Four provinces are asking the Canadian government to have a say in immigration

Posted July 28, 2022 8:00 a.m. EDT

The provincial immigration ministers of Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba signed a letter urging Immigration Minister Sean Fraser work with the provinces to improve Canada’s immigration system.

The letter, sent on July 26, pointed out that there are labor shortages across the country and that Canada must do more to attract immigrants with in-demand skills, especially in the skilled trades.

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“The provinces know best the needs of their local economies,” the letter said. “We need to be able to respond to the rapidly changing needs of specific areas and communities, with a flexible system that we can adapt to changing economic and humanitarian needs.

The ministers are part of the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration, which is meeting with the federal government this week to discuss immigration needs at the provincial and territorial levels. These meetings between the two levels of government have taken place every year since 2003 to shape Canadian immigration policy.

Provinces have the ability to select immigrants through Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which allows provinces to create their own immigration programs. Although the federal government, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has the final say on who can immigrate to Canada, provinces can create their own selection criteria, allowing them to meet regional labor needs.

It is up to the federal government to determine the number of potential immigrants each province can nominate each year. The provinces can negotiate their allocation, but ultimately it is the decision of the federal government.

Ontario Immigration Minister Monte McNaughton is asking the federal government to double his PCP allowance to 18,000. McNaughton also wants Ontario to have more autonomy over its immigration programas Quebec Is. Currently, Ontario expects 211,000 newcomers to the province, but only 9,750 could be selected through its provincial immigration program. Meanwhile, the minister says there are some 378,000 unfilled jobs in the province.

According Statistics CanadaManitoba has about 28,000 vacancies, Saskatchewan about 20,000 and Alberta about 88,000. Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 has set a target of 83,500 PNP arrivals in all provinces for this year (except Quebec, which has its own immigration system). This is an all-time high and is expected to exceed 90,000 landings by 2024, but ministers from the four provinces argue this is insufficient to help them ease the historic labor shortages they are experiencing .

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