Canadian government’s Economic and Fiscal Update notes higher immigration is part of COVID recovery plan.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland presented the Canadian government’s Economic and Fiscal Update in Parliament the evening of December 14.

Freeland noted “Immigration is another important driver of economic growth and a Canadian competitive advantage. Our government is committed to bringing in 411,000 immigrants in 2022, the highest number in Canadian history. To help support this effort and reduce processing time for permanent and temporary resident and citizenship applications, we are investing $85 million in our immigration system.”

This demonstrates the Canadian government continued commitment to achieving the goals of the 2021-2023 Immigration Level Plan.  In addition, Freeland alluded to the need to reduce the processing time for immigration applications. The backlog of applications has already increased during the pandemic.

Fiscal updates and budgets often contain action items that directly and indirectly affect new immigrants. Sometimes, action items are targeted at immigrants, as was the case in Budget 2021.

Budget 2021, announced earlier this year, contained five key commitments on immigration, some of which have already been met, such as funding for a temporary to permanent residency (TR to PR) pathway.

The 2021 budget also calls for the replacement of the outdated Global Case Management System (GCMS), which processes citizenship and immigration applications.

It also suggests that the government is looking to reform Express Entry by giving the immigration minister more authority to select candidates based on labor market demand, but no further details are available at this time.

In addition, Budget 2021 announces increased spending on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The additional funding would increase employer compliance inspections to prevent unfair treatment and abuse of workers.

Finally, Budget 2021 proposes more spending to improve employment outcomes for racialized newcomer women.