Bill C-50: A New Direction for Canada Immigration

What does Bill C-50 mean for Canadian immigrants?

In June 2008, the Canadian government approved Bill C-50 that proposes a series of changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act .  The full implementation of the Bill has been put on hold until a new government is elected on October 14, 2008.

How this Bill will affect the future of immigration will depend on which party comes into power.  Nonetheless, we can expect some critical changes to the Canadian immigration policy in the near future. Briefly, Bill C-50 proposes several changes:

  • The Minister of Immigration will have power to limit the number of new applications; to reject applications; and to decide the order in which new applications are processed.
  • Priority will be given to qualified skilled professionals applying under the economic class categories.
  • Immigration officers do not have to accept applications under the Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds made outside of Canada.

The Bill was introduced by the Conservative government and received support from the Liberal party; however two other Canadian political parties, the NDP and Bloc Quebecois, voted against the bill.

The Conservative party believes that the changes are required to modernize the immigration system, and as the Finance Minister Jim Flaherty commented, the government needs to implement a “competitive immigration system which will quickly process skilled immigrants who can make an immediate contribution to the economy”.

In light of the competition in the global capitalist economy, the Canadian government is using immigration policies in order to satisfy market needs. This new direction in immigration policy has its critics and those who favour the changes:  the opinions are largely influenced by our notions and understanding of immigration.

Will Bill C-50 effect the right type of change?

Undoubtedly, it is expected that the changes will come at the expense of low-skilled workers, non-status immigrants and those seeking family reunification.  The impact of the immigration policies will also depend on the new Canadian government and how it will decide to put these policies into practice.

Mariana Brankovic
Canadian Immigration Lawyer on Bill C-50

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

  • I believe that Bill C-50 may encourage arbitrary, unpredictable and inconsistent decision making in immigration cases. This approach may lead to more litigation in the courts creating further immigration backlogs. While it is important that the system be flexible in terms of current market and economic needs, there should be some limitations imposed to ensure consistency in immigration decision making. It is always important that procedural fairness and natural justice be adhered to.

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