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Miller shares strategy for Canada's immigration system, ahead of new levels plan

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OTTAWA -

The federal government's priorities for improving Canada's immigration system include better aligning the number of people welcomed to the country with what the labour market needs, as well as services and infrastructure, says a report released Tuesday.

"With an aging population, people living longer, families having fewer children, Canada imperatively needs immigration to rebalance our demographics and support the growing need for workers," federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller said Tuesday.

"Today, we're laying out our plans to build an immigration system that can meet the future demands of our country," Miller added as he released a report outlining key actions intended to strengthen the immigration system, based on consultations with stakeholders.

The report comes ahead of the federal government's annual immigration levels plan, which Miller is expected to table in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Among the changes outlined in the report is the need to develop a "whole-of-government" approach to immigration growth. Such an approach would take housing, health care, infrastructure and other services into account when planning immigration levels.

Canada's immigration system has faced scrutiny recently as high levels of newcomers drive population growth and put pressure on the housing market. Last year's immigration plan, released in November, said would see Canada welcome 500,000 immigrants per year by 2025.

Miller suggested Tuesday the constraints in the housing market are the result of a failure to take action by both Conservative and Liberal federal governments, as well as the provinces.

However, he pointed recent steps by the federal government to address the housing shortage, including the rollout of the housing accelerator fund, which gives cities additional money to boost housing development.

The report also offers a guidefor other action the federal government has either begun or is in the processing of developing to improve the immigration system.

That includes developing a new francophone immigration policy that will "enhance the vitality of francophone minority communities, while maintaining and increasing the demographic weight of French linguistic minority communities in Canada," according to a news release.

The report proposes creating a chief international talent officer position to better align immigration programs and pathways with the labour market.

It says the federal government is also looking at creating a "recognized institutions framework" to fast-track study permits for educational institutions with high standards.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2023.

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