November 5, 2012

On November 5, 2012, Minister Charles Sousa, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI), released Ontario’s first ever Immigration Strategy.

The main objectives of the strategy include: attracting a skilled workforce and building a stronger economy; helping newcomers and their families achieve success; and leveraging the global connections of our diverse communities. The Strategy will have no direct fiscal impact to the Province or municipalities and MCI has committed to working with municipalities and employers to promote the value of immigration and diversity when implementing the Strategy.

The Strategy was developed based on four elements:
  • The Expert Roundtable on Immigration – In the spring of 2012, Minister Sousa invited a number of leading experts to examine Ontario’s immigration issues. The Roundtable made 32 recommendations in its report, “Expanding Our Routes to Success”. AMO’s representative at this table was Warden Steve Arnold from Lambton County.
  • Stakeholder Consultations – MCI’s Parliamentary Assistant Teresa Piruzza, MPP Windsor West, led six stakeholder consultations and received written submissions. Consultations were also held with municipal partners to ensure the Strategy reflects the needs of Ontario communities.
  • Labour Market Forecasting – MCI analyzed data showing where new jobs will be, the skills Ontario will need and the level of immigration required to support economic prosperity.
  • Collaboration Across Government – MCI collaborated and consulted with the Ministries of Finance, Training, Colleges and Universities and Economic Development and Innovation to help identify the role of immigration in meeting Ontario’s labour market needs.
Ontario’s Immigration Strategy is intended to set a new direction for how we select, welcome and help immigrants to our province. The Strategy includes several targets that encourage municipalities, stakeholders and employers to attract and retain skilled immigrants who can make valuable contributions to local economies. Among those targets include:
  • Raising the proportion of economic immigrants to 70 per cent from the current level of 52 per cent.
  • Request a doubling of Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program limit to 2,000 in 2013, increasing to 5,000 in 2014.
  • Achieve employment rates and income levels for immigrants that are in line with those of other Ontarians.
  • Maximize the potential and use of temporary foreign workers and international students.
  • Provide more resources for employers to recruit and welcome immigrant employees.
  • Achieve five per cent Francophone immigration.
  • Create a Minister’s Forum to drive a “no wrong door” approach to accessing immigrant services.
  • Commit to annual reports on progress and achievement.
  • Establish a Minister’s Table with employers to consult businesses on immigration matters.
AMO is supportive of defining priorities for immigration that support economic prosperity and labour market growth in Ontario. AMO will continue to advocate that the Province include municipalities in the policy decision-making process when discussions occur at the Provincial and Federal levels of government to move the Strategy forward.

AMO will continue to engage the Province on Ontario’s priorities on immigration through the Municipal Immigration Committee (MIC) – a tripartite table in which MCI, the Federal Government and municipalities share information and best practices.