For many decades, Canada has embraced and welcomed newcomers, and the country has long benefited from its immigration policies, regardless of which government is in power.
However, there is growing evidence and concern that the immigration system may be failing to meet its objectives of serving national interests and providing new Canadians with the resources and opportunities they need to integrate into Canadian society fully.
A recent CBC story highlighted the significant backlog in processing federal work permits for asylum seekers, leaving them unable to work and facing severe financial hardship, compounded by high housing costs and a lack of affordable housing.
Meanwhile, there are employers throughout Canada who cannot obtain enough workers, and the federal government has proposed to add hundreds of thousands of new permanent residents in the coming years to address labour market needs.
However, welcoming near-record levels of new Canadians presents a challenge: these new citizens need affordable housing, schools, doctors, daycare, and other services.
While Ottawa sets the immigration levels, it is up to provinces and local governments to try and fill the housing demand this creates.
Moreover, many immigrants are underemployed, while many professions and trades require more labour, and foreign credentials are not easily recognized in many areas of the Canadian economy.
All of these problems are occurring in an environment where the overall size of the federal public service has increased, and the use of private consultants has surged.
Despite record spending and huge increases in the size of the federal public service, the Trudeau Liberal government is failing to deliver meaningful results that Canadians, and in particular newly arrived Canadians, depend on.
In summary, I believe it is crucial to ensure that immigration policies serve national interests and provide new Canadians with the supports and chances they need to join into Canadian society fully.
My question this week is:
Do you agree?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
Central Okanagan – Similkameen – Nicola