Since 1991, Quebec has been the only province in Canada with full jurisdiction over its own immigration program. As provinces increasingly spar with the federal government over immigration issues, some experts are calling for similar powers for Ontario.
Looking to examples in Quebec and Prince Edward Island – where the provincial government has almost exclusive powers over its immigrant investor program – immigrant advocates Viresh Fernando and Tim Leahy argue that Ontario’s needs are not being met by the federal program.
While provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan are booming, in recent years Ontario has seen a dramatic decline of immigrants choosing to settle in Canada’s most populous province. Just a decade ago, Ontario welcomed approximately half of all newcomers. By 2012, that share had dropped to 38 percent.
If Ontario were able to implement and oversee it’s own provincial investor program, argue Fernando and Leahy, employers and governments would be able to not only target the workers needed in potential projects such as the Ring of Fire mining development, but also bring in the investment needed to boost these initiatives.
When the federal government closed its Immigrant Investor Program this year, a potential $8 billion dollars was lost. Ontario, and other provinces looking for investors, could benefit with a much more targeted and efficient program tailored to its own needs moving forward.
While Quebec’s powers are part of a larger and deep-rooted power struggle between the provinces, it could provide a strong example for the potential and success of immigration programs run at the provincial level.
Source: Toronto Star