Shortage of Chinese and South Asian chefs impacts Metro Vancouver restaurants

By Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun | During the lunch rush at The Boss on Main, there are about 100 people seated in the booths eating and ordering food. In the kitchen everyone is working full-tilt including cook Shuji Chen. Chen’s specialty is preparing the kinds of Hong Kong-style Chinese food that regulars like. He’s an expert in using a commercial wok. It’s much more challenging to use than a home wok because it’s bigger and heavier and doesn’t have a single long handle to grab onto: you have to learn how to cook — and not burn yourself — by holding the side grip with a cloth. What makes Chen unusual is his age. At 64, he’s been working in the kitchen of The Boss since he came to Vancouver from Guangzhou in 1986. After 28 years, he’s dropped down to working four days a week from six. He knows he’s getting close to retirement but he plans to keep cooking, at least for a few more years. What’s happening with Chen in the kitchen of The Boss is not unique in Metro Vancouver. There is a general shortage of chefs for many restaurants but it’s even worse in restaurants specializing in the national cuisines of China, India and other countries. Chefs are aging and they’re not being replaced either with new immigrants with specialized cooking skills or by locally-trained chefs. Behind the scenes, restaurants are figuring out ways to deal with the shortage. Some are paying more or closing sections. Others are reducing hours so they’re no longer serving, for example, lunches on some days. Owners and their...

Vancouver Chinatown’s history woven into Chinatowns across the globe

By Joanne Lee-Young, Vancouver Sun | A dozen or so people are gathered in the dining room of a cosy Vancouver home to look back on a special trip they made to Kaiping in southern China. Plates are laden with food and treats of all sorts brought to share. There’s baked salmon, stir-fried broccoli, takeout boxes of barbecued pork and duck, a selection of gourmet cheeses with thin apple slices, and Ziploc bags of black sesame and peanut brittle. Later, bottles of Scotch come out, and there is both laughter and reverence as the group chat about what they experienced and who they met. It’s a weekend gathering just ahead of Lunar New Year, one grounded in many of the holiday’s traditional and universal themes: travel and reunion, abundant food, drink and revelry. Underpinning it all is a deep respect for one’s family and forebears. As Vancouver aims for UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for its Chinatown, reflecting on this trip to Kaiping reveals the fascinating, long-standing connections that exist between the two cities. Kaiping is a city in southern China’s Guangdong province known for its hundreds of crumbling “diao lou” fortress towers and villas, which were built in the early 20th century by Chinese families who returned to the area after making good on a whole new life overseas in cities such as Vancouver. They returned to Kaiping with money to invest and a love of Western styles. The diao lou buildings, made of imported cement, feature ornate balconies and turrets like those on a medieval castle in Europe, but they are also infused with details that hark...

Immigrants fuel Canada’s high education rates

By The PIE News | The percentage of degree holders among 25 to 35 year olds is 36% for second generation migrants, compared to 24% for peers with Canadian-born parents. According to the Immigration Department analysis, this may be down to the fact that many migrants already enter Canada holding university degrees and have high expectations for their children’s academic achievements. In turn this leads to the pursuit of degrees by the next generation. “Parents’ expectations regarding education matters, and immigrant families, particularly Asian families, tend to have higher educational expectations for their children, on average, than families with Canadian-born parents,” said the report. Not all source countries fare the same: more than half of second-generation immigrants from China and India hold degrees, compared to about 30 to 37% of those from Western Europe. Canada was just behind Korea in 2016 as the most educated country in the world according to OECD. Over 60% of its citizens aged 25-34 year old and 42% of 55-64 year olds have university degrees – well above the OECD average. Around the world, second generation immigrants to the European Union have higher tertiary education attainment rates than their non-immigrant peers, a 2016 Eurostat report showed. Across the EU, 36% of first generation and 38% of second generation immigrants had post-secondary degrees in 2014, compared to 31% of native-born peers with native background. However, there were differences between members states. In the UK, the fifth best-educated country according to OECD, about half of first generation and 47% of second generation migrants had university degrees, compared to 37% of native-born citizens. In Belgium the percentages...

Who are the most and least educated in Canada?

By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun | Canadians of colour and children of immigrants tend to be far more educated than Canadian whites and aboriginals, according to two studies. “Canada’s white males are the least likely to hold university degrees in the knowledge economy,” says a report by Jack Jedwab, president of the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration. Only 24 per cent of white Canadian men between ages 35 and 44 have university degrees, according to Jedwab’s research. That is less than half the university-education rate of Canadians of South Asian, Chinese and Korean background. An internal federal Immigration Department report by Garnett Picot confirms a related trend: The 2016 census shows that 36 per cent of the children of immigrants aged 25 to 35 hold university degrees, compared to just 24 per cent of people in that age bracket with Canadian-born parents. “Canada fortunately has among the best educational and economic outcomes for the children of immigrants in the western world. This success sets Canada apart from most European nations, and to some extent, the U.S.,” Picot said in his report, titled The Educational and Labour market Outcomes of the Children of Immigrants: A Success to be Preserved. “Canada’s white males are the least likely to hold university degrees in the knowledge economy,” says a report by Jack Jedwab, president of the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration. Only 24 per cent of white Canadian men between ages 35 and 44 have university degrees, according to Jedwab’s research. That is less than half the university-education rate of Canadians of South Asian, Chinese and Korean background. An internal federal...

Canada’s immigration program for migrant caregivers under review

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine | Immigration Canada says caregivers who have not accrued the required two years of employment by Nov. 29, 2019 need not apply. Foreign caregivers will not be eligible for permanent residence if they have not accrued two years of employment by November 29, 2019, according to a notice posted by the Immigration Department. The federal government is currently reviewing Canada’s two programs for foreign caregivers — one for those caring for children and the other for those caring for adults with high medical needs — and has yet to decide whether to do away with them completely, renew them or come up with replacements. “Both programs were launched as five-year pilots, including a date that they expire. With a launch date of November 29, 2014, this means they will expire on November 29, 2019,” said Immigration Canada spokesperson Faith St. John. “An assessment is underway on both of these pilots. This assessment will help determine what pathway to permanent residence should be in place after that date. Options to replace the two pilots or make them permanent will be reviewed and announced before they expire in 2019.” Caregivers and their advocates said they were caught off-guard by the announcement posted online over the weekend, prompting fear that this could mark the end of the special pathway to permanent residency for foreign caregivers. “Many caregivers are confused and frustrated because of the turnaround from the government,” said University of Toronto social work professor Rupaleem Bhuyan, who leads the Migrant Mothers Project, a community-university research initiative to study the effect of immigration policies. Bhuyan noted that the...

Connecting work with a higher purpose: ‘Canada’s Top Employers for Young People’ for 2018 are announced

By Market Business Insider | Finding the ‘right fit’ when reviewing young job applicants is a challenge, but for many students and recent graduates finding the ‘right organization’ is even tougher. Young people are discerning about where they start their careers – and want to be sure that their beliefs and values line up with a prospective employer’s. How, then, should organizations go about attracting the best and the brightest? By connecting work to a higher purpose, say winners of this year’s Canada’s Top Employers for Young People, announced this morning in a special magazine in The Globe and Mail. “In the competition for talent, a key variable for millennials and Gen-Z is the ability to connect their work with greater meaning – that’s where winners of this year’s competition excel,” says Kristina Leung, Senior Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, which manages the competition. “Whether on a personal or professional level, the employers chosen for this year’s list provide opportunities for career growth and advancement – as well as opportunities to support broader social causes through community projects and volunteerism.” “It’s an ideal combination,” adds Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project and Author of The Career Directory, Canada’s longest-running career guide for students. “It demonstrates an organization’s commitment to the growth of their employees as individuals – ultimately, that helps keep young people stay engaged and connected to the work they do.” Some notable initiatives that the editors recognized this year: SAP Canada offers high-potential employees opportunities to participate in a ‘social sabbatical’ program, a unique, short-term assignment where the employee...