Some of the experts are saying the federal government’s recent roll-out of a “historic” new multi-year immigration plan gives the system clarity but falls short of what the nation really needs in terms of new residents.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen unveiled the plan Nov. 1. It calls for 310,000 new permanent residents in 2018, increasing that number to 330,000 by 2019 and 340,000 by 2020.

“This historic multi-year immigration levels plan will benefit all Canadians because immigrants will contribute their talents to support our economic growth and innovation, helping to keep our country at the forefront of the global economy,” said Hussen.

One in five Canadians is foreign-born, the highest among G7 nations. According to the government, the adoption of a growth-oriented multi-year levels plan will help to plan for the future and address the impact of aging populations and support economic growth and innovation and address labor market needs.

The national labour market is being impacted by demographic challenges. In 1971, there were 6.6 people of working age for each senior. By 2012, the worker-to-retiree ratio had dropped to 4.2 to 1, and projections put the ratio at 2 to 1 by 2036, at which time five million Canadians are set to retire.

“Canada for a while has had this idea they want immigration levels per year to be at one percent of the population, and we’re getting to 0.9 percent,” he said. “But if you compare the numbers to what Canada has had in the past or other countries in Europe it’s really not that high. It’s definitely going up but it’s not unprecedented.”

Queen’s University law professor Sharryn Aiken had a mixed reaction to the announcement, saying she also applauded the government’s focus on a multi-year strategy but was disappointed in other aspects of the plan.

“It’s long been recommended we should be aiming for an immigration level of one percent of the population as a minimum, which is something the Liberals have spoken about for many years,” she said. “So I question the caution in this area. It was an opportunity for the government to take a bold step to lead instead of following.”

“As an immigration professional I’m quite happy to have seen the processing times go down over the past three years, so it is important to be conservative when it comes to that,” said some legal consultants. “We do want the people who go into the system to become permanent residents to keep Canada competitive, so you don’t want to put too many people in so it overburdens the system and makes it difficult to settle in Canada.”

“The research certainly supports the fact that in the medium to long term, [sponsored refugees] will go on to integrate, settle and become successful,” Sharryn  said. “I would say that overall I’m disappointed in the really limited support for resettled refugees in the government-assisted category and the willingness to in effect privatize Canada’s resettlement program by putting more energy into private sponsorships.” Experts are saying the federal government’s recent rollout of a “historic” new multi-year immigration plan gives the system clarity but falls short of what the nation really needs in terms of new residents.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen unveiled the plan Nov. 1. It calls for 310,000 new permanent residents in 2018, increasing that number to 330,000 by 2019 and 340,000 by 2020.

“This historic multi-year immigration levels plan will benefit all Canadians because immigrants will contribute their talents to support our economic growth and innovation, helping to keep our country at the forefront of the global economy,” said Hussen.

“Canada for a while has had this idea they want immigration levels per year to be at one percent of the population, and we’re getting to 0.9 percent,” he said. “But if you compare the numbers to what Canada has had in the past or other countries in Europe it’s really not that high. It’s definitely going up but it’s not unprecedented.”

Queen’s University law professor Sharryn Aiken had a mixed reaction to the announcement, saying she also applauded the government’s focus on a multi-year strategy but was disappointed in other aspects of the plan.

“It’s long been recommended we should be aiming for an immigration level of one percent of the population as a minimum, which is something the Liberals have spoken about for many years,” she said. “So I question the caution in this area. It was an opportunity for the government to take a bold step to lead instead of following.”

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