Manitoba PNP: Province Gets Another Chance to Welcome 9,500 Nominees

Manitoba is getting a second chance from Canada’d federal government to issue 9,500 nominations in a year through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) – a number which the province was 2,000 shy of last year, but which would set a record if met this year.

Manitoba’s previous Progressive Conservative government successfully lobbied the federal government to up the province’s allotment capacity from 6,325 nominees in 2022 to 9,500 nominees in 2023, as a means to address the labor shortages it faces.

Manitoba, however, issued only 7,348 invitations through the PNP, about a thousand of which were processed in December.

The failure to meet that number was, according to the current NDP immigration minister Malaya Marcelino, due to shortcomings on the Tories’ part for not hiring enough staff to handle the requisite paperwork last year.

The NDP was elected in October, and Marcelino said that her immigration team will strive to process as many nominations as possible in 2024, according to CBC.

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“[It] means a lot to many newcomer families. It means a lot economically to our province.”

“Our immigration team is going to be working really, really hard to make sure we fulfil that federal allotment.”

A 2022 immigration advisory council by the Tories, in a July 2023 update, predicted that Manitoba was in line for an increase to 9,880 nominations in 2024.

As per CBC, Manitoba said Ottawa scaled back the allotment to rein in temporary residents across Canada, although the federal department neither confirmed nor denied this assertion.

Every nomination slot equals one family, as nominees are allowed to bring their spouse and dependents.

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), which has been in place since 1998, offers three streams, each with its own pathways, through which nominees can come to the province and become a Canada permanent resident (PR).

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These streams are: 

  • Skilled Worker: This stream is for internationally trained and experienced workers who have the skills needed in the local labor market.
  • International Education (IES): The International Education Stream (IES) provides international students who graduate in Manitoba and meet industry needs a number of quick nomination pathways.
  • Business Investor (BIS): This stream is for qualified business investors and entrepreneurs who have both intent and ability to start or purchase Manitoba businesses.

The MPNP has brought skilled workers to the province to fill labor gaps. It has contributed to Manitoba’s population, bringing in upwards of 185,000 people.

Although Manitoba has succeeded in meeting Ottawa’s allocations till now, it failed for the first time last year.

Marcelino is aiming to not only to meet the target this year, but also to reduce the time between a skilled immigrant receiving their letter of invitation and then receiving their nomination certificate, which is now greater than the six-month recommendation.

She is planning for Manitoba to return to the target timeline by the fall of 2024.

Canada Accepting Too Many Temporary Immigrants, Justin Trudeau Says

Canada’s temporary immigration numbers have grown disproportionately to the country’s absorption capacity, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.

He claimed this to be driving mental health challenges for international students, along with driving down wages in some sectors because of employers’ overdependence on foreign workers.

“Whether it’s temporary foreign workers or whether it’s international students in particular, that have grown at a rate far beyond what Canada has been able to absorb,” he said in Dartmouth, N.S.

“To give an example, in 2017, two per cent of Canada’s population was made up of temporary immigrants. Now we’re at 7.5 per cent of our population comprised of temporary immigrants.”

“That’s something we need to get back under control.”

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“We want to get those numbers down. It’s a responsible approach to immigration that continues on our permanent residents, as we have, but also hold the line a little more on the temporary immigration that has caused so much pressure in our communities.”

It was recently announced by Immigration Minister Marc Miller that Canada would set targets for temporary workers allowed into the country to ensure that their numbers grow sustainably.

Over the next three years, the goal is to reduce the number of temporary residents to five percent of Canada’s population.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is taking further and further steps towards this aim. In January, he announced a cap on student visa admissions to Canada at 360,000 permits, which is a 35 per cent decrease from last year.

Canada’s Temporary Resident Program is aimed at designing, developing, and implementing policies and programs to facilitate the entry of temporary workers, students, and visitors to maximise their contribution to Canada.

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Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations, temporary residents include visitors, students, workers and temporary resident permit holders. Depending on the foreign national’s citizenship, a Temporary Resident Visa, or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), is required for temporary residents looking to come to Canada on a temporary basis.


Foreign students are now a class of persons who may obtain temporary resident status and who have been issued study permits or who are authorized by the Regulations to study.

A study permit is a written authorization given to foreign nationals allowing them to study in Canada.


Foreign workers are a class of persons who may obtain temporary resident status and who have been issued work permits or are authorized by the Regulations to work.

RBC Report Says Curbing Temporary Immigration Will Cost Canada Economic Growth

An RBC Economics report says cutting back on temporary resident immigration to Canada is going to hurt the country’s economic growth and make the impact of retiring Baby Boomers harder to handle.

“When the population rises via immigration, it essentially floats all boats,” notes RBC senior economist Nathan Janzen.

“It increases both the capacity of the economy to produce more goods and services (by increasing the supply of labour) and increases demand for those products because every added resident arriving from abroad is also a consumer.

Slower population growth will both reduce demand for workers and supply of workers at the same time, he points out.

“That will have an impact on total production and income earned in the economy. It will take time for the population of non-permanent residents to decline even after limits on new arrivals come into effect.

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“But our own early assumption is that slower population growth could make the economy grow about 0.5 per cent less than previously expected by the end of 2025.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic’s first years, temporary immigration to Canada more than tripled as far more temporary workers and international students chose to come here, reveals data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

In 2019, the last full year before the Covid-19 pandemic, Canada issued a little more than half a million new study permits and work visas, welcoming a total of 522,110 temporary residents.

Four years and later, the number of temporary residents with these permits was more than 1.6 million as of the end of 2023.

During the same period, housing became increasingly unaffordable, leading Immigration Minister Marc Miller to put a cap on study permit applications limiting these to 606,250 this year, a move which is expected to reduce the number of new study permits issued this year by 40 per cent.

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“The intent of these Instructions is to ensure the number of study permit applications accepted into processing by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration … within the scope of the instructions does not exceed 606,250 study permit applications for one year beginning on the date of signature,” the Canada Gazette reported on Feb. 3.

Then, on March 21, the immigration minister announced Ottawa will be taking further steps to limit temporary immigration with the first temporary immigration levels plan to be unveiled in September.

That move is expected to reduce the number of temporary residents by five over the coming three years.

Temporary Foreign Workers And International Students Help Ease Load Of Retiring Baby Boomers

With that drop in immigration to Canada, the country’s age will get older and the impact of retiring workers will be felt that much more on Ottawa’s coffers.

“Immigration has long been seen as one way to help blunt the economic impact from the wave of people leaving the labour force as the relatively large baby boom generation continues to hit retirement age,” notes Janzen in his report.

“Those retirements lower tax revenues for governments while demand for services like healthcare and social security accelerates, creating a large funding gap.”

In his report, How Lowering The Number Of Non-Permanent Residents Will Impact Canada’s Economy, the economist points out that Canada’s long-term demographic challenges aren’t going to go away.

“Labour shortages have been easing as high interest rates slow hiring demand, but they’ll be back again after the short-run economic cycle as the share of the population hitting retirement age continues to rise,” he cautions.

The irony is the planned reduction in temporary immigration is being touted as a way to improve housing affordability and it’s unlikely to be able to do that.

“Slower population growth might slow house price and rent growth in future years but isn’t likely to solve Canada’s affordability problem,” he notes.

“The shortage of housing in Canada … is decades in the making and predates the recent surge in population growth. As we take away some of the housing or rental demand in the near-term, we’re also taking away potential labour supply in construction and building activities that will help build more houses.”

Housing affordability can only be addressed by creating more apartments and houses for the people who need it, he points out.

“In the end, it still comes down to addressing the capacity limits on the supply side over the long run to be able to sustainably improve housing affordability,” notes Janzen.

Housing Affordability Will Remain An Issue Even With Lower Immigration

“There is still a growing amount of excess demand for housing in the market currently. Just last year, the 242,000 new home starts lagged far behind the 1.2 million increase in population (approximately 360,000 new households).

The RBC economist is not the only one to sound the alarm about the likely economic impact of limiting temporary immigration.

In Temporary Workers, Temporary Growth? How a Slowdown in the Recent Migration Surge Could Exacerbate Canada’s Downturn, Desjardins principal economist Marc Desormeaux has also warned that lower numbers of temporary residents could harm the economy.

“History suggests the recent surge (in the number of temporary residents in Canada) could ease significantly, exacerbating a nascent economic slowdown,” cautions Desormeaux.

“That could have significant consequences nationwide, most notably in the largest provinces.”

Nova Scotia Reports Growth in Religious Minorities Due To Immigration 

Rising immigration to Nova Scotia and the resultant unprecedented demographic shift has allowed for the growth in some religious communities.

As per Statistics Canada numbers, the number of Muslims in the province was about 15,000 in 2021, which is almost a two-fold increase since 2011, when there were roughly 8,500 Muslims. Meanwhile, Sikhs and Hindus have also significantly increased in number in Nova Scotia.

As per Christopher Helland, associate professor who focuses on religion in contemporary culture at Dalhousie University, religion is important to the identity of many immigrants and helps them navigate the world.

He also said that places of worship (mosques, temples, gurdwaras) are a fundamental locus of social organization for those arriving in Nova Scotia from abroad, reported CBC News.

The trend of rising numbers of those affiliated with minority religions is not just restricted to Nova Scotia. StatsCan numbers highlight that the proportion of Canada’s population that identifies as being Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh has more than doubled in 20 years.

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From 2001 to 2021, these shares went from 2.0% to 4.9% for Muslims, from 1.0% to 2.3% for Hindus, and from 0.9% to 2.1% for Sikhs.

Helland said that the religious institutions associated with each of those denominations help people maintain their cultural identity and their sense of purpose and well-being.

“It’s not just about believing in the tradition,” he said.

“It’s also about what resources those institutions provide for the newcomers, how it helps them integrate into society.”

While many Christian churches in the Atlantic Canadian province have seen declining attendance and ageing congregations, the communities with minority religious affiliations have more community and family involvement.

This results in large attendance across the age board.

As per Shammy Sohal, who is temple president of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Halifax, increasing numbers of people are coming to temple gatherings to meet new friends and make contacts to help them find a job or navigate life in Canada.

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“It’s no longer that we’re coming and praying together, but we’re coming and we’re building a partnership in some ways and that’s what we’ve noticed.”

There has also been a rising trend of interfaith consolidation and cooperation.

For example, Fort Massey United Church has been geared toward the south end Christian community for more than 150 years, and now includes Muslim prayers in its calendar.

This is because more students at Dalhousie University have been demanding this accommodation.

Religious data has been collected in Canada every 10 years since 1871. StatsCan reported that the trend of decline in Christianity and an increase in other religions is not unique to Canada, and is being noticed in other predominantly Christian countries such as the US, Australia, and many European states.

Speed Up Family Sponsorship Application Processing, Quebec Urged 

Protesters have gathered outside Quebec Premier François Legault’s office in Montreal to demand the province improve its processing times for family sponsorship applications.

The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) website shows a huge disparity in processing times for family sponsorship applications in Quebec compared to those where the applicant lives somewhere in the rest of Canada.

A spousal or common-law partner sponsorship takes only 12 months to process in the rest of Canada but roughly 30 months in Quebec.

Sponsoring a parent or a grandparent can take up to 51 months, more than four years, when the applicant is in Quebec, almost twice as long as the 26 months when the applicant is elsewhere in Canada.

The application processing times for dependent children vary greatly depending on where the child is currently located.

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In an open letter to Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Frechette, a group of more than 1,800 families which calls itself Québec Réunifié called these delays unacceptable and urged the government to speed things up.

“This situation is due to the cap on family sponsorships, causing profoundly heartbreaking consequences, including psychological distress,” wrote the organization in its open letter in February.

“Families thus find themselves separated and people see their mental and physical health deteriorate due to obstacles which prevent them from living as families.”

Québec Réunifié wants the provincial government to step up to the plate and ensure family sponsorships in Quebec are processed within 12 months.

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In February, the organization gained an ally in Quebec provincial politician André Morin, the provincial Liberals’ immigration critic, who noted on social media that these delays in family sponsorship applications often affect children and so may possibly be in contravention of international law with regards to the rights of children.

“These people who are waiting to come to Quebec, they have spouses, they have roofs over their heads, most of them are French-speaking,” said Morin. “Quebec cannot do without these people who are an asset to our society .”

The immigration critic called the long processing times for family sponsorships inhumane.

“Imagine having to wait three years to be reunited with your spouse who is currently outside the country,” he said.

Slow Sponsorship Processing Times Called ‘Inhumane’ By Immigration Critic

“It’s inhumane. These interminable delays due to the ideological stubbornness of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) are unacceptable in a welcoming society like Quebec. The CAQ government must shift into solution mode and come to an agreement with Ottawa because we are dealing with human beings here.”

The Member of the National Assembly’s comments came in the wake of a lawsuit launched by an immigration lawyer against the government in which he challenged the provincial government’s entire handling of the immigration portfolio going back to 2018.

That immigration lawyer argued the Canada-Quebec Accord, a deal between the federal and provincial government which determines how immigration issues are to be handled in Quebec, does not allow the francophone province the right to put a cap on the family sponsorships.

Although there are 38,400 Quebeckers waiting to be reunited with their loved ones, the province is currently only accepting a maximum of 10,600 per year.

That means that at the current rate of processing for family sponsorships in Canada, it will take three years for those applications to be processed.

“Why does a spousal sponsorship application take three times longer in Quebec than in the rest of the country?” asks Morin.

“Through its chaotic and ideological management of immigration, the CAQ has created two classes of citizens in Canada. We are proposing that the minister put in place a 24-month plan to clear the waiting list and finally allow these 38,400 Quebecers to be reunited with their families.”

Quebec Premier François Legault has repeatedly stated he will hold the line on immigration and made it clear his government is deeply-committed to ensuring the survival of the French language.

Quebec Premier Is Holding The Line On Immigration To The Province

The premier has gone so far as to put forth proposals to limit all economic immigration to the province to French-speaking immigrants by 2026.

“As premier of Quebec, my first responsibility is to defend our language and our identity,” said Legault. “During the past few years, the French language has been in decline in Quebec. Since 2018, our government has acted to protect our language, more so than any previous government since the adoption of Bill 101 under the Levesque government.

“But, if we want to turn the tide, we must do more. By 2026, our goal is to have almost entirely francophone economic immigration. We have the duty, as Québécois, to speak French, to daily pass on our culture and to be proud of it.”

Temporary workers who come to the province on work permits and international students in Quebec who are there on study permits often later seek to immigrate to Canada through either the federal Express Entry system’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) of the provinces.

British Columbia Issues 83 Canada Immigration Invitations In New PNP Draw

British Columbia has conducted a new draw through the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program, issuing 83 invitations.

The April 3 draw saw invitations issued in five different categories.

A general draw saw 30 invitations issued through five BC PNP streams for skilled workers and international graduates. Minimum scores ranged from 107 to 130 points.

In a targeted draw, 18 invitations were issued to skilled workers and international graduates scoring at least 90 points in a draw targeting childcare workers.

Construction workers received 10 invitations with a minimum score of 95.

A draw targeted at healthcare workers saw 25 invitations issued to skilled workers and international graduates, with a minimum score of 90 points.

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Latest B.C. Immigration Draws

General Draw

Date Category Minimum Score Invitations Issued Description
03-04-24 Skilled Worker 130 30 General draw
Skilled Worker – EEBC 130
International Graduate 130
International Graduate – EEBC 125
Entry Level and Semi-Skilled 107

Targeted Draw

Date Category Minimum Score Invitations Issued Description

Skilled Worker, International Graduate

90 18 Childcare
95 10 Construction
90 25 Healthcare


Canada’s Ontario To Boost Minimum Wage To $17.20 An Hour 

Ontario will become the province with the second-highest minimum wage in all of Canada when it raises the threshold by 3.9 per cent to $17.20 on October 1.

“Under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford, our government is helping nearly one million workers earn more money for themselves and their families,” said David Piccini, the province’s minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development.

“We are providing businesses with certainty and predictability by announcing this annual wage increase six months in advance, while also helping families offset the rising cost of living, so that Ontario continues to be the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

With the hike in the minimum wage a worker making minimum wage and working 40 hours per week will see an annual pay increase of up to $1,355.

There were 935,600 workers earning at or below $17.20 per hour in 2023.

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Many of them were immigrants. In its Immigration and the shifting occupational distribution in Canada, 2001 to 2021 report, Statistics Canada revealed last month that immigrants increasingly filled lower-level positions – and professional jobs – throughout the country during that 20-year period.

“The results of this study indicate that the role of immigrant workers in low-skilled occupations has increased,” the researchers report.

“Together with temporary foreign workers, they filled some of the low-skilled jobs that previously would have been occupied by Canadian-born workers.”

Canadian workers moved away from lower-skilled jobs during those two decades, leaving them ripe for immigrants seeking jobs and hoping to gain their permanent residency through economic immigration programs.

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“From 2001 to 2021, employment in lower-skilled occupations contracted by 500,000. As Canadian-born workers moved out of this skill level in a substantial way, reducing their employment by 860,000, together, immigrant workers and temporary foreign workers increased their employment in these lower-skilled jobs by 360,000,” report Picot and Hou.

“Hence, to some extent, immigrant workers and temporary foreign workers backfilled Canadian-born workers as they moved away from lower-skilled jobs. This pattern was similar for labourers, the lowest skill-level group. The number of Canadian-born labourers declined, while the employment contribution by immigrant labourers and temporary foreign workers increased.”

Number Of Foreign Nationals Working Lower-Skilled Jobs Or As Labourers Surges

The number of temporary foreign workers in lower-skilled jobs in Canada skyrocketed from 21,200 in 2001 to 160,900 two decades later. The number of temporary foreign workers who took labourers jobs rose from 8,800 in 2001 to 93,500 by 2021.

Among immigrants with permanent resident status, the number holding down lower-skilled jobs rose from 940,000 in 2001 to 1,153,900 in 2021 and those who were labourers rose from 348,400 to 492,300 during the same time period.

Under the Employment Standards Act, Ontario’s minimum wage increases annually based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation that represents changes in prices experienced by Ontario consumers. The CPI rose by 3.9 per cent, resulting in an increase in the minimum wage of 65 cents an hour, to $17.20.

Ontario’s new minimum wage will be the second highest provincial rate, after British Columbia at $17.40 per hour.

About 35 per cent of workers at or below the current general minimum wage of $17.20 per hour are in retail trade and 24 per cent are in accommodation and food services.

Temporary Residents Favour Areas Around Major Canadian Cities

A Conference Board of Canada study reveals Quebec saw some of the highest growth in temporary immigration to Canada in the five years that ended in 2021 with most of those international students and temporary foreign workers choosing to live on the outskirts of big, urban centres.

“Quebec saw some of the highest growth with the temporary resident populations growing between 209 and 1,520 per cent in rural regions such as L’Érable, Charlevoix, Témiscamingue, Le Val-Saint-François, and Abitibi,” notes that report.

“Many urban areas saw more temporary residents as well, including Montréal, Longueuil, Québec City, Gatineau, and Laval.”

In Where to? Mapping Immigrants’ and Temporary Residents’ Settlement in Canada, the Canadian think-tank notes the type of temporary immigrant that settles in each region varies based on his or her reasons for coming to Canada.

“In urban regions, increases in temporary residents probably include a mix of international students and temporary foreign workers, as well as their families, while increases in other regions probably include mostly temporary workers and their family members,” notes the report.

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In Quebec and elsewhere in the country, though, immigrants clearly showed a preference from 2016 through to the end of 2021 for housing outside the big urban cores themselves.

“The ring of census divisions surrounding Montréal showed larger increases in the immigrant population than urban centres Montréal, Laval, and Longueil,” the Conference Board found.

“A similar phenomenon played out around the Greater Toronto Area. York and Peel showed small growth in their immigrant populations of just 8.1 per cent (York) and 5.4 per cent (Peel). Regions surrounding these showed significant immigrant increases, ranging from nearly 19 per cent to over 30 per cent.

“Whether due to the pandemic or housing unavailability or unaffordability in traditional cores, these increases indicate that immigrants are settling away from urban centres.”

The Conference Board’s findings come at a time when Ottawa is undertaking a 10-year, $82-billion National Housing Strategy which has already committed $42.99 billion.

Through that housing program, Ottawa has already supported the construction of 134,707 new housing units – or committed to their construction – and helped pay or committed to paying for the repair of another 272,169 housing units.

Les Basques Region Of Quebec Saw Biggest Spike In Temporary Residents

Despite those investments in housing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has come under fire for the housing crisis in Canada, with Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre consistently taking the government to task for the paucity of affordable housing. But the prime minister has defended his track record.

“If we hadn’t got the federal government back into the business of housing, then everything would be much worse right now,” Trudeau reportedly told CBC News in September last year.

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“It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, housing is terrible right now.’ And it is. Would it have been worse if we hadn’t lifted a million people out of poverty over the first few years in government? Would it have been worse if we hadn’t created a million jobs? Would it be worse if we didn’t move forward on $10-a-day child care?”

During the five years of the Conference Board’s study, many of the most popular destinations for temporary residents coming to Canada were outlying areas, including the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec, the Mirabel area outside of Montreal, Prince County which includes Summerside on Prince Edward Island, Manitoba’s division four southwest of Winnipeg, and a couple of counties in the Atlantic Canadian province of New Brunswick.


Top 10 Most Popular Regions Of Canada For Temporary Residents From 2016 Through To 2021





Percentage  Growth


Les Basques 166.67
La Haute-Gaspésie 115.00
Mirabel 108.72
La Côte-de-Gaspé 72.97
Westmorland 67.61
Témiscamingue 66.67
Montcalm 64.73
Prince 61.72
Division No.  4 55.32
Queens 51.79

That boom in temporary immigration to some of these more-sparsely populated areas has been seen by many in those regions as an economic windfall.

“Immigrants help build stronger, diverse and vibrant communities which is why we are thrilled with this increase,” said Arlene Dunn, then New Brunswick’s immigration minister, last year.

Along with the shift in destinations preferred by temporary residents during those five years, there was also a shift in the demographic composition of those immigrants, a consideration which may lead governments to re-examine the kinds of services they offer in those regions.

“It’s not just more people arriving. The demographic characteristics of these regions are changing,” notes the Conference Board.

“Most regions of Prince Edward Island experienced an increase in its female immigrant population, and particularly its female temporary resident population, between 2016 and 2021.

“Identifying gendered population changes helps communities recognize changing needs within their jurisdiction, such as the increased requirement for particular services like medical or settlement services aimed at a particular sex. Prince Edward Island can expect increased demand for services aimed at women.”

Reduction In Temporary Immigration Could Lead To Economic Slowdow

Immigration Minister Marc Miller vowed earlier this year to establish immigration levels for temporary immigration to Canada with the goal of reducing temporary immigration by five per cent over the coming three years.

But some warn that a slowdown in temporary immigration could put the brakes on economic growth in Canada.

In Temporary Workers, Temporary Growth? How a Slowdown in the Recent Migration Surge Could Exacerbate Canada’s Downturn, Desjardins principal economist Marc Desormeaux foresaw that the record numbers of temporary residents could soon ease off – and he issued a warning.

“History suggests the recent surge (in the number of temporary residents in Canada) could ease significantly, exacerbating a nascent economic slowdown,” cautions Desormeaux.

“That could have significant consequences nationwide, most notably in the largest provinces.”

In their most recent fiscal plans, British Columbia and Ontario have already included contingencies for the possibility of a downturn in temporary residents to create buffers to the accompanying downturn in tax revenues to provincial coffers and a more sluggish economy should there be a drop in temporary residents.

“We must nonetheless consider downside demographic scenarios, particularly when potentially higher for longer interest rates pose risks for economic growth, borrowing costs and debt sustainability over time,” wrote Desormeaux.

Ukrainians Will Not Be Sent Home Even If Canada Visas Expire

Immigration Minister Marc Miller has vowed Canada will not send any Ukrainians who arrived under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization For Emergency Travel (CUAET) home as long as the war with Russia is raging – even if their visas have expired.

“We’re not sending anyone back in the face of the aggression of a nuclear aggressor like Russia and as long as the war is on-going,” said Miller.

“This is something we will have to look at as this program starts to sunset. And we’re looking for a number of ways to make sure people are safe and welcome here in Canada, including the now close to 300,000 people fleeing the war in Ukraine.”

Miller’s promise to Ukrainians that Canada would not send them back to their war-torn homeland even if their visitor visas expire was made during a housing strategy announcement on March 27 in response to a journalist’s question.

That promise comes in the wake of the immigration minister previously dismissing any extension of the CUAET as “not something that is actively being considered.”

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Miller has, though, previously not categorically ruled out the possibility of some kind of on-going help for Ukrainians temporarily in Canada.

“The operational flexibility needs to be there for what happens in Ukraine,” he has reportedly said.

Between March 17, 2022 and Feb. 27 this year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) received 1,189,320 applications under the CUAET temporary residence program.

But while 960,091 of those applications were approved during that period, only 248,726 Ukrainians, or 25.9 per cent of the total, had made the move to Canada by the end of February.

According to surveys, roughly 90 per cent of Ukrainians who came to Canada under the temporary measure launched in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 now want to stay here permanently.

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But CUAET does not allow them to do that, offering only the opportunity stay in Canada for up to three years as temporary residents and offering them free open work and study permits.

A Canadian non-profit organization representing Ukrainians, Pathfinders for Ukraine, wants Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to open the door to permanent residency for Ukrainians with a permanent pathway.

“We know that employers have been hesitant to hire, train, and promote Ukrainians, knowing their work permit is set to expire in a year,” Randall Baran-Chong, the organization’s executive director and founder, has reportedly said.

Ukrainian Groups Advocate For Permanent Residency Path For CUAET Arrivals

“These war-displaced Ukrainians are de-facto refugees but the program is a temporary measure that doesn’t afford them the benefits and protections of refugee status.”

Almost a quarter of a million Ukrainians are already here after having come under CUAET and a growing number of them are arriving as the March 31 travel deadline for the program looms.

“We’re seeing definitely more arrivals week over week, because people are trying to come, people are coming before the end of it,” Ihor Michalchyshyn, CEO and executive director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, reportedly told the National Post.

Many Ukrainians have reportedly applied for CUAET as something of an insurance policy should they need it to flee the Ukraine.

Almost three-quarters of a million Ukrainians, exactly 711,365, are still eligible to come to Canada as temporary residents under CUAET before the end of March.

In February alone, Canada welcomed 27,495 Ukrainians through CUAET.

Once the temporary measure was in place, Ottawa also upped its immigration application processing capacity in Europe and sent mobile biometrics kits to Warsaw, Vienna and Bucharest to take the fingerprints and portrait photos of prospective Ukrainian refugees in a bid to ensure proper security precautions were taken with the surge in applications.

The government then increased its federal settlement programs to include language training, orientation, employment assistance and other supports for Ukrainians as they settled into their new communities.

In addition to settlement services, Ukrainians fleeing to Canada were also offered transitional financial assistance of $3,000 per adult and $1,500 per child.

“These funds will help Ukrainian nationals and their family members meet their basic needs, such as transportation and longer-term housing, as they arrive in communities across Canada and find a job,” noted IRCC on its website.

“Settlement services will remain available to Ukrainians and their family members after they arrive so that they can fully participate in Canadian communities while they are here. Ukrainians and their family members will also continue to benefit from the one-time transitional financial support, as well as from access to emergency accommodations for up to two weeks, if needed, after they arrive in Canada.”

Hotline To Help Ukrainians With Legal Services

This year, Ottawa upped its offering of help to Ukrainians by pumping $475,788 into a trilingual hotline to help them access the legal services they need for the coming three years.

The money was for Pro Bono Ontario’s Ukrainian Refugee Legal Relief Initiative to allow displaced Ukrainians access legal information and advice, including the toll-free hotline that are accessible nationally and abroad.

The hotline provides Ukrainians in Canada with access to Canadian lawyers so they can ask immigration-related questions on such things as sponsorshiprefugee claims and work permits or be referred to provincial pro bono organizations or community groups across Canada.

“Our government is grateful to be able to count on organizations, such as Pro Bono Ontario, that improve access to justice, a fundamental Canadian value and an integral part of a fair and effective justice system,” said Justice Minister Arif Virani.

“This investment shows how our government continues to stand with Ukraine, and that we will continue to support Ukrainians forced to flee their homes because of Russia’s illegal invasion.”

With CUAET no longer taking applications from overseas, Ukrainians wishing to come to Canada from abroad can apply for a visa or a work or study permit through the IRCC’s existing temporary resident programs but are now subject to fees and standard requirements.

Canada Takes ‘Step In Right Direction’ By Maintaining Immigration Levels

CIBC World Markets deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal says Canada’s decision to not up its immigration targets is a “step in the right direction”.

Economists are also urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to say how they are going to deal with the steep rise in temporary resident numbers.

Canada let in upwards of 400,000 PRs in 2023, along with 700,000 temporary residents, foreigners with a work/study permit, or those with refugee status, as per a Financial Post story by Naimul Karim.

“The government has made some steps in signalling they hear and understand the current challenges of Canada’s immigration systems,” said Rebekah Young, an economist at the Bank of Nova Scotia.

“But holding the 2026 target flat is mostly just signalling at this point. The big numbers come from non-permanent streams and we don’t have a great line of sight where these are going.”

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The rising prices and housing crisis have triggered economists to inquire about the federal government’s plan to accommodate hundreds of thousands more newcomers to Canada.

“People realize that housing is a major issue,” Tal said.

“The next elections will be in part about housing. I think that all parties, including the government, recognize that this is a major issue on the mind of Canadians.”

Last year, Canada decided to plateau its immigration levels targets at 500,000 for 2025 and 2026. However, although this addresses the concern relating to housing in part, Canada is still reliant on immigrants to replace its aging population, according to Cynthia Leach, who is assistant chief economist at RBC.

She did call the pause appropriate, citing the annual immigration intake’s jump to 1.3 per cent of the population in the last few years compared to the average 0.8 per cent.

For temporary numbers, she held a similar view, saying that international students are good PRs, but enhance pressure on the infrastructure in the short term.

This makes the pathway to PR more difficult for students and harder for Canada’s economy to benefit in the long term.

Temporary students, like permanent immigrants to Canada, help the economy by filling labor shortages and participating in post-secondary education.

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Canada immigration minister Marc Miller announced on March 24 that he intends to conduct domestic draws for temporary residents who are already in Canada and are candidates for PR.

“As part of our efforts for temporary residents to transition to permanent residency, we will have more domestic draws for us (the federal government) and ask provinces and territories taking part in the Provincial Nominee Program to do the same with their allocations,” Miller said.

However, Canada is limiting the number of temporary residents being let into the country by 20 per cent over the next three years, which, as per Desjardins economists, may offset the economic benefits of any Bank of Canada rate cuts.

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