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Ottawa to allow provinces to boost immigration

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Manitoba and other provinces can expect an increase in the number of immigrants they can accept, and advance notice of what their annual provincial nominee program allocations will be in the years ahead.

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Manitoba and other provinces can expect an increase in the number of immigrants they can accept, and advance notice of what their annual provincial nominee program allocations will be in the years ahead.

Thursday’s announcement follows a meeting of provincial and federal immigration ministers in St. John, N.B., to discuss increasing immigration to address labour shortages across Canada and to make the system more agile and efficient.

By the end of March 2023, the provinces will have their allocation of nominees increase, and be given multi-year allocations, so they can plan ahead, said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Minister Sean Fraser. During a Zoom call with reporters Thursday, he couldn’t say how many more nominees the provinces can expect.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press files)

“I don’t have a preordained outcome on how many spots each province should have,” Fraser said.

Allocations have yet to be decided through conversations with each of his provincial counterparts about their labour-market needs and settlement capacity, he said.

The Manitoba government estimates the province will require about 15,500 new workers per year until at least 2025 to meet labour and economic demands. It processed 2,509 nominations through its provincial nominee program in the first six months of this year, it says.

In 2021, 6,275 people arrived in Manitoba through the provincial nominee program, the most since it began in 1998. Manitoba originated the program to attract and retain newcomers who have local connections and can meet labour-market needs.

“We want to make sure that we increase it to a degree that’s going to allow the needs of the community to be met without overwhelming communities,” the federal immigration minister said.

“This is the kind of thing that will continue to create public support for immigration because people will see that newcomers are making a meaningful difference to their economy without jeopardizing their quality of services that everyone who’s lived in the community for generations gets to enjoy.”

“We tie settlement funding to the number of people that we choose to resettle in our annual immigration levels plan.” The federal government expects the next plan to be tabled by Nov. 1, Fraser said.

“As we increase the total number of newcomers, so does the federal investment in resettlement.”

Manitoba Immigration Minister Jon Reyes attended the conference but was not available for comment Thursday.

On Tuesday, he and three of his provincial counterparts signed a letter to Fraser in which they asked Ottawa to give the provinces more authority over the resettlement of skilled workers.

The ministers implored Ottawa to give provincial governments more ability to respond to evolving labour demands in their communities and to provide “a flexible system that we can adapt to changing economic and humanitarian needs.”

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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