Now that the activities of Stampede are over, many of you will be looking for ways to engage your children in summer activities and our local community centres offer some of the best resources to be found anywhere. They offer a giant range of programs and facilities in sports, arts, crafts, pools, daycamps and many other events and activities. Check out community association newsletters and websites for further details.
The City of Calgary offers a wide range of options for summer activities and adventures which may be found here:
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary (BGCC) provide a wide variety of innovative programs, activities and creative supports, increasing opportunities for children to engage and succeed in educational and vocational settings. Check out their website at: http://www.boysandgirlsclubsofcalgary.ca/programs#sthash.ee3YCm85.dpuf
Both the YMCA and YWCA are in full swing with their summer sessions and offer day and overnight camping experiences. Details can be found at:
I would also encourage you to volunteer your skills and time to a local group or community centre. It is your care and effort that create the strong and vibrant communities that make Calgary such a great place to live.
After a very productive parliamentary session I am very much looking forward to a busy summer in the riding and around western Canada. Parliament was able to work on a record number of bills and was able to pass legislation that is of importance to all Canadians. I am proud of the hard work of all of my colleagues.
For more information on the work of the 2nd Session of the 41st Parliament please follow this link: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/ls412-e.htm This parliamentary break will allow me to spend extra time in the riding, meeting with constituents and stakeholders. I value this opportunity to engage with our community and meet with as many of you as possible.
I would like to thank all who attended my recent and very successful Coffee and Chat. The informal format enabled me to meet with everyone and to hear your concerns directly. I received much valuable input and feedback on a wide variety of issues and this will enable me to be a much stronger voice for you in both caucus and government.
I was able to attend several events on Canada Day here in Calgary and I am again reminded of what an extraordinary and wonderful country we live in. Countries are made up of individuals, and the enthusiasm and strength of Canadians can never be in doubt. I would like to extend special congratulations to those who became new Canadians this Canada Day.
I always look forward to the many Stampede festivities in Calgary and, as in past years, I will attend as many community events in the riding as I am able. I hope that you will be able to attend my Stampede BBQ on 06 July that I am co-hosting with M.P. Devinder Shory at Cardel Place and my own Stampede breakfast on 12 July at the Highwood Community Centre.
In addition to Stampede, this summer Calgary will be the venue for many festivals, community and charitable events, sporting tournaments and diverse other events and I hope you will take time to engage with your community.
In my role as Minister of State for Western Economic Development I will be travelling all over western Canada this summer, meeting and consulting with industries, universities, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders. I also have plans this summer to go door-knocking in the riding and I look forward to meeting with you at your homes and hearing your concerns directly from you. As always please feel free to contact my office with any federal issues that are important to you.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) was intended to give Canadian companies an option to fill job vacancies when qualified Canadian applicants were not available. A series of reports have emerged in recent months regarding companies who use the program to hire less-expensive overseas employees at the expense of Canadian workers. In Alberta, where the highest number of temporary foreign workers in the country are employed, median wages have gone up by 31% since 2006 and inflation by 14%. However, in the food services sector, a leading user of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, wages have only increased by 8% since 2006. In some cases, businesses have even been accused of terminating positions held by Canadian workers.
As a result of these reports, and after much careful consideration, the Federal government recently announced reforms to the TFWP, with new and tougher policies about the hiring of foreign workers to low-wage positions and introducing stronger oversight on companies that apply for assistance through the program. These reforms will help ensure the TFWP is only used as intended – to fill acute skills shortages on a temporary basis and to ensure that Canadian workers are never displaced.
To offer greater clarity and transparency, the TFWP is being re-organized into two distinct programs. This will reduce confusion and better reflect the major differences between the various streams.
The TFWP will now refer to only those streams under which foreign workers enter Canada at the request of employers, following approval through a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) with Employment and Social Development Canada being the lead department for the TFWP.
The new International Mobility Programs (IMP) will include those streams in which foreign nationals are not subject to an LMIA, and whose primary objective is to advance Canada’s broad economic and cultural national interest, rather than filling particular jobs. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be the lead department for the IMP. Some highlights of the reforms are:
The moratorium on the fast-food industry's access to the program is lifted immediately
The program will no longer accept applications from retail, accommodation and food service businesses in areas with unemployment rate of more than six per cent.
The program will now be based on provincial wage levels instead of the government's national occupational classifications.
A cap is also being placed on the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers an employer can hire at each worksite — 30 per cent of a worksite's employees starting immediately and dropping to 10 per cent by July 2016.
The cap will not apply to employers with fewer than 10 workers or to short-term, non-renewable positions.
Employers who are currently under the cap will not be allowed to hire more temporary foreign workers in order to reach the limit.
The government will post the number of temporary foreign workers approved every quarter, along with the names of companies that hire them.
Employers accessing the program must commit to not laying off any Canadian workers or reducing their hours, and must submit how many Canadians applied and were interviewed for these jobs, along with reasons why they were not hired.
The amount of time a low-wage temporary foreign worker can work in Canada is being reduced to a cumulative total of two years from four years.
Employers will also be required to get annual approval to hire low-wage temporary foreign workers, instead of biannually, and the application fee is being increased to $1,000 from $275.
Companies that abuse the program will be more harshly punished, with fines of up to $100,000, starting in the fall, and with public disclosure of the names of employers who have been fined and the amount of that fine. There will also be an increase in the number and scope of inspections. The Government will improve its ability to collect and share information between government departments and other levels of government to make sure that employers who break the rules are caught.
These changes will strengthen and improve the TFWP, supporting our economic recovery and growth, and ensuring that employers make greater efforts to hire Canadians before hiring temporary foreign workers. These reforms will ensure that the TFWP, which is an important program to deal with acute skills shortages on a temporary basis, is used only as a last resort.
As part of the ongoing review of the TFWP, the Federal government will hold cross-Canada consultations over the coming months with businesses, industry and trade organizations, unions and others on additional changes to the Program.
Recently, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-26,the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act. Our Government finds that the sexual exploitation of children is wholly unacceptable and that we should be doing more to protect our youth, and punish the guilty with penalties that match the severity of the crime.We will continue to build on the Government’s current efforts to protect children from sexual exploitation and online crime, including child pornography.
Bill C-26, the Tougher Penalties for Child PredatorsActcontains nine new key measures designed to crack down on predators who exploit and abuse children.
It would require those convicted of contact child sexual offences against multiple children and those convicted of child pornography and contact child sexual offences to serve their sentences consecutively – one after another.
We will increase the maximum and minimum prison sentences for certain child sexual offences and the penalties for violation of conditions of supervision orders. This bill will ensure that a crime committed while on house arrest, parole, statutory release or unescorted temporary absence, is an aggravating factor at sentencing. C-26 will amend the Canada Evidence Act to ensure that spouses of the accused are competent and compellable witnesses for the prosecution in child pornography cases.
Too often convicted child predators travel to other countries to repeat their crimes even after a conviction in Canada. With C-26, registered sex offenders would be required to provide more information regarding travel abroad, enabling information-sharing on certain registered sex offenders between officials responsible for the National Sex Offender Registry and at the Canada Border Services Agency.
In addition to all this, the Government of Canada, in consultation with the provinces and territories, will establish a publicly accessible database of high risk child sex offenders who have been the subject of a public notification in a provincial/territorial jurisdiction to assist in ensuring the safety of our children and communities.
Predators who target children have been able to abuse our most vulnerable with very little fear of consequence. Bill C-26 seeks to change this.
Information of this and other bills before the current parliament may be found at: