ARCHIVED – Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, 2005

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Section 1
Canadian Immigration: Building Canada’s Future

A Vision for Building Canada’s Future

Global migration is a phenomenon of modern times. According to recent estimates, up to 200 million people now live outside their country of origin [note 1], either on a permanent or temporary basis. A number of factors have influenced migration in recent decades: population growth; market globalization; advances in communication technology; relatively inexpensive transportation; and political, economic and social conditions and trends at the national and international levels.

Immigration has been fundamental to the growth of Canada and to our history of achievement. From our earliest days through to the global transformations of recent years, hardworking people and their families have come to Canada from all over the world. Collectively, they have made a significant contribution to the development of our economy, our society and our culture.

Immigration will play a key role in building the Canada of tomorrow by addressing future labour market and demographic needs, and supporting the country’s international role and geopolitical presence. Looking to the future, Canada needs the talent and dynamism that immigrants bring to this country. Immigration is key to nation building and to our economic prosperity.

In economic terms, immigration supports Canada’s future prosperity by contributing to the continued growth in the country’s standard of living. Immigration will help maintain labour force growth and the necessary skilled labour supply in different sectors and regions across the country.

In social terms, immigration will enhance the Canadian approach to multiculturalism and diversity, lending social and cultural richness to communities across the country and providing a source of comparative advantage in attracting and retaining talent.

In global terms, immigration will help to ensure Canada’s influence in the world and support the ongoing humanitarian commitment to the protection of refugees.

At the same time, the international environment will increasingly challenge Canada’s ability to meet its future economic, social and cultural needs through immigration. On the one hand, as a result of local and global events, unprecedented numbers of people are on the move. There is growing recognition of the need for international cooperation to ensure the management of migration, and Canada participates in several international fora to lend its expertise in this area and to advance Canadian immigration and humanitarian objectives.

On the other hand, the global environment is also one in which competition for skill and talent will intensify with the declining population growth in the world’s developed regions and the emergence of developing countries as economic powers. Canada has an overall record of success in attracting and integrating immigrants, but challenges to remaining globally competitive are undeniable. Ensuring Canada remains a destination of choice is imperative when, within the next 10 years, our country will experience slowing labour force growth and labour supply shortages in certain regions and sectors, and all net labour force growth will come from immigration. Canada’s relative share of the North American population is also expected to decline over time.

Canada needs to prepare itself to compete in this changing and more challenging international environment and needs to move now to start putting the conditions in place to ensure more successful immigration to Canada.

Canada’s Immigration Program

Canada is a multicultural and diverse country that is open to the world, with an immigration program that enjoys public support and a track record of successfully integrating generations of newcomers. Canada is one of the few countries in the world with a proactive policy of encouraging immigration. According to the most recent Census results, 18.4% (5.4 million) of the Canadian population in 2001 was foreign-born, representing a sizable and growing proportion of our population. Future success requires that program-related challenges be addressed to ensure that the immigration system works better in support of Canada’s continued economic prosperity and global competitiveness.

Key among these challenges are improving client service, improving the economic outcomes of immigrants, and ensuring the benefits of immigration are better shared across Canada through regionalization efforts. Work is already under way, but more needs to be done to transform the program and make it more responsive.

CIC has met the overall target for immigration for the past five years as established in the Annual Immigration Plan tabled in Parliament, with over 220,000 people obtaining permanent resident status annually since 2000. CIC has successfully delivered the targeted levels for permanent residents while simultaneously managing its processing capacity effectively in other demand-driven programs such as temporary residence (temporary foreign workers, foreign students, visitors) and citizenship.

Notwithstanding this success, CIC faces growing inventories and longer processing times both at its missions abroad and in Canada. Demand continues to exceed the Annual Immigration Plan and this, in turn, puts increased pressure on CIC’s overall processing capacity. For example, the total number of applications for permanent resident status in the inventory is approximately 700,000 persons [note 2], with particular pressure in the economic class and in the parent and grandparent category of the family class. Longer processing times, in turn, result in more inquiries about applications to CIC’s Call Centre, more appeals for assistance to members of Parliament and more client complaints.

The upcoming implementation of CIC’s new Global Case Management System (GCMS) may create some added service challenges as old systems are replaced. In the longer term, however, the GCMS will integrate all client information into a single Client Relationship Management (CRM) system accessible to all employees around the world. It will directly benefit our clients by providing access to more detailed information on the status of their applications, and will become a critical platform to support CIC in service transformation.

Funding announced by the government in the 2005 Budget will improve client access to CIC information and services. In April 2005, the Minister also announced significant financial investments to alleviate inventory pressures in several programs. These investments focus on accelerating the processing of citizenship applications, processing more sponsored parents and grandparents, and allowing international students to work off campus. CIC will address short-term pressures by accelerating the processing of applications to renew temporary resident status for visitors, students and temporary workers already in Canada. Beyond these efforts, improving client service will require fundamental transformation of the service delivery system.

Declining economic outcomes for immigrants who arrived in Canada in the 1990s were matched with a rise in low-income rates among new immigrants. Employment earnings of immigrants rise with time in Canada, and since the mid-1990s, there has been much stronger growth in earnings than in previous years. The government is taking action to support newcomer integration, but more needs to be done.

For example, in the 2005 Budget, the government announced a $298 million investment over five years for settlement services to facilitate newcomer integration into the economy and society. In addition, the federal government and the Province of Ontario have made significant progress toward a first-ever Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement. At the same time, action is being taken through the Internationally Trained Workers Initiative (ITWI) to provide newcomers with enhanced language training that is labour market and job specific, and to improve the availability of information and tools for immigrants before and after they arrive in Canada through the Going to Canada Internet portal.

Moving forward, CIC will engage a broader range of partners and stakeholders to explore the development and implementation of innovative measures to improve labour market integration and social outcomes for newcomers, to ensure a better match between immigrant supply and local demand, and to develop strategies to increase regionalization and share the benefits of immigration across the country.

Critical Partnerships

The successful management of Canada’s immigration program depends on ongoing collaboration with a wide range of partners. CIC works actively with partners on a range of immigration issues both internationally and domestically. However, more and broader engagement is needed to build toward Canada’s future.

On the international front, for example, the Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM), which consists of 20 member states including Canada, was established in late 2003 to develop a comprehensive and global response to major migration issues. CIC is involved in setting the international migration agenda through regular sessions of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR’s) Working Group on Resettlement. CIC is also examining cross-cutting issues on the international migration agenda through the Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) on Asylum, Refugees and Migration Policies and through the Puebla Process, and is helping to move migration issues from informal and regional perspectives to global perspectives through the GCIM. The Department also maintains strategic alliances with key countries around the world on a wide range of issues. For example, CIC works to facilitate the movement of workers under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and negotiates with Mexico and several Caribbean countries regarding seasonal agricultural workers.

Domestically, CIC partners include other federal departments and agencies, provincial and territorial governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), voluntary organizations, community-based service provider organizations, researchers and other stakeholders. The Department works closely with the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRBs) on issues relating to the overall management of the refugee and immigration portfolio. The IRBs is an independent administrative tribunal that adjudicates immigration inadmissibility, detention, appeals and refugee protection claims made within Canada. While the independence of the IRBs and its decision makers is always maintained, there is close collaboration with CIC.

Since the creation of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSAs) on December 12, 2003, CIC shares responsibility for administering the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) with the CBSAs. CIC is responsible for immigrant selection, settlement and integration, while also offering Canada’s protection to those in need. CIC also retains responsibility for admissibility policies with the exception of policies related to security, war crimes and organized crime. The CBSAs is responsible for the management and operation of our nation’s borders, including preventing people who should not be in Canada from reaching our borders, detecting those who are in Canada but who are in contravention of IRPA, and removing these individuals in a timely manner. In October 2004, the additional transfer of port-of-entry functions to the CBSAs was announced, as was the transfer back to CIC from the CBSAs of the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRAs) function.

Overseas, CIC’s program delivery network is co-located with Foreign Affairs Canada. In Canada, CIC works with Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada and key agencies involved in managing access to Canada such as the CBSAs, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada on immigrant health issues. The Temporary Foreign Workers Program is an integrated government program that involves both CIC and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDCs). CIC and Canadian Heritage share citizenship promotion activities. CIC also participates in numerous research activities with federal partners and has forged strategic alliances with policy makers and researchers both in Canada and abroad.

With the passing of regulations on authorized representatives in April 2004, CIC also recognized the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) as the authorized regulatory body for immigration consultants. In the short time since its creation, CSIC has put in place all the hallmarks of a professional regulatory body to carry out its consumer protection mandate.

Moving forward, CIC will expand this network of partnerships and work more effectively with other government departments, other levels of government, NGOs, employers, unions and others to ensure that the immigration program supports Canada’s future growth and prosperity and allows newcomers to integrate easily into the labour market and our communities.

Canada’s Immigration Plan for 2006

Putting the vision for Canada’s future into action requires a new way of doing business built around a new approach to levels planning supported by more dynamic engagement with a broader range of partners. CIC will engage partners more broadly on both levels planning as well as how best to address program and operational challenges that will be key to success in the future.

As part of this new approach, the commitment is to admit between 225,000 and 255,000 newcomers to Canada as permanent residents in 2006 with a 56:44 ratio between the economic and non-economic categories [note 3]. This includes more parents and grandparents, as announced in the spring of 2005. CIC will engage partner departments, provinces and territories, and stakeholders on future levels planning with a view to developing a shared and mutually supported plan for the future. See Table 1 for further information.

Table 1: Immigration Levels Plan 2006

Immigrant Category 2006 Ranges Lower/Upper RATIO
Skilled workers 105,000 – 116,000 56%
Business
   Entrepreneur
   Self-employed
   Investor
9,000 – 11,000
Live-in caregiver 3,000 – 5,000
Provincial nominees 9,000 – 11,000
TOTAL ECONOMIC 126,000 – 143,000
Spouses, partners and children 44,000 – 46,000 44%
Parents and grandparents* 17,000 – 19,000
Total Family 61,000 – 65,000
Government-assisted refugees 7,300 – 7,500
Privately sponsored refugees 3,000 – 4,000
Inland protected persons 19,500 – 22,000
Dependants abroad 3,000 – 6,800
Total Refugee 32,800 – 40,300
Humanitarian and Compassionate/Public Policy 5,100 – 6,500
Permit holders 100 – 200
TOTAL NON-ECONOMIC 99,000 – 112,000
TOTAL 225,000 – 255,000  
* This number includes 12,000 parents and grandparents as announced by the Minister on April 18, 2005.

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1. Karlsson and Ramphele, “The Challenge of International Migration Policy” in Metropolis World Bulletin, Volume 4, September 2004, page 3.

2. Inventories as of December 31, 2004. Source: CIC Data Warehouse and Case Processing Centre (CPC)-Mississauga for the period ending on December 31, 2004.

3. While these figures are projections for the entire country, the Government of Quebec is responsible for developing and managing its own immigration plan under the Canada-Quebec Accord and also publishes its plan annually. For further details, see www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/index.asp.

 

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