Marwa Badra – Pace Law Firm: In a recent interview with Postmedia News, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney expressed his discontent with the current Federal investor program. I almost choked on my coffee when I read the headline: Canada looking to up ante in immigration visa-for-cash program.

Kenney: “[T]he $800,000 minimum investment required under the current system is simply too low and that it’s time to consider making it a permanent contribution to the Canadian economy rather than just a loan.”

I instantly thought, Please. Not another moratorium.

It seems to me that “moratorium” has become the answer for every immigration hurdle over the last 12 months. We have seen many programs put to an end, or close to it. No more entrepreneurs, no more parents’ sponsorships, and a cap on federal skilled workers.

I held my breath as I went on reading the article. I do agree with Mr. Kenney that Canada can certainly do better and get more bang for the buck, but we must keep our program enticing to investor immigrants. Let us not ignore the fact that we DO need immigrants – especially wealthy immigrants who can help create jobs in Canada.

For a look at how a major price hike might affect the Federal investor program, try Ontario. Many provinces offer fast track applications for investors and entrepreneurs, but Ontario remains out of the game, offering what I call a “go away” price. The Ontario PNP program requires an investment of $3 million in an active business. Unfortunately, the program had not been a success, with only a handful of applicants over the past 2 years. I am afraid a similar program on a national scale will provide the same result.

I do believe that the government ought to take a bigger role in the anticipated new federal investor program. They should have government-approved projects for foreign investors to choose from. If we expect investors who have little knowledge of the country to contribute millions to our economy, the least we can do is guide them through the process and make it as attractive – i.e. safe – as possible.

Simply charging big bucks to try and make some fast cash isn’t fair or, as Ontario has shown, effective.

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