Canada Election 2019

What a Liberal minority government means for Canadian immigration 

After Canada’s 2019 federal election came to a close on October 21, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals were reelected as the country’s governing party. However, due to the increased number of Parliament seats occupied by the Conservative party, Canada will now be operating with a Liberal minority government. What this means is that the government will need to be supported by another party in order to keep the confidence of Parliament and to pass any bills and policies. Many speculate that the party to support the Liberals will be the NDP, led by Jagmeet Singh. 

Although the Liberals do not have the full sway of parliament, it is safe to assume that for the most part the house will be on the same page when it comes to the interests of immigration. Most of the parties maintain a positive stance on increasing Canada’s immigration rates, welcoming newcomers, and developing new programs to support immigration. 

As the Liberals retain their position in Canada’s leadership, many assume that immigration policies will remain the same. For the most part, this seems to be the case. However, the party has outlined several new plans to increase the development of Canadian immigration.   

Municipal Nominee Pilot Program

The Liberal government has cited plans to begin a pilot for the Municipal Nominee Program (MNP). The aim of this new program is bringing more newcomers to small cities and towns. Most of the provinces face the issue of losing immigrants in their smaller cities to the larger cities. While this is not as much of an issue in provinces with multiple large cities, seven provinces face this problem.  

There is a good chance that the criteria for this new pilot will be similar to the Liberal government’s other pilot programs, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) and the Rural Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP). Most likely, employers in the municipal area would be able to select newcomers to support based on the business’s needs for labour. The pilot would be distributing up to 2,750 applicants to different municipal locations throughout the country. However, since the AINP and RNIP programs have launched, the MNP would likely exclude the Atlantic provinces and territories.        

Citizenship Fees and Settlement Funding 

One of the promises that the Liberal government recently made was to waive the fees for applying for citizenship. Now, it costs $530 to apply for citizenship. What’s more, there is an additional $100 “right to citizenship” fee. The government has proposed that $110 million be budgeted for citizenship in 2023-2024. This budget is a notable 40% higher than the current one. However, the increase would be in tandem with the predicted 40% increase in citizenship applicants by 2024.  

The Liberal minority government also has plans to increase funding settlement programs for newcomers. The current settlement services budget is $1.5 billion. The government is looking to increase this budget gradually as immigration rates also rise. Settlement funding is put towards economic integration and social services to support newcomers.

Immigration Levels Increase to 350,000 by 2021

Long before the election the liberal government cited plans to increase immigration by approximately 10,000 individuals each year. While the intake goal for 2019 currently stands at 330,800, the plan for 2021 is to increase to 350,000 newcomers. If yearly immigration levels continue to increase at this rate, it is reasonable to assume that by 2023 Canada could be looking at a yearly intake of 370,000 newcomers.  

Canada Election 2019

Canada’s Federal Election results

Canada’s Federal Election results in Liberal minority government  

Voters headed out to the polls on October 21 for Canada’s federal election, and late last night the results were in: the Liberal Party won out with a minority government. As a result, Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau will have another term as Prime Minister of Canada. With a minority government, that means the Liberals do not hold the majority of seats in the Canadian Parliament. In this case, the out of the 338 parliamentary seats, the Liberals have 157 seats, while the other parties have a combined 181 seats. In the Canadian government, in order to pass a bill in the House of Commons, a bill needs at least 170 votes. This means that the Liberal government will need the support of another party to pass bills and policies. 

The breakdown of new Parliament seats: 

  • 157 Liberal 
  • 121 Conservative
  • 32 Bloc Quebecois 
  • 24 New Democratic Party
  • 3 Green Party 
  • 1 Other Representative 

Although the Conservative Party had the popular vote this election, Andrew Scheer and his party came just short of the Liberals, with Conservatives gaining 121 seats against the Liberals’ 157. The Bloc Quebecois gained 32 seats exclusively in Quebec. Meanwhile, the New Democratic Party (NDP) won 24 seats. Many predict that the NDP, lead by Jagmeet Singh, will hold the balance of power between parties in the future. Surprisingly, Elizabeth May’s Green Party won only 3 seats, despite projections that the party would do especially well this election. The People’s Party of Canada came out of the election with zero seats. 

The parties discussed their policies on immigration throughout the debate. For the Liberal government, their stance on immigration is maintaining the current procedures, including Express Entry and Provincial Nomination Programs, and plan to increase Canada’s immigration numbers across the board. Although the party does plan to introduce new immigration programs, like d a Municipal Nominee Program and an Atlantic Immigration Pilot. They also plan to make it free for permanent residents to apply for Canadian citizenship. 

Canada Election 2019

What the Federal Debate had to say about Canadian immigration 

The 2019 Federal Leaders Debate, which took place on October 7, surprisingly covered very little in regards to Canadian immigration. However, that is not to say that immigration has no part to play in this year’s federal election. There is still much to talk about in terms of the immigration topics that came up during the debate. What’s more, all of the respective political parties’ have released the details of their platforms, and each party has its own respective plan for Canada’s future in immigration. 

Immigration Talk at the Debate 

When the topic of immigration was brought up during the debate, the candidate who had the most to say was Maxime Bernier. Bernier is the leader of the far-right People’s Party of Canada.  He is the only party leader who had openly spoken against immigration in Canada. Bernier stated that he wants to reduce Canada’s immigrant intake to 150,00 yearly, which is less than half of the current rate of 331,000 yearly newcomers. Additionally, Bernier emphasized a desire to increase the number of economic immigrants.  

During the debate, Bernier stated that Canada receives the “equivalent of one Nova Scotia every three years” in immigrant numbers. Bernier seemed to imply that this number was too high, however, Nova Scotia’s population accounts for only 3% of Canda, housing less than 960,000 residents. Considering factors such as emigration, an ageing population, and a declining birth rate, it is questionable whether Canada would be able to sustain and grow at Bernier’s proposed immigration rate of 150,000 a year. 

The other political leaders at the debate were quick to disagree with Bernier. Many of the leaders pointed out the “hate rhetoric” that Bernier often engages with, both in his campaign and in his social media. Prime Minister and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau accused Bernier of attempting to generate a “fear of the other” within the Canadian public. Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer  

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May drew attention the contradiction with Bernier’s plan to only allow 150,000 immigrants to total and focus on economic immigrants. May pointed out that Canada accepted more than 159,000 economic immigrants in 2017. 

As it stands, Bernier is currently the candidate with the least amount of voter support. Bernier was invited to the debate due to his popularity in just a few ridings.

Party Platforms on Immigration

Since immigration was not heavily discussed during the Federal Leaders Debate, it is not surprising that some people might be wondering where the parties’ stand on the issue. Thankfully, all of the parties have released their political platforms which include their proposed immigration policies.

The Bloc Quebecois

The Bloc Quebecois has always upheld a Quebec-centered approach to its policies. As a result, the party’s immigration goals prioritize Quebec interests. For instance, if elected, the party would introduce a bill which requires that anyone who applies for citizenship in Quebec to have “sufficient” French language skills. The party also would like to make it a requirement for the federal government to give Quebec the authority to reject federal refugee policies and to control permanent residence conditions. The Bloc Quebecois has also stated that the party will suspend the United States’ and Canada’s Safe Third Country Agreement. 

The Conservative Party 

As for the Conservative Party, their immigration policies would include recognizing credentials, improving language training, and helping skilled foreign workers apply for applicable professions more easily. The party is also putting border security and illegal immigration from the United States as a high priority. They would seek to renegotiate the Safe-Third Country Agreement, hire more border guards, and have Immigration and Refugee Board judges move to areas of common illegal border crossing. The party aims to work with the provinces to work out any immigration issues, with a focus on Quebec and the potential to settle the Canada-Quebec Accord on Immigration.

The Green Party

The Green Party immigration plans include providing better funding to give newcomers language training. They also plan on ensuring that immigrants are properly informed of the licensing requirements needed for their new Canadian careers. The party seeks to get rid of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. Instead, they intend to focus on immigration creating easier paths to permanent residency. With regards to Canada’s Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S., the Green Party would seek to terminate the agreement. 

The Liberal Party 

As for the Liberal Party, if reelected they have several immigration plans in mind. These include proposals for an Atlantic Immigration Pilot and a Municipal Nominee Program. They also propose a plan to make applying for Canadian citizenship free for permanent residents by 2023-24. 

The New Democratic Party

For the NDP party, they plan to address gaps in immigration settlement services. They plan to collaborate with provinces to accomplish this. Additionally, the party would like to reduce the backlogs of families who have yet to be reunified through immigration. They would also seek to remove restrictions for applicants to sponsor their parents and grandparents. 

The People’s Party of Canada 

As stated previously, the People’s Party is the only in the election looking to reduce the actual number of immigrants. The party wants to reduce to just 150,000 immigrants and refugees accepted into Canada yearly. The party is also looking to criminalize birth tourism.

The federal election will be taking place across Canada on October 21.  

Canada Election 2019

How Canada’s October 21st election could affect immigration 

Canadians are preparing for the 2019 federal election, and politicians and voters alike are wondering how Canada’s government will look after October 21st.

Opinion surveys have unsurprisingly cited the Liberals and Conservatives as the two most popular parties in the running. Surveys have so far ranked the New Democratic Party and the Green Party in third and fourth place, respectively.

As all parties prepare their campaigns, one topic concerning people inside and outside of Canada is immigration. As the election date fast approaches, some worry that immigration policies could be changing in the near future.

However, as of now, it appears that Canada’s immigration rates will remain the same regardless of who wins the upcoming election. Both Liberals and Conservatives have had a history of consistently raising Canada’s yearly immigration intake since the 1980s. 

Canada’s Need for Immigrants 

Immigration has proven to be a huge asset to Canadian society and to its economy. For several decades, Canada’s birth rate has declined and the overall working population has aged considerably. The next decade will see more than 9 million people in the working population retiring, and Canada will soon be needing to fill these gaps in the labour market.

Canada will be in need of more immigrants than ever. With the projected rate of retirement increasing, the demand for skilled workers will only grow in the next few years. Immigration channels such as Express Entry and Provincial nomination programs will not be going out of fashion any time soon.

If any major changes are to be seen in Canada’s immigration policies, it would be to the composition of Canada’s new immigrants. 

What Changes to Expect 

Currently, Canada divides its immigrants into three classifications: the economic class, the family class, and refugee class.

The current Liberal government has given the refugee class more priority compared to previous governments, having increased the intake since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election. In contrast, the Conservative party as taken the opposition on the issue. The Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has stated that, if elected, they will reduce refugee admittance.  

In the event that the Canadian government shifts from Liberal to Conservative following the federal election, the only potential change would be a decrease in the annual number of refugees accepted into Canada. The number of immigrants accepted through the economic and family classes should either remain the same or increase. For these two immigrant classifications, no aspects of the immigration process are expected to change. 

Canada has relied on immigration for years to bolster the economy and population. Regardless of the outcome in the 2019 federal election, Canada’s need for newcomers with new talent will not be changing.