The Canadian government has announced yesterday a new broad engagement initiative, “An Immigration System for Canada’s Future”. The aim of this program is to gather feedback from the public to help Canada create “an immigration system that is strong, easy to navigate and adaptive to change.”
The initiative will include in-person dialogue sessions, thematic workshops, and a public survey. Input gathered will help to form Canada’s future immigration policies and programs and will benefit communities across Canada for years to come.
To kick this initiative off, Sean Fraser chaired the first session yesterday in Halifax. He emphasized the importance of immigration for Canada’s long-term success and the need to ensure that policies and programs are aligned with the needs of the communities.
A public survey will be launched later in March to gather opinions online. If you would like to learn more about how to get involved with “shaping the future of immigration in Canada”, the Canadian government has a dedicated page for the initiative that you can visit here.
The IRCC has pledged $85 million in the support provided by the Economic and Fiscal Update 2021 to update technology, among other areas. The amount is being used to develop a “secure, stable, and flexible enterprise-wide digital platform that protects people’s information will improve application processing and help Canada remain a destination of choice.”
The government has said that they are looking to automate certain tasks such as sorting applications, to give employees more time to work on cases and make final decisions. The IRCC has stated that they are “using technology to support, assist and inform IRCC decision-makers, not to replace them”.
The new systems will be a tool to screen applications for eligibility and more complex cases. However, in both circumstances, the system will send the application to an officer after screening the application. The systems will never refuse or recommend refusing applications. If an application has been refused, it was an officer who made that decision.
Critical labour market shortages have led many to turn to immigration as a path forward in addressing these shortages. The 2023-2025 Immigration Plan embraces immigration as a strategy to help businesses find workers. It also aims to attract the skills required to fill key sectors, such as health care, skilled trades, and more. This will help to manage the social and economic challenges facing Canada in the decades ahead.
Over the next three years, Canada will increase the number of new immigrants to the country each year. Canada will aim to welcome 465,000 new immigrants in 2023. The target will rise to 485,000 new immigrants in 2024. And it will again rise in 2025 to 500,000 new immigrants. The plan also brings an increased focus on attracting newcomers to different regions of the country, including small towns and rural communities.
The new plan also aims to increase regional programs to address targeted local labour market needs, through the Provincial Nominee Program, the Atlantic Immigration Program, and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
Canada has historically welcomed high numbers of newcomers to help keep its economy strong. Currently, Canada is facing a unique period of historic labour shortages alongside nearly one million job vacancies. Both are driving factors in the country’s growing immigration targets.
According to Statistics Canada, the number of job openings across the country reached an all-time high at nearly one million. This was an increase of 2.7% from the previous peak in the last quarter and over 80% above pre-pandemic levels. This has been the highest on record in recent years.
Vacancies have continued to rise in specific key sectors. Some of the hardest hit has been the health care and social assistance sector. The healthcare and social assistance sector has been growing rapidly due to the aging population. The shortage has been further exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Canada faces an acute shortage of skilled workers, many businesses struggle to find the right people to fill positions. To help address this problem, Canada has turned to immigration to fill record numbers of job openings, a trend that is expected to continue well into 2023 to help fill crucial positions.
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