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Which Of Trudeau’s Immigration And Citizenship Proposals Are Likely To Happen?

Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party made a couple of immigration proposals in the lead up to the federal elections. Returned to power, but with minority seats in parliament, which of Trudeau’s immigration and Citizenship proposals as outlined by the prime minister are likely to happen?

The broad agreement among the major federal parties during the federal election campaigns that immigration numbers in Canada about right raised the chances of Trudeau getting support for his proposals.

Summary of Trudeau’s Proposal on Immigration and Citizenship

  • Continued reasonable and modest immigration increases.
  • Establishment of a new Municipal Nominee Program.
  • Making the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program permanent.
  • Modernization of the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States
  • Waiving of the citizenship application fee.

1) Continued managed immigration levels increases

Given the consensus already mentioned between Canada’s major federal parties, a continuation of managed immigration increase under the Liberals may be expected to continue.

Canada’s immigration levels strategy for the next three years is expected to be announced soon, with the possibility of a delay due to the fallout from the federal election.

Last year’s plan saw levels expected to increase to 350,000 newcomers per year by 2021. The new strategy, expected to set out immigration levels for 2020, 2021 and 2022, is not expected to be seriously different.

2) Creation of a new Municipal Nominee Program

The challenge of encouraging newcomers to spread out to smaller jurisdictions is one that clearly needs tackling, and the proposed Municipal Nominee Programs is the Liberals’ attempt to do just that.

With the other major parties – including the Conservatives – accepting those smaller jurisdictions need help with countering ageing population and shrinking labour market, Trudeau could expect support from the other political parties for the Municipal Nominee Programs.

3) Making the Atlantic Immigration Pilot permanent

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot program is essentially another tool launched by the Liberals aimed at bringing more migrants to a region struggling with ageing populations and dwindling labour markets.

Making it permanent is another policy for which Trudeau’s led government could be expecting support.

4) Modernization of the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States

The steady flow of refugees and asylum seekers crossing the border from the United States at unrecognized border areas has been contentious for Trudeau throughout his first term.

Those numbers have moved up beyond 2018 levels in the summer months, meaning it remains a crucial issue, particularly in Quebec as the province that receives Ninety-five (95) per cent of border crossers.

The modernization of the Safe Third Country Agreement is easier on paper, as it essentially means convincing Donald Trump to keep more asylum seekers in the United States.

Expect irregular border crosser to continue to be a contentious issue, pending the outcome of the United States election a year from now.

5) Abolishing the citizenship application fees

Justin Trudeau’s proposal to stop the $630 citizenship application fees ($530 for processing and $100 ‘right of citizenship’ fees) is projected to cost taxpayers approximately $100 million per year.

It is not clear where the other major parties stand on this. The fee was massively increased under the last Conservative government from $100.