One of the tasks that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has entrusted to his new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco Mendicino, is to manage the arrival of more than a million new permanent residents and create a new local government nomination program.
These and other responsibilities are set out in Mendicino's mandate that the federal government released Friday.
The letter contains no surprises and is consistent with the policies that the Liberal Party of Canada enacted during its first mandate between 2015 and 2019. It also reflects the promises the liberals announced in their successful bid for a second term this fall.
Key aspects of the letter of mandate call on Mendicino:
Ensure the effective implementation of Canada's increased annual immigration plan for 2020-2022, which will attract over a million new permanent residents to Canada during this period.
If the latest trends are an indication of what will come, the Federal Government will continue to grow annually immigration levels of around 10,000 new permanent residents in 2022.
This means that Canada would target 341,000 immigrants in 2020, 350,000 in 2021, and possibly 360,000 in 2022.
Work with the provinces and territories to re-focus on providing quality settlement services to ensure the successful settlement and integration of new Canadians. This requires a rigorous handling of data in order to measure the results accurately.
Canada invests more than any other country in settlement and integration assistance to help immigrants prepare for the job market, improve their language skills, build community links and integrate with Canadian society. That's more than $ 1.5 billion a year for the federal government and hundreds of millions of additional provincial and territorial settlement expenses.
One of the challenges Canada faced is measuring how well the various settlement programs translate into better economic and social outcomes for immigrants. By using a "more rigorous data approach" to measure settlement outcomes, the federal government and its provincial and territorial partners can determine which settlement programs are most effective in helping immigrants thrive in Canada.
Introduction of a municipal nomination program that enables local communities, chambers of commerce and local labor councils to directly support permanent immigrants. At least 5,000 new places will be reserved for this program.
The creation of a Municipal Nominee Program (MNP) is an election promise that addresses a long-standing challenge: encouraging immigrants to settle outside of Canada's largest cities such as Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
The MNP could provide smaller cities with comparable powers to select programs that have proven successful in helping less populated jurisdictions attract more immigrants, such as the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP).
You will also take the necessary steps to make the Atlantic Immigration Pilot permanent. At least 5,000 new places will be reserved for this program.
The Atlantic immigration pilot (AIP) has succeeded in attracting more immigrants to the Canadian Atlantic provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Since its launch in 2017, more than 4,000 immigrants have been brought to Atlantic Canada. The permanent establishment of the AIP will help increase population and economic growth in the Atlantic.
Submit a plan to abolish citizenship fees for those who have met the requirements to obtain citizenship.
In response to feedback that the fees for applying for Canadian citizenship are too high, the federal government will try to waive the fees entirely. Based on forecasts by the federal government, we can assume that the number of immigrants who acquire citizenship will increase by 40 percent by 2024 thanks to this proposed policy.
Support the Minister of Public Security and Emergency Preparedness for irregular migration, including the new border enforcement strategy, and continue work with the United States to modernize the safe third countries agreement.
Signed in 2002 to limit who can apply for asylum at official land border crossings between Canada and the United States Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) became a major problem for the Liberals during their first term. Since 2017, more than 50,000 people have used a gap in the STCA to apply for asylum after entering Canada outside the border crossings covered by the agreement. Closing this gap would be an important goal of modernizing the STCA, but successive government agencies in the United States have shown little interest in this conversation with Canada.
With the support of the Minister for Women, Equality and Rural Economic Development and the Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Youth, pilot programs are to be implemented to encourage more newcomers to settle in rural Canada.
This paragraph states that the federal government will launch further pilot programs to promote immigration outside of Canada's largest cities. In addition to PNP, AIP and MNP, the Federal Government also has the Pilot for rural and northern immigration (RNIP), launched in 2019 to promote a wider distribution of immigrants across the country (a process called "regionalization").
It remains to be seen what political goal will require the launch of additional federal pilots to promote regionalization.
While mandate letters are not meant to be comprehensive, Mendicinos has some notable omissions.
For example, there is no mention of Parents and grandparents program this has faced challenges in the past ten years and will, as can be assumed, be a priority for the federal government in 2020.
The federal government also led Canada's efforts to welcome entrepreneurs and investors, but has withdrawn to the provinces and territories in recent years. The launch of new pilot projects to welcome more entrepreneurs and investors would be in line with the federal government's desire to promote innovation and entrepreneurship and to welcome more foreign direct investment in Canada.
With the Liberals making significant changes to the immigration system during their first mandate, it is expected that they will not be afraid to introduce further improvements beyond what is included in Minister Mendicino's mandate.
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