Canada’s Immigration Ministers Aim To Improve System At Toronto Gathering

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Immigration ministers at federal, provincial and territorial level met in Toronto to talk about the future of immigration in Canada, including how it can help boost the economy and resolve labour shortages even as the country addresses the strain on its social infrastructure and stock of housing.

“The focus of our discussions was Canada’s ability to continue welcoming skilled newcomers as well as our collective response to humanitarian crises around the world,” said Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller.

“As Canada continues to welcome newcomers, we will continue to work across all levels of government to ensure that housing, infrastructure planning and sustainable population growth are taken into account so that newcomers are set up for success.”

The Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration (FMRI) discussions on Nov. 17 came in the wake of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s release of its An Immigration System for Canada’s Future report.

That report puts forth ideas to create a more welcoming experience for newcomers, align immigration with labour market needs, and develop a comprehensive and coordinated growth plan.

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The immigration ministers also discussed the 2024-2026 Immigration Levels Plan and how it fits in with  Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) and the need to reunite families and meet Canada’s humanitarian commitments.

“Immigration is critical to addressing labour shortages, attracting new investment, and supporting Canada’s economic growth,” said FMRI provincial-territorial co-chair Jeremy Harrison, the minister of immigration and career training .

“Provinces and territories play a key role in ensuring that immigration is responsive to employers’ labour needs and benefits all regions of the country. Several provinces and territories are also taking steps to improve foreign qualification recognition to ensure newcomers can work in occupations aligned with their skills and experience.”

Wednesday, the ministers re-emphasized their need to work together on initiatives to reduce barriers and streamline foreign credential recognition processes, particularly in regulated occupations, such as the skilled trades and health care.

They also discussed how to strengthen the connection between the selection of immigration candidates and licensing and how to make it easier for professionals to work in their occupations when they land in Canada.


On the humanitarian front, Canada’s immigration ministers agreed to continue with efforts to resettle refugees from Afghanistan and measures to provide Ukrainians a temporary safe haven.

They discussed the efforts made by provinces and territories to support Ukrainians and pathways to permanent residence for those seeking to remain in Canada.

Improved data collection and collaboration to adequately support vulnerable arrivals in the future, including asylum seekers, and early engagement and communication about changes to program requirements were examined as possible strategies to improve the country’s immigration system.

With the meteoric rise in the number of international students in the past few years, the immigration ministers are also concerned about protecting them from fraud and ensuring they have adequate housing once in Canada.

“International students are talented, bright and deserving of a positive experience as they pursue their studies in Canada,” said Miller earlier this year.

Improvements Discussed For International Student Program

“We will continue to improve Canada’s International Student Program by protecting students and weeding out those who try to take advantage of them. Whether an international student stays and works after graduation or returns home, we want their time as a student in Canada to have been beneficial to their growth and aspirations.”

Settlement services were also discussed at the FMRI meeting with ministers examining how innovative and client-centred approaches to settlement services could improve labour market outcomes and support the integration of newcomers to Canada, including temporary residents.

The immigration ministers also asked IRCC officials to review the 2018 FPT Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration Outside of Quebec to ensure the plan continues to improve the promotion, selection, settlement, integration and retention of French-speaking immigrants in Canada’s francophone minority communities.

Earlier this year, Canada set new francophone immigration targets for the country, outside of Quebec, and then set new, higher francophone immigration targets in its latest immigration levels plan.

“They were set at six per cent for 2024, seven per cent for 2025 and eight per cent for 2026,” said Miller.

“These ambitious, realistic and achievable targets demonstrate Canada’s commitment to strengthening the vitality of francophone minority communities, supporting labour needs across the country and contributing to restoring the demographic weight of francophones.”

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.