Permanent immigration levels ‘in the right place’: Fraser

Housing Minister and former Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says Canada’s permanent residency numbers are “in the right place.”

“We are increasing our permanent population at a rate we can manage,” Fraser said in an interview Tuesday on CTV News Channel’s Power Play with Vassy Kapelos.

The minister’s comments were in response to a question about comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier in the day, when he admitted that a “massive increase” in temporary immigration levels under his government has “grown at a much faster rate.” beyond what Canada has been able to. absorb.”

“So we want to reduce those numbers,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Dartmouth, N.S., insisting that it is a “responsible approach” to maintain permanent residency levels while reducing temporary immigration numbers.

The federal government faced criticism earlier this year, after The Canadian Press – citing internal documents obtained through a freedom of information request – reported in January that public officials warned the federal government two years ago that its ambitious goals immigration could jeopardize housing affordability.

Two weeks later, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced plans to reduce the number of international student permits by about 35 percent from 2023 levels.

Last year, the number of international students studying in Canada reached more than 900,000, triple the number a decade ago, according to the Canadian Press.

Then, in late March, Miller announced that Canada would put a “soft cap” on the number of temporary resident arrivals, with targets set in September.

Asked if he believes permanent immigration levels also need to be readjusted, Fraser told Kapelos that the federal government continues to “accommodate long-term population growth through a sustained and well-planned immigration and permanent residency strategy.”

He also insisted that the federal government was considering setting limits on the number of temporary residents before last summer’s cabinet change, when he was moved from the immigration portfolio to the housing portfolio, and before the media reported that those numbers affected the housing affordability. However, until this year no announcement was made in this regard.

But when it comes to the number of permanent residents Canada welcomes, Fraser said there are no plans to change the targets.

“We have demographic and economic challenges that immigration can help solve,” Fraser said. “The challenges we have experienced have largely been on the temporal side of the equation.”

“These are programs that are not subject to a level typically set by the government, but rather driven by demand from institutions such as colleges and universities or from employers taking advantage of the temporary foreign worker program,” he added.

The Liberals have set targets aiming to bring in 485,000 immigrants this year and 500,000 in both 2025 and 2026.

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