ARCHIVED – Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, 2010

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Managing Permanent and Temporary Immigration

CIC maintains a balanced immigration program that responds to Canada’s labour market needs while fostering family reunification, honouring Canada’s humanitarian commitments and traditions, and protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians. Canada’s immigration program is based on nondiscriminatory principles—foreign nationals are assessed without regard to race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or gender.

In 2009, CIC continued to fulfil its role of identifying applicants for permanent or temporary status who could pose security or health risks to Canadians. CIC continues to work in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Public Safety Canada, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Department of Justice and Health Canada.

Permanent Residents

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act defines three basic classes of permanent residents: Economic, Family and Protected Persons. Permanent residents are persons who have not become Canadian citizens, but have been authorized to live and work in Canada indefinitely, provided that they meet residency requirements and do not lose their status by reason of serious criminality, security, human rights violations, organized crime or misrepresentation.

Economic Class

The Economic Class [note 9] includes federal and Quebec selected skilled workers, federal and Quebec-selected business immigrants, provincial and territorial nominees, the Canadian Experience Class, and live-in caregivers, as well as their immediate family members.

The first set of Ministerial Instructions, which identified the immigration applications that are given priority processing as part of the Action Plan for Faster Immigration, had its first full year of operation in 2009.

Results indicate that key objectives of the Action Plan are being met.

  • As of March 31, 2010, the number of people in the backlog of federal skilled workers—those who submitted applications prior to February 27, 2008—had been reduced by over 40 percent; CIC is well on track to achieving a 50-percent reduction by 2013. The total federal skilled worker inventory—those received both before and after February 27, 2008—has been reduced by 16 percent.
  • While the Department continued to issue visas (58,281 in 2009) for applications in the federal skilled worker stream received prior to February 27, 2008, a growing number of federal skilled worker applications meeting labour market needs identified in the Ministerial Instructions are being processed as well. As of March 31, 2010, over 27,000 visas were issued for applications received on or after February 27, 2008.
  • Centralization of the intake of federal skilled worker applications has resulted in clients getting an initial indication of the status of their application more quickly and has increased consistency in data collection and fee handling. These measures have allowed the Department to process the majority of new federal skilled worker applications in six to 12 months.

Family Class

Family reunification remains a key objective of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. To facilitate the reunification of families, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor Family Class immigrants [note 10]—spouses or partners, dependent children, parents, grandparents and other close relatives—to become permanent residents. Sponsors must demonstrate the ability to take financial responsibility for their family members with a sponsorship undertaking for a specified period of time. In 2009, CIC initiated the process to make regulatory changes to strengthen the Department’s capacity to refuse cases of suspected marriage fraud. Proposed changes were prepublished in the Canada Gazette on April 3, 2010.

Protected Persons

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, [note 11] there were about 10.4 million refugees in the world at the end of 2009, many of whom have been living in exile for decades. By offering protection to refugees and persons in need of protection, [note 12] and through active participation in international fora on refugee protection, CIC plays a significant role in upholding Canada’s international obligations and humanitarian tradition. Canada actively participates each year in all United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Standing Committee and Executive Committee meetings. Canada participated in the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on International Protection, which focused on urban refugees in 2009.

Canada resettled more than 12,000 government-assisted refugees and privately sponsored refugees in 2009, an increase of more than 1,500 from the previous year. The Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program [note 13] is a key component of Canada’s refugee resettlement program, whereby Canadian citizens and permanent residents can come together to sponsor refugees for resettlement in Canada. In 2009, as a result of the hard work of sponsors and Canada’s commitment to increase resettlement available to Iraqi refugees, Canada exceeded its private sponsorship target by resettling over 5,000 refugees under this program. A national conference in 2009 brought together sponsorship agreement holders to identify and discuss challenges, and find ways to improve sponsors’ ability to work with each other and with the Department, with a view to strengthening the program.

As well, Canada granted permanent residence to almost 7,000 individuals who requested asylum on or after their arrival in Canada and were found to be in need of protection, along with over 4,000 of their dependants abroad. The Immigration and Refugee Board is an independent tribunal responsible for determining claims for asylum made in Canada. The Government has made significant progress in filling vacancies on the Board. From April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010, there were 35 appointments and 25 reappointments, with the result that the Board was at 98 percent of its full complement of members by the end of March 2010.

The volume of asylum applications in 2009 showed a 10-percent decrease over 2008. The reduction is mainly attributed to the amendment of regulatory provisions with respect to the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, reinstating a temporary resident visa requirement on the Czech Republic and, for the first time, imposing a visa requirement for nationals of Mexico. These moves were prompted by asylum claims made by nationals of these countries that have, in recent years, placed substantial pressure on the asylum determination system.

The Government also made known in 2009 its desire to pursue long-awaited reforms to Canada’s asylum system. Bill C-11, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, [note 14] was introduced to reform Canada’s asylum system in Parliament on March 30, 2010, and received Royal Assent on June 29, 2010.

Active cooperation with the U.S. continued under the Safe Third Country Agreement. [note 15] Under the Agreement, persons seeking refugee protection must make a claim in the first country they arrive in (United States or Canada), unless they qualify for an exception to the Agreement. In July 2009, Canada repealed a regulation providing an exception for nationals of countries to which Canada has suspended removals. The Canadian courts found that individuals who accessed Canada under that provision already had access to a refugee status determination program in the United States that meets international standards for refugee protection. CIC also continued to share information with the United States, on a case-by-case basis, as part of a collaboration in which the Immigration and Refugee Board can gain access to pertinent personal information on claimants in Canada that is held by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Permanent Resident Status on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds

In exceptional circumstances, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act gives the Minister the authority to grant permanent resident status to individuals and families who would not otherwise qualify in any class, in cases where there are strong humanitarian and compassionate considerations or for public policy reasons. [note 16] The purpose of these discretionary provisions is to provide the flexibility to approve deserving cases not anticipated in the legislation. The Department carries out ongoing policy and operational analysis of the humanitarian and compassionate provision in the Act and developed a number of changes to it as part of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. [note 17]

Statistical Overview of Permanent Residents Admitted in 2009

Canada’s Immigration Plan for 2010, set out in the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration 2009, [note 18] indicated a target range for new permanent residents of 240,000 to 265,000. The Plan underscored the Government’s commitment to balancing immigration in the Economic, Family and Protected Persons classes, and to maximizing the social and economic benefits to Canada. The Department is on track to meet its projected ranges in most categories. Periodic updates on current admissions, and the most recent quarterly figures, can be found on CIC’s website. [note 19]

In 2009, a total of 252,179 people were admitted to Canada as permanent residents. Federal economic admissions fell slightly, while provincial and territorial categories and Quebec skilled workers exceeded their planning ranges. Federal skilled worker admissions were below the planning range despite additional resources assigned to process these applications during the second half of the year. While 73,000 visas were issued for this category, exceeding planned admissions, fewer people than projected chose to come to Canada in 2009. Admissions in the live-in caregiver category have been increasing due to higher numbers of temporary foreign workers arriving to work as live-in caregivers in past years (generally, temporary live-in caregivers apply for permanent residence after two to three years in Canada). The number of Provincial Nominees has been steadily increasing in recent years, and Canada admitted a record number of immigrants in this category in 2009; admissions in this category were increased to compensate for the decline in admissions in other economic categories. The number of applications received was too low to achieve planned targets for the new Canadian Experience Class. The Department is taking steps to promote awareness of this class to potential applicants. Overall, Family Class admissions were in line with previous years but below the planned range. The number of privately sponsored refugees was higher than planned mostly due to CIC’s commitment to facilitate the immigration of Iraqi refugees. In 2009, 2,547 privately sponsored refugees from Iraq were admitted, compared with 986 in 2008.

Table 2 provides a more detailed breakdown of admissions by immigration category and allows for a comparison with the 2009 target ranges. More statistical information on admissions in 2009 can be found in CIC’s Facts and Figures 2009. [note 20]

Table 2: New Permanent Residents Admitted in 2009 and 2010 Levels Plan

Immigrant Category 2009 Plan
Target Ranges
Number Admitted
2010 Plan
Target Ranges
Low High Low High
Federally Selected       89,000 95,200
Federal Skilled Workers 68,200 72,000 64,611 75%
Federal Business* 11,000 12,000 10,845 10%
Canadian Experience Class 5,000 7,500 2,544 3%
Live-in Caregivers 8,000 10,000 12,454 12%
Quebec-selected Skilled Workers 28,100 29,100 31,351 28,400 29,500
Quebec-selected Business*†     1,676 1,900 2,100
Provincial and Territorial Nominees 20,000 26,000 30,378 37,000 40,000
Subtotal Economic Class—Principal Applicants     64,007    
Subtotal Economic Class— Spouses and Dependants     89,491    
Total Economic Class 140,300 156,600 153, 498 156,300 166,800
Spouses, Partners and Children 50,000 52,000 48,021 42,000 45,000
Parents and Grandparents 18,000 19,000 17,179 15,000 18,000
Total Family Class 68,000 71,000 65,200 57,000 63,000
Government-assisted Refugees 7,300 7,500 7,425 7,300 8,000
Privately Sponsored Refugees 3,300 4,500 5,036 3,300 6,000
Protected Persons In Canada 7,000 9,000 7,204 9,000 12,000
Dependants Abroad 6,000 6,200 3,181    
Total Protected Persons 23,600 27,200 22, 846 19,600 26,000
Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds /
Public Policy
8,000 10,000 10,522 7,000 9,000
Permit Holders 100 200 112 100 200
Total Other 8,100 10,200 10,634 7,100 9,200
Category Not Stated
TOTAL 240,000 265,000 252, 179 240,000 265,000

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Facts and Figures 2009.

* The 2009 Levels Plan included a total figure for both Federal Business and Quebec-selected Business.

† After posting, the Government of Quebec updated the 2010 admission ranges for Quebec-selected Skilled Workers and Quebec-selected Business to 32,800–33,900 and 1,800–2,000 respectively. This increase will be accommodated within the existing total planning range.

In terms of the linguistic profile of permanent residents admitted in 2009, 92.5% percent of principal applicants self-identified as having knowledge of English, French or both official languages.

Table 3: Knowledge of official languages among permanent residents, 2009

Immigrant Class English French Both Neither Total
Family Class 37,792 2,865 3,091 21,452 65,200
Economic Immigrants—Principal Applicants 39,941 3,111 16,173 5,282 64,007
Economic Immigrants—Spouses and Dependants 46,471 5,186 7,523 30,311 89,491
Protected Persons 10,328 1,626 752 10,140 22,846
Other Immigrants 8,874 912 393 455 10,634
Category Not Stated* 1 1
Total 142,907 13,700 27,932 67,640 252,179
Percentage 56% 5% 11% 27% 100%

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Facts and Figures 2009.

* Due to privacy considerations, some cells in this table are replaced with the notation “–”. As a result, components may not add up to the total indicated.

Canada receives its immigrant population from over 200 countries of origin. As indicated in Table 4, over 50 percent of new immigrants admitted in 2009 came from 10 source countries.

Table 4: Permanent Residents Admitted in 2009, by Top 10 Source Countries

Rank Country Number Percentage
1 People’s Republic of China 29,049 12%
2 Philippines 27,277 11%
3 India 26,122 10%
4 United States of America 9,723 4%
5 United Kingdom and Colonies 9,566 4%
6 France 7,300 3%
7 Pakistan 6,214 2%
8 Iran 6,065 2%
9 Republic of Korea 5,864 2%
10 Morocco 5,222 2%
Total Top Ten 132,402 53%
All Other Source Countries 119,777 47%
TOTAL 252,179 100%

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Facts and Figures 2009.

Temporary Residents

In addition to selecting permanent residents, CIC also processes applications for the temporary entry of:

  • foreign workers who are important to Canada’s economic growth;
  • international students attracted by the quality and diversity of Canada’s educational system; and
  • visitors who come to Canada for personal or business travel.

These temporary residents contribute to Canada’s economic development by filling gaps in the labour market, enhancing trade, and purchasing goods and services. As shown in Table 5, CIC processed and admitted over 260,000 temporary foreign workers and international students in 2009.

Table 5: Number of Temporary Foreign Workers and Foreign Students admitted in 2009

Category Number Admitted in 2009
Temporary Foreign Workers 178,478
International Students  85,140
Total 263,618

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Facts and Figures 2009.

Temporary Foreign Workers

CIC facilitates the temporary entry of foreign workers needed to address labour market shortages and to provide other economic opportunities for Canadians, such as job creation and the transfer of new skills and knowledge. Temporary foreign workers [note 21] help meet the short-term and acute needs in the labour market that could not easily be filled by the domestic labour force. CIC works with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to ensure that the admission of foreign workers does not adversely affect employment opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

In response to labour market demand, and further to the Government of Canada’s commitment in Advantage Canada [note 22] to making improvements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to respond to employer needs, Canada welcomed 178,478 temporary foreign workers in 2009. This is a decrease of 7 percent from 2008 (192,281), and the first year of decrease since 2003, demonstrating the responsiveness of the program to reduced demand from employers for foreign workers in 2009. Arrivals of foreign workers with work permits that do not restrict employment by occupation or employer, including the International Exchange Canada program, which allows foreign and Canadian youth to travel and work internationally, increased by 11.5 percent (from approximately 52,000 in 2008 to 58,000 in 2009). Without the increases in this group, the decrease in arrivals of temporary foreign workers would have been approximately 14 percent (from 140,300 to 120,500).

International Students

International students [note 23] bring with them new ideas and cultures that enrich the learning environment within Canadian educational institutions. International students who enter Canada on temporary resident visas may also be an important source of future immigrants since they are well-prepared for the Canadian labour market. The number of foreign students entering Canada in 2009 was over 85,000, a rise of 7 percent from the previous year’s total of just over 79,500.

In collaboration with its partners, CIC continued to successfully deliver key initiatives to help Canada maintain its competitive edge in attracting and retaining international students by providing them with opportunities to obtain the Canadian work experience needed to apply for permanent resident status through the Canadian Experience Class. Important vehicles for accomplishing this include the Off-Campus Work Permit Program, a national program that allows certain international students to seek employment off campus, and the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, which allows graduates from participating post-secondary institutions to gain valuable Canadian experience for up to three years. In 2009–2010, CIC issued over 16,400 off-campus permits and more than 18,300 post-graduation permits, demonstrating the success of these permit programs for international students.

In 2009, CIC continued to deliver on Budget 2008 commitments to modernize the immigration system by extending additional on-line application services to international students and their spouses already in Canada. On-line applications are now available for study permit and study permit extensions in Canada, off-campus work permits, post-graduation work permits, and work permits for spouses of international students.

Tourists and Business Visitors 

Tourists contribute to the economy by creating a demand for services in the hospitality sector, and business visitors allow Canadian businesses to benefit from their specialized expertise. [note 24] Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, every foreign national wishing to visit Canada must have a temporary resident visa before arriving in Canada unless they are from countries specifically exempted in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, or unless they benefit from certain other limited exceptions, for example, being members of the diplomatic corps (i.e., accredited diplomats). As of March 31, 2010, citizens from 148 countries require temporary resident visas to visit Canada. [note 25] In 2009, CIC processed applications (new and extensions) from over one million persons seeking temporary resident visas as tourists and business visitors to Canada, and issued visitor visas, permits and extensions to 789,859 persons.

Temporary Resident Permits

Subsection 24(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act authorizes designated officers to issue temporary resident permits to foreign nationals whom they believe are inadmissible or who do not meet the requirements of the Act. These permits are issued when there are compelling reasons to admit an otherwise inadmissible individual into Canada. In exercising their discretion, decision makers must take into consideration any instructions issued by the Minister under subsection 24(3), and weigh the risk to Canada against the reason for permitting temporary residence. Issued for a limited period and subject to cancellation at any time, temporary resident permits give CIC the flexibility to address exceptional circumstances or cases affecting the national interest.

Guidelines issued in May 2006 and June 2007 allow immigration officers to issue a temporary resident permit to victims of human trafficking. An initial short-term permit, which may be issued for up to 180 days, provides victims with a period of reflection to escape the influence of their trafficker and consider their options, including pursuing immigration avenues or returning home. A longer-term permit, valid for up to three years, may be issued to a victim of trafficking in cases where individual circumstances warrant. In 2009, 37 temporary resident permits were issued to victims of trafficking. This figure includes subsequent permits issued to the same victim to maintain legal status in Canada.

Table 6 indicates the number of temporary resident permits issued in 2009, categorized according to grounds of inadmissibility under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In 2009, 15,640 permits were issued, with approximately 6.5 percent (1,023) representing permits issued to foreign nationals who continued to maintain their status as permit holders from within Canada. Of the total, 595 temporary resident permits were issued under instruction of the Minister. The remaining permits were authorized by departmental officials. The authority to issue temporary resident permits is shared between delegated CIC officials and Canada Border Services Agency officers working at ports of entry.

Table 6: Temporary Residents Permits Issued from January 1 to December 31, 2009

Description of Inadmissibility Provision under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Number of Permits
Security (espionage, subversion, terrorism) 34(1)(a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) 32
Human or International Rights Violations 35(1)(a), (b) and (c) 23
Serious Criminality (convicted of an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of at least 10 years) 36(1)(a), (b) and (c) 880
Criminality (convicted of a criminal act or of an offence prosecuted either summarily or by way of indictment) 36(2)(a), (b), (c) and (d) 6,619
Organized Criminality 37(1)(a) or (b) 8
Health Grounds (danger to public health or public safety, excessive burden) 38(1)(a), (b) and (c) 162
Financial Reasons (unwilling or unable to support themselves or their dependants) 39 30
Misrepresentation 40(1)(a), (b), (c) and (d) 10
Non-compliance with Act or Regulations (no passport, no visa, work/study without permit, medical/criminal check to be completed in Canada, not examined on entry, etc.) 41(a) and (b) 7,512
Inadmissible Family Member 42(a) and (b) 248
No Return without Prescribed Authorization 52(1) 116
TOTAL   15,640

Source: Field Operations Support System (as of January 11, 2010).

Note: The statistics in this table include the number of temporary resident permits used to enter or remain in Canada in 2009.



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