U.S. Immigration to Canada: Strength and Opportunity through Diversity

“Deep in our history of struggle for freedom, Canada was the north star. The freedom road links us together.”

When U.S. President Barack Obama invoked the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when addressing the Canadian House of Commons in June 2016, few could have imagined that the election of Donald Trump would once again turn American eyes to the North. On election night, as state after state turned Republican red, the website of the Canadian Department of Citizenship, Immigration and Refugees crashed. Moving to Canada could be an option for many Americans (and others) who no longer see their own values reflected in their country’s leadership and growing divisiveness.

President Obama summed up the shared values between Canada and the United States later on in his speech to our Parliament.  Those values include “pluralism and tolerance, rule of law, openness, global engagement, and commerce, and co-operation, coupled with equal opportunity and an investment in our people at home.”

In Canada, these values are alive and well. Prime Minister Trudeau acknowledged this in his introduction of President Obama, saying “[t]he North American idea that diversity is strength is our greatest gift to the world. No matter where you are from, nor the faith you profess, nor the colour of your skin, nor whom you love, you belong here. This is home.” Canada alone now seems to be the guiding light for these values.

To those Americans (and of course others) who want to live in a country that values diversity and progress, we welcome you. As the President-Elect plans to close America’s doors (and build a wall), Canada is in the process of implementing a robust plan to increase our population and build a stronger country by actively recruiting the skill and experience of those from abroad. We value not just demographic diversity but diversity of values and beliefs. Canada’s future depends on the contributions of newcomers.

In the words of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Canada is a country strong not in spite of our differences but because of them.” Canada has been a leader in welcoming Syrian refugees, the latest in a long line of communities who have sought new and better lives on our shores. Canadians are proud of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which emphasizes equality for all and has led Canada to be a leader in legalizing same-sex marriage.

The United States is Canada’s sixth largest source of immigrants. Throughout our history, many have moved north to do business, reunite with family, and to find love. The North American Free Trade Agreement, which united the diverse populations and economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico, has led not only to the free flow of goods between our countries but also of people. Thanks to NAFTA and our bilateral relationship, American citizens do not need visas to visit Canada and can apply for work permits. While Canada cannot accommodate every potential immigrant, American applicants for permanent resident status will find themselves nearer to the front of the line and with shorter wait times than those from elsewhere.

For 45 years our team at Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall have represented American professionals, families, small business owners and entrepreneurs to navigate the process of becoming Canadian. Warren Creates is a certified specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law (Immigration and Refugee Protection) and has successfully helped thousands of businesses and individuals create new beginnings in Canada.

In his 2015 victory speech, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained that “[w]e know in our bones that Canada was built by people from all corners of the world who worship every faith, who belong to every culture, who speak every language. We believe in our hearts that this country’s unique diversity is a blessing.”  We, like you, are a nation of immigrants. Our country is stronger because of the diversity of skills and experience of those who came here to build better lives and a better country. Give us a call or write us so we can help you navigate the path of coming to Canada.

Warren Creates is Head of our Immigration Law Group. He can be reached at wcreates@perlaw.ca or 613.566.2839. To view his bio, please click here.

Jacqueline Bonisteel is a lawyer in our Immigration Law Group. She can be reached at jbonisteel@perlaw.ca or 613.566.2845. To view her bio, please click here.

 

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