May 30, 2023

Canada’s Immigration Ministers: Update on Primary Goals

The Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration (FMRI) is a meeting held twice a year by federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for immigration in Canada. The meetings act as a venue for the two levels of government to discuss Canada's top immigration priorities. In their recent meeting in Halifax, the ministers spoke about the support for immigration in Canada and how they have been able to build on objectives outlined last summer. In this blog, we will discuss the key points from the meeting and what it means for Canada's immigration system.


Maximizing the effectiveness of the Immigration system

In their last meeting, the ministers aimed to maximize the effectiveness of the immigration system to meet economic and regional needs, including increasing provincial/territorial (PT) involvement in the selection process. They sought more input into Express Entry modernization and to increase the allocations of the PT Nominee Programs (PNPs). Finally, the provinces aimed to provide timely multi-year allocations before March 31st, 2023.


Multi-year Provincial Nominee Program and Atlantic Immigration Program Plan

Notably, the ministers have endorsed the first-ever new multi-year Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) plan. This plan will better help the provinces and territories outline their immigrant admissions and settlement in advance. The plan includes a 44% growth in PNP allocations for 2023. Speaking on behalf of the provinces and territories, Arlene Dunn, the minister responsible for immigration in New Brunswick, said that provinces and territories are best placed to select economic immigrants. Minister Dunn said expanding the PNP, AIP, and Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will help reduce the IRCC backlog and improve processing times to better serve clients and meet their needs.


Speeding up processing times

The ministers also said that speeding processing times would help reduce duplication in the system, which in turn contributes to the backlog. They acknowledged the emerging challenge of finding affordable housing for new immigrants as well as the current stress on settlement services nationwide. The ministers are also looking for ways to enhance the process of obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) or foreign credential recognition, by collaborating more with each other as well as stakeholders such as labor ministers, employers, and chambers of commerce.


Shared jurisdiction over immigration

Since Canada was founded in 1867, the provincial and federal governments have shared responsibility for immigration. The main objective of these conferences is promoting the spread of immigration throughout Canada. One of the main components of this shared responsibility is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Each province, with the exceptions of Quebec and Nunavut, operates its own PNP through which candidates for permanent residency (PR) can indicate a preference to work and live in a specific province.


Provincial immigration results

Provinces and territories hold immigration draws routinely. This week, British Columbia, Ontario, and Manitoba have held PNP draws, while Quebec held a draw under its own system. In British Columbia, 276 candidates were invited through the BC PNP, including tech occupations. Ontario held two draws targeting candidates in healthcare occupations and tech occupations. Manitoba invited 576 candidates across three categories.


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