Canadian Ministers discuss future immigration policy

Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments reiterated their shared commitment to maximising the economic benefits of immigration at a recent meeting of FPT Ministers responsible for immigration.

The selection of economic immigrants and the improvement of settlement and labour market outcomes for newcomers were a key focus of the meeting, which was co-chaired by Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Ontario’s Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade Minister Michael Chan.

Economic immigration and ensuring Canada remains a destination of choice continue to be top priorities for all participants around the table. Ministers present at the meeting discussed the launch of the new Express Entry immigration system and the ongoing importance of the Provincial Nominee Programmes that allow provinces and territories to find prospective immigrants to meet their labour market needs.

In 2014, 63 per cent of immigrants were in the economic stream. Governments aim to increase that percentage to 70 per cent in the years ahead. Meanwhile, more than 47,000 provincial and territorial nominees, including their spouses and dependants, were admitted to Canada last year. This represents a 42 per cent increase between 2013 and 2015.

“Our government is working to welcome the best and the brightest more quickly, and to get these skilled newcomers integrated more fully into Canada’s economy and Canadian society,” said Minister Alexander of the meeting. “Working with provincial and territorial partners, we can maximise the benefits that immigration brings to the Canadian economy and support our top priority: creating jobs and economic growth.”

Immigration levels planning was discussed by the ministers. Provincial and territorial representatives will continue to provide advice based on labour-market data. This advice will inform the decisions of the federal government, along with input from third parties including private-sector employers in a series of cross-Canada consultations in the coming months.

Ministers also reviewed the ongoing work on Helping Immigrants Succeed: An FPT Action Plan that aims to improve Employment Fit/Foreign Qualification Recognition, Social Connections, and Language for those outside of the labour market.

Ministers discussed progress on the three-year action plan FPT Vision for Immigration to Canada, that is intended to adapt to immigration changes and to build a fast, fair and flexible economic immigration system. Efforts remain focused on meeting labour market needs, increasing Francophone immigration and improving settlement outcomes for all newcomers.

Under the Canada-Québec Accord relating to immigration and temporary admission of aliens, Québec fully assumes sole responsibility for establishing immigration levels, and for the selection, francisation and integration of immigrants. In areas under its responsibility, Québec develops its policies and programs, legislates, regulates and sets its own standards.