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Minister Fraser announces a broad-based engagement initiative for “an immigration system strong, easy to navigate and adaptive to change”

HALIFAX – Immigration is critical to Canada’s long-term success. And, to fully harness the potential of immigration and create the best experience for newcomers, Canada needs an immigration system that is strong, easy to navigate and adaptive to change. Better than now, in short, given the many issues associated with (wel)coming in Canada.

For this reason, the Honourable Sean Fraser (in the pic above, from his Twitter profile – @SeanFraserMP), Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced the start of a broad-based engagement initiative — An Immigration System for Canada’s Future — aimed at “exploring how immigration policies and programs can support a shared vision for Canada’s future”. The engagement, which will continue throughout the spring, will include in-person dialogue sessions across the country, thematic workshops and a survey for the public and our clients. The input gathered will inform Canada’s future immigration policies and programs, and will help shape a system that will benefit communities across the country for decades to come.

“The next generation of Canada’s immigration system will involve continued, whole-of-society collaboration. That is why – a today’s news release by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) says – this engagement initiative is intended to capture a diversity of perspectives from a broad range of partners and stakeholders, including all levels of government, businesses, academia, post-secondary institutions, settlement organizations, implicated sectors in Canada and our clients”.

To kick off the engagement initiative, Minister Fraser chaired the first dialogue session in Halifax. The session provided an opportunity for the Minister and participants to exchange ideas and discuss how Canada’s immigration policies and programs can better support the needs of communities from coast to coast.

To involve all those interested in contributing to the future of Canada’s immigration system, the IRCC will also be launching a survey, which will be available to the public later in March in addition to the dialogue sessions and thematic workshops with stakeholders (visit the website to learn more about how to get involved).

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said that “Immigration is critical to Canada’s long-term success, and we need to ensure our policies and programs are aligned with the needs of our communities. That’s why the Government of Canada is launching this large-scale engagement initiative, which will provide an opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders and Canadians to share their ideas and perspectives on how we can build a stronger, more adaptive immigration system for Canada’s future”.

Some data. In 2022, Canada welcomed approximately 437,000 new permanent residents, a new record. Immigration is the main driver of population growth in Canada. In 2021, more than 8.3 million people, or almost one-quarter (23%) of the population were, or had ever been, a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada. This was the largest proportion since Confederation, and the highest among the G7. The share of our population that is of working age is shrinking. Fifty years ago, there were about seven workers to each senior in Canada. Now, we are at approximately three workers to each senior, and projected to drop to close to only two workers to each senior in the foreseeable future. Close to two-thirds of recent immigrants are of core working age—between 25 and 54—helping rejuvenate Canada’s population.

But there are many issues to solve: often the path to obtaining permanent residency is nothing short of an odyssey: endless and interminable bureaucratic practices, often bordering on logical and for the most part incomprehensible, as it is easy to see by consulting the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) section of the federal government website, here  …a thousand “stakes” that put even the most tenacious of “aspiring Canadians” to the test. A path which, moreover, does not give any guarantee of permanence even to the most qualified workers, especially if they come from countries (such as European ones) which do not enjoy “special programs”.

And this situation also affects the perception of the opportunity to remain in Canada for those who already have permanent residence: the Institute for Canadian Citizenship said, few days ago, that Statistics Canada data indicate a 30% drop in the adoption of citizenship since 2001: in 2021, only 45.7% of permanent residents who resided in Canada from less than ten years became a citizen. A drop, compared to 60% in 2016 and 75.1% in 2001 (READ OUR PREVIOUS ARTICLE HERE: Canadian citizenship? “No, thank you”. Requests dropped from 75% to 45%. Meanwhile, permanent residence is a mirage for many).

That’s why, maybe, Minister decided to take action. “As part of our ongoing work to improve client service – , Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says in today’s press release – IRCC has taken steady action to reduce application backlogs and build a stronger immigration system. This includes digitizing applications, hiring and training new staff, and harnessing automation technologies to help us increase processing capacity and efficiency, while protecting the safety and security of Canadians”.

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