The Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration met virtually yesterday to discuss the future of immigration in Canada at this unprecedented moment. Immigration was a Canadian advantage before the pandemic; immigrants are helping Canadians through this time right now and immigration will be critical to Canada’s economic recovery. The federal, provincial and territorial ministers agreed to continue building a strong immigration system Canadians value and trust.
Ministers committed to advancing shared immigration priorities and enhancing Canada’s immigration policies and programs. The main driver will be the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Strategic Plan for Immigration 2020-2023. Consequently, the plan sets out a vision for immigration, highlighting how newcomers contribute to building vibrant communities and an inclusive and prosperous Canada, supported by a robust and responsive immigration system.
Ministers commended the “Team Canada” response to COVID-19. It will support a flexible immigration system focused on meeting critical labour market needs, specifically in the agriculture sector. They will ensure continued delivery of essential services for newcomers. Federal, provincial and territorial governments have collectively taken action to ensure the health and safety of temporary foreign workers and other vulnerable newcomers; so it will continue to be a top priority.
Newcomers are important
Ministers reaffirmed the importance of newcomers, particularly international students, in keeping the economy and Canada’s communities moving forward. Immigration drives economic and demographic growth, which are vital to Canada’s economic recovery and long-term success.
While Canada’s ability to receive and successfully integrate newcomers is affected in the short term, long-term drivers for responsible increases to immigration levels remain.Ministers also discussed the challenges of attracting newcomers to communities outside of major urban centres across Canada. Ministers agreed on the importance of advancing regional economic immigration objectives.
They also acknowledged the proven success and the strong track record of Provincial Nominee Programs to distribute the benefits of immigration across Canada and federal pilots to address targeted regional (Atlantic) and local (Rural/Northern) gaps. Recognizing that immigration in Canada is a shared jurisdiction, ministers referenced the development of a new Municipal Nominee Program; they agreed that continued collaboration is needed to enable a coordinated immigration response to community and labour market needs while supporting the ongoing success of Provincial Nominee Programs.
Note: As requested by the Government of Quebec, the Quebec minister responsible for immigration holds observer status at the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers’ Table. Under the Canada-Québec Accord, Quebec assumes sole responsibility for establishing immigration levels, the selection, francization and integration of immigrants. In areas under its responsibility, Quebec develops its policies and programs, and legislates, regulates and sets its own standards.
“Throughout Canada’s response to COVID-19, immigration has played a vital role. Not only is immigration helping to deliver food, fuel and health supplies; it is also going to be key to our long-term economic recovery. We advanced that goal at today’s federal-provincial-territorial meeting through our ongoing collaboration on a number of priorities; this includes how best to recruit skilled workers, attract international students and enhance regional immigration. Together, we will continue welcoming newcomers to ensure we build a nation that is diverse, prosperous and strong.”
– The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“Although we’ve had a disruption this year due to COVID-19, now is the time, more than ever, to work together to attract, welcome and retain new Canadians. Federal-provincial-territorial collaboration remains strong; provinces and territories further examining the benefits and ways forward for economic immigration in our regions. Together, we can grow into an even more prosperous country where newcomers and their families can settle, succeed and contribute to our communities.”
–The Honourable Trevor Holder, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and provincial-territorial co-chair of the Forum of Ministers responsible for Immigration
Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada