Immigration minister says Canada wants extra newcomers as targets get blended reviewsYesterday
As Canada plans to considerably ramp up its immigration ranges within the coming years, some coverage consultants are anxious about potential results on well being care, housing and the labour market.
However Immigration Minister Sean Fraser insists that Canada wants extra newcomers to deal with labour shortages and demographic adjustments that threaten the nation’s future.
“If we don’t proceed to extend our immigration ambition and produce extra working-age inhabitants and younger households into this nation, our questions won’t be about labour shortages, generations from now,” Fraser mentioned in an interview with The Canadian Press.
“They’re going to be about whether or not we will afford colleges and hospitals.”
In November, the federal Liberal authorities introduced a brand new immigration plan that may see Canada welcome 500,000 immigrants per 12 months by 2025.
A record-breaking 431,645 folks turned everlasting residents in 2022.
The brand new immigration charges can be considerably larger than charges in related nations, comparable to Australia, mentioned College of New Brunswick political science professor Ted McDonald.
That’s not a nasty factor in itself, he mentioned. However in his view, elevating immigration ranges isn’t the best strategy to tackle present labour shortages.
“I believe the coverage would make extra sense if it’s aligned with what are seen as underlying structural labour market shortages which are going to persist,” McDonald mentioned.
On the similar time, he mentioned one justification for immigration is evident: Canada has a declining birthrate.
In keeping with Statistics Canada, the nation’s birthrate fell to a file low of a median of 1.4 kids per lady in 2020. That’s effectively beneath the two.1 charge wanted to keep up a inhabitants with out immigration.
That doesn’t cease others from worrying about how extra newcomers may put a pressure on different perennial points comparable to housing affordability and well being care.
“There’s no evaluation that I’ve seen of the influence of those targets on housing affordability and availability, no evaluation of those targets when it comes to extra pressures on well being care,” mentioned Andrew Griffith, a former high-ranking official at Immigration and Citizenship Canada.
However Fraser mentioned that most of the new everlasting residents already stay in Canada. For instance, 157,000 worldwide college students turned everlasting residents in 2021.
“It’s not as if there are half one million folks coming to Canada who aren’t already right here,” the minister mentioned.
He mentioned adjustments are additionally coming to the Specific Entry system within the spring in order that immigrants might be chosen primarily based on the sector and area in Canada they’re heading to.
That may assist alleviate a few of the pressure on issues like well being care and housing, he mentioned.
The continuing debate on whether or not the brand new targets are too bold can be coinciding with heightened scrutiny concerning what – or who – is influencing authorities coverage.
Radio-Canada reported final week that two sources inside Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada mentioned McKinsey & Firm’s affect on immigration coverage has grown in recent times.
A authorities response to a Conservative MP’s written query, which was tabled within the Home of Commons in December, says the division has not just lately awarded any contracts to the consulting agency – at the least, not through the timeframe the MP requested about, which was from March 2021 till October 2022.
And through the interview Thursday, Fraser mentioned McKinsey has had no position to play within the new immigration ranges plan.
“I’m not being influenced by them,” Fraser mentioned.
“That is one thing that I’ve arrived at independently.”
The minister mentioned he got here to the choice concerning the immigration plan on the recommendation of division officers. He mentioned he additionally took into consideration what he’s heard from totally different organizations, stakeholders, and provincial and territorial leaders.
Coverage consultants usually fear concerning the outsized affect stakeholders can have on authorities insurance policies, since curiosity teams foyer the federal government to implement insurance policies which are according to their priorities, and a few are extra highly effective than others.
Enterprise teams in Canada have seen ongoing labour shortages as a significant concern, they usually have known as on the federal government to assist fill vacancies.
Following the announcement of the brand new plan, the Enterprise Council of Canada applauded the targets in a press launch, saying that “an financial system that’s chronically wanting staff can not obtain its potential.”
Griffith mentioned that in his opinion, the present authorities is “pretty conscious of the pressures of stakeholders,” whether or not they’re enterprise teams or organizations that work with immigrants.
Whereas the pursuits of stakeholders can generally align with what is definitely good coverage, McDonald mentioned stakeholder teams have “vested pursuits.”
“Now we have to pay attention to the place the advocacy is coming from, and never being naive about it,” he mentioned.