The British Columbia provincial government is hopeful that the Canadian government will allow it to substantially increase the number of immigrants it is able to bring in through its Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP).
The province’s Premier, Christy Clark, along with a number of BC industry leaders, arrived in Ottawa yesterday to open talks about boosting existing immigrant quotas.
And following the meeting, Premier Clark seemed pleased with the progress made. “They are open to hearing the argument,” she said. “The most important component of it is the PNP, which allows the province to decide which specific skills are being allowed into the province. It’s at about 5,500 now; we need it to be 9,000 because we need to skills match people who are going to become Canadian citizens.”
BC is set to lead the country in terms of economic growth over the next 12 months, but the province is facing severe skill shortages in a number of industries, including forestry and agriculture.
Should BC be successful in lobbying the government to increase the current quota, it is likely other provinces will also seek similar measures. A number of Canadian provinces have voiced the importance of increased immigration over the past year.
“The provincial nominees are the best fit for British Columbia,” said Shirley Bond, BC’s Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, said in a recent interview. “The PNP number is critical for us. We want to make sure the federal government understands that we need to have a work force that meets the needs of our diverse economy.”
To date, the country’s Immigration Minister, John McCallum, is yet to set Canada’s immigrant intake target for this year, with the programme currently focussed on resettling Syrian refugees.