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Canada starts a national conversation on immigration

The government of Canada is asking Canadians about what they think immigration means for Canada, and how we can continue to grow our nation through immigration.

Until August 5, 2016, Canadians can get involved by providing an online written submission. Other consultation activities include cross-Canada round-table discussions led by the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary, stake-holder engagement by departmental officials; and public opinion research.

Immigrants have always been a central part of Canada’s success. The contributions of newcomers result in jobs, innovation and economic growth. Immigrants also strengthen our country socially and culturally.

Since the first newcomers arrived on Canadian soil, a sense of possibility, innovation and discovery has been a defining part of our national identity.

Although times and conditions may have changed, 21st-century newcomers to Canada have retained that innovative spirit, enriching the communities where they settle and helping to ensure the Canada of tomorrow remains as dynamic as the country of yesterday.

Strengthening the Canadian fabric. Canada is the product of its people. Its government, laws, social beliefs and traditions all come from the people who live here.

Newcomers have a strong desire to be part of their community, to be accepted and to prove they can be successful. And Canadians play a role in helping newcomers integrate and be accepted into our communities.

Welcoming and integrating newcomers strengthens Canadian society. Newcomers are active members in communities large and small. They bring new energy to daily life and help make Canada successful by growing its diverse society, culture and economy.

Immigration also brings families together. As more Canadians travel the world, some build their families abroad. The reunification of these families in Canada is a priority for the government of Canada.

The questions being asked include:

• How many newcomers should we welcome to Canada in 2017 and beyond?

• How can we best support newcomers to ensure they become successful members of our communities?

• Do we have the balance right among the immigration programs or streams? If not, what priorities should form the foundation of Canada's immigration planning?

Immigrants bring new perspectives as they experience Canada through their own cultures. That fresh perspective can lead to inspiration and discovery, revitalising Canadian traditions with a new energy and innovation. Across Canada, immigrants build many new successful businesses and organizations. With an aging population and communities across Canada becoming short on a young labour force, immigration is seen as a possible solution.

• How can immigration play a role in supporting economic growth and innovation in Canada?

• Should there be more programs for businesses to permanently hire foreign workers if they can’t find Canadians to fill the job?

• What is the right balance between attracting global talent for high-growth sectors, on the one hand, and ensuring affordable labour for businesses that have historically seen lower growth, on the other?

• How can immigration fill in the gaps in Canadian demographics and economy?

• What Canadian values and traditions are important to share with newcomers to help them integrate into Canadian society?

The success of Canadian immigration depends partly on the systems used to process applications and the services provided to clients. Serving clients well with fast and efficient processing is important as Canada plans for the future. This means making sure applicants can easily learn the status of their application and have confidence that they will get a fast and fair decision.

• Currently, immigration levels are planned yearly. Do you agree with the thinking that planning should be multi-year?

• What modernization techniques should Canada invest in for processing of applications?

• What should Canada do to ensure its immigration system is modern and efficient?

• Is there any rationale for providing options to those willing to pay higher fees for an expedited process?

The reasons why people leave their homes and move to a new country are always changing. Poverty, instability and war, among other things, mean that more people are leaving their homes to build new lives in other countries. Canada has always been proud to provide a new home to those in need. There are a wide range of programs in place to help newcomers and Canada’s settlement program is recognized around the world.

Canada is also a destination of choice for students and workers with skills and experience from around the world.

• Is it important for Canada to continue to show leadership in global migration? If so, how can we best do that?

• How can Canada attract the best global talent and international students?

• In what ways can Canada be a model to the world on refugees, migration and immigration?

Canada’s strength lies in its diversity and this is closely tied to immigration and is a valued part of Canada’s story. The feedback gathered from Canadians will help write the next chapter by helping guide decisions on how many people Canada will welcome in the coming years and the future of immigration in Canada. This is an ambitious undertaking that will help determine the way forward on immigration to Canada.

Posted: Aug 7, 2016

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