Tabled earlier this month, the 2007 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration tells the story of Canadian immigration in 2006, provides a mid-year update about Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) activity in 2007, and describes plans and targets for 2008.
2006 was a busy year, with 251,649 new Permanent Residents and 1.2 million Temporary Residents being welcomed to Canada. Of the new Permanent Residents, more than half were admitted under the Economic Class as skilled workers, professionals, and business people, providing some relief to Canada’s current labour shortage. Nearly a third of newcomers were sponsored by family members in Canada, and most of the remainder was admitted under Canada’s refugee system. The top source countries for Canadian immigrants in 2006 were China and India, followed by Philippines, Pakistan, and the United States. Several improvements were made to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, under which 112,658 Work Permits were issued throughout 2006.
The big story so far for 2007 is the federal-provincial/territorial collaboration on immigration. First-ever immigration agreements were signed by the federal government with Alberta in May and with Nova Scotia in September. Both cooperation agreements were designed to increase settlement supports for newcomers, increase the number of immigrants that can be nominated through Provincial Nominee Programs, and to facilitate the entry of Temporary Foreign Workers. At the end of 2006, CIC renewed its provincial collaboration agreement with Newfoundland and Labrador and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ontario and Toronto to help improve immigrant outcomes. The Canadian government also confirmed $1.3 billion over five years in settlement funding to help immigrants succeed. As of this June, immigration numbers were on track for 2007.
For next year, CIC is gearing up to welcome between 240,000 and 265,000 newcomers. Canada’s 2008 immigration plans balance the country’s labour market needs with family reunification and the humanitarian principles of refugee protection. In response to growing demand, the national target for Provincial Nomination in 2008 is between 20,000 and 22,000. This is up considerably from 2006 targets, which were 9,000 to 11,000.