Renewed Atlantic Growth Strategy Boosts Canada’s Atlantic Immigration Program

Housing Minister Sean Fraser Says Canada May Re-Evaluate Immigration Targets
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Regional premiers and federal ministers have agreed to renew and revitalize the Atlantic Growth Strategy (AGS), providing a boost for Canada’s Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP).

At a meeting in New Brunswick on July 18, the group of premiers and ministers also agreed to reduce barriers faced by international students and maximize settlement support for new immigrants.

The group acknowledged Atlantic Canada’s need for a “skilled, diverse, and adaptable workforce,” for which it deemed AIP indispensable.

The AIP falls under the AGS, which is a set of agreements first introduced in 2016 to accelerate the sustainable growth of the Atlantic Canadian economy.

The AIP’s is significant in reaching Canada immigration targets laid out in the federal government’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025.

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It shows that Canada is set to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, of which 8,500 are targeted to come through the AIP. In 2025, Canada’s immigration target is 500,000, with the AIP’s contribution rising to 14,500.

The latest Atlantic Canada agreement notes this increase in immigration and aims to enhance the system’s efficiency in responding to labor market needs and addressing the requirements of the region.

“Through this strategy we see strong government collaboration on issues that matter to us all, and together we set priorities to continue making this region stronger,” Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said.

“I am pleased to gather with my federal and provincial colleagues to celebrate our achievements and discuss our priorities in this region that I am proud to call home.”

Launched as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot in 2017, the program now permanently operates as a partnership between the Canadian federal government and the provincial governments of the four Atlantic provinces:

It is an employer-led stream that provides a pathway to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers and international graduates from a Canadian institution looking to work and live in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador.

Under AIP, Canadian employers from the Atlantic provinces do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire qualified candidates for jobs that they have been unable to fill locally. Instead, they need to become designated to make international job offers, the process for which is handled by each individual province’s immigration department.

To become designated, an organization must:  

  • not be in violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) or the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR)
  • be in good standing and in compliance with employment standards and occupational health and safety legislation
  • not recruit workers for the purpose of creating a candidate pool that could be later transferred/contracted for staffing purposes to separate businesses
  • have been operating in Atlantic Canada for at least 2 years, or have been working in another province with confirmation of approval from the Atlantic province in which you are applying for designation
  • work with a settlement service provider organization to help candidates get settlement services
  • commit to taking the free onboarding training
  • commit to taking the free intercultural competency training, unless exempted by your province

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Candidates also must meet certain requirements to qualify for hiring. These are:

1. Work Experience

In the last five years, candidates must have worked at least 1,560 hours, equivalent to 30 hours per week for one year, in an occupation under National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) categories 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4.

2. International Graduates

These candidates do not need to meet the work experience requirements if they are an international graduate who:

  • has a degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship certification requiring at least two years of studies from a recognized post-secondary institution in one of the four Atlantic provinces.
  • was a full-time student for the entire time they were studying.
  • lived in one of the four provinces for at least 16 months during the last 2 years before they graduated.
  • had the visa/permit needed to work, study, or get training while in Canada

3. Education

  • Candidates with a job offer in NOC 2021 TEER 0 or 1 must have at least a Canadian one-year post-secondary educational credential or equivalent from outside Canada.
  • Candidates with a job offer in NOC 2021 TEER 2, 3 or 4 must have a Canadian high school diploma or the equivalent from outside Canada.

Those who studied outside Canada need an educational credential assessment (ECA) to confirm that their studies are equivalent to or higher than the required level of education for their job offer

  • The ECA report must be less than 5 years old on the date the application is received

4. Language

The minimum language requirements must be met on either:

  • Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) or
  • Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC)
  • CLB/NCLC 5 for TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3
  • CLB/NCLC 4 for TEER 4

These results must be submitted from a designated language testing organization with the candidate’s application, and less than 2 years old when they apply.

5. Settlement Funds

Candidates need to have enough money to support themselves and their family when they get to Canada. The amount they need depends on the size of their family, including dependents who are not immigrating with them.

Number of family members Funds required (in Canadian dollars)
1 $3,439
2 $4,281
3 $5,263
4 $6,391
5 $7,248
6 $8,175
7 $9,101
If more than 7 people, for each additional family member  $926
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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.