What is the “right” number when it comes to immigration?

Yesterday, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced its immigration targets for 2017. This follows last week’s report from the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth, which recommended that Canada increase the number of immigrants it welcomes to 450,000 per year overall –150,000 more than the current target.

While IRCC’s overall target has not changed, they do plan to increase the number of economic immigrants to Canada in 2017 – next year, they aim to welcome 172,000 skilled immigrants, compared to 160,000 in 2016.

Canada’s population is aging and we will need new talent to replace people who are retiring. Newcomers bring fresh ideas, an international perspective, and the ability to connect with a diverse workforce and client base – skills that have never been more relevant in this global economy. They’re also typically highly educated: over 51 percent of recent immigrants have a university degree, compared to 20 percent of Canadian-born.

At TRIEC, our mantra is: “when immigrants prosper, we all do”. This can only happen when they are able to fully contribute to Canadian society.

We partner with exceptional community agencies who support newcomers preparing to work in Canada by offering resources such as language classes and employment workshops. It is critical to continue funding and support these agencies to achieve their missions.

But this is only half the battle. There is still work to do with employers to they fully recognize the advantage that hiring international talent can bring to their business.

The Advisory Council’s report talks about helping employers “better understand how foreign degrees and certifications align with Canadian standards”.  At TRIEC we believe it’s also about cultural change. We work closely with employers to help them create workplaces that are fully inclusive of skilled immigrants. This ensures that skilled immigrants have the opportunity to progress and thrive in the organization at the same rate as their Canadian-born colleagues.

The report states “if done right, [immigration] can raise living standards for all Canadians” – at TRIEC, this is our fundamental belief. Whatever the number of immigrants we welcome, it is imperative that we continue to work together to build a labour market where newcomers can find meaningful work. This will benefit those already here, as well as setting the stage for those arriving in future.

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