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Newsletter. Issue 26. December 21, 2013

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Newsline Canada
Majority (57%) of Canadians Are Not Better Off Financially Than Last Year
Monday, December 16, 2013

Just One in Three (36%) Make a Contribution to Their RRSP

Toronto, ON – According to a new survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Sun Life Financial’s Annual Check-Up Survey, most Canadians don’t believe that 2013 has brought better times for their pocketbooks in comparison to 2012.

Majority (57%) of Canadians indicate that they are not better off financially than they were a year ago, which is significantly higher than the two in five (38%) who believe they’re better off now than in 2012 and the 5% who aren’t sure.

The data also reveal several key demographic differences when it comes to Canadians and assessment of their personal financial situation over the last year:
  • Women (61%) are more likely than men (53%) to say they’re not better off financially in 2013
  • Canadian seniors (61%, ages 55+) are most likely to believe that 2013 has been worse for them financially than last year, compared to middle-aged (58%, ages 35-54) and younger (50%, ages 18-34) Canadians
  • Quebecers (63%) are most likely to indicate that they are feeling worse off financially compared to last year, compared to Albertans (47%), residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (45%), and Atlantic Canadians (43%) who are most likely to believe that they’re off now than last year
  • Those who indicate that they’re better off financially this year are significantly more likely to have paid down household debt in 2013 (65% vs. 39% not better off/don’t know)

Most Not Contributing to RRSPs…
With most Canadians revealing a less than optimistic outlook over the year past when it comes to their finances, a majority don’t appear to be making contributions to important investments, notably their RRSP.

Just over one in three (36%) Canadians indicate making some form of contribution to their RRSP, with one in five (18%) making regular monthly contributions in advance of the RRSP deadline and one in ten (12%) making one lump sum before the deadline, with 6% of Canadians doing both. A majority (58%) of Canadians make neither type of contribution, while one in ten (7%) don’t know if they make one.

  • Atlantic Canadians (67%) are least likely to make any contributions to their RRSP, slightly ahead of British Columbians (64%) and noticeably ahead of Quebecers (59%), Ontarians (56%), residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (51%), and Albertans (48%)
  • Half (50%) of Canadians identifying as having had a better year financially in 2013 than 2012 contribute to their RRSPs, nearly twice as likely as those who say they’re not better off or don’t know (27%)

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between November 25th to 29th, 2013 on behalf of Sun Life Financial. For this survey, a sample of 1,234 Canadians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.2 percentage points had all Canadians adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Sean Simpson
Vice President
Ipsos Reid Public Affairs

Program to acclimatize foreign clergy in Toronto graduates its first class
Source: http://www.catholicregister.org/
Written by Evan Boudreau, The Catholic Register | Thursday, 28 November 2013 13:42

Toronto - Shortly after arriving in Canada this summer from Hungary, Fr. Jeno Rigo pulled into a self-serve gas station to fill up his car. He studied the pump but, perplexed, was soon inside the station asking the attendant for help. When you are new to a country even the most mundane tasks can be challenging.

“The beginning is very difficult,” he said. “You feel insecure and you don’t know what to do.”

Rigo, a Hungarian Jesuit, also struggled to open a bank account and obtain a credit card and social insurance number. At each turn he was asked to provide Canadian-issued identification.

“It is very difficult . . . because for each of these you need two Canadian documents issued by Canadian authorities and of course when you enter the country you have nothing,” he said.

“Even if you think you know the culture more of less you still don’t know so many things,” said the pastor of Toronto’s St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish. “I just couldn’t see how I would get through all of this.”

Now, after taking the archdiocese of Toronto’s new Enculturation Program for Priests, Rigo said he has found the confidence and resources required to once again be an effective priest. And Rigo is not alone. He was joined in the program by 13 other foreign priests who arrived this summer to serve the archdiocese in various capacities, from pastor to hospital chaplain.

Toronto is the largest, most culturally diverse diocese in Canada with Mass being said each week in almost three dozen languages. The archdiocese has exploded culturally at a time when vocations have declined, so the need is urgent for priests who can relate linguistically and culturally to a diverse population. Today, two-thirds of priests in the archdiocese were born outside of Canada, with most coming from India, the Philippines and Africa.

Recognizing that foreign priests encounter a wide range of issues in settling into a new country, Fr. Thomas Kalarathil, director of priests’ personnel in the archdiocese, developed the enculturation program. Rigo is part of the first graduating class.

“I want to bring a certain amount of self confidence in these priests who are arriving here in dealing with issues,” said Kalarathil, who came to Canada from India in 1982. “We are having more and more international clergy coming into our diocese (and) ... they are not quite familiar with how we do the pastoral ministry here.”

During the course, comprising 10 four-hour classes, priests cover such topics as parish finances, the history of the Catholic Church in Canada and the relationship between sacraments and the law. They are also introduced to local customs and social standards.

“Some of them are coming from hierarchical societies where priests are up on a pedestal,” Kalarathil said. “If you are the pastor you carry much more weight and they can dictate sometimes what they want to do in the parish. We cannot do that in the North American context.”

Fr. Anthony Pizarro, who came from the Philippines to become a chaplain at Mississauga’s Trillium Health Centre, said understanding the rights and responsibilities of Canadian women, specifically in the hospital’s work force, was the most valuable aspect of the course for him.

“I’ve learned a lot from the course, specifically on the Canadian culture, how to treat women and how to collaborate with them and how to deal with the ethical issues in the medical field,” Pizarro said. “As a priest it is my humble obligation to respond in any way I can to meet the pastoral needs of these people that I am sent to minister to.”

Pizarro also struggled to get settled in Canada. But he said the program helped him become comfortable in his new home.

“When I first arrived here there were a thousand and one things to do,” he said. “Now I feel at home, I feel adjusted and now I feel I can deal with people in a deeper level.”
Streamlining the Passport Process for Canadians Abroad

Ottawa, Dec. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today announced improvements to passport services for Canadians living and working outside Canada.

When the improvements take effect on December 9, 2013, Canadians living and working outside Canada will have the option of choosing as a guarantor:
  • an adult with a valid or recently expired Canadian passport (less than a year); or
  • a member of an expanded list of a variety of occupations (listed below).

"Canada is continuing to make the passport application process more efficient and streamlined for Canadians living abroad," said Alexander. "As of December 9, 2013, if you are applying for a Canadian passport abroad, finding a guarantor will be much simpler."

In addition, the list of guarantor occupations will be consistent for all Canadian passport applicants, wherever they may be outside Canada. If you prefer to choose a guarantor from the list of occupations below, they do not need to be Canadian citizens.

The new universal guarantor list will consist of the following occupations, found around the world:

  • medical doctor;
  • dean/head of university or college;
  • dentist;
  • judge;
  • lawyer/notary;
  • notary public;
  • pharmacist;
  • police officer;
  • signing officer of a bank or trust company or of a financial institution that offers a full range of banking services (cash withdrawals, deposits, savings); and
  • veterinarian.

Travelers may also consult Travel.gc.ca, where Canadians can find the information they need to travel or live abroad safely and to make informed decisions.

Canada now issues ePassports, which are considered the gold standard for travel documents worldwide. A Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians who want to travel abroad. As always, the Passport Canada Program strives to strike the best possible balance between security, service and cost.

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

British burned, dumped embarrassing colonial documents
Robin Viegas posted on Gulf goans | Dec 6 2013

British officials burned and dumped at sea documents from colonies that were about to become independent in a systematic effort to hide their “dirty” secrets, newly released files showed on Friday.

Under “Operation Legacy”, officials in Kenya, Uganda, Malaysia, Tanzania, Jamaica
and other former British colonial territories were briefed on how to dispose of documents that “might embarrass Her Majesty’s government”.

The newly declassified Foreign Office files reveal how the “splendid incinerator” at the Royal Navy base in Singapore was used to destroy lorry loads of files from the region.

Other officials wrote of documents being dumped “in deep and current-free water at the maximum practicable distance from shore”, according to the documents in the National Archives.

One dispatch from Kenya in 1961 mentions the formation of a committee dealing with “’dirty’ aspects of protective security” which would “clean” Kenyan intelligence files, according to The Times newspaper.

The British government agreed earlier this year to pay 14 million (16 million euros, $23 million) in compensation to more than 5,200 elderly Kenyans who were tortured and abused during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising against colonial rule. David Anderson, professor of African history at the University of Warwick, said the documents proved the falsity of earlier British claims that the destruction of files was routine preparation for the end of colonial rule.

A Colonial Office telegram of May 3, 1961 stated the general guidance for keeping papers out of the hands of newly elected independent governments.
CPP reform needed to head off poverty, Charles Sousa says

Ontario considers pension reform to be critical to preventing widespread poverty among the elderly over the next 30 years and will go ahead with a wide-ranging package of reforms, says provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa. 2:32 PM ET audio

Click here to read entire article
Reuniting families and reducing backlogs in Canada’s immigration system
Parent and Grandparent Program gearing up for re-launch

December 18, 2013 – Ottawa – Citizenship and Immigration Canada – By cutting immigration backlogs and wait times, the Government is bringing families together more quickly, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced today.

Over the first six months of 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) admitted 45,000 permanent residents to Canada in the Family Class (FC). This represents an increase of 40 percent over the first six months of 2012. This increase can be attributed almost entirely to a doubling of admissions in the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) category over that time period.

Canada has one of the most generous family reunification programs in the world, but growing backlogs in the PGP program meant families could expect to wait eight years or more to bring their loved ones from overseas. A pause on new applications, combined with high admission levels, has helped reduce the backlog. The PGP program re-opens to new applications on January 2, 2014. It will re-open with tighter admission criteria and a cap on applications, which will continue to reduce the backlog and improve wait times for families.

Application forms, guides and information on how to apply to the new PGP program will be made available online on December 31, 2013, just ahead of the PGP program re-opening.

Quick facts
  • In 2011, under Phase I of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, the Government cut backlogs and wait times for sponsored parents and grandparents. Had no action been taken, it was predicted that the backlog could increase to 250,000 persons, with wait times of 15 years by 2015.
  • Of the 45,000 FC permanent residents admitted to Canada in the first six months of 2013, approximately 22,530 spouses and partners were admitted as permanent residents under the FC as well as 1,410 children, 20,700 parents, grandparents and their dependants as well as 360 other relatives and adopted children.
  • The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa remains a fast and convenient option for parents and grandparents who want to spend longer periods of time with their families in Canada. To date, approximately 28,000 Super Visas have been issued with an approval rate of almost 85 percent. With more than 1,000 Super Visas being issued monthly, this has become one of CIC’s most popular initiatives.

“Our government understands the importance of spending time with family and loved ones, especially during the holiday season. Our government is making improvements to the immigration system so that families can be reunited more quickly. Because of our changes, Canada is on track to welcome more than 50,000 parents and grandparents in 2012-2013—the highest number in nearly a decade.”

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister

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