Impact of the Federal Budget on ImmigrationJune 2, 2021
The Federal Budget titled “A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience” that was presented to the House of Commons this past spring seeks to support Canadian families and businesses during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, while positioning a strategy for a post-pandemic economic recovery.
With $101 billion in new spending over three years, this budget presents great opportunities to improve the current immigration system, increase protections for seasonal workers and spark the creation of jobs and growth for immigrants.
Net immigration contributed to half of Canada’s average GDP growth from 2016 to 2019 and nearly three-quarters of its growth in 2019. Therefore, to facilitate the welcoming of newcomers, $428.9 million will be destined over the next 5 years to modernize the immigration platform for improved digital application processing and support for applicants. Furthermore, $49.5 million will be channelled to Employment and Social Development Canada, to aid community-based organizations in the provision of migrant worker-centric programs and services, such as on-arrival orientation services and assistance in emergency and at-risk situations, through the new Migrant Worker Support Program.
More funding will also be available to increase inspections of employers and ensure temporary foreign workers have appropriate working conditions and wages while supporting faster processing and improved service delivery of open work permits for vulnerable workers; in an effort to help migrant workers in situations of abuse find new jobs.
Taking into account the limitations of international travelling brought by the pandemic, time-limited pathways to permanent residence were introduced for 90,000 foreign nationals already in Canada; including recent international graduates and workers in health care and other essential occupations in critical sectors.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that the good health and wellbeing of our communities do not depend solely on the provision of quality healthcare services and supports. The fact that COVID-19 affected disproportionally our lower income, most diverse neighbourhoods reminded us that social and economic determinants of health such as education, affordable housing, food security, safe and well remunerated employment, safe neighbourhoods with green spaces are all intricate components of our physical and mental health.
Therefore, it is important that the budget has not only allocated $100 million over 3 years, to support projects for innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID 19; but also to address the social determinants of health by strengthening programs to better serve equity-seeking groups, including support for newcomers and refugees who experience gender-based violence, funding to fight systemic racism and programs to procure affordable housing and food security.
To improve economic integration through access to good quality jobs and gender equality, $29.8 billion will be destined to establish Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child care System in the next 5 years that will enable women to join and remain in the labour market, while $15 million will be allocated to IRCC to extend the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot initiative started in 2018. Women and Black Entrepreneurship will be strengthened, complemented by an investment of $87.4 million over the next 5 years for the diversification of the federal supplier base.
Finally, opportunities will arise from a new Apprenticeship Service to be developed by ESDC with $470 million to help 55,000 first-year apprentices in construction and manufacturing Red Seal trades connect with opportunities at SME’s. Employers will be eligible to receive up to $5,000 for all first-year apprenticeship opportunities and up to $10,000 if hires are from underrepresented groups; while the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy will target the needs of vulnerable youth facing multiple barriers to employment. The full content of the budget is accessible on the Government of Canada website.