Hon. Gerry Weiner – Pace Immigration: Al Pace and I recently had the chance to attend a meeting with MP Julie Dzerowicz, the chair of the Liberal caucus on immigration. We commended the government on their commitment to immigration and their efforts in helping Canadians understand the value of diversity.
In order to highlight Pace Immigration’s expertise in this area, I explained the value of our team’s global experience, as well as the policy experience of our former government officials who now work for Pace. We wanted to open a line of communication with the chair, and offered to help with her task of promoting the value of immigration to all Canadians.
Some of the issues we discussed were:
We envision a program similar to the US EB-5 program, where each investor creates 10 direct jobs in the community. We used the real world example of an assisted living home which might have 3 or 4 investors but creates 30 or 40 direct jobs in a small community. The program can vary from province to province based on the regional needs. Ms. Dzerowicz asked for specific examples of how this can work and we offered to follow up with some specific successful examples from the United States.
We reviewed the situation where there are probably 10,000 owner-operated businesses in Canada that don’t have a plan for succession. That is, once the owner-operator retires, the business – along with all of its jobs – disappears. Investor immigration can eliminate this risk by allowing investors to become partners in existing businesses. Such an investor would require a work permit that would eventually lead to permanent residency. We gave the specific example of the Quebec entrepreneur program, which is designed to save businesses which otherwise would be forced to close upon an owner’s retirement. Such a program could be expanded to cover all of Canada.
MP Dzerowicz was receptive to our thoughts and we look forward to continuing this dialogue with her and the government. Our feeling is that immigration is the lifeblood of Canada and investor immigration in particular can help Canada’s communities thrive. We’ll keep you posted on developments.