Letters and Tweets — September 2016

CPA Magazine readers respond to the June/July issue via mail and Twitter.


I enjoyed the articles (June/July 2016) regarding the hurdles that immigrants face when wishing to carry on in their professions as part of the Canadian workforce and the success stories of those who have persevered. Immigrant Access Fund (IAF) Canada is an organization that assists immigrants to integrate into the workforce and helps them contribute their expertise to Canada’s and their own economic and social success. The fund provides microloans of up to $10,000 to internationally trained immigrants so they can obtain the Canadian licensing or training needed to work in their fields. The loan can be used for exams, training, qualification assessments, professional association fees, books, course materials and living allowance, etc., related to obtaining training. IAF has an innovative model that has shown that for each successful applicant, the return to the Canadian taxpayer is high because the one-time loan expenditure yields a long-term benefit in the form of higher income tax receipts for however long the loan participant works. IAF has approved more than $13 million in loans to more than 2,000 immigrants since 2005. A recent survey of IAF loan recipients reported that 88% of those who completed their program are working in their fields at the same level or above what they had before immigrating. [Immigrants in] business, finance and administration account for 21% of the loans.

The story of IAF Canada is something Canadians can be proud of.

Tracy Beairsto, Calgary

I was offended by the Immigration Issue. On the cover it says, “Yes, we are a nation of immigrants. But is this good or bad?” This is the stuff of tabloids. You wouldn’t write, “We are a nation of women. Is this good or bad?” or “We are a nation of old people. Is this good or bad?” To even imply that immigrants are bad in any way is offensive. One, to talk about people in a personal way and to label them as something that could be lesser and two, to imply that a person’s worth is only based upon economic factors and tax revenue is the reason why I believe CPAs and finance professionals suffer image problems.

The article “Boon or Bust?” says, “Canada’s immigration infrastructure still operates as if most newcomers speak English as a first language and come from places that Canada knows well, such as the US or the UK” and [mentions] “taxi driver syndrome.” I thought I was reading a speech from Donald Trump. The magazine did try to highlight stories of immigrants overcoming challenges, which were overshadowed by the cover and the article that it directed you to.

I expect better from my professional body.

Jason Louie, Ottawa

Karen Wensley [The Right Thing] consistently deals with difficult ethical choices in a realistic manner. That said, I was struck by her June/July column (“Suspension of Disbelief ”) that recommends a recent immigrant be included on the short list when hiring decisions are made. New immigrants are often eliminated from contention by requirements that they are considered not to have met, including English/French skills, Canadian industry experience, Canadian-recognized professional certifications, etc. These requirements exist because they represent capabilities, competencies or certifications that are relevant for the job and are indicators of future success. The solution is more complex than including immigrant candidates who have not been held to the same standard as nonimmigrant candidates. We need increased government support for immigrant language training, a better system for judging the relative value of foreign credentials and for bringing them to a level considered appropriate to the Canadian context, as well as some form of apprenticeship program to provide relevant Canadian experience. This is more likely to enable immigrants to compete on a level playing field for positions.

Jack Noodelman, Montreal


Not to mention ...

(Boon or Bust? June/July)

And not a peep regarding the impact on soaring house prices, congestion, loss of farmland, urban sprawl, proliferation of ethnic ghettos and soaring government deficits to cover the costs of immigration.


Propose a policy

(Crank Up the Printers, June/July)

While we may not be fully in recession, Keynesian macroeconomic theory suggests that government should spend to stimulate the economy toward achieving full employment or full capacity while acknowledging a finite limit of “frictional unemployment” of between 4% and 6%. Most economic observers consider the current recovery since 2008 very fragile, with substantial excess capacity and below-normal growth rates. Part of the role of public fiscal policy (and monetary policy) is to first encourage price stability for labour, goods and services; second, sustainable growth in output to match both productivity gains and population/ workforce growth.

Rather than criticize the current deficit-building policy, how about proposing an alternative program or policy that meets the current economic need and balances the long-term costs of expanded government debts?

If the alternative you propose is a balanced budget or a fiscal surplus to reduce debt, what impact does that have on Canadians at the lower end of the economic scale and young graduates who are still seeking jobs to participate in our productive economy? Which taxes would you increase to generate more revenue and which services would you cut to reduce spending?

Tall Paul