Canadian cities are urging the federal government to allow their direct participation in developing immigration policies.
The issue was raised after the release of a recent report by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which claimed that government services are not adequately addressing newcomers’ needs. The FCM argues that their findings are a direct result of the decision-makers’ distance from the frontlines.
Officials at the FCM recognize the importance of immigration to Canada’s future and are calling on the federal government to open further the lines of communication.
“Notwithstanding their important role and the significant costs they incur, municipalities have been largely left out of immigration policy and funding decisions,” said the report. “But out of necessity and in recognition of the value new immigrants bring to communities, municipalities are integrating immigrant needs into their budgets and service plans, despite the economic pressures they are already under.”
The report went on to make several specific recommendations, including setting clearer integration targets and increased funding for affordable housing.
“This report should be a wake-up call,” said FCM president Berry Vrbanovic. “The Canadian economy depends on the successful integration of new Canadians, and the federal government has a clear role to play in supporting that work at the local level.”
Source: Edmonton Journal