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2020 annual report to parliament on immigration

by Michael Scott

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship tabled the 2020 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration for the period ending December 31, 2019. It contained a detailed overview of all immigration programs as well as the Canadian government’s commitment to immigration.

“Canada continues to be a safe and welcoming destination for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Immigrants enrich Canada beyond measure,” Minister Mendicino stated in his opening message. “Even as we adjust to the extraordinary challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot lose sight of the enormous benefits immigration presents to our prosperity and way of life. … Over the past year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has worked tirelessly to provide hope and opportunity to so many people in need, while supporting the diversity and prosperity of Canadian communities,”

Mendicino also made a commitment that his department will continue “delivering the best possible services to Canadians and foreign nationals wanting to come to Canada.”

Some of the highlights of the past IRCC operational year 2019 included the following:

  • 5,774,342 travel documents were issued to temporary residents: visitors, workers, and students;
  • 404,369 work permits were issued under the temporary foreign worker and international mobility programs;
  • 341,180 permanent residents were landed in Canada; and roughly 8,500 French-speaking permanent residents were admitted to Canada outside Quebec as part of the support for francophone communities across Canada.
  • Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) programs were implemented and expanded to ensure that factors related to sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental or physical disability not limit an applicant’s success or inclusion.
  • Permanent and temporary immigration accounting for over 80 per cent of Canada’s population growth, with 58 per cent of permanent residents admitted under economic classes
  • And the country’s commitment to international displaced and persecuted peoples resulted in 30,087 refugee resettled, one of the highest numbers worldwide.

Immigration continues to support Canada’s demographic and economic growth and counterbalances the low birth rates in the country. By the early 2030s, Canada’s population growth will rely exclusively on immigration. The country, however, is not alone in relying upon immigration for demographic and economic growth. Canada must be prepared to compete internationally for young, skilled and mobile workers. Between 2017 and 2018, net immigration accounted for 89 per cent of Canada’s population growth. The country’s population growth of 1.4 per cent, between 2018 and 2019 was the highest rate of growth among G7 nations. 82 per cent of the population growth of 531,000 in the country was comprised of permanent and non-permanent residents.

Immigrants and newcomers contribute much to the economic growth of the country. Immigrants and temporary foreign workers fill gaps in Canada’s labour force and help employers fill vacancies in various economic sectors. Roughly one in four workers (26 per cent) are immigrants. As of 2016 there were 600,000 self-employed immigrants providing additional employment for over 260,000 Canadians.

In 2019, labour market participation rates for newly-arrived immigrants were 71 per cent and recent immigrants 76 per cent. In 2016, over one third of nurse aides, orderlies and other patient related services were immigrants. The long-term benefits of immigration show that the children of immigrants, on average, contribute to Canada’s labour force and earn as much or more than the Canadian-born.

Immigrants and newcomers contribute to the advancement of Canadian society. Since Confederation in 1867, immigration has played a key role in creating our multicultural society. Newcomers arrived from many source countries and possessed a wide variety of cultural and religious backgrounds and integrated effectively in communities across the country. In 2016, immigration originating in Africa surpassed European immigration and this trend continued in 2019.

Each successive wave of immigrants adds to the ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity in Canada. Immigrants enhance the education of the country.

In 2019, 56 per cent of recent immigrants and 50 per cent of recent immigrants working in Canada had a university degree. In the 2011 federal election, 82 per cent of citizens who came as economic immigrants voted. The children of immigrants tend to achieve higher levels of education that those born in Canada. In turn, the country is known for its welcome attitude to newcomers as people with the potential to contribute of Canadian society.

The activity under “Temporary Resident Immigration” shows an increase over the most recent five years. Visitors enter Canada either with an eTA, if they are from a visa exempt country, or on a TRV (temporary resident visa) from visa required countries, such as the Philippines.

In 2015, 79,409 came into the country with an eTA compared with 1,190,270 with a TRV.

In 2016, 2,605,077 entered with an eTA compared with 1,347,898 with a TRV.

In 2017 the number of eTA admissions increased to 4,109,918 compared with 1,617,222 TRVs.

In 2018 the difference between the two groups continued with 4,135,909 eTAs and 1,898,324 TRVs.

The admission from visa exempt countries continued the same trend with 4,077,472 eTAs in 2019 compared with 1,696,871.

Canada also welcomes other temporary resident applicants as students or workers who have the added advantage of applying later for permanent resident status. Study permit holders are persons admitted to study at designated Canadian educational institutions.

In 2015, 219,143 study permits were issued followed by 264,625 in 2016. The numbers of study permits issued increased to 315,145 in 2017, 354,784 in 2018 and 402,427 in 2019.

By 2019, there were 827,586 international students with valid study permits in Canada and in 2019, 11,566 study permit holders were granted permanent residency.

In addition to study permits, there are temporary foreign workers admitted into the country. In 2019, 98,310 (an increase of 70,000 over 2018) were issued work permits through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and 306,797 were issued a work permits under the International Mobility Program. In 2019, 63,020 temporary work permit holders were granted permanent residency.

The numbers for permanent immigration also increased over the reporting period. The economic immigration class is the largest source of permanent resident landed, with roughly 58 per cent of all admissions in 2019. The numbers of permanent residence admissions were 170,390 in 2015, 156,028 in 2016, 159,289 in 2017, 186,366 in 2018, and 195,658 in 2019.

Family class immigration also increased over the five years. The numbers of spouse, partners and dependent children admitted to Canada were as follows: 65,485 in 2015; 77,998 in 2016; 82,468 in 2017; 85,170 in 2018; and 91,311 in 2019.

The numbers of permanent resident admissions under sponsorship of parents and grandparents were: 15,889 in 2015; 17,093 in 2016; 20,495 in 2017; 18,030 in 2018; and 91,311 in 2019.

The humanitarian and compassionate cases numbered: 4,315 in 2015; 3,792 in 2016; 3,633 in 2017; 4,026 in 2018; and 4,681 in 2019. Refugees numbered: 22,114 in 2015; 58,914 in 2016; 41,121 in 2017; 45,493 in 2018; and 48,530 in 2019.

All the landings noted above provide evidence of Canada’s continuing commitment to immigration. The country continues to be a choice destination because we honour our commitments and see the continuing value of immigration. The numbers speak for themselves.

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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