Housing Minister and former immigration minister Sean Fraser says Canada’s permanent residency numbers are “in the right place.”

“We're growing our permanent population at a pace we can handle,” Fraser said in a Tuesday interview on CTV News Channel’s Power Play with Vassy Kapelos.

The minister’s comments were in response to a question about remarks made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s earlier in the day, when he admitted a “massive spike” in temporary immigration levels under his government have “grown at a rate far beyond what Canada has been able to absorb.”

"So we want to get those numbers down,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Dartmouth, N.S., insisting it’s a “responsible approach” to maintain permanent residency levels while reducing the numbers on the temporary immigration side.

The federal government faced criticism earlier this year, after The Canadian Press — citing internal documents obtained through an access to information request — reported in January the federal government was warned by public servants two years ago that its ambitious immigration targets could jeopardize housing affordability.

Two weeks later, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced plans to reduce the number of international student permits by about 35 per cent from 2023 levels.

Last year, the number of international students studying in Canada reached more than 900,000, triple that of a decade ago, according to the Canadian Press.

Then, in late March, Miller announced Canada would put a “soft cap” on the number of temporary resident arrivals, with targets to be set in September.

When asked whether he believes permanent immigration levels also need to be readjusted, Fraser told Kapelos the federal government continues “to accommodate longer term population growth through a sustained and well-planned permanent residency, immigration strategy.”

He also insisted the federal government was considering setting limits on the number of temporary residents before last summer’s cabinet shuffle when he was moved from the immigration portfolio to housing, and before media reports of those numbers impacting housing affordability. No announcement to that effect, however, was made until this year.

But when it comes to the number of permanent residents Canada welcomes, Fraser said there are no plans to shift targets.

“We have demographic challenges and economic challenges that immigration can help solve,” Fraser said. “The challenges that we've experienced have largely been on the temporary side of the equation.”

“These are programs that are not subjected to a level that's typically set by the government, but driven by demand either by institutions like colleges and universities, or by employers who tap into the temporary foreign workers program,” he added.

The Liberals have set targets aiming to bring in 485,000 immigrants this year, and 500,000 in both 2025 and 2026.