We recently wrote about the arguments surrounding Canada’s 2018 potential immigration plan. On November 1st, Canada announced its finalized plan, and it has been deemed the “most ambitious plan” in recent history by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen. One of the reasons it is so ambitious is because it not only set a target number of 310,000 for 2018, but also 330,000 and 340,000 in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The increase will be in the number of economic migrants, family reunifications, and refugees. With this goal number, Hussen expects immigrants to account for one per cent of the Canadian population by 2020.

Filling the Labour Gap

One of the main reasons for such a significant increase in immigrants is the aging population in Canada. Hussen says that by 2035, “five million Canadians are set to retire…and we have fewer people working to support seniors and retirees” (CBC.ca). The ratio of working age people for each senior has gone down significantly in the past forty years, and is projected to continue decreasing. Therefore, by looking toward immigration for population growth, this growing labour gap can be accounted for.

Integration and Resources

In order to successfully implement increased levels of immigration, the Liberal government and Conservative critics alike agree integration and resource management is key. They recognize that it is not enough to simply bring in immigrants, but that it is crucial to make sure people are “given the tools that they need to succeed” once they arrive. In respect to integration, Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel suggests the system “should focus on helping immigrants integrate through language efficiency and through mental health support plans for…victims of trauma” (CBC.ca).

The Case of Toronto

Because of the large number of immigrants consistently choosing Toronto as their destination, immigration experts have questioned whether the city is ready for the proposed increase. Certain groups of immigrants, such as racialized immigrant women, already face unemployment and low levels of income. Margaret Eaton, the executive director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, says employers must step up and give immigrants a chance to succeed. With the pool of potential workers likely to expand, it is crucial the city is prepared in regard to services and support it can provide to its inhabitants. This includes preparing schools to receive non-English speaking students, and working with employers to create opportunities. While many recent immigrants have actually chosen to settle in areas outside of Toronto with more employment opportunities and affordable housing, Toronto is still expected to be a primary recipient of immigrants and must be able to support such an influx.

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