Canada’s Immigration Minister is touring the country this month to consult with private and public policy experts on immigration.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has kicked off the tour in Calgary with plans to stop in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. He and the department of Citizenship and Immigration will also open the consultations to the public next month via the internet.
“We want people’s views on what is the right mix of our various immigration programs, how do we ensure that immigrants succeed economically, because when immigrants get good jobs, Canada succeeds,” Kenney said when starting his tour, wherein he will meet with individuals from resettlement organizations, community groups and private employers.
Last year the government admitted 281,000 new permanent residents, which was more than the planned target of 265,000. Only about 30 percent of those new residents were under economic categories – meaning those chosen for their potential to contribute to the economy through their skills, education and experience.
Many policymakers are calling on the government to increase immigration levels in the coming years, as the economy recovers and new labour shortages are anticipated. However, the government thus far seems hesitant to risk over-burdening the system.
“We [the government] do not have the resources or ability to integrate a million new immigrants every year,” said notes from Kenney that were released this week. “We can’t teach them English or French. We can’t flood our taxpayer-funded services like health care and public education. We don’t put such high pressure on housing and real estate markets.”
The government hopes that these national consultations will help them to better address the application backlog and ensure that those immigrants whose skills are most in demand will be favoured.
Sources: Calgary Herald