By: Mikael Charette, LL. L. | JD | LLM and George Monastiriakos, BA, | LL.L. | J.D.
On November 1, 2022, the federal government announced the 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan. This ambitious program will help newcomers facing long wait times to settle in the country, employers who are unable to fill job openings, and skilled tradespeople seeking to transition into new careers that contribute to a low-carbon economy.
Canada is dealing with a historic labor shortage that affects every industry from health care professionals to construction laborers and STEM workers. As part of its program to alleviate the burdens associated with a lack of workers, the federal government plans to welcome 500, 000 immigrants per year by 2025. This strategy is supported by a $1.6 billion investment over six years to process and settle these new permanent residents.
Canada’s historic labor shortage is complemented by a major skills gaps in the workforce. As a result, the federal government is investing $250 million over five years beginning in 2023-2024 to create the Sustainable Jobs Training Centre and the Union Training and Innovation Program. These initiatives will enable up to 35, 000 skilled workers to transition into higher-paying jobs that will contribute to Canada’s goal to decarbonize by 2050.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the immigration backlog at Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC). There are at least 1.49 million permanent resident and citizenship applications awaiting processing as of September 30 2022. Thus, the federal government is investing an additional $50 million per year to address this immigration logjam over the next two years. This funding is meant to support administrative processing at the federal level and to assist organizations providing settlement services in the provinces.
While the immigration backlog and labor shortage are likely to improve in most of Canada, these crises may worsen in the province of Quebec. On the one hand, the federal government expects Quebec to absorb 115, 000 of the 500, 000annual newcomers. On the other hand, Premier Francois Legault states that Quebec can’t accept more than 50, 000 immigrants per year because the province lacks the capacity to teach newcomers French. Given Quebec’s near-monopoly on selecting French-speaking immigrants coming to Canada, the parties should be prepared to compromise for the betterment of our federation.
Overall, the 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan is great for Canada. This ambitious program will help newcomers facing long wait times to settle in the country, employers who are unable to fill job openings, and skilled tradespeople seeking to transition into new careers that contribute to a low-carbon economy.