Canadian government reveals new immigration priorities

Posted Jan 15, 2021 2:16 PM EST
Updated January 26, 2021 at 10:40 a.m. EST



Immigration will remain at the heart of the Canadian economy and society.

This was emphasized by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the new complementary mandate letter which he presented today to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

The mandate letter is the most important policy document for the Department of Immigration Canada.

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It describes the objectives that the Prime Minister of Canada asks the Minister of Immigration and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to pursue during the government’s mandate.

The mandate letter defines key issues such as Canada Immigration Levels Plan, what new immigration programs for IRCC to create, improve processing times for IRCC applications, among others. The release of the mandate letter comes shortly after Canada announced a historic new immigration levels plan 2021-2023 that will see it target more than 400,000 immigrants a year, the highest in its history.

The new mandate letter complements the one Trudeau provided to Mendicino in December 2019.

The reasons for the new additional mandate letter are that the Canadian government started a new session of Parliament in September and it also incorporates new objectives born out of the COVID-19 crisis.

Key priorities outlined in today’s letter include:

  • Continue to welcome newcomers to support Canada’s economic growth and post-COVID recovery by expanding pilot programs to welcome refugees through economic class immigration streams; accelerate family reunification; and work on sectoral and regional pilot programs.
  • Continue to implement measures to provide permanent residency pathways for those who provided health care in long-term care homes, medical facilities, or provided other essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Continue to work with Cabinet colleagues to protect the health and safety of Canadians while managing Canada’s ports of entry with responsibility and compassion.
  • Identify additional pathways to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers.
  • Work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion to protect workers vulnerable to COVID-19 and to find workers to meet labor needs works in agriculture and food processing.
  • Continue to work with Canada’s provinces and territories to provide settlement supports for newcomers, including French language training.

The new supplementary letter contains no surprises and explicitly describes the objectives that the Canadian government has pursued during its mandate. It is in addition to the objectives set out in the December 2019 mandate letter that IRCC continues to pursue. The underlying theme of today’s communiqué is that Canada will continue to operate its immigration system to the best of its ability during the pandemic so that it can harness the skills and talents of newcomers to support its economic health once the pandemic is behind us.

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