Ottawa – Canada’s unions are applauding the federal government’s announcement today that it plans to welcome more than 1.2 million immigrants to Canada over the next three years.
The proposed plan will bring skilled workers, family members and refugees to Canada between 2021 and 2023.
“For many years, Canada’s unions have called on the government to increase immigration targets. We welcome today’s announcement as an important part of our country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “A robust immigration plan will help increase our workforce and productivity. This in turn strengthens the social programs and services that support our communities.”
Lockdowns and other measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 resulted in a significant shortfall in Canada’s immigration numbers this year. Only 128,425 people were settled in 2020, far under the 341,000 that was previously targeted.
Furthermore, there are worker shortages in various sectors across Canada, which necessitate a ramping up of the country’s immigration levels. Despite current high unemployment levels in Canada due to the pandemic, the need for immigration persists including to support essential services in health care, long-term care facilities, farms and in meat processing plants, among others, as well as in high-skill fields in STEM.
Canada’s unions also welcome the federal government’s signal today that it will offer a pathway to permanent residency to immigrants and migrant workers already in Canada.
These workers must also have comprehensive worker protections in order to prevent abuse, mistreatment and discriminatory workplace policies.
“Workers deserve a chance to continue their lives here, regardless of the industry they work in. The federal government has provided a temporary measure for asylum claimants working in healthcare to apply for permanent residency, and this should apply to workers in all sectors,” said Marie Clarke Walker, Secretary-Treasurer at the Canadian Labour Congress.
“Our country and our economy are stronger with a rich and diverse workforce.”
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