Canada changes its immigration minister
by Michael Scott
Just when we started becoming accustomed to Sean Fraser as the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship he has been moved to different department. The roughly two years he spent were rewarding and eventful. The backlog was reduced, processing started improving and times have not been so good in years. His time was more than talk and federal immigration really did improve. It almost makes an old federal employee long to return to IRCC. No, not really, but I did commend him several times for his effectiveness as the guy on top. Now we have Marc Miller as the new minister and hopefully he will follow in the same footsteps as Sean Fraser.
The current minister began his term on July 26, 2023, and should be expected to remain in the portfolio for approximately two years unless the Conservatives or NDP win the next federal election, in which case all bets are off. The Prime Minister has made a habit of changing the Minister almost every two years. Since the renaming of the department to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) from the former Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the following served as minister: John McCallum from November 4, 2015 to January 11, 2019; Ahmed Hussen from January 10, 2017 to November 20, 2019, Marco Mendicino from November 20, 2019 to October 26, 2021, and Sean Fraser from October 16, 2021 to July 27, 2023.
During their recent years in office the Trudeau Liberals have continued the process of increasing immigration levels, a process that began in the late 1980s by the Conservative Party of Canada. The Liberals have been aggressive in recent years to increase levels to record numbers in to provide greater support for the Canadian economy and help the country recover from the devastating pandemic. Shortly after the Liberals were returned to power in 2015, they targeted 300,000 landings per year, up from the roughly 250,000 per annum targeted by the CPC for 10 years. The landing numbers in the depth of the pandemic were 184,000 in 2020, the lowest since World War 1. However, with the support of the government and the active IRCC programs and workers, the numbers rose dramatically to 401,000 in 2021, 432,000 in 2022, and the following numbers projected in the Levels Plan, are 465,000 for 2023, 485,000 for 2024 and 500,000 for 2025. If we stay the course and retain the Liberals as a national government then happy days are coming for immigration.
Immigration accounts for almost all of Canada’s labour force growth. Roughly 75 per cent of Canada’s population growth comes from immigration, especially the economic stream. It is estimated that by 2036 immigrants will comprise up to 30 per cent of Canada’s population compared with 20.7 per cent in 2011. The measure of an aging population is changed by incoming migration. Did you know that 50 years ago there were seven workers for every retiree in Canada but today that ratio is closer to three to one? If things remain unchanged it will drop to two workers for every retiree. The country’s education system remains one of the top ten in the world and attracts the brightest applicants along with a positive lifestyle and quality of life.
In order to remain a preferred destination for foreign workers the country must look to immigration. The current Canadian fertility rate is below the population replacement level. The current replacement level stands at 2.1 children per woman. The downward trend has continued steadily since 2009 and reached a record low of 1.4 children per woman in 2020. In that year Canada also the lowest number of births since 2007 and the greatest year-over-year decrease in birth (-3.6 per cent) since 1997.
Our sincere hope is that the Minister Marc Miller will continue in the same supportive fashion as his predecessor. Just think about one change with the introduction of an 18-month extension on the post-graduate work permit and IRCC staff actually identifying potential applicants and encouraging them to apply. I have been around immigration for a long time, and this was a pleasant change from the gate keepers who prided themselves on saying “No” and keeping people out. One more cheer for the outgoing Sean Fraser and welcome to Minister Marc Miller. Maybe with an open mind and continued proactive immigration policies all political parties will see the benefits of immigration for Canada.
Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: email@example.com.