Marco Mendicino outlined his vision for the Canadian immigration system in Toronto today.
It was his first major political speech since he was appointed Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in November 2019. Mendicino was appointed after the Canadian Liberal Party was re-elected to a second mandate in October. He is currently pursuing an immigration plan, which is set out in his mandate.
“Vision” speeches have a long tradition among Canadian immigration ministers. They describe the government’s goals and what strategies and programs the government will pursue to achieve them.
Mendicino’s speech was no different.
Mendicino opened his speech by stating that Canada’s future depends on immigration. It is therefore important to have a dialogue about how many people Canada needs to ensure its economic prosperity.
This dialogue, Mendicino said, is necessary due to Canada’s demographic reality. As an aging country with a low birth rate, Canadians live longer and do not have enough children to sustain the population.
This puts more pressure on Canada’s economy and financial position. This is due to the fact that fewer workers are being used to finance rising government spending, such as healthcare, which is becoming more expensive to deliver as the proportion of older Canadians continues to grow.
Mendicino said an essential part of the solution was to welcome immigrants. Today, approximately 80 percent of Canada’s population growth is achieved through immigration, and estimates suggest that it will reach 100 percent by 2030.
For this reason, Canada will accept over a million immigrants in the next three years, Mendicino said when he found that he would officially present the Canadian 2020-2022 immigration plan in March.
Express entry will remain the flagship program for admitting immigrants to Canada and has been successful since its launch in January 2015. Mendicino found that 95 percent of Express Entry arrivals have a job and around 80 percent work in their area.
However, there is still a need to promote the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities across the country. This explains why the federal government launched it Pilot for rural and northern immigration in 2019.
The Municipal Nominee Program (MNP) is another initiative that the federal government will pursue to promote economic growth across Canada. The minister said the government is in pre-consultation on what the program will look like and welcomes stakeholder feedback on the design of the MNP.
Minister Mendicino asked participants to support a national dialogue that immigration is a net positive for Canada. He noted that the Canadian immigration system was praised by the OECD as an international standard for the effective management of an immigration system.
He concluded by saying that Canada was built on immigration strength.
The admission of immigrants will help expand the job market, support businesses and ensure that “Canada remains the best country in the world”.
Kareem El-Assal is the Director of Policy & Digital Strategy at CanadaVisa.
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