examination by the CBSA, and can be refused entry, if it is found that they could have been studying on-line instead.

To resume their programs and restore revenue generation mechanisms, educational institutions have developed on-line studies  as part of their offering to students, both local and abroad. Recognizing the difficulties experienced by international students on obtaining key documents and evidence for their applications in their respective countries, IRCC has  issued new, albeit temporary, instructions and procedures for Visa Officers in processing study permit applications.

The two-step process

  1. Students will now receive a first stage approval so that they can start studying their courses on-line, from their country of residence. The advantage of doing this is that the student does not lose time;
  2. When first stage approval students are able to produce mandatory documents such as submitting their original passport or travel document, enrolling in the biometrics program or undergoing a medical examination, their study permit will be finalized. The student still needs to produce these documents. However, you will receive extra time to gather and produce them.

Once the Canadian border is open for non-essential travel, students will travel to their Canadian destination to continue their studies. If you are such a student who wishes to take this opportunity to start your studies in the Fall of 2020, contact us now. We have until September 15 to apply for your study permit. See the Help in three steps box on this page. Upper Canada Immigration will help you prepare a successful package of documents. The minimum set of document you need to have in hand for stage one or pre-approval includes:

  1. Letter of Acceptance;
  2. Proof of funds for the first year of studies;
  3. Rationale for your choice of program (background or training)
  4. Study plan;
  5. Demonstration of your ties to your country of residence/citizenship;
  6. Evidence of any ties to Canada.

This is a highly-competitive process. The best applications will be successful. You may do this once in your life. We do it for our clients on a continuing basis. You will likely need help from us. See the Government of Canada web site for more information on the temporary measures for processing student permits.

Payments

Use of cash continues to decline

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anadians continue to increase their use of credit and debit cards to make both large and small payments, according to a 2019 study by the Bank of Canada. In the past ten years, cash transactions of all kinds have declined from more than half of all payments to just more than a third of all transactions.

The Bank of Canada is Canada’s central bank, and sole issuer of Canadian bank notes, The Bank of Canada surveys Canadians every four years to find out how the nation pays for things.

The declining use of cash is not unique to Canada. Other countries worldwide are also seeing a rise in the use of electronic means of making payments large and small. Cash, however, remains easy to use. Cash is seen as secure, and cash is nearly universally accepted in Canada. For small-value purchases like a cup of coffee or a snack, cash is a popular payment method. In general, worldwide, the lower the value of the transaction, the more likely the buyer and seller will exchange value with cash.

Implications for immigrants to Canada

Cash, however, comes with some serious drawbacks. Using cash doesn’t build your credit rating, which you absolutely need to borrow money, qualify for a mortgage, or get a credit card. While cash itself is secure in that Canadians recognize the look and feel of Canadian currency, which is very difficult to counterfeit, carrying large amounts of cash has always been risky. Cash is not a good way for an employer to pay wages, or for an employee to be paid for work. Employers need to deduct income taxes; Canada Pension Plan contributions; health care premiums and other essentials ‘at source,’ which means you pay them as you go, rather than trying to find money you may have spent when you file your income taxes in Canada each spring.

Workers paid in cash may find out the hard way that they have no record if they need to claim workers’ compensation for a work-related injury.

Many of our clients prefer to pay us in cash. That’s fine. We accept cash. There is no advantage or drawback to you in paying us in cash. We also accept an e-transfer or a cheque.

Tips for good Canadian money management

In your country of origin:

  • Have a bank account. Use it, and deposit your cash in your bank account;
  • Build your credit history by showing that you can responsibly use a credit card, and pay the balance in full each month, or that you can manage a debit card;
  • You’ll need to show you have liquid assets (securities or cash) to come to Canada. Set up a savings account, separate from your chequing account, where you can save money.

Once you land in Canada:

  • Move your banking to Canada. Open a bank account with one of the major Canadian banks. Your employer should directly deposit your wages in your main chequing account;
  • Open a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), and use this registered account to save and invest your money tax-free. You can withdraw and re-contribute the money you have in this account as your circumstances change over the years;
  • Open a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), and make annual contributions of whatever you can. This account accumulates income tax-free until you use the funds, ideally after you have retired. Plan never to use this money during your working career;
  • Get and use either (or both of) a debit and a credit card for your purchases. You gain an expense record of what you spend money on, which helps you set and manage a personal budget;
  • Pay your income taxes every year. Filing your income tax return automatically makes you eligible for a wide variety of federal and provincial supports and programs.

Retain and file your financial records. Pay regular attention to how you and your household use money. Canadians generate a formidable trail of payments for the things you must purchase (rent or mortgage; utilities; taxes; transportation; food; clothing and so on) and the discretionary things you spend money on (entertainment, eating out, gifts; etc.). Financial success in a country like Canada is a matter of both increasing your income during your working career, and understanding and managing how you spend money. Keep score, have a plan, you’ll know whether you are winning or losing in the game of life in Canada.

Caribbean trip postponed

See you once travel is safe

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uring late winter or early spring, Upper Canada Immigration Consultants typically travels to  the Caribbean to meet with people who would like to come to Canada to live, work, study, visit or do business. Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 situation worsened, we decided to postpone that annual trip to later in the calendar. The global Coronavirus (COVID-19) issue was part of the reason when we made that decision in February. Many of you are contacting us directly as it is, and frankly, this has been a very busy winter season at Upper Canada Immigration Consultants. Remember that you do not have to meet us personally in order to retain our services to assist you. Use the phone, or WhatsApp, please.

If you’d like to work with us on an application, or find out if a visit or a move to Canada is feasible, then contacting us is simple. During this period when travel is perceived as risky, we can safely and securely connect  with you by WhatsApp. You and also  use  e-mail to contact us.

COVID-19 and client contact

During this challenging period when Canadians (and people everywhere) are trying to contain and reverse the Corona Virus. People are being asked to work from home wherever possible, and avoid traveling. We are doing the same, following guidelines about minimizing the chance of contacting the virus, or putting our clients at risk through direct meetings. Like most people in the world who can, we are working from home for the next few weeks at least. Consider calling and doing our business on the phone.

Much of our business is conducted on the web and the phone (or WhatsApp) as it is. In the coming weeks, keep doing business with us, and keep it on the phone, by e-mail and by WhatsApp. Expect that routine things will take longer, mail and packages may take longer to receive, and services that we are used to receiving quickly may take longer, perhaps much longer in the short term, or may be interrupted. Together, by being vigilant and careful, we will all get through the Corona Virus.

Express Entry Pool

Updated Express Entry info

Express Entry Invitation to Apply
Here’s how you’ll feel if you are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Permanent Residency in Canada. The key to getting that ITA is to work with us to maximize your score.
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e have updated and expanded our Express Entry information page.  Be sure to either read it for the first time, or re-read it once more. Have you created your profile yet? By creating a profile, individuals are ‘visible’ to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for program-specific draws and regular draws. From this pool of applicants, regular draws invite applicants with the best scores to apply for Permanent Residency in Canada.

Canada’s strong economy, particularly in its heartland of Ontario, makes this path especially attractive  to applicants from the trades and professions; to those with language skills in Canada’s official languages; and to those with family ties to Canada.

This is an especially good time for young, qualified, and motivated individuals who are progressive thinkers to consider coming to Canada. Upper Canada Immigration can assist you in getting into the Express Entry system; help you to maximize your chances; and steer you toward a coveted Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residency if your score has reached the threshold to be drawn. Time works against you. This means if you are serious about coming to Canada, don’t wait that extra year or two before you start the process.

 

Contact Info

Keep up to date with us

Upper Canada Immigration e-newsletter
Be sure to subscribe to our periodic e-newsletter to receive updates on immigration to Canada, and find out when and where our consultants may be in your area for a meeting.
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pper Canada Immigration uses a mail list manager called Mailchimp. It is a powerful tool. It helps us keep in touch with you, and helps us get you specific information quickly. For a list and description of the open source software we use in our business, and which you can use too, click here.

If you don’t receive our e-mail newsletters, you may want to subscribe. If you do receive our e-mail newsletters, you should check to be sure the information we have on you is complete. A few notes for people unsure of what to share with us:

  • We assume we are dealing with serious and honest people whose interest in their future is genuine;
  • To help you, we have a genuine need to know where in the world you live, and how to contact you. Let us know who you are, and where you live. Or, if you receive our newsletter, please spend a few moments checking the information you may have given us earlier;
  • We respect your privacy, and don’t share your information in any way with anyone. Should you no longer wish to hear from us, the contact information you supplied is deleted when you unsubscribe to our e-mail newsletter.

Click here to see our latest e-mail bulletin, correct or update your contact information, or join the list.

Remember, other than you and us, the rest of the world will never see your info. We hope you enjoy our occasional (never too frequent) e-mail newsletters.

 

Visa Lottery Scam

No such thing as a Canadian Visa Lottery

Immigration lottery scam
The Government of Canada has no ‘Visa Lottery.’ There is no such program that enables an applicant to ‘win’ a chance at immigration to Canada.
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ate in 2018, we were still receiving inquiries from individuals all over the globe, and particularly from Africa, about something called a new Canadian Visa Lottery Application that purportedly allows applicants a chance to come to Canada on a permanent resident visa.

I have reviewed the posts and links that people have sent me with Canadian Visa Lottery Application Form 2017/2018 and Canadian Visa Lottery Application Form 2018/2019. This is a scam.

This Canadian Visa Lottery scam is a deliberate attempt to mislead you. It is a fraudulent attempt by certain websites to mislead you, and obtain your personal data, obviously with questionable intent.

Please beware of any posts and websites that tell you there is a chance to ‘win’ permanent residency in Canada through a lottery-type system. The Government of Canada has no such program or initiative.

There are more than 60 programs of the Government of Canadian to facilitate access to Canada, whether for temporary residency, or permanent residency. Additionally, there are special programs, initiatives and pilots that are administered by Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial governments that will allow you, based on their own set of criteria, to legitimately come to Canada.

These, along with a solid and reputable consulting firm like Upper Canada Immigration Consultants, are the only authorities that can provide you a chance to come to Canada. Do not be misled by something that sounds too good to be true, because it likely is just that.

For more information on how you can come legitimately to Canada as a skilled professional, a skilled trade, a visitor, a student, a sponsored family member, or to overcome an immigration hurdle: