Trudeau’s government plans to curb his immigration strategy. The Council of Ministers is debating the need to stabilize or even reduce its annual goal of receiving new permanent residents in Canada by 2026.
In the midst of the real estate crisis in the country, the thorny issue of establishing limits on immigration in Canada is the subject of delicate debates these days at the table of the Council of Ministers.
According to several government sources, the hypothesis of stabilizing the immigration target for 2026 received significant support in the Cabinet during debates on this issue last week. Thus, the immigration objective for 2026 would remain the same as that of 2025, that is, 500,000 new permanent residents per year.If this option comes to fruition, that number would mark a pause in the increase in Canada’s immigration targets, which have been rising steadily in recent years.
Opinions on this topic are divided. At the table, ministers also discussed the option of reducing the target below 500,000 immigrants, but a final decision has not yet been made.
A final decision must be studied by a Cabinet committee and could be presented again to the Council of Ministers next Tuesday. The formal announcement will be communicated the following day, November 1.
According to the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, the immigration goal for 2023 is 465,000 immigrants, 485,000 for 2024 and 500,000 for 2025.In 2022, Canada welcomed more than 431,000 new permanent residents, a record.
A delicate balance
The housing crisis in Canada has put the issue of immigration in the country under consideration. Economists say Ottawa should lower its immigration targets as housing construction catches up to demand at home. At the same time, the business community is calling for more immigrants to offset labor shortages.
In the Council of Ministers, points of view diverge. Some advocate for a reduction, while others advocate for the status quo. According to some sources, an increase in objectives would not be one of the options.
“We must determine how not to distort the reputation of the Liberal Party [in terms of immigration and reception] and maintain the trust of Canadians”, declared one of the elected officials familiar with the discussions.
At the same time, the source admitted that due to the housing shortage affecting Canada and the ability of the provinces to integrate and offer all services to newcomers, it is difficult to foresee an increase in immigration. We will not go beyond what we have already promised, he added.It has to be done correctly. We are not blind: housing is needed, services are needed, declared a Liberal elected official on condition of anonymity.
According to another Liberal source, the government must find a balance to maintain the trust of Canadians. The population must remain open to immigration, this source stated. “We were very generous,” he added.
In August, in one of his first interviews as immigration minister, Marc Miller rejected the idea of lowering the immigration targets set by the Canadian government. “I don’t see a scenario in which we reduce those objectives”, he indicated in an interview. “The needs are too great, he said, referring to labor shortages and an aging population”. However, he did not reject the idea of stabilizing them at the current level or increasing them. Immigrants make up 23% of the population in Canada. Record number of Canadians speak a first language other than French and English
Ottawa also wants to encourage the arrival of French-speaking immigrants to stem the decline of minority language communities outside Quebec. The new version of the Official Languages Law, adopted earlier this year, provides for the establishment of a francophone immigration policy to guarantee the survival of these communities.
According to our information, a scenario is being discussed aimed at progressively increasing the target of French-speaking immigration outside of Quebec. The last objective, 4.4%, was achieved this year.
The Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities asked that the target be set at 12% in 2024, to reach 20% in 2036, in order to restore the demographic weight of Francophone minority communities.
Following the modernization of the law, Ottawa expressed its intention to restore the demographic weight of French-speaking minority communities to the level of 1971, that is, 6.1.