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Immigration ministers met to discuss the future of Canadian immigration at the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration meeting on November 17, 2023.

Watch the immigration minister’s announcement live

Canada’s immigration minister, Marc Miller, has joined his provincial and territorial counterparts to discuss the nation’s immigration strategy, including the Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026.

The Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration includes the immigration ministers of all Canadian provinces and territories. The Quebec immigration minister holds observer status, as Quebec operates its own immigration program. Still, the federal government has the final say on all Canadian immigration applications.

The provincial and territorial ministers recognized the recent increases to the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). In the new levels plan, Canada is calling for 110,000 new permanent residents through the PNP in 2024 and then stabilizing at 120,000 in 2025 and 2026—making it the largest economic immigration program in the latter two years.

The ministers called for an even greater share of PNPs in immigration levels planning, according to the media release. Ministers also discussed the importance of collaborating with the federal government in attracting and retaining immigrants outside of large urban centres.

The PNP allows Canadian provinces and territories to create programs for economic immigrants that are tailored to their unique labour market needs.

They also discussed the importance of reducing duplication and processing times and supporting Francophone immigration outside Quebec. Advocates for French communities in other parts of Canada have long been calling for more francophone immigration.

“As Canada continues to welcome newcomers, we will continue to work across all levels of government to ensure that housing, infrastructure planning and sustainable population growth are taken into account so that newcomers are set up for success,” Miller said in the release. “I look forward to continued discussions and collaboration with my provincial and territorial colleagues.”

From their meeting place in Toronto, Ontario—a hot spot for newcomers to Canada—the ministers looked over the recently-released report, An Immigration System for Canada’s FutureIt highlights crucial themes such as improving the immigration experience for newcomers, ensuring immigration meets labor market demands, and establishing a cohesive growth strategy. The report also emphasizes collaboration between federal, provincial, and territorial partners to provide optimal support for immigrants and communities nationwide. Provinces and territories contributed their insights on Canada’s immigration system’s future, along with discussing challenges and opportunities specific to their regions.

Immigration is not only an important part of Canada’s population growth, but also its economic growth. The recently-released Immigration Levels Plan aims to stabilize immigration at 500,000 new permanent residents in 2025 and 2026. Keeping the levels at half a million newcomers is Canada’s attempt to grow its labour force as well as address housing shortages.

Following the announcement, researchers at RBC Bank released a report stating that although the pause in growing immigration targets makes sense given the housing shortage in Canada, the country will eventually have to continue to increasing immigration.

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Previous Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration meetings

In March 2023, the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration (FMRI) gathered in Halifax to address Canada’s immigration future. They emphasized improving the immigration system to meet economic and regional needs. Discussions revolved around increasing provincial involvement in immigrant selection, enhancing PNPs, speeding up application processing, reducing duplication, and offering more authority over PNPs.

Provincial ministers applauded IRCC’s previous levels plan, which at that time boosted PNP allocations by 44 percent for 2023-2025. They also discussed settlement efforts, credential recognition, and Canada’s response to the Ukraine crisis.

The ministers condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and discussed supporting Ukrainians fleeing the conflict. They reviewed the impact of Canada’s immigration response, emphasizing collaboration for effective newcomer integration. There were calls to extend aid for displaced Ukrainians and discuss pathways to permanent residency for those unable to return home.

Concerns were raised about the influx of asylum claimants and the capacity to manage them. The importance of supporting vulnerable individuals seeking asylum remained a focal point. Credential recognition, especially for healthcare professionals, was highlighted to address labor shortages.

The ministers pledged to create a more adaptable, client-centered economic immigration system with increased provincial involvement. They stressed the significance of provincial and territorial knowledge of regional labor markets and maintaining flexible programs. The focus remained on enhancing federal immigration processing times and leveraging the provinces’ and territories’ knowledge for regional needs.

The discussion also touched upon the importance of regional immigration, evaluating communities’ capacity to absorb newcomers, and exploring better models for settlement services. The goal was to support immigrants’ integration and retention in their landing province or territory. Future meetings were planned to delve deeper into service delivery models and the roles of different government levels.

If you’re interested in moving to Canada but not sure which program you may be eligible for, check your eligibility for more than 20 Canadian immigration programs by taking Moving2Canada’s free Canada Immigration Quiz.

Citation "Provincial immigration ministers call for a greater share of PNPs in immigration levels." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation

About the author

Shelby Thevenot

Shelby Thevenot

They/Them
Shelby is a journalist, freelance writer, and expert news analyst with more than five years of experience in writing about Canadian immigration.
Read more about Shelby Thevenot

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