Canada’s Record-High Immigration Levels Plan To Be Maintained Or Increased, Says Marc Miller

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Canada will stay the course and maintain or increase its record-breaking immigration targets because the country’s aging workforce is creating serious labour shortages, Immigration Minister Marc Miller says.

“I don’t see a world in which we lower it, the need is too great,” Miller reportedly told Bloomberg News.

“Whether we revise them upwards or not is something that I have to look at. But certainly I don’t think we’re in any position of wanting to lower them by any stretch of the imagination.”

The newly-minted immigration minister, who picked up the portfolio during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet shuffle on July 26, is expected to unveil Canada’s new immigration targets on Nov. 1.

In its 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, Ottawa has set its immigration target for 2023 at 465,000 new permanent residents. The country is also to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and another 500,000 in 2025.

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That’s a total of 1.45 million immigrants to Canada over three years.

But the latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals the country had already welcomed 220,810 new permanent residents by the end of this May.

That puts the country on track – if that level of immigration is maintained throughout the rest of the year – to welcome 529,944 new permanent residents by the end of this year, almost 14 per cent more than this year’s immigration target.

The current level of immigration this year could see Canada exceed even the much-higher immigration target for 2025 by almost six per cent.

In the wake of massive inflation in the housing market in the past few years, TD Economics issued a report in late July, Balancing Canada’s Pop In Population, in which economists Beata Caranci, James Orlando, Rishi Sondhi note that higher immigration has put a strain on the housing supply.

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“Continuing with a high-growth immigration strategy could widen the housing shortfall by about a half-million units within just two years,” the economists wrote. “Recent government policies to accelerate construction are unlikely to offer a stop-gap due to the short time period and the natural lags in adjusting supply.”

Leader of the Opposition Pierre Poilievre has used the housing crisis to take shots at Trudeau, blaming too-high levels of immigration for the housing crisis and vowing to both build much more housing and take what he describes as a common-sense approach to immigration. He has also pledged to improve credential recognition for immigrants for professionals and tradespeople.

Miller Ways It’s Wrong To Scapegoat Immigrants For Housing Crisis

The Conservative leader says immigration targets should be driven by the number of vacancies that private sector employers need to fill, the number of charities that want to sponsor refugees, and the families that want to reunite quickly with loved ones,” he said.

Miller rejects the notion that immigrants are somehow to blame for the housing crisis.

“We have to get away from this notion that immigrants are the major cause of housing pressures and the increase in home prices,” he reportedly said.

“We tend not to think in longer historical arcs or in generational terms, but if people want dental care, health care and affordable housing that they expect, the best way to do that is to get that skilled labour in this country.”

The immigration minister also shot back at his political opponents.

“Politicians look in electoral cycles. But in my role, we have to look in generational cycles,” Miller reportedly said.

“Canada needs to address that in a smart way, and that means attracting a younger segment of the population to make sure that people can retire with same expectations and benefits that their parents had. That’s the stark reality of it.”

Canada immigration free assessment