Every year, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada conduct an annual consultation on immigration in Canada. The consultation contains important information on potential upcoming changes and programs to immigration in Canada. This year, the consultation consulted with the provinces and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on the Immigration Levels Planning and the Municipal Nominee Program. Both of these programs provide additional pathways through which potential migrants can migrate to Canada in order to become permanent residents.

Municipal Nominee Program

The Municipal Nominee Program is a new program that is described as a regional economic immigration program for permanent residency by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. The program arose out of a 2019 mandate on Minister of Immigration and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The mandate of the Minister was to introduce a Municipal Nominee Program that will allow local communities, chambers of commerce, and local labour councils to directly sponsor permanent immigrants. As part of the mandate, at least 5,000 spaces would be included as part of the program.

The core objective of the Municipal Nominee Program is to have a wider distribution of immigrants upon entry to Canada away from just the major cities. In order to select which municipalities will be part of the program, there will be criteria set out for community participation. Parameters such as the population size of communities, number of newcomers that communities have traditionally received and priority economic sectors/ labour shortages in occupation could also be used to inform criteria for community participation.

A big part of the rationale for the program is not only to attract immigrants to municipalities that historically experience less immigration but also to try and incentivize the immigrants to stay in that community. There is a worry about retention within the community chosen for the Municipal Nominee Program for those who come to Canada through the program, much like with the Provincial Nominee Programs. The government has identified some factors that are related to retention such as meaningful employment and career development opportunities for the newcomer, as well as for family members; welcoming communities; community infrastructures such as affordable housing, schools, and healthcare services. These factors will likely be considered in the selection of immigrants for the Municipal Nominee Program.

It is still unknown when the Municipal Nominee Program will be launched to welcome prospective immigrants to Canada. However, it is encouraging that the government is focusing on the program by conducting research and laying out some of its expectations for the program. When launched, the program will likely be a pilot program like the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, and the Agri-Food Pilot. This means that the program will be given a sort of 5 year trial period during which point Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada can decide whether to make the program permanent. If you think you may want to immigrate to Canada under the Municipal Nominee Program, make sure to stay informed for updates for when the program will be launched, and how to apply to be part of the program.

Immigration Levels Plan

Also included within the consultation was some clarity regarding the Immigration Levels Plan. The Plan is designed to contribute to an immigration system that fosters economic growth, supports diversity, and helps build vibrant, dynamic, and inclusive communities while maintaining border integrity to preserve the safety and security of Canadians.

The 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan is the plan from the Canadian Government that details the number of immigrants that the Government plans to accept from 2021 to 2023. There is a total number of permanent residents that Canada expects to welcome each year, with the number increasing each year. The number of permanent residents was not met for 2020 because of the travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the levels for the next few years are higher than previously anticipated before the pandemic. For example, the target number for 2021 is 401,000, revised from the pre-pandemic target of 351,000. The number of immigrants is further broken down into immigration categories through which immigrants are accepted to Canada, such as the Provincial Nominee Program, Federal High Skilled, and the pilot programs discussed above. Economic immigrants represent the majority, with approximately 56% of the total permanent residents welcomed. Family class is the next highest at 26% and then refugee and humanitarian classes at 16%.

Should the Municipal Nominee Program be enacted, the number of immigrants accepted within the program would likely fall under the purview of the pilot programs in the Immigration Levels Plan. This means that the program would be operated for up to five years, during which time Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada could decide to make the program permanent by presenting it to parliament for approval.

Contact Garson Immigration for all your Immigration Matters

Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process, with an eye toward the ever-changing regulations in light of COVID-19. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure you are positioned for success with respect to your application. 

The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are continuing to work to adapt to the new immigration situation that has been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are thinking of immigrating to Canada and are not sure which immigration pathway would be best for you, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.

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