Earlier this month, two of us here at Moving2Canada attended the annual Canadian Immigration Summit in Ottawa, Canada’s beautiful capital city. Marcel and I enjoyed two packed days of panel discussions and working sessions, soaking up tonnes of new information and insights about Canada’s immigration system — present and future — and how the needs and goals of new arrivals and those wishing to move to Canada can continue to be met.
Here are some key takeaways from the summit, which was kindly hosted by the ever-brilliant Conference Board of Canada.
The Express Entry points system may change after the federal election, but is unlikely to change before then.
Canada must hold a general election this year, likely in October. At the time of writing, the opposition Conservatives are leading in most polls, with CBC giving them a 70 percent chance of winning the most seats. This, of course, is subject to change, but it gives some insight into which party may form the government less than six months from now. With immigration to Canada set to be a hot-button issue in the run up to the election, changes may be on the horizon.
IRCC’s Director General of Strategic Policy and Planning, Matt de Vlieger, is the top IRCC employee when it comes to Express Entry. During a Q&A following a session on ‘Preparing for tomorrow’s labour market,’ we asked Mr de Vlieger this question: 2016 and 2017 saw two sets of changes to Express Entry in terms of points allocation and weighting. Does the department (IRCC) plan on making any further changes? If not now, could a new government make changes based on its priorities?
This was his response, in full:
A: We’re not far away from a big electoral event. I wouldn’t expect any new changes to the [Express Entry] points system before then. Absolutely, a new government — a new government or returning government — could decide to make some changes to the system.
He added: “Changes to the system take a little while. There’s a lot of technology to it. We only change our Global Case Management system about three or four times a year, so there’s always a queue to make changes, they don’t happen on a dime.”
- Learn more: All about the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System.
Immigration will soon account for all of Canada’s net labour force growth.
In its comprehensive report titled ‘Can’t go it alone: Immigration is key to Canada’s growth strategy,’ published just before the summit, the Conference Board of Canada painted a stark picture of Canada’s economic future if immigration was to play a marginal role.
The report states: ‘School leavers (11.8 million people) will account for the lion’s share of Canada’s new workers during our forecast period, but they will not be enough to compensate for those leaving the labour force (13.4 million people). Without immigration and improvements to the participation rates of under-represented groups, Canada’s labour force would shrink from 19.8 million workers in 2018 to 18 million in 2040. Hence, immigration will account for all of Canada’s net labour force growth—3.7 million workers.’
- Learn more: How to get a job in Canada.
Approximately 60% of all Canadians will be a recent immigrant or the child of a recent immigrant.
Already today, around 21 percent of Canada’s population is comprised of permanent residents and naturalized citizens. Add in their children, as well as the immigrants of tomorrow and their children, and it becomes the case that soon enough (perhaps a generation from now, or sooner) a comfortable majority of Canada’s population will be made up of immigrants and their children.
This point was delivered by IPSOS CEO Darrell Bricker, whose recently-published book ‘Empty Planet’ (co-written with John Ibbitson of Globe and Mail fame) outlines that Canada’s current natural population replacement rate of around 1.6 births per woman is far below the 2.1 rate required to maintain a steady population. Without immigration to make up the difference, Canada would suffer hugely; immigrants and their children work, pay taxes, and support social programs such as health care for the benefit of current and future populations.
- Learn more: Visit our living in Canada section.
PNP allocations have gone up 33%, and they’ll go up further.
Minister Hussen noted that the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) have been a great success when it comes to “spreading the benefits of immigration right across the country, and not just in the big cities.” Future Canadian immigration levels plans are set to reveal further increases again, as Canada entrusts its provinces to select newcomers and their families who can settle quickly.
- Try it out: With more than 70 PNP streams in operation, find the right stream for you with our PNP Live Tracker Tool.
The feds absolutely love the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (and so do the Atlantic provinces).
Again and again, IRCC staff, from the Minister of Immigration down to those working on the front line with applicants, lauded the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP). This program was launched in 2017 with the aim of attracting and retaining international talent in Atlantic Canada, which had been experiencing the dual problems of more people leaving the work force than entering it, and lower immigrant retention rates than the rest of Canada (about 60 percent, versus 90 percent in other provinces).
“We are very, very happy with the progress in the Atlantic immigration program,” stated Minister Hussen. “It’s about inviting families, and not just the skilled immigrant. It’s about moving from temporary foreign worker regimes to permanent residency. It’s about providing settlement support. It’s about keeping them there [in the Atlantic provinces] and hanging on to international students.”
- Learn more: Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program extended to 2021.
IRCC and governments in Atlantic Canada love the program so much, in fact, that the summit’s organizers put on a dedicated session covering which lessons the rest of Canada can take from the success of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program. The federal government has already launched a new Rural and Northern Immigration Program on the back of the Atlantic version, and . . .
“Winners” for the Rural and Northern Immigration Program will be announced before the end of May.
This was confirmed by Minister Hussen on the first morning of the summit. First launched in January, 2019, the new Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is a five-year initiative aimed at testing community-driven approaches to address the labour market needs of smaller communities. The “winners” that Minister Hussen referred to are communities that applied for designated status under the program, which, if granted, would allow them to bring in newcomers under the program.