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Canadian immigration policy: Opportunities for the road ahead

November 23, 2021
12:30 PM EST - 5:30 PM EST
Hybrid event (TEC 204, CERC Office / online via Zoom)

CERC Migration, in collaboration with the Harney Program in Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies, external link at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and the Canadian Labour Economics Forum, external link, brings together a select group of academics and researchers in a hybrid roundtable to discuss the future of Canadian immigration policy. Participants and observers have been selected through invitation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced an economic crisis in Canada, which may take labour markets years to recover from. Assuming that an open-door immigration policy is not the optimal response to the ongoing jobs crisis, there is an opportunity for policymakers to reconsider the objectives within each of the three arms of Canada’s immigration system: economic-class, family-class, and humanitarian-class. Specifically, this roundtable will explore:

  1. Immigration targets: What should immigration level targets be in each of the three immigration classes (economic, family, humanitarian) over the next few years? What factors should be considered to determine these levels?
  2. Immigrant selection: What should the primary objectives of immigrant selection be in each of these three classes over the next few years? Should the focus of economic immigrant selection continue to be on highly skilled applicants or should this be expanded to lower skilled applicants?
  3. The relationship between temporary and permanent immigration: How much should Canada rely upon temporary and/or permanent forms of migration to fulfill labour market needs? Is there an ethical obligation to offer Permanent Residence to particular lower-skilled Temporary Foreign Workers?
  4. Policy evaluation: How should these shifts in immigration policy be measured to track and evaluate success?  What metrics are appropriate?

Participants include:

  • Naomi Alboim, CERC Migration, Ryerson University
  • Antje Ellermann, Centre for Migration Studies, University of British Columbia
  • Ana Ferrer, University of Waterloo
  • Andrew Griffith, Environics Institute
  • Randall Hansen, Munk School for Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto
  • Daniel Hiebert, Centre for Migration Studies, University of British Columbia
  • Jeffrey Reitz, Munk School for Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto
  • Sandra Schinnerl, University of British Columbia
  • Ayelet Shachar, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto
  • Mikal Skuterud, University of Waterloo
  • Arthur Sweetman, McMaster University
  • Phil Triadafilopoulos, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto
  • Anna Triandafyllidou, CERC Migration, Ryerson University
  • Margaret Walton-Roberts, Wilfrid Laurier University

This roundtable is organized by Rupa Banerjee, Canada Research Chair in Economic inclusion, Employment and Entrepreneurship of Canada’s Immigrants and Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at Ryerson University. 

12:30-1 PM Pre-event reception
1-1:10 PM Welcome by Anna Triandafyllidou, Randall Hansen and Ayelet Shachar
1:10-1:55 PM

Session 1: Immigration targets and selection

Moderator: Andrew Griffith

Presentations by:

  • Mikal Skuterud & Chris Worswick - The economic case for skilled immigration policy
  • Jeffrey Reitz - The role of employers in immigrant selection: Some implications of recent Canadian experience
  • Margaret Walton-Roberts - Immigration and the health care sector
1:55-2:25 PM Session 1 discussion
2:25-2:55 PM Break
2:55-3:40 PM

Session 2: Relationship between temporary and permanent immigration

Moderator: Ayelet Shachar

Presentations by:

  • Antje Ellermann and Sandra Schinnerl - The education-immigration nexus: The role of universities as institutions of immigrant recruitment and settlement
  • Rupa Banerjee and Danielle Lamb - Policies, potentials and pitfalls: The impact of economic admission category on recent immigrant labour market outcomes
  • Daniel Hiebert - How significant is the growth of two-step immigration to Canada?
3:40-4:10 PM Session 2 discussion
4:10-4:55 PM

Session 3: Policy evaluation: How do we evaluate success?

Moderator: Naomi Alboim

Presentations by:

  • Ana Ferrer - Immigrant women's trajectories
  • Arthur Sweetman - Do we understand the Canadian economy well enough to match immigration policy to economic needs?
  • Phil Triadafilopoulos - The limits of growth? The politics of immigration policymaking in Canada


4:55-5:25 PM Session 3 discussion
5:25-5:30 PM Closing remarks by Anna Triandafyllidou, Randall Hansen and Ayelet Shachar