Two major events in the coming month will shape Canada’s immigration system for years to come. The first will be a new mandate letter to be written by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino. This letter will contain Canada’s new immigration priorities and is expected to be released shortly, possibly as early as next week.
The second is Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023. The plan will set out Canada’s new permanent residence goals over the next three years and is expected to be announced by October 30.
The new mandate letter for immigration
In Canada, the Prime Minister sets out the responsibilities he would like his respective cabinet members to exercise while the party in power manages the government.
In this case, Trudeau will deliver a letter to Minister Mendicino that will guide Mendicino’s efforts to lead the operations of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). In what will be rare, the Prime Minister will issue his second immigration warrant letter in less than a year.
Mandate letters are typically sent to each minister every two to four years. They are usually issued when a new government takes office and when a minister is assigned a new portfolio.
In August, however, Trudeau ended the last session of the Canadian Parliament by wanting to reset government priorities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new priorities of the Canadian government were defined on September 23 during the Speech from the Throne, which launched the new session of Parliament. The Speech from the Throne formally underscored Canada’s goal of welcoming more immigrants to maintain its competitive economic position.
As such, Trudeau will now set new immigration priorities that Mendicino and IRCC must pursue.
If last year is any indication, the new immigration warrant letter could be made public in early October. Last year, the Speech from the Throne on December 5, 2019, was followed by mandate letters issued on December 13.
COVID-19 has derailed many of the priorities set out in Mendicino’s current mandate letter. Mendicino was on track to implement the government’s immigration agenda when he announced Canada’s 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan in early March.
But the coronavirus pandemic has delayed goals such as eliminating Canadian citizenship application fees and launching a new municipal nominee program.
We should expect Mendicino’s next mandate letter to put a strong emphasis on the coronavirus. Namely, the government will likely give some insight into how it is looking to adjust Canadian immigration policy and how it will handle applications in the wake of the pandemic.
Canada’s Immigration Level Plan 2021 – 2023
In another rare case, Canada will announce its immigration levels plan for the second time in the same year.
The level plan is usually announced each fall around the last week of October. This is specified by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act – IRPA. The IRPA is the main law guiding Canada’s immigration system. However, IRPA also states that the announcement of the levels plan may be delayed during election years, as was the case in 2019 when Canadians went to the polls.
Therefore, Mendicino will follow up on the 2020-2022 tier plan announcement he made in March of this year with a similar announcement likely to arrive by Friday, October 30.
The IRPA states that the Minister of Immigration must announce the plan by November 1 of each year, when Parliament is sitting, but that date coincides with a weekend, and therefore the announcement should take place a little longer. early.
Mendicino has also consistently affirmed Canada’s commitment to immigration throughout the pandemic. This commitment is demonstrated by the ongoing Express Entry raffles that IRCC is conducting, which is seeing a record number of people receiving invitations to apply for permanent residence.
The question everyone has in mind before Mendicino’s next announcement is: What will be the impact of COVID-19 on immigration levels in Canada?
In the medium to long term, Canada can be expected to return to high levels of immigration. This is because Canada requires immigration to help in its economy. The latest Speech from the Throne also strongly suggests that Canada intends to return to high levels of newcomers.
But there is much greater uncertainty about how many immigrants Canada will be able to welcome amid the pandemic. Although the draws and processing of Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applications continue, the actual number of immigrants who complete their permanent residence process remains limited by COVID-19.
The combination of the announcement of the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan and the new mandate letter will give us more clarity on how quickly the Canadian government believes the immigration system can return to normal.