Ontario advisory body recommends increase in immigration
15 October 2012
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The Ontario Expert Round Table on Immigration, a committee established to advise the Ontario provincial government on immigration policy, has issued a report saying that Ontario should increase its immigration level to 1% of its population (or 135,000 people) annually.
The Expert Round Table comprised businesspeople, academics and representatives of the not-for-profit sector and the province's settlement services. Its report is titled Expanding Our Routes To Success. The report states that the numbers of immigrants settling in Ontario fell from 89,079 in 2001 to 36,939 in 2011. Because Ontario has never had an immigration strategy, it is not attracting those with the greatest skills, the Round Table says.
Because of its ageing population, a workforce forecast to shrink in the near future and a severe skills shortage, the report recommends that the province should establish an active immigration policy to attract highly skilled workers. 'Immigration is key to Ontario's future prosperity and the development of an immigration strategy should be an integral part of the province's overall economic strategy.'
The report says that immigration policy must be integrated across all ministries of the provincial government. The report comes up with 32 recommendations, the first of which is to increase annual immigration to 135,000.
Other recommendations include:
• Immigration policy should be fair and foster diversity
• Most immigration should come via the Federal Skilled Worker Program
• The cap on immigration via Ontario Provincial Nominee Program should be raised from 1,000 to 5,000
• The Federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program should be used to recruit highly skilled temporary foreign workers in the skilled trades
• Greater efforts to be made to attract entrepreneurs to the province
• Employers and communities must help immigrants to become integrated members of Ontario society
• The government must continue to honour its traditional commitment to refugees'
Provincial immigration minister Charles Sousa said 'I would like to thank the expert roundtable for their work; It will help us develop Ontario's first immigration strategy that will support economic development in the province.'
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