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October 30, 2019

As Canada forms its next government, the Prime Minister’s Office will be preparing ministerial mandate letters. In this special Intelligence Memo series, policy experts highlight key challenges and priorities in each minister’s portfolio. 

From: Parisa Mahboubi

To: The incoming Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Date: October 30, 2019

As Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, your overarching goal will be to continue to welcome those who want to build a better Canada and to provide those in need with the right tools to enable them to contribute to our country’s success.

As you embark as the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, your priorities should include:

Working with the provinces and territories, ensure a renewed focus on the delivery of high-quality settlement services to ensure the successful arrival of newcomers. This requires more improved language and job-search training, as well as a more rigorous approach to accurately measure outcomes.

  • Ensure refugees and newcomers are receiving the tailored support they need to integrate successfully into Canada. This requires greater efforts to bolster language skills and collaboration with provinces and territories, service provider organizations, and communities.
  • Reduce application processing times, and work on improving the department’s service delivery and client services to make it timelier and less complicated, and on enhancing system efficiency, particularly, the asylum system.
  • Work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program effectively meets the needs of employers without having negative impacts on the wages and employment of Canadians. 

Your additional objectives should be to:

  • Work with the Canada Border Services Agency and law enforcement officials to implement a comprehensive Border Enforcement Strategy and to ensure the integrity of Canada’s borders and asylum system.
  • Increase the share of immigrant intake through the economic immigration program to enhance labour market outcomes and strengthen the overall economy.
  • Work with provinces and regulatory bodies to remove barriers for immigrants in gaining recognition of professional credentials and experience in regulated professions.
  • Work with provincial governments to develop a whole-of-government strategy to spread the benefits of immigration across all provinces and to meet labour market needs that are region-specific by broadening distribution of newcomers.
  • Work with Canada’s ministers responsible for childcare to increase accessibility and affordability to improve and accelerate the transition of immigrant women into the labour force.
  • Work with the Minister of Finance to improve personal income tax competitiveness in order to make Canada a more attractive location for top talent.
  • Continue with the two-step immigration process that helps speed up immigrant integration through retaining temporary foreign workers and former international students.
  • Improve Canada’s selection policies by granting permanent residency to more former international students who have obtained Canadian credentials, and place more weight on advanced language proficiency.
  • Consider setting immigration level targets on a multiple-year basis rather than annually to provide Canada with more flexibility to better adapt to the business cycle and to capitalize on any spike in its attractiveness to foreign talent.
  • Find an innovative way to include incremental measures in the Express Entry to assess education quality in order to improve the ability for new arrivals to find well-paid jobs.

Parisa Mahboubi is a Senior Policy Analyst at the C.D. Howe Institute.

To send a comment or leave feedback, email us at blog@cdhowe.org.

The views expressed here are those of the author. The C.D. Howe Institute does not take corporate positions on policy matters.