Canadian immigration policy ranked among top five in the world

Shelby Thevenot
Published: December 18, 2020

Canada got the fourth highest score in a recent survey that ranks the policy performance of 52 countries.

The Migration Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) is a comprehensive international benchmark for integration policies. These government policies affect how easily newcomers can find jobs, access language and education opportunities, develop a sense of belonging, and grow to become citizens who participate fully in society.

"The MIPEX scores allow us to gauge how well our policies support or hinder newcomers on their path to settle into Canadian society," says Anna Triandafyllidou, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Ryerson University. "The index helps us compare our performance over time and identify where we have room for improvement or the potential to learn from other countries."

In the 2020 edition of MIPEX, Canada's overall ranking increased by two thanks to improvements in access to healthcare for asylum seekers and improvements to the 2017 Citizenship Act. In 2015, Canada had scored sixth in the overall world ranking.

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Canada's greatest strength is anti-discrimination policies, according to the report. It receives the top score because of its world-leading laws and policies, including multiculturalism policies listed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canada lost points because people without citizenship status, such as permanent residents, have no opportunity for political participation at the local or national level. There is also a lack of permanent resident representatives in policy-setting bodies. However, permanent residents do have the opportunity to get citizenship, which gives them voting rights, relatively quickly. This fact gained Canada some more points.

Labour market mobility needs the greatest amount of improvement. Migrants without legal documents or with restricted temporary work permits face barriers to employment. This causes them to have limited access to health care.

Family reunification policies were called "favourable" in the report. Although, it was pointed out that adult children, as well as parents and grandparents face greater obstacles to reunite in Canada than other countries in the top ten.

In terms of pathways to permanent residence, Canada lost points because the process can be long and frustrating for the increasing number of temporary migrant workers.

Education in Canada was also marked highly thanks to multicultural education and equity policies that help children feel safe at school. However, better representation is needed across the curriculum, teaching profession, and higher education.

The highest-scoring country in the world was Sweden with 86 points overall. Finland came in second with 85 points. Portugal got 81. Canada came after with 80 points, and New Zealand got fifth place with 77 points.

"Among English-speaking countries, Canada is becoming a more attractive and inclusive global destination," says Thomas Huddleston, Director of Research for the Migration Policy Group. "Canada, along with New Zealand, is taking the place of previous top-ranking countries such as Australia, the UK and the United States, which all go down in the MIPEX rankings this round under pressure from populist political forces."

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