Making CIC better
Canada has the reputation of higher immigration rate per capita compared to other countries. The government support immigration and continue to accept them at higher levels. In spite of oppositions and concerns of taking in too much immigrants to the country, Canada continue to bring in immigrants that can help boost and ensure growth in Canada’s unique economy. The country’s vast land and natural resources needed immigrants to develop the land and fill the labor shortage. Low birth rate in Canada also contributed to continuous rise of immigrants. Skilled and low skilled workers are essential to various businesses to keep their operation and fill the job positions that domestic residents cannot do or will not do. The high rate of immigration is always justified with its contributing power towards economic development. Canada has bilateral agreements between developing countries and this creates a positive link between immigration and both exports and imports connected to the business activities. There are a lot of reasons why people immigrate to Canada. The country offers a lot of opportunities to potential immigrants and considered to be a desirable place to live.
Canada is modernizing the immigration system to maximize immigration’s contribution to the country’s economic growth. Improving the systems and service delivery are part of the plan. The Department also wants immigration services to be financially sustainable into the future and to effectively manage risk in an environment of increasingly sophisticated criminal activity.
The immediate outcomes the Department seeks to achieve for a more effective immigration system are:
- The attraction and retention of the people needs is improved.
- The delivery of visa services is improved.
- The integrity of immigration system is maintained.
Community partnerships: The broad range of roles and responsibilities played by local agencies in the private, public and voluntary sectors who provide essential immigrant and settlement services needs to be strengthened. Immigration involves many local players and this is an opportunity to release the many existing (but under-resourced) place-based, bottom-up innovations that involve not just employers but a whole range of other important local stakeholders who are directly impacted by immigration. Immigration is an area that cries out for meaningful collaborative partnerships. For example, local stakeholder organizations are ideally placed to work with government to implement local, targeted immigrant attraction strategies in response to local labor market supply needs which can then be tied into custom designed post migration settlement and integration efforts.
Addressing institutional barriers: The dilatory way in which international education and professional qualifications are assessed and addressed in Canada is inexcusable. If Canada is to compete and succeed in the global marketplace of the 21st century, the present endless discussions with professional and trades associations must be replaced with robust and time-limited work to eliminate exclusionary barriers in the workplace and the implementation of professional and organizational practices that are inclusive and equitable.
Intergovernmental relations: The present climate of federal-provincial ambiguity regarding Ontario’s role in immigration has severely hampered the ability to respond to the changing dynamics around immigration in this province. The current inertia in intergovernmental negotiations must be saved from its low-level, bureaucratic backwater and given priority and profile. Given the huge impact and significance of immigration on towns and cities across the province, rather than the current token tick box exercises, these negotiations need to formally involve municipalities in immigration matters.
Public education: The receptivity of the receiving society is a key determinant in ensuring the successful integration and participation of newcomers. The quality of local interactions in employment, schools, health care, housing, public transportation and so on is the glue that retains and keeps immigrants. If it is a hostile environment, it becomes that much more difficult to attracting immigrant and provide effective settlement services. Efforts are required to not only reduce public anxiety and apprehension about immigrants and immigration, but to promote the positive realities and benefits.
Local planning: Much stronger structural planning and co-ordinating mechanisms need to be put in place at the local level. In addition, much more useful and up-to-date information needs to be collected and analyzed that can actually increase our capacity to make informed decisions at the local level. This body of knowledge needs to be disseminated widely and in forms that are accessible to a wide range of audiences.
These preliminary suggestions offer a way by which we, as Canadians can begin to assume more involvement in making immigration work at the local, community level. An effective immigration system will only be successful as a dynamic two-way process in which newcomers and we, as the receiving society, can work together to build secure, inclusive and prosperous communities.
- Establishing as a top priority, the identification and removal of public safety and national security threats;
- Expanding the use and frequency of investigations and programs, like Secure Communities, that track down criminals and gang members;
- Deterring individuals from illegally crossing the southwest border, by prioritizing the apprehension of recent border crossers;
- Eliminating worksite raids that did nothing to enhance public safety. Instead, we focused on targeted worksite enforcement programs like I-9 audits and criminal prosecutions of employers who egregiously violate employment laws;
- Prioritizing the removal of those that repeatedly violate our immigration laws and immigration fugitives.
CIC will continue to strive and maintain the reduction of backlogs and wait times, improving labor market responsiveness, strengthening the credential recognition for new immigrants for the benefit of both parties and recognizing the skills needs of each province for fulfilling labor demands and further economic growth of each geographical area. Moreover, quick removals of dangerous foreign criminals from Canada, careful and thorough assessment of high risk people for greater security and safety, and faster visa issuance for those with real intentions of coming to Canada. The department has significant workload and with many divisions for specific matter or programs at hand that the need for more officers is vital for faster service delivery. All these once achieved and maintained at a certain degree will contribute to a better immigration system.
Mary Jone Causing Buchholtz
Economic impact of immigration to Canada
Immigrating to Canada
Government of Canada Tables 2010 Immigration Plan
Government of Canada Introduces the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act