Posted in Canada, Community, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

Winter has come to Toronto! Do you know what the snow rules are and what can cause the City to fine you?


Do you know what the snow rules in the city are? You should pay attention since the City of Toronto needs extra revenue and many of these infractions are clear as freshly fallen snow.

Do NOT shovel snow on to the street!

Instead, keep it on your property because it is illegal to push it on the road, and if you do, you could be handed a $360 fine, which goes up to $1,000 for repeat offenders.

What happens if you don’t shovel?

You could face a $125 fine.

Shovel the sidewalk in front of your house!

The city will clear snow from sidewalks after 8cm of snow has fallen – 5cm in January and February – but only if you live in the suburbs.  If you live in downtown or central Toronto you have 12 hours after the snowfall ends to have that sidewalk cleaned off. Failing to do so could result in a fine of $125.00 as per Municipal Code Chapter 719.

What do you do if your neighbours never shovel the sidewalk?

Call 311 and complain.

Most fines are doled out after people complain to the city about their neighbour. Any subsequent complaints or follow-up investigations may result in fines being imposed for non-compliance.

Caught driving with snow on your car?

Section 74 of the Highway Traffic Act says you have to be able to see clearly out of your front, front side and rear windows and while there is an exception for rear windows if you can see with your mirrors, if it is determined that you cannot see clearly, the fine $110.

 

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Posted in Caregiver, Community, family, Parenting, politics, urbandaddyblog

Citizenship and Immigration Canada announce Improvements to Canada’s Caregiver Program


Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced Improvements to Canada’s Caregiver Program, formerly known solely as the Canadian Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP), and the Canadian government hopes that these improvements will:

  • Result in faster processing at all stages of the program
  • Provide faster reunification of families in Canada
  • Create better career opportunities upon completion of the program, and
  • Establish better protection against potential workplace vulnerability and abuses

These reforms were put in place to address some key concerns of the old Live-In Caregiver program through the removal of the live-in requirement and increasing the processing time for permanent residence.   In the old program there actually were employers who felt that since the caregiver was living in their homes that they were available to work 24/7, and even questioned their caregivers who wanted to go out in the evening, or stay away on the weekends.

Another major problem with the old program was the lack of long-term opportunities for caregivers who, through talking to their peers, waited for their program requirements to end so that they no longer needed to live-in, and could demand a higher wage.  Often this was not a discussion between the employee and the employer and thus a job change was the often outcome.

The resulting job change often meant a higher salary, but in the same field, or with less hours, or with less “perks” like meals and living accommodations earned as the caregiver and the families bond over the years.  It’s usually a major step backwards when the caregivers should be leveraging their employers for their next step once their employment is no longer required.

In addition, CIC plans to reduce the backlog by admitting 30,000 permanent resident caregivers and their family members in 2015, an all-time high, and also a major change in direction from a government which has always publically stated that the Live-In Caregiver Program was not meant to be used for reunification.

CIC also announced that they will be dropping the live-in requirement for caregivers.  If employers and caregivers wish to agree to live-in arrangements, they can continue to do so.  In addition, caregivers currently in the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) may choose to live out and later apply for permanent residence by applying for a regular work permit to replace their LCP-specific work permit.

On November 30th, 2014, the Canadian Government launched two new pathways for caregivers which will:

  • accept up to 5,500 applicants for permanent residence per year plus family members,
  • process these permanent residence applications with a 6-month service standard, and
  • accept applications from those already in the LCP queue who prefer one of the improved pathways

The 2 New Pathways:

1.  Caring for Children Pathway:  A pathway to permanent residence for caregivers who have provided child care in a home, either living in the home or not.

Eligibility is based on:

  • Work experience – A minimum of 2 years of Canadian work experience as a home childcare provider, with a work permit.
  • Human capital criteria – A 1-year completed Canadian post-secondary credential, or equivalent foreign credential, and language level of at least initial intermediate

2.  Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway:  A pathway to permanent residence for caregivers who have provided care for the elderly or those with disabilities or chronic disease at higher skill levels in health facilities or in a home

Eligibility is based on:

  • Work experience – A minimum of 2 years of Canadian work experience as a registered nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, licensed practical nurse, nurse aide, orderly, patient service associate, home support worker or other similar occupation, with a work permit.
  • Human capital criteria – A 1-year completed Canadian post-secondary credential, or equivalent foreign credential, and an appropriate level of language proficiency to practice their occupation, ranging from initial intermediate to adequate intermediate

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What sort of work permit should I apply for if this is my first time as a caregiver in Canada and my employer applies for a Labour Market Impact Assessment after November 30, 2014?

A1: You will need to apply for a regular work permit, not a specific caregiver work permit.

You can live in your own home. If you and your employer have agreed that you will live in their home, this should be:

  • in your employment contract, and
  • noted in the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) request by your employer to Employment and Social Development Canada. Your employer will have to confirm that the accommodation they are providing meets acceptable standards before they get the LMIA.

Q2: I am working as a live-in caregiver but would like to move into my own home. Can I?

A2: To work as a caregiver on a live-out basis, your employer will need a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and you will need to apply for a new work permit based on that LMIA. In addition, you would have to apply for permanent residence through the Caring for Children or Caring for People with High Medical Needs pathway, and not through the Live-in Caregiver Program.

Q3: I have submitted an application for permanent residence through the Live-in Caregiver Program. Can I submit an application to either the Caring for Children or Caring for People with High Medical Needs pathway as well?

A3: If you meet the requirements of either the Caring for Children or Caring for People with High Medical Needs pathways, you may submit another application for permanent residence, including providing the required information and processing fee.

Q4: I am already working as a live-in caregiver. Will I be able to apply for permanent residence when I complete the work requirement?

A4: Yes. You may continue working as a live-in caregiver and apply for permanent residence when you meet the work requirement. You do not need to switch to one of the new pathways.

If you choose to remain in the Live-in Caregiver Program pathway, your eligibility for permanent residence will still be based on the requirements of that program. This includes the requirement to live in the home of your employer.

If you choose to apply to the Caring for Children Pathway or the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway, your eligibility for permanent residence will be based on the requirements of those pathways.

Q5: I just applied for a work permit as a live-in caregiver. Will I be able to apply for permanent residence when I complete the work requirement?

A5: Yes. You may come to Canada to work as a live-in caregiver and apply for permanent residence based on the requirements of the Live-in Caregiver Program. This includes the requirement to live in the home of your employer.

If you choose to apply to the Caring for Children Pathway or the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway, your eligibility for permanent residence will be based on the requirements of those pathways.

Summary: What are the improvements to the Caregiver Program?

As of November 30th, 2014, the Caregiver Program includes two new pathways for permanent residence for foreign workers with experience as caregivers in Canada.

The two new pathways are:

  • Caring for Children
  • Caring for People with High Medical Needs

For both the Caring for Children Pathway and the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway:

  • You do not need to live in the home of your employer to qualify for permanent residence.
  • You do need to work in Canada with a work permit in an eligible occupation for two years.
  • You do need to meet requirements for language ability and education.

In addition, the Live-in Caregiver Program pathway to permanent residence is still open for all live-in caregivers who:

  • have started working in Canada as a live-in caregiver, or
  • have applied for a work permit as a live-in caregiver, or
  • apply for their initial work permit based on an approved Labour Market Impact Assessment that had been submitted by the employer to Employment and Social Development Canada by November 30, 2014, and
  • complete the work requirement of the Live-in Caregiver Program.

All your questions, plus more, can be answered here; (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/index-featured-int.asp), on the government’s website.

Posted in Community, family, Life, Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things Torontonians (and you) Need To Do Now That The Snow Has Arrived.


Ah, a snowy Thursday in Toronto, our second such day this year, and with winter not officially here until December 21st, I always worry that even in areas where there is a lot of snow people forget to apply common sense in many different areas of their lives when snow stays on the ground.

So today is the perfect day for me, to educate you, on the 13 Things You Need To Do Now That The Snow Has Arrived.

Let’s start with #1 because it’s the most important and the City of Toronto By-Laws and Chapter 719 of the Municipal Code lay it all out there for you.

1.  Make sure that you have cleared the sidewalk in front of your house!  According to City By-laws you have 12 hours from the last snowflake to remove the snow and / or ice from the sidewalk in front, behind or beside your property.

2.  Failure to remove snow and / or ice can result in a fine of up to $5000 under the Provincial Offences Act.

3.  Anyone – strangers, neighbours, government workers, can call 311 to notify them if your snow and / or ice is not removed within 12 hours after a snowfall.

4.  Thinking about clearing your snow onto the street?  DON’T!  Besides the obvious fact that it make driving that much more dangerous, it’s against the by-laws and you can be fined for doing this.  Plus, it’s fairly obvious when your lawn (which loves the water in the spring) is flat the snow in the street in front of your house is densely packed compared to others.

5.  If the City of Toronto has to send someone out to shovel or salt your sidewalk, you will be charged a fee for this “service: and if you do not pay it, it will be added to your property taxes.

6.  Starting this year – 2014 – the City of Toronto is paying special attention to those mounds of snow you pile at the curb in front of your house because as the weather changes they pose a safety concern regarding visibility, and drivers trying to avoid them.  Plus, by the mere fact that they are on the street means you are in violation of Section 719-5 of the Municipal Code.  By-law officers might force you to remove it at your own expense or fine you.

7.  Clean off your car before you  drive it!  All windows, the front and tail lights are essential to ensure you have complete visibility.  The majority of vehicle – pedestrian accidents in the winter occur when drivers cannot fully see out of their windows and bump into people crossing the street.

8.  I know it’s a pain in the butt for many of you, but you really do need to come to a full and complete stop at all traffic crossings when there is snow.  Besides being the law, and potentially dangerous if you do not, by rolling through stops, or around corners you also run the risk of having to brake suddenly and sliding or spinning out of control, or worse, stopping only to have the car behind you slam into you, and then for you to hit someone as a result.

9.  Signal.  I prefer to refer to the turn signal as an “indicator” because while it may be law to signal before you turn, it’s nice and kind to indicate to other drivers what you intend to do with your vehicle.  This is especially important if you are one of “those” drivers who do not feel the need to stop at every intersection as indicating your intentions keeps pedestrians safe and the cars around you less likely to want to roll down their windows and throw a snowball at your car.

10.  Be extra courteous to those around you who are walking when you are driving.  They are dealing with un-cleared sidewalks, and cold, or wind, plus heavy clothing and usually something in their hands.  The LAST thing they need to do is wonder whether that car is a) going to stop, b) sees them c) start to proceed before they finish crossing the street.

  1. If you hired a ploughing service to clean your driveway, make sure they are not falling out of favour with your neighbours or with the City by-laws.

  2. Think about others!  If your neighbour shovels your sidewalk when it snows, it might not be a smart idea to only shovel your piece of sidewalk when you are doing yours.  Even if you are in a rush, make an effort to go a little onto their side, they’ll understand.  But to put up that snow barrier while their side is still covered and yours is clean is a message to that neighbour that you are only thinking about yourself.  Is that what you want them thinking?  I’ve always said that it is better to accept the help of your neighbour than criticize them for where they put your snow, that you should have moved!

13.  Put a smile on your face and be nice to others!  Say hello to neighbours, strangers and passers by.