Canada’s Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland released an update on November 30, how the Canadian government will continue to support the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Each fall, Canada’s Minister of Finance provides an overview of the country’s economic and financial situation. The 2020 version of this update is of additional importance in light of COVID-19.
Due to the rapid decline in jobs and economic activity at the onset of the pandemic, Canada began to enjoy a recovery over the summer months. However, levels of coronavirus cases have climbed at an alarming rate in recent months, prompting a new round of lockdowns in parts of the country, such as Toronto.
Earlier this year, Canada’s Department of Finance said the country will run a deficit of more than $ 340 billion to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. In today’s update, the ministry revised that figure to more than $ 381 billion.
Canada has implemented a variety of exceptional measures throughout 2020 to support the economy and jobs as it seeks to mitigate the damage caused by the pandemic. These measures include the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which was income assistance for workers affected by COVID-19, as well as measures such as rent and wage assistance for employers.
Fall Economic Statement notes that coronavirus has dramatically reduced arrivals of permanent and temporary residents to Canada. It forecasts that Canada’s population growth will fall to about 1% this year, compared to 1.4% in 2018 and 2019. Lower immigration levels are hurting Canada’s labor force and economic growth.
To underscore the importance of immigration to the Canadian economy, the Declaration notes that immigration supported half of the country’s average real GDP growth between 2016 and 2019.
Canada is already preparing its post-COVID-19 immigration plans so that it can use the skills and talents of newcomers after the pandemic to support a resumption of economic growth and jobs.
In late October, Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino presented the most ambitious immigration plan in Canadian history. As part of the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, Canada will aim to welcome more than 400,000 new permanent residents each year.
Today’s statement highlights that the federal government will provide Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with $ 72 million to modernize its global case management system to a digital platform and move away from the “paper system.” currently bulky ”.
The main aim of this investment is “to contribute to Canada’s world-class immigration system through improved customer service, operational efficiency, and program integrity, ensuring a higher level of service and an internal capacity to bring the skills and talents of new Canadians to our communities”.
Overall, the statement says the Canadian government will commit a total of $ 750 million between 2021 and 2026 to support higher levels of immigration.
Another important component of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan is to increase the number of skilled workers admitted through Express Entry. Over the past few weeks, IRCC has hosted its largest Express Entry draws of all time, sending out 5,000 invitations to permanent residence in each draw. IRCC may hold an Express Entry draw for the third consecutive week in the next few days.
Express Entry is one of the top five Canadian immigration stories to watch out for in 2020.