Canada’s immigration ministers recently met in Toronto as part of the Federation of Ministers Responsible for Immigration (FMRI), a decision-making body that oversees the country’s immigration system. In this meeting, they discussed shared priorities and ways to improve immigration policies and programs across Canada. The FMRI meets twice a year, with the most recent meeting taking place on November 17, 2023.
During a press conference after the meeting, Immigration Minister Marc Miller outlined the main points from the discussion. He emphasized that the newly proposed Immigration Levels Plan (2024-2026) would help create sustainable population growth and bring much-needed support to the healthcare and construction sectors.
Key highlights from the ministers’ meeting included discussions on how to:
- Reduce duplication among federal-provincial economic class immigration programs and processing times
- Support Francophone immigration outside Quebec
- Deliver a more responsive and client-centered economic immigration system
- Streamline foreign credential recognition and lower barriers to entry
- Address pressures on housing, infrastructure, and social services through collaborative governmental efforts
- Expand settlement services eligibility for asylum claimants and temporary residents on a clear path to permanent residence
- Improve the integrity of Canada’s International Student Program
- Align work permits with provincial-territorial labor market needs
The FMRI also discussed the endorsement of a multi-year levels plan for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) during their previous meeting in March 2023, held in Halifax. This advancement means provincial and territorial governments will receive their PNP allocations up to three years in advance.
Additionally, topics such as improving international education recognition and streamlining pathways for in-demand professionals like healthcare workers and construction laborers were part of the previous meeting’s agenda. Moreover, the ministers explored possibilities for expanding the Atlantic Immigration Program and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program.
This recent gathering in Toronto demonstrates the ongoing commitment between federal and provincial governments to advance Canada’s immigration system and ensure effective collaboration between authorities to best serve the country’s growing population.
Canada Unveils New Immigration Strategy with Provincial Priorities in Focus
The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently rolled out a new strategy, titled An Immigration System for Canada’s Future. This strategy highlights the need for enhanced consultations with provincial governments, partners, and stakeholders to implement a whole-of-government approach to support sustainable immigration levels that will fortify Canada’s economy and workforce.
The strategy was also cited in the formulation of the federal Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026, which aims to admit up to 500,000 new permanent residents annually in both 2025 and 2026. A significant number of these residents – 110,000 in 2024 and 120,000 in both 2025 and 2026 – will arrive through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Collaboration between IRCC and provinces is essential as immigration is a shared responsibility under Canada’s Constitution. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) empowers provinces to select economic immigration candidates who are most likely to contribute significantly to local economies and integrate well into provincial workforces. However, IRCC remains the final authority on whether a nominated candidate will become a permanent resident of Canada.
In recent PNP draw results across four provinces including British Columbia witnessed invitations extended to numerous candidates. On November 16, British Columbia invited more than 219 candidates in its latest BC PNP draw. The largest draw covered Skilled Worker, International Graduate, Entry Level, and Semi-Skilled streams with minimum scores ranging from 94-115 depending on the stream.
Additional targeted draws focused on Skilled Workers and International Graduates working in specific occupations such as early childcare educators, healthcare workers, and other priority sectors. These candidates were required to achieve a minimum score of 60. Moreover, the province held its first targeted draw for construction occupations, inviting 12 Skilled Worker and International Graduate candidates with a minimum score of 75.
In a recent series of immigration draws, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island (PEI), and Alberta have invited numerous skilled candidates to apply for provincial nominations.
On November 16, Manitoba held four draws in three streams, inviting a total of 301 candidates. Among the Skilled Workers in Manitoba, 100 general draw candidates with a minimum score of 809 were given invitations to apply across various occupations. An occupation-specific draw for Skilled Workers considered select National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes in healthcare, education, and home care fields. Furthermore, the province extended invitations to 61 International Education stream candidates and 48 Skilled Workers from overseas with a minimum score of 721.
Simultaneously, PEI also conducted a draw on November 16 in which it invited 134 Labour and Express Entry candidates employed by PEI companies. These candidates needed a minimum Expression of Interest (EOI) score of 55 to qualify. Additionally, seven Business Work Permit Entrepreneur candidates were invited, requiring at least an EOI score of 80. Over the past year, PEI has invited a total of 2,527 candidates through these two streams.
Lastly, Alberta conducted an immigration draw on November 9 aimed at Express Entry candidates under the Dedicated Healthcare Pathway with Alberta Job Offer stream. The province invited 16 candidates who secured a Comprehensive Ranking System score exceeding 300. According to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), applicants in this stream may wait up to two months for their final decision once they’ve submitted their applications.