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The 2021-2023 Levels Plan is released

by Michael Scott

On October 30, 2020, Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship tabled the 2021-2023 Levels Plan. The plan sets forth the immigration targets for the next three years: 2021. The numbers represent an increase over the number the Minister announced in March of this year for 2020 to 2022. Canada was going to welcome one million permanent residents over these years before COVID-19 pandemic made its impact. Days after the spring announcement Canada shut its borders. One result is that Canada will fall well short of the early forecast of 341,000 landings set for 2020. The new Levels Plan is intended to correct this shortfall and ensure that the numbers for the next three-year increase dramatically to make up the shortfall.

Canada needs to maintain high levels of immigration to offset the negative economic and fiscal impacts of an aging population and a low birth rate. Canada has one of the world’s oldest populations with almost 18 per cent of the population in the 65 years of age and older group. The Canadian birth rate is 1.47 births per woman. The numbers underline Canada’s need for more immigrants to support the labour force and economic growth.

Canada has historically relied upon new immigration to provide the demographic needs of the country but the numbers were limited. Since 1867, Canada has only welcomed 300,000 or more immigrants in a year just five times. The country has settled into a pattern of welcoming about 0.9 per cent of its population, which, in relative terms, is still three times higher, than the per capita newcomer’s intake of the United States. Until the announcement, the country had not met the record number of 401,000 arrivals in 2013. The new Levels Plan is set to increase the following year arrivals to this record standard.

The 2021-2023 Levels Plan will welcome 411,000 in 2021, 421,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023. This represents an increase over the March plan of 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022. The health and safety of Canada continues to be a priority but the multi-level plan recognizes the importance of not only admitting needed skilled workers to fuel economic growth but also facilitating family reunification and Canada’s global commitment to protecting persons at risk through refugee resettlement.

The highlights of the plan include:

  • A noticeable increase in admissions over the next three years to make up for the 2020 shortfall;
  • A continuing emphasis upon economic growth, with roughly 60 per cent of targeted admissions coming from the economic classes, including the provincial nominee programs;
  • A focus on innovative and community driven approaches that addresses specific labour and demographic needs across the country;
  • Continued reliance on digital transformation of the immigration application system to support operations affected by COVID-19;
  • Increasing numbers of French speaking candidates under Express Entry to ensure the commitment to a bilingual Canada, Française and English;
  • Increasing refugee arrivals to 500 for the next two years through the Economic Pathways Project, intended for qualified refugees; and
  • A pathway to permanent residency for eligible asylum claims who were working on the front lines between March 13 and August 14, 2020. The individuals would include those providing direct care to patients in health-care institutions.

The 2021-2023 Levels Plan is intended to ensure Canada remains a choice destination in the world, providing the country with needed skilled workers for economic growth, reuniting families with loved ones and fulfilling our international humanitarian commitments.

“Immigration is essential to getting us through the pandemic, but also to our short term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth. Canadians have seen how newcomers are playing an outsized role in our hospitals and care homes, and helping us to keep food on the table. As we look to recovery, newcomers create jobs not just by giving our businesses the skills they need to thrive, but also by starting businesses themselves.” Minister Mendicino explained in his press release. “Our plan will help to address some of the most acute labour shortages and to grow our population to keep Canada competitive on the world stage.”

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:

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