The premiers of Canada’s 9 provinces and territories have called for the federal government to give them the same controls over immigration as Quebec.
The 1991 Canada-Quebec Accord gives the French-speaking province the right to set its own immigration policies, with minimal input at federal level.
Now the other premiers want to be given the same powers, mainly because they believe they are each best placed to decide exactly what is required in terms of immigration for their individual economies.
|Kathleen Wynne||Ontario||Bob McLeod||Northwest Territories|
|Philippe Couillard||Quebec||Darrell Pasloski||Yukon|
|Stephen McNeil||Nova Scotia||Peter Taptuna||Nunavut|
|Brian Gallant||New Brunswick|
|Christy Clark||British Columbia|
|Wade MacLauchlan||Prince Edward Island|
|Dwight Ball||Newfoundland & Labrador|
“Canada’s Premiers call on the federal government to establish an equivalent agreement to the Canada-Quebec Accord with all provinces and territories,” read a statement from the Council of the Federation talks in Whitehorse, Yukon, which took place between July 20 and 22.
Control over immigration is a contentious issue between the provincial and territorial governments and federal-level politicians.
Quebec has used its policy-setting power to promote its own skilled worker program and to continue the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), a source of controversy in Ontario and British Columbia as many of the candidates granted residency end up settling in Toronto and Vancouver.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals appear to be in the process of responding to those calls, and are currently conducting a review into all of Canada’s immigration policies.
In the meantime, controversial caps on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have been relaxed, and an initiative specific to Atlantic Canada introduced, covering the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, which will see an extra 2,000 skilled immigrations a year brought in.
It is unclear whether similar initiatives are planned for the other provinces and territories. Clearly, the other premiers would like to think as much.
“Immigration is a key economic driver and an integral part of the fabric of Canadian society,” the statement said.
“This is a shared responsibility and provinces and territories are well placed to define and shape Canada’s immigration system in partnership with the federal government.
“Provinces and territories understand best how the needs of their economies and labour markets can be addressed through immigration.
“Premiers call on the federal government for an increase in overall economic immigration levels including raising the caps on the provincial and territorial nominee programs in order to enable jurisdictions to respond to local labour market needs.”
The premiers also called for more help with settling Syrian refugees, with nearly 30,000 brought in since the Liberals came to power in November.
“In order to support a successful transition to life in Canada, Premiers call on the federal government for sufficient funding for key services such as education, language training and workplace training,” the statement added.
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