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Premiers make recommendations for improvements to immigration

July 20, 2022

By CIC News

Attracting and retaining skilled foreign workers was one of the main topics at a recent Premiers Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia.

Canada’s unemployment rate stands at a historically low 4.9% and as a result, the country is facing a shortage of labour. The shortage is due in large part to many of Canada’s aging workers retiring and an extremely low birth rate.

Immigrants are seen as a major part of the solution to fixing the labour shortage. The Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 plans to welcome over 450,000 new permanent residents to Canada by 2024. However, some provinces believe this number alone is not sufficient to close the gaps in Canada’s workforce.

For example, Ontario’s immigration minister Monte McNaughton has said that there needs to be nearly double the amount of skilled economic immigrants arriving in Ontario. In 2021, the province was able to select 9,000 under its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and the allocation has been raised to 9,700 for 2022.

Immigration is a shared responsibility

The provinces, territories, and the federal governments share jurisdiction over immigration policy. Every province and territory, except Nunavut, has a bilaterial agreement with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on how this responsibility is shared and how many new immigrants a province can evaluate to arrive as economic class immigrants.

During the meeting, the premiers agreed that provinces should have more of a say in selecting the immigrants who come to their province. Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford told the Toronto Star while in Victoria that he would prefer a system much like Quebec’s, which selects nearly 90% of its economic class immigrants.

Premiers typically meet at least once a year to discuss issues that are common among them and later present a united argument to the federal government for increased resources. Canadian premiers are the political head of a province and represent provincial interests in Canada’s federal government. Canada has 10 provinces and three territories.

Overall, the premiers have made a few key recommendations to IRCC that they believe will increase the flow of skilled labour into the provinces.

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