How to Sponsor a Relative

As part of Citizenship Week 2014, the Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Multiculturalism), and new Canadian citizens sing the national anthem at Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks — Vancouver, British Columbia

    Canada’s family sponsorship program was on hold from 2011 to 2014. But in 2015 Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Canada opens new ways to reunite families. By Victor Ing, Asian Pacific Post Canada has a long tradition of promoting family reunification in Canada. In fact, it is an express objective of the Immigration and


Vancouver’s Hidden Children

Nassim Elbardouh, a teacher at Britannia Secondary School, sits on the BC Teachers’ Federation’s Committee for Action on Social Justice which developed a draft ‘sanctuary schools’ policy this year. Photo: David P. Ball.

    Many undocumented families, fearing deportation, don’t enrol kids in school.   By David P. Ball,   Written on a wall in Pedro’s soon-to-be-demolished, cramped Vancouver apartment are words:   “I want water.” “Can I go to the washroom?”   This, for Pedro’s two oldest children, is the closest they will get to


Migration is Not a Crime

Lucia Vega Jimenez died on Dec. 20, 2013 in a Vancouver airport detention centre. What was her crime? Photo via Facebook

    Lessons from the Lucia Vega Jimenez case.   By Aurora Tejeida   It’s impossible to know what was going through Lucia Vega Jimenez’s head when she decided to hang herself in the shower stall of a migrant detention facility deep within YVR’s basement. But it’s not hard to guess.   People tend to


No More ‘First Come, First Serve’

Catherine Sas / Photo via

Canada’s new ‘Express Entry’ program is about to change the immigration playing field. Here’s what you need to know.   By Catherine Sas, South Asian Post   In early 2015, the government will launch a new active recruitment model known as the “Express Entry” system.   This system will help switch from the passive processing


Your Questions, Answered : BC Provincial Nominee Program

Photo: Brian Odwar / pixabay

  As a newcomer to BC, it’s natural to have a long list of questions about life in your new country. That’s why Guidbook would like to dedicate this space to answering the questions of our readers. If you have a question about finding housing, applying to schools, applying for visas, saving money or even


Immigrant Expo Returns to Vancouver

  A free day-long career, education and settlement fair takes place October 6.   Thousands of immigrants arrive in Metro Vancouver yearly with ambitions for their family’s future. However, many have little knowledge of the reality of Canadian living—from continuing education to obtaining employment and getting settled.   Canadian Immigrant magazine and Scotiabank, in association


Health Cuts ‘Cruel and Unusual Treatment’

Dr. Martina Scholtens advocating for refugee rights. Photo by David P. Ball.

    Canada’s government is slated to appeal a federal judge’s ruling on the cruelty of refugee health care cuts.   By Aurora Tejeida   This summer a federal judge ruled that millions of dollars in cuts to some refugee claimants’ health care amounted to “cruel and unusual treatment.” The cuts impact failed claimants as


Four Myths About Credit in Canada

  Most newcomers miss these important credit facts. An Asian Pacific Post report.   More than half (56 per cent) of newcomers to Canada mistakenly believe that you need a credit history to qualify for a mortgage, according to a recent poll by the Royal Bank of Canada. The poll asked newcomers a series of


Syrian Refugees: Is None Too Many?

syrian refugees - World Bank, creative commons licensed

    By Crawford Kilian,   Every generation likes to think it’s reached some peak of ethical perfection; every generation’s descendants think the same thing about themselves, and wince at their forebears’ follies and ignorance.   If we ever wonder what our grandchildren will despise us for, one failure has been staring us in


Transit police report riders to immigration nearly every day

According to a Transit Police spokesperson, 328 people were reported to Canada Border Services Agency from the TransLink system last year. Photo by David P. Ball.

  Many deportations start with checks of SkyTrain riders. Part of a Tyee series on Vancouver’s Sanctuary City movement.   Story and photos by David P. Ball,   It takes precisely one minute to take the SkyTrain from Gateway to Surrey Central stations. A single stop.   But due to a mistake in Jazmine


Understanding Canada’s new citizenship laws


    Longer residency requirement, higher fraud penalties and fewer steps in the newly-updated citizenship application process.   By Catherine Sas,  Asian Pacific Post   This summer brought in significant changes to Canada’s citizenship laws. On June 19, 2014 the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act received royal assent—fundamentally changing many key aspects of Canada’s citizenship laws.


Behind Bars

Migration Detention Chart

    In migration-friendly Canada, thousands of immigrants are detained indefinitely without charge or trial, a new report finds.   By Aurora Tejeida   Media coverage of immigration detention has increased significantly following the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez, a Mexican national who died in the custody of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) late


Bought the Ticket, Not Taking the Ride

Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, attends a news conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa, Thursday, February 16, 2012.  CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION PHOTO/The Canadian Press Images/Brigitte Bouvier

    Wealthy Chinese would-be immigrants battle the Canadian government over a cancelled investor visa program.   By Sarah Berman   The Canadian government passed its budget bill (Bill C-31) on June 19, closing all federal pending investor and entrepreneur files.   We knew this was coming. In February of this year, along with Canada’s


Government announces Temporary Foreign Worker Program reforms

Photo by David Ball

  But workers still face fears of abuse, deportation. ‘My hope is justice’ says ex-Tim Hortons worker, speaking from Mexico.   Story and photo by David P. Ball,   “My hope is that I’ll see justice, truly,” Edxon González Chein tells The Tyee over the phone from Mexico City. “Justice both within the program,


Vancouver council supports ‘sanctuary’ for undocumented migrants

The newly formed Sanctuary City coalition's Byron Cruz (left) and Alejandra López Bravo met with city, health and police officials last month. A municipal task force prepares to recommend “sanctuary city” policies this summer / Photo by David P. Ball.

    Policy would stop municipal agencies like transit police from giving info about ‘illegals’ to immigration authorities.   Story and Photo by David P. Ball,   At the base of the back-alley staircase into a Vancouver health clinic, two men lay the groundwork for an enclosed community garden plot and introduce themselves with


When a criminal past becomes a stateless future

Budlakoti poses for a photo with Harsha Walia and Harjap Grewal from the migrant justice group No One Is Illegal in Vancouver.

    Born in Ottawa, Deepan Budlakoti is facing deportation. A rare legal case that foreshadows new citizenship legislation.   By Abeer Yusuf   For many Canadians, being 24 means working long hours, enjoying friend-filled weekends and even experiencing the wonders of travel.   For Ottawa-born Deepan Budlakoti, being 24 means making another court appearance


Reclaiming a Career in Canada

VLUU L310W L313 M310W / Samsung L310W L313 M310W

    What happens when your professional credentials aren’t recognized in Canada? For some highly-qualified immigrants, it means starting a new career altogether.   Story and photo by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud   After two years living in Vancouver, Philip Mwimanzi still has a ways to go before he regains the career he started.   Mwimanzi


Is French Immersion Creating a Two-Tiered System?

  Students from minority, immigrant, single parent, low-income and low-education households are less likely to enrol in French immersion programs.   By Katie Hyslop,   The low-income students in Anna Chudnovsky’s eastside Vancouver school aren’t often teased about their disadvantage—mostly because the majority of them are in the same boat.   But they “certainly


Newcomers Vancouver Fair

      What: Vancouver Newcomers Fair When: Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Where: Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel, 1088 Burrard Street, Vancouver How much: Free if you pre-register on the site, $10 at the door   It is never easy to come to a new


‘Don’t blame foreign workers,’ says fast food employee


  Federal moratorium on restaurants hiring temporary workers makes many afraid they’ll be forced to go home.   By David P. Ball,     Temporary foreign workers are speaking out against Canada’s sudden moratorium on restaurants hiring them and others in the program, which country-wide has more than tripled over the last decade to


Canadian Immigration Integration Program excludes Latin America

  By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud   Last month, Guidebook reported that a program called the Canadian Immigration Integration Program (CIIP) received a $1.9 million funding boost to help prospective immigrants make the transition to living in Canada. Guidebook has learned the extra funding approved by Immigration Minister Chris Alexander is not meant to amplify the


José Figueroa’s big day


  The Salvadoran who has been residing in Langley for the past 17 years faces deportation for the same reason he sought asylum in Canada. Figueroa hopes this month’s decision increases his chances of staying in the country with his family.   By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud   Most Latin American parents love to keep their


Government loans sink ‘most at risk’ refugees into debt

Refugee photo by Katie Hyslop 1

      Canadians ‘should be ashamed’ of charging government-assisted refugees for resettlement, according to Surrey city councillor Judy Villeneuve.   Story and photo by Katie Hyslop   The Tyee Solutions Society   The same day she was to fly from Lebanon to Canada with her family last May, Zeena Alhamadani learned she owed the


Career fair at Vancouver Community College

  Students, grads and the general public met with over 25 employers   The Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia and Vancouver Community College teamed up on April 16 to help job seekers connect face-to-face with companies currently hiring. The annual VCC career fair at the Broadway campus boasted over 25 company and career services


BC makes it a little easier to be a temporary foreign worker

Migrant Workers-California Lakeside Organic Gardens

      The province quietly improves conditions, but risks overburdening settlement services.   By Kristian Secher,   Being a temporary foreign worker in British Columbia got a little easier this month; the province made newcomers officially eligible to receive settlement help and assistance in the case of a crisis.   But the move


New immigration program will select ‘most likely to succeed’ candidates

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander speaks in Toronto.

  Canada’s new Express Entry program aims to rapidly place skilled newcomers beginning in January 2015.   By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud   As part of the transformation of Canada’s immigration system, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration recently announced a new program called Express Entry.   The initiative aims to provide permanent residency in six


Five stages you’ll go through when adjusting to your new life in Canada

  By Sean Celi, Vancouver Immigrant Youth Blog     [Editor’s note: Sean is the founder of a website for immigrant youth bloggers. If you are a current high school student who would like to share your migration experience with an active online community, visit to learn how to get involved. The following is


Vancouver political party votes ‘sanctuary city’ onto the agenda

Vancouver has a municipal election coming up in fall 2014, which will decide the mayor and city councillors going forward. One left-leaning political party called the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) has decided to make “sanctuary city” part of its election platform.

By Sarah Berman

Vancouver has a municipal election coming up in fall 2014, which will decide the mayor and city councillors going forward. One left-leaning political party called the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) has decided to make “sanctuary city” part of its election platform.
   Sanctuary city is a term given to municipalities that enact policies to protect non-status migrants when accessing basic services like education, healthcare or women’s shelters. More than 36 cities in the United States and two Canadian cities have enacted laws that prevent municipal service providers from turning over undocumented migrants to police or border enforcement authorities.
   “There’s a fear to access basic services,” explains Daniel Tseghay, who proposed the “sanctuary city” policy at COPE’s policy convention in Vancouver on March 30. “As a result, a lot of non-status people are trying to keep as anonymous as possible. They do not access social services like libraries or food banks. Women who are in abusive relationships may not go to emergency shelters.”
   Tseghay says this fear comes from the possibility of investigation, detainment and deportation. “There’s always the possibility the worker is going to check for identification, find they’re a non-status migrant, and tell immigration authorities.”
   Interest in sanctuary city policy has grown in recent years. In February, Hamilton, Ontario became the latest sanctuary city in Canada, following the footsteps of Toronto, Ontario in 2013. Big American cities like Chicago, New York City and San Francisco are also sanctuary cities. 
   “In Canada there’s been a lot of changes at the federal level,” Tseghay explains of Canada’s aggressive immigration policy targeting asylum seekers. Canada’s federal government has made sweeping cuts to refugee healthcare funding, cut the amount of asylum applications in half and continues to detain non-status migrants indefinitely.
   In response to these changes, Tseghay and COPE are calling for the City of Vancouver to ensure access to basic services for all Vancouver residents, regardless of immigration status. This means city workers will not be allowed to ask about a resident’s status or report it to immigration authorities. 
   Tseghay calls it a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach, which will help children access basic education. “We need to make schools sanctuary zones, where children can go to school without the threat that their parents might be found out and deported.”
   A group called Sanctuary Health has been reaching out to workers that provide social services in different departments of government, to provide training. Already groups like No One Is Illegal (NOII) have worked to push the public conversation in this direction.
   “I think there’s a narrative of migrants that needs to be challenged,” says Tseghay. “The narrative of migrants taking something from Canada. Of Defrauding, stealing, of being a drain. It says, ‘We can’t have too many migrants, because they’ll bombard our services.’”
   “In reality, we see that immigrants are investing in the community,” says Tseghay. 
   Over the last 50 years, COPE has been one of the major leftist political groups on the municipal level, running against the right-wing Non-Partisan Association (NPA). Vancouver elected a COPE-led government in 2002 under Mayor Larry Campbell.

   However, by 2005 many centrist members of COPE including Campbell broke off from the party and started Vision Vancouver, which now holds a majority government under Mayor Gregor Robertson. COPE no longer has a seat in council. 
   While the other parties have yet to announce official election policies, COPE members hope the sanctuary city movement will make waves this election. “I think it’s going to be big,” says Tseghay. o

photo COPE members vote at the party’s policy convention March 28.

Daniel Tseghay proposed making Vancouver a “sanctuary city” at COPE’s policy convention on March 29.

    Vancouver political party votes ‘sanctuary city’ onto the agenda   Vancouver has a municipal election coming up in fall 2014, which will decide the mayor and city councillors going forward. One left-leaning political party called the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) has decided to make “sanctuary city” part of its election platform.  


Government loans sink ‘most at risk’ refugees into debt

photo/ Iraqi refugee Zeena Alhamadani in Surrey, B.C.: Barely scraping by, and Canada demands payments for bringing her here. Canada is the only country where refugees have to repay their travel and medical costs plus interest.

    Canadians ‘should be ashamed’ of charging government-assisted refugees for resettlement, according to Surrey city councillor Judy Villeneuve.   Story and photo by Katie Hyslop The Tyee Solutions Society   The same day she was to fly from Lebanon to Canada with her family last May, Zeena Alhamadani learned she owed the Canadian government


Vancouverites brave rain to protest racism


  On March 22, 2014, several anti-racism groups braved the rain and the chill to meet in Victory Square Park in downtown Vancouver for an annual march.   “The International Day for the Elimination of Racism marks the anniversary of the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa when police opened fire on hundreds of South


Canadian Immigrant releases 75 award finalists

Dr. Hedy Fry is a politician for the Liberal Party of Canada in the riding Vancouver Centre. She migrated to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago in 1970. Fry is one of 75 finalists selected for an annual award given out by Canadian Immigrant Magazine. /Photo via Facebook

Voting is now open for “Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants” of 2014.   Every year judges from the magazine Canadian Immigrant nominate people from across the country. A panel of previous winners and magazine contributors select Canadians who have immigrated from around the world and have achieved great things in their communities. 75 finalists were announced


Canadian immigration minister announces extra $1.9 million for Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP)

  While visiting Hong Kong on March 21, 2014, Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced an additional investment of $1.9 million to the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) over the next six months.   The CIIP provides free pre-departure orientation to immigrants coming to Canada on federal skilled worker visas and provincial nominee visas. Workers’


Asylum Keepers?

Canadian Council for Refugees consultation. / Photo by Canadian Council for Refugees

  This year border services in Canada have a set a minimum quota for stripping refugee status. Here is what you need to know about refugee cessation and vacation—the two ways border services take away protected status and residency.   By Sarah Berman   The Canadian Council for Refugees held a webinar on March 20,


‘We Are Jose’ tamale sale raises money for legal defense

  March 28, 2014 4 p.m. onwards Walnut Grove Lutheran Church 20530 88th Avenue Langley, BC   The Federal Court of Canada has set a date for the Judicial Review on Jose Figueroa’s immigration case. Figueroa is a Salvadoran-Canadian living in Langley, who has lived in Canada for 15 years.   According to the website


Home buying season? Canada’s real estate outlook

Photo by Robert Nathan Garlington /pixabay

    Though prices are high, sales are up in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. A recent report shows Canadians are more likely to enter a bidding war compared with last year. Experts recommend proceeding with the largest down payment possible.   As many buyers begin their hunt for the perfect home this spring, mortgage experts


Talking taxes with Gabrielle Loren

GML Head Shot_web

  You don’t have to be a certified accountant to feel prepared for tax season. If you think about it clearly, all you have to do is fill out a few forms. But for newcomers to Canada, the task of declaring income or claiming credits can feel impossibly difficult. We chatted with North Vancouver tax


Chinatown’s Tough Evolution

Rosesari in her room at the May Wah hotel, a privately owned single room occupancy hotel in Vancouver’s Chinatown. She pays $320 a month. Her neighbours on the same floor pay $200 to $290 a month.

    Do working-class ethnic enclaves have a space in future cities? Vancouver’s changing Chinatown reflects shifts across North America.   Story and photos by Jackie Wong, Megaphone Magazine   [Editor’s note: This story previously appeared in Megaphone Magazine, a local bi-weekly sold on the streets by homeless and low-income vendors. For more information about


JaeHee Min, The Girl From Seoul


      Jae Hee Min arrived in Canada from Korea on November 27th. Her first impressions of Vancouver were similar to those of many other visitors from Seoul: Vancouver seemed to be cleaner, less polluted and much more relaxed than her home city. Jae Hee is in Vancouver on a working holiday. She graduated