New Letter Prioritizes Immigration During and After Pandemic

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has provided Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, with a new supplementary mandate letter that outlines a new set of priorities related to immigration. The letter emphasizes that immigration will remain a top priority when it comes to Canada’s economy and society, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mandate letter was released less than three months after Canada announced its new 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, which aims to welcome 400,000 immigrants per year – the highest in Canadian history.

A mandate letter is considered the most important policy document within Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It outlines the goals that Canada’s prime minister wants the immigration minister and IRCC to pursue and prioritize.

The most recent supplementary mandate letter was provided to Mendicino to line up with the new session of Parliament, which began in September, and incorporates new objectives developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The new mandate letter also defines key issues and programs involving immigration in Canada. This includes Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan, new immigration programs for IRCC to create, the improvement of immigration application processing times, and other issues.

The following points are the key priorities outlined in the mandate letter:

  • Continue welcoming new immigrants to support Canada’s economic growth and post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery.
  • Expand pilot programs to welcome refugees through economic class immigration streams and expedite family reunification.
  • Work on sectoral and regional pilot programs.
  • Implement measures that offer permanent residence pathways to newcomers who have provided health care in long-term care homes, medical facilities, or who have performed other essential services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Work with cabinet colleagues to protect the health and safety of Canadians, and manage Canada’s ports of entry responsibly and compassionately.
  • Identify new permanent residence pathways for temporary foreign workers.
  • Work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion to protect workers considered to be vulnerable to COVID-19 and fill labour force needs in farming and food processing sectors.
  • Work with the provincial and territorial governments to provide settlement support to newcomers, including French-language training.

What these goals reveal is that Canada will continue to prioritize immigration during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the Canadian economy and fill gaps in the labour market.