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Canada looks to migrants to drive the economy forward

by | Oct 7, 2011

The Canadian Government views immigration as a key factor in building strength in the economy following the recession, and it is looking at deregulation of the Temporary Foreign Worker program. Canadian Immigration, Federal Citizenship and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenny has told the news media that while the Canadian economy has emerged from the global recession with relative strength, immigration is now needed to further economic growth. Speaking at a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Camrose, Alberta last week, Mr Kenny argued for a change to the status quo in Canadian immigration. ‘For a couple of generations Canadians have been deciding to have fewer kids than we need to grow or maintain our population, which means ultimately fewer workers and fewer taxpayers to pay for benefits, health care and pensions for our growing number of retired folk…This is where immigration comes in’, he said. Mr Kenny emphasised the potential role of the Temporary Foreign Worker program in driving economic growth filling gaps in the labour market and explained the Government’s reasoning behind limiting the program over recent years. ‘In 2009 when we had the recession, because unemployment was going up and a significant number of Canadians were being laid off, the Government wanted to be sure that we weren’t extending foreign workers into an economy where Canadians were going to need those jobs. ‘That’s why they tightened up to the one-year Labour Market Option (LMO). Now that things are moving and unemployment is going down and the labour market is getting tighter, we recognise that there’s a need to relax these rules’, he said. The Minister acknowledged the bureaucratic hassles and ‘red tape’ often encountered by applicants for Canadian visas and employers attempting to bring foreigners to Canada under the Temporary Foreign Workers scheme. In response to these problems, Kenny indicated that his department will seek to streamline its visa application process and move case files to an electronic – and thereby more accessible – system. A consultation will be held between the Government and Canadian public over the next month on general immigration issues.

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