Unemployment in Canada has been at record levels in recent weeks. Confinement, border closures and economic shutdowns have put millions of people out of work.
The unemployment rate reached 13% in April across the country. Quebec is hardest hit, with a rate of 17.0%, a level not seen since 1976. In Montreal, the unemployment rate stood at 18.2% in April, according to the statistics office.
It is in this context that the debate on immigration has resurfaced. Will Canada maintain its migration policy despite the economic crisis?
Last March, a pre-pandemic immigration plan predicted record levels of immigration over the next three years, with 341,000 permanent residents in 2020, 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.
Will these targets be maintained? “”Given that the economic crisis will persist long after the end of the health crisis, can Canada accommodate an additional 1% more immigrants and refugees that would be added to our population in the foreseeable future? “asked the Conservative Party.
In response, Canada’s Federal Minister of Immigration, Marco Mendicino, said on Friday, May 15, that immigration will play a key role after the pandemic. However, he refused to provide figures. He indicated that updated figures on the reception of immigrants would be provided this fall, refusing for the moment to advance on the possibility of maintaining these figures.
“Immigration is fundamentally about people coming together to build a stronger country, and it is an enduring value that I believe in, and I trust Canadians believe in, that we will see continue long after VIDOC-19 is behind us,” he said.
“We couldn’t feed Canadians at an affordable price without immigrants, we couldn’t support our front-line workers without immigration,” said Mendicino, who believes it is “therefore critically important that we continue to welcome immigrants today in a safe and orderly manner and continue to do so in a future that we all agree will be supported by immigration as it has been in the past.