The priorities outlined for Canada’s new session of Parliament have several implications for the country’s immigration policies and immigrants themselves.
The Canadian government has emphasized that welcoming immigrants will remain a key priority in the new session of Parliament.
Every new session of Parliament starts with a speech from the throne, which outlines the government’s goals.
Canada’s Governor General, Julie Payette, delivered the speech on September 23 to formally open the second session of the 43rd Parliament of Canada. The Governor General is the federal representative of Canada’s Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
Immigration will be key to Canada’s COVID-19 economic recovery
Payette outlined four foundations of the government’s plan during the new session of Parliament:
1) Fight the pandemic and save lives;
2) Support people and businesses through the crisis for as long as it lasts. Whatever it takes, protecting the health of Canadians is best for the economy;
3) Build back better to build a stronger Canadian economy;
4) Stand up for who we are as Canadians. A country that is welcoming, that celebrates two official languages, promotes gender equality, and reconciles with Indigenous peoples.
Immigration will be key to supporting Canada’s COVID-19 economic recovery said Payette. She noted:
Immigration remains a driver of Canada’s economic growth. With other countries rejecting global talent that could help their economy, Canada has an opportunity as we recover to become the world’s top destination for talent, capital, and jobs. When people choose Canada, help build Canada, and make sacrifices in support of Canada, we should make it easier for them to formally become Canadian…As part of both the short-term economic recovery and a long-term plan for growth, the Government will leverage the advantage we have on immigration to keep Canada competitive on the world stage.
The measures announced in the speech intersect with immigration in several other ways.
The speech stressed that the Canadian government will continue to provide various economic and social supports throughout and beyond the pandemic to help strengthen Canada’s living standards.
This includes income supports for individuals and businesses, including targeted supports for women. Women have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and immigrant women are no exception. While immigrants are seeing their economic outcomes improve in recent months, following a major spike in unemployment caused by COVID-19 lockdowns imposed across Canada earlier this year, immigrant women are still lagging immigrant men.
Moreover, the throne speech outline Canada’s goal to create one million jobs, a measure that will help the immigrants who have been impacted by COVID-19.
The government will also provide more financial support for those looking to buy a home in Canada. Homeownership rates are high among Canada’s immigrants, but with housing becoming more expensive across the country, such supports will make homeownership more accessible for Canadians and immigrants.
The throne speech itself does not get into the specifics of how the government’s plans will be carried out. More of these details will be found in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new mandate letters for his ministers, including for immigration minister Marco Mendicino.