While the Canadian government cuts back on settlement funding in Ontario, the province of Alberta will continue to receive steady financing to assist newcomers upon arrival.
Last week, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, under the leadership of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, announced that it would be reducing settlement funds to the province of Ontario, Canada’s most popular destination for new arrivals. The cuts would amount to approximately $53-million.
“We have seen a shift in where immigrants are settling in Canada,” said Minister Kenney upon announcing the funding cuts. “It used to be that Ontario received, by far, the largest share of immigrants.”
Over the past five years the number of new immigrants settling in Ontario dropped from about 145,000 to 106,000. Until now, funding for resettlement assistance in Ontario amounted to about $3,400 per immigrant, while in the rest of the country immigrants receive approximately $2,900 per head. The government says that it is now time to correct that discrepancy.
Kenney says that the settlement funds not only should go to provinces which already have a large number of immigrants, but should also go toward places that need to attract more immigrants.
Alberta is one province that will benefit from the government re-allocation, receiving more funds for 2011 than in the year prior.
However, advocates in Ontario are not happy about the reduction, and vow to fight the government. Other critics assert that the government should re-distribute funds even further, to ensure that an even amount is given across the country.
“The funding should be reflective of what you call a voucher system – the dollars should be following the immigrant,” said Alberta Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, noting that Ontario immigrants will still receive more money than those in other provinces.
Source: Calgary Herald