Canada’s population growth has stopped, and all future growth will solely rely on immigration, according to data from Statistics Canada.
“Over the next three years, the Canadian government intends to bring the population equivalent of the province of Manitoba to Canada through permanent resident streams and steps must be taken to ensure success,” said Western University’s Victoria Esses.
In a policy briefing released today by the Royal Society of Canada, a research team – co-led by Esses and by Jean McRae from the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria – provides an overview of Canada’s immigration system prior to the pandemic, and the policies and programs that should be put in place to support immigrant selection, settlement, and integration moving forward.
“This briefing, prepared as a partnership between the Pathways to Prosperity (led by Western) and the Royal Society of Canada, describes what the pandemic has revealed about the strengths and fault lines in Canada’s immigration system, and offers insights and recommendations to reinvigorate and optimize Canada’s immigration program over the next decade and beyond,” said Esses, a psychology professor and director of the Network for Economic and Social Trends at Western.
Canada has long been considered a global leader in immigration and integration policies and programs, and as an attractive and welcoming country for immigrants, refugees, temporary foreign workers, and international students.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed some of the strengths of Canada’s immigration system, as well as some of the weaknesses that have been developing and have deepened over the last few years.
The briefing provides more than 80 recommendations for action by the federal and provincial/territorial governments designed to optimize immigration to Canada, including:
- A comprehensive review that engages Canadians in a discussion of the future of immigration to Canada
- Targeted funding, policies, programs and pathways that address the needs of vulnerable permanent and temporary resident groups
- Research to drive evidence-based policy and program redesign during the pandemic and beyond
- A coordinated network of national promising practices for incorporating skilled immigrants in the workplace
“The importance of immigration for Canada will continue to grow and be an integral component of the country’s post-COVID-19 recovery. To succeed, it is essential to take stock, to re-evaluate Canada’s immigration and integration policies and programs, and to expand Canada’s global leadership in this area,” said Esses.