Canadian government reveals new immigration priorities
January 20, 2021
Immigration will remain central to Canada’s economy and society.
This was stressed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the new supplementary mandate letter he provided today to immigration minister Marco Mendicino.
The mandate letter is the most important policy document for Canada’s immigration department.
It outlines the goals that Canada’s prime minister is asking the immigration minister and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to pursue during the government’s time in power.
The mandate letter defines key issues such as Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan, which new immigration programs for IRCC to create, improving IRCC’s application processing times, among other issues. The release of the mandate letter comes shortly after Canada announced a historic new 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan that will see it target over 400,000 immigrants per year, the highest in its history.
The new mandate letter supplements the one that Trudeau provided to Mendicino in December 2019.
The reasons for the new supplementary mandate letter are that the Canadian government started a new session of Parliament in September and it also incorporates new objectives born out of the COVID-19 crisis.
Key priorities outlined in today’s letter include:
- Continue to welcome newcomers to support Canada’s economic growth and post-COVID recovery by expanding pilot programs to welcome refugees through economic class immigration streams; expediting family reunification; and working on sectoral and regional pilot programs.
- Continue to implement measures to provide permanent residence pathways to those who have provided health care in long-term care homes, medical facilities, or who performed other essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Continue to work with cabinet colleagues to protect the health and safety of Canadians will managing Canada’s ports of entry responsibly and compassionately.
- Identify additional permanent residence pathways for temporary foreign workers.
- Work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion to protect workers who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and to secure workers to fill labour force needs in farming and food processing.
- Continue working with Canada’s provinces and territories to provide settlement supports to newcomers including French-language training.
The new supplementary letter does not contain any surprises and explicitly outlines goals that the Canadian government has been pursuing during its time in power. It adds to the goals outlined in the December 2019 mandate letter which IRCC continues to pursue. The underlying theme of today’s release is that Canada will continue to operate its immigration system to the best of its abilities during the pandemic so it can harness the skills and talents of newcomers to support its economic health after the pandemic is behind us.