The throne speech & immigration
by Michael Scott
On September 23, 2020, Governor General Julie Payette delivered the throne speech to open the second session of the 43rd parliament of Canada. She outlined four goals of the government’s plan including: fight the pandemic and save lives; support people and businesses; build a stronger Canadian economy; and stand up for basic Canadian values, including a country that is welcoming of newcomers, celebrates two official languages, promotes gender equality and reconciles with indigenous people.
Immigration will continue to be key to supporting Canada’s COVID-19 recovery. “Immigration remains a driver of Canada’s economic growth. With other countries rejecting global talent that could help their economy, Canada has an opportunity to become the world’s top destination for talent, capital and jobs. When people choose Canada, help build Canada, and make sacrifices in support of Canada, we should make it easier for them to formally become Canadian,” the Governor General noted. “As part of both the short-term plan for growth, the Government will leverage the advantage we have on immigration to keep Canada competitive on the world stage.”
The throne speech did not get into the specifics of how the government’s plans will be implemented. The words are positive and now the actions. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will provide details in his new mandate letters to minsters, including immigration minister Marco Mendicino. We can expect the details to be revealed in two major events expected in October. The first will be a mandate letter to Minister Mendicino containing the government’s immigration priorities for the next few years. The second is the release of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023, which includes permanent residence targets for the next three years.
The first session of the 43rd parliament also started with a Speech from the Throne on December 5, 2019 followed by mandate letters released on December 13, which informed us to be ready for the intended mandate letter on immigration. It is worthwhile noting that some of the government’s immigration agenda has been undermined by COVID-19. The pandemic has delayed the launch of a new Municipal Nominee Program and also the elimination of the Canadian citizenship application fees. We should expect that the new mandate will focus on the virus, especially how to adapt Canadian immigration policy to the new reality and how to ensure that applications will continue to move forward efficiently. There is a good deal of disappointment among sponsors and applicants because of the current delay in the processing of family class sponsorship applications.
It is also worthwhile noting that the government will announce its Immigration Levels Plan for the second time in the same year. The levels plan is usually announced each fall around the end of October as stipulated in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The levels released in 2019 include an intention to land one million permanent residents between 2020 and 2022: 341,000 in 2020, 350,000 in 2021 and 360,000 in 2022. Based on all indicators, including the positive words of the Governor General, the Canadian government intends to support immigration to the country and continue support of the infrastructure to support the full integration and economic participation of newcomers.
The Prime Minister and the Governor General’s words about immigration have assured us. The next step is to wait for the mandate given to Minister Mendicino, which will include details about how the process will work. Hopefully these include a strategy to address the backlog and delay in family class sponsorship applications as well as an opening of the sponsorship of parents and grandparents. Based on the first session of Parliament, we should not have to wait long for answers. It is important that Canada respond to the challenges of the pandemic, but also that our government is forwarding thinking enough to realize that immigration is part of the way to build the Canadian economy. The federal government has the responsibility to ensure we are protected from COVID-19, but also to find a safe way to rebuild our economy. To date, the Trudeau government, compared with that south of the border, has done a reasonable job. Let’s hope they continue in the same way, but increase immigration program efficiencies to ensure that effective actions follow their good words.
Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: email@example.com.