November 1, 2022—Toronto—The Canadian economy has experienced one of the fastest recoveries from COVID-19 among advanced economies, but is now facing critical labour market shortages causing uncertainty for Canadian businesses and workers.
Today the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, released Canada’s 2023–2025 Immigration Levels Plan. The plan embraces immigration as a strategy to help businesses find workers and to attract the skills required in key sectors—including health care, skilled trades, manufacturing and technology—to manage the social and economic challenges Canada will face in the decades ahead.
Last year Canada welcomed over 405,000 newcomers – the most we’ve ever welcomed in a single year. The Government is continuing that ambition by setting targets in the new levels plan of 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. The plan also brings an increased focus on attracting newcomers to different regions of the country, including small towns and rural communities.
Highlights of the levels plan include
- a long-term focus on economic growth, with just over 60% of admissions in the economic class by 2025
- using new features in the Express Entry system to welcome newcomers with the required skills and qualifications in sectors facing acute labour shortages such as, health care, manufacturing, building trades and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
- increases in regional programs to address targeted local labour market needs, through the Provincial Nominee Program, the Atlantic Immigration Program, and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot
- reuniting more families faster
- ensuring that at least 4.4% of new permanent residents outside Quebec are Francophone
- support for global crises by providing a safe haven to those facing persecution, including by expanding the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot
With a focus on regional immigration, this plan builds on ongoing work to strengthen our immigration system and spread the benefits of immigration to communities across the country, including supporting the vitality of Francophone communities outside of Quebec.
Regional economic immigration programs, like the Provincial Nominee Program, are increasingly important to the sustainable growth of our country. That’s why this year’s plan outlines year-over-year growth so that we can continue to support provinces and territories in attracting the skilled newcomers they need to address the labour shortage and demographic challenges in their regions.
Over the past year, we’ve made improvements to address key challenges faced by those using the immigration system. We are continuing to streamline and digitalize our immigration system to further expedite processing and give users the experience they expect and deserve.
This plan helps cement Canada’s place among the world’s top destinations for talent, creating a strong foundation for continued economic growth, while also reuniting family members with their loved ones and fulfilling Canada’s humanitarian commitments.
“Last year, we welcomed the most newcomers in a single year in our history. This year’s immigration levels plan will help businesses find the workers they need, set Canada on a path that will contribute to our long-term success, and allow us to make good on key commitments to vulnerable people fleeing violence, war and persecution.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“Canada’s Building Trades Unions are pleased with today’s announcement to increase immigration levels in Canada. Historically it has been through immigration that we have been able to grow our workforce, fill our union halls and build Canada’s infrastructure. Increased economic immigration is an important step to addressing labour availability across the country and we look forward to continuing to work closely with Minister Fraser and the federal government to find the solutions we need going forward.”
– Sean Strickland, Executive Director of Canada’s Building Trades Union (CBTU)
- The levels plan is a projection of how many permanent residents will be admitted to Canada in a given year and sets targets for overall admissions per immigration category. Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Minister must table the levels plan in Parliament each year.
- Immigration accounts for almost 100% of Canada’s labour force growth, and, by 2032, it’s projected to account for 100% of Canada’s population growth.
- Canada’s aging population means that the worker-to-retiree ratio is expected to shift from 7 to 1 50 years ago to 2 to 1 by 2035.
- During the 2021 Census, nearly 1 in 4 people counted were or had been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada, the highest proportion since Confederation and the largest proportion among G7 countries.
- Just over 1.3 million new immigrants settled permanently in Canada from 2016 to 2021, the highest number of recent immigrants recorded in a Canadian census.
- The levels plan takes into account extensive engagement with provincial and territorial representatives, as well as public opinion research and stakeholder consultations.
- The Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future provided nearly $500 million over five years in support of official languages, including $40.8 million for Francophone immigration initiatives.
- Canadians across the country can see how newcomers are benefiting local communities through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Immigration Matters campaign.
- Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec establishes its own immigration levels.