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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

Share your opinion on immigration

by Michael Scott

The election last fall is long over but the Liberal government continues to engage Canadians on the question of immigration. It is rewarding to know that the government no longer relies upon the right wing think tanks for policy positions, but instead, wants to know what we think. The Liberals promised to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees and they have met that target. You may not understand Canada’s international responsibility to take in peoples uprooted by war and in danger for their lives, but you cannot fault the Trudeau government for going back on its word, or its election campaign promises. Now, they want to know what we Canadians think about immigration.

From July 5 to August 5, 2016, all Canadians, not only special interest groups or lobby groups, are invited to give feedback to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Read the discussion guide at on the IRCC web site (listed below) before submitting your views. The department has identified specific areas of concern.

The first part is entitled Strengthening our Canadian fabric, and they would like to know your opinion about the following questions:

  • “how many newcomers should we welcome to Canada in 2017 and beyond;
  • how can we best support newcomers to ensure that they become successful members of our communities;
  • do we have the balance right among the immigration programs or streams? If not, what priorities should form the foundation of Canada’s immigration planning;
  • how can immigration policy play a role in supporting economic growth and innovation in Canada;
  • should there be more programs for businesses to permanently hire foreign workers if they can’t find Canadians to fill the job;
  • what is the right balance between attracting global talent for high-growth sectors, on the one hand, and ensuring affordable labour for businesses that have historically seen lower growth, on the other;
  • how can immigration fill in the gaps in our demographics and economy;
  • what Canadian values and traditions are important to share with newcomers to help them integrate into Canadian society?”

These questions are important to both newcomer communities and potential applicants and are reflected in the objectives of our existing Immigration Refugee Protection Act and regulations. Since the early 1990s Canadian immigration has shifted away from family class to skilled worker immigration. This is your chance to provide some feedback about the shift in emphasis and make recommendations on numbers and classes of immigration.

The second part of the questionnaire has to do with the streamlining or, Modernizing our immigration system. The IRCC wants to be cost effective and maintain a high level or service for users. Respondents will be asked to answer the following:

  • “currently, immigration levels are planned yearly. Do you agree with the thinking that planning should be multi-year;
  • what modernization techniques should Canada invest in for processing of applications;
  • what should Canada do to ensure its immigration system is modern and efficient;
  • is there any rationale for providing options to those willing to pay higher fees for an expedited process.”

Do these questions sound familiar? Are you reminded of Express Entry where the lucky few can have permanent residency within six months? Or what about the Super Visa for parents and grandparents whose children or supporters have high incomes? Backlogs for federal skilled workers and parent and grandparent applicants all in the name of new efficient and timely service; should it be one or the other or, in fairness, both? This is your chance to provide balance in the system.

In this world where skepticism and mistrust have taken the place of trust in our elected officials it is time to stand back and trust the government for asking for our opinion. To this point Prime Minister Trudeau has delivered on his promises. We should be wary of the “insurgent populism” of the Brexit vote or Donald Trump’s hollow promise to “make America great again.” No, we don’t have to break down our immigration programs to make them better, but there are things that can be changed or improved. There is no cost to giving your opinion but there is a greater cost to leave the decision making to those who want to stop immigration altogether. The opponents, especially of family immigration, have had their say for too long. It is time for the Liberal government to hear from a wider constituency; all Canadians. It is not enough, for persons concerned with immigration issues, to complain over their morning coffee. Go to the web site and give back your honest feedback.

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/consultatin/nationaldiscussion.asp

Michael Scott BA (Hon), MA, is a 30-year veteran of Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program who works as an immigration associate with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. (204) 783-7326 or (204) 227-0292. E-mail: mscott.ici@gmail.com.

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