Speaking notes for the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: Launch of an Immigration System for Canada’s Future

Speaking notes for the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: Launch of an Immigration System for Canada’s Future

Speech

Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the Government of Canada’s official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with its communications policy.

Delivered October 31, 2023, in Ottawa, Ontario

Good morning/afternoon. Thank you all for joining us today.

I would like to begin by recognizing we are gathering today on the traditional and unceded territories of the Algonquin Anishinaabe People.

I am here today to discuss our report, An Immigration system for Canada’s Future, based on what we heard from stakeholders, Canadians and newcomers during our Strategic Immigration Review. The report lays out our initial plan to build Canada’s immigration system of the future.

Immigration is a defining characteristic of our country – with the exception of Indigenous Peoples who have been here since time immemorial, all families trace their path to Canada through immigration.

We are a welcoming country, where newcomers can feel like part of a community, and where we understand that immigration helps our economy grow, increases our diversity, and builds our communities.

We continue to have significant demand for newcomers, especially workers who are bringing skills we need like healthcare, trades to build new homes, and tech workers to support our innovation economy.

We are also mindful that many Canadians, and newcomers, are struggling to find reasonable housing and face rising costs. Immigration can be part of the solution.

We want our economy to continue to grow and to remain a welcoming country for newcomers to thrive, while meeting the needs of communities across the country.

To continue to attract newcomers and remain a global leader in immigration, we know we need our system to continue to improve.

Our current modernization is building a more effective, efficient and fair system. But with an eye on the future, we wanted to understand what we need next.

That’s why we held extensive consultations across the country and online this year. In addition to getting input from every region of the country, we held in-depth sessions with experts on key issues like housing, rural immigration, and skills attraction.

We welcomed input from Canadians from across the country, newcomers who had used our services, through an online survey.

From provinces, territories, and employers we heard about the continued need for skilled workers. Nearly 100% of our recent labour growth is driven by immigration. We need workers to help address challenges like building homes and supporting health care.

With an aging population, people living longer, and families having fewer children, Canada needs immigration to rebalance our demographics and support our growing need for workers.

We looked at the challenges in today’s system, and how it can be improved. We heard about the challenges of finding affordable housing, and hiring workers to support growing companies and regional priorities.

We also heard about challenges newcomers can face, like the complexity of navigating different immigration options, and unpredictable processing timelines that can delay family reunification and impact recruitment efforts.

Tomorrow, our government will table its annual immigration levels plan that aims to meet and balance the needs of communities, employers, provinces, territories and municipalities

Just as we announced our plans for new digital services and improved processing a few years ago, today we are laying out our plans to build an immigration system that can meet the future demands for our country.

The thoughtful ideas and positive feedback reaffirmed that Canadians across the country understand that immigration is important to our economic future and our humanitarian commitments.

Through the survey, we had significant feedback from over 16,500 voices providing their thoughts and ideas.

In addition to soliciting input from every region of the country, we held in-depth sessions with experts on key issues such as housing, rural immigration, and skills attraction.

We heard from Indigenous representatives, business leaders, rural and remote communities, youth councils, provincial and territorial governments, education institutions and groups who provide services to newcomers.

We were encouraged to boost collaboration to position a system that is responsive to the needs of all those linked to it, based on improved information sharing and planning.

Since engagement began in February, we have already made some improvements that help address what we heard.

I announced last week reforms to our International Student Program to improve the integrity of the program, and prevent fraudulent submissions.

We have refined our Express Entry system to be more targeted and provide invitations to candidates with skills in shortage areas. What we called Category Based Selection.

IRCC also launched the Tech Talent Strategy this year, including a stream for H-1B visa holders in the US. That program reached capacity in under 48 hours.

Our new digital systems, the hard work of our teams and increased processing capacity are reducing backlogs and bringing programs back to our standard service times for new applications.

We are making it easier for applicants to find the information they need, and made our website more user-friendly. For example, we will have a new and improved Client Experience Platform to provide a better online experience and simpler access for those seeking to use our programs to visit, immigrate, work, study in Canada, become a Canadian and get a passport.

Based on what we heard in our consultations, we have developed a path forward with three main themes:

First, improving the welcoming experience for newcomers. We will work toward a system of service excellence that is more human-centric, and understands the significance of the life-changing decisions newcomers are making when they come to Canada.

We will work to make the system easier to navigate, and help users make informed selections, with predictable and clear decisions within our service standards.

We have identified these early steps:

  • Create the Council of Newcomers, a new advisory body with lived experience to guide policy development and client service improvements.
  • Continue modernization to provide user-friendly digital systems like online accounts.
  • Support smaller communities to attract and retain newcomers, providing the right services across the country.
  • Review our service standards so that our processing times take into account the conditions people may be facing, and that we remain globally competitive when recruiting the workers we need.

Our aim to improve services won’t only stop with newcomers. We are also addressing border crossings for Indigenous peoples in Canada, since traditional territories can cross the Canada-US border.

Second, we need to better align immigration programs, systems and services with Canada’s labour market needs.

Immigration is important to ensure we have enough nurses to support our hospitals, tradespersons to build new homes, and tech workers to support our innovative companies.

By aligning our systems with the needs of workers and employers, we give ourselves a competitive advantage.

By linking sectoral, regional or industrial strategies to our immigration plans, we can help drive growth in priority areas.

All of this work won’t be done overnight but work is underway. Like our modernization project, this will take shape over the next few years to improve our immigration systems.

To take immediate action, we have identified some new ideas:

  • Appoint a Chief International Talent Officer to identify future worker needs, and provide a long-term talent attraction, recruitment and retention strategy
  • Lead global skills missions in partnership with government representatives, employers and stakeholders to recruit talent in priority areas.
  • Align our international student admissions and Post-Graduate Work Permit Program to current and future needs of Canadian employers.

The third theme focuses on developing a comprehensive and coordinated growth plan – one that brings governments and partners together to ensure we have the services and supports that newcomers need to succeed. This means housing, health care, and infrastructure, among other success factors.

Housing costs are top of mind for many of us. Our housing challenges are a complex issue – but immigration is not the cause of the housing crisis. Just as newcomers need housing, they are also some of the skilled workers who are building our new homes.

That is why we are continuing to prioritize trades and skilled workers in construction. In June, we provided 1,500 trades workers an offer to come to Canada, thanks to changes made to our Express Entry system to prioritize in-demand skills.

Similarly, we have made medical staff and nurses an immigration priority and offered newcomers priority entry because of their education and experience in health care.

This comprehensive planning will also take into account the growing number of displaced persons globally and our humanitarian responses and asylum demands.

To accomplish this, we will:

  • Explore a more integrated immigration levels plan that reflects the role of federal and other partners, and presents a fuller picture of all newcomers
    • This will help us better understand what we need to have in place, from housing to health care to public transit, for newcomers and for all Canadians to succeed.
  • Develop an ambitious new Francophone Immigration Policy to enhance the vitality of Francophone minority communities and work toward increasing their demographic weight.
  • Develop an improved readiness and response plans for humanitarian crisis response, such as working with other departments to deliver a global incident response team.
  • Diversify our humanitarian partnerships so that we can better identify those in need of protection, as we did recently with Rainbow Railroad, to help 2SLGBTQI+ individuals fleeing oppression and persecution

We will move forward, working in collaboration with other federal departments and agencies, provinces and territories, businesses and learning institutions, and other partners, with these initial steps.

I remain committed to advancing Canada’s humanitarian leadership on the world stage, protecting our competitive advantage in attracting the talent our economy needs, and welcoming newcomers in a manner that recognizes the life-changing decisions they are making. We have laid out a plan for a better immigration system in the future.

We want policies and programs that are responsive, modern and aligned with Canada’s needs, all while upholding the integrity of our immigration system and the trust of Canadians.

Thanks to the many groups and individuals, governments, employers and newcomers who have contributed to these consultations. They have helped and will continue to help us shape the immigration system of the future, one that all Canadians can be proud of.

Thank you.


Source: IRCC
Source URL: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2024/04/speaking-notes-for-the-honourable-marc-miller-minister-of-immigration-refugees-and-citizenship-launch-of-an-immigration-system-for-canadas-future.html
Disclaimer: Unlock Immigration automatically imported this from IRCC for ease of access. We did not edit, curate or amend the content in any way. All rights reserved to IRCC.


 

 

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