Immigration shift from the econo-centric strategy re-balances program

May 5, 2016

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

The Liberal government’s recently announced immigration strategy is a welcome first step to re-balancing the program, say several experts.

“We are thrilled,” says Debbie Douglas, executive director of the Ontario Council for Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). “For more than a decade, we saw a real shift away from families, and refugee protection for that matter, toward the economic class.”

The 2016 strategy, announced by Immigration Minister John McCallum in March, pledges to welcome approximately 300,000 permanent residents this year (up from 2015’s goal of 279,200), with an increased number of individuals accepted under family reunification and humanitarian categories, while still heavily reliant on economic class immigrants.

David Campbell, chief economist for the New Brunswick Jobs Board Secretariat, says expanding immigration is what’s needed in Canada.

“We have a broader demographic challenge in the country and the economic growth rate in the country is tied to the ability to ensure that industries have workers,” he explains. “Increasingly, those workers have to come from immigrants.”

Even more than a boost to the economy, Douglas says the Liberals’ plan diverts from the previous government’s approach and demonstrates an understanding of immigration as an essential part of long-term nation building.

“We know that immigration is the future of Canada,” she says. “We need people to grow the economy and people to contribute socially and culturally to the country.”

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