Canadian Immigration Reform

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Short Essay #3: Designing a Good Immigration Policy for Canada Ioana Todosia
Carleton University
Student #: 100837009

SOCI 3210 A
Prof. Daiva Stasiulis

Immigration has always been an essential component towards Canada’s social and economic success. Immigration works as a positive agent in: filling jobs in areas of employment with scarce availability of expertise and training within Canada’s own workforce, promoting international and regional trade, contributing to innovation, generating foreign and domestic investment, and helps to balance the aging population that Canada has been experiencing for decades. However, Canada’s immigration system has lost its way under the current Conservative government. Our current immigration policy no longer tries to represent Canada’s values and needs as a nation. Rather, the federal government has handed immigration off as a tool to meet the needs and ‘values’ of individual agents and the provinces separately. Canada’s immigration policies lack a clear definition of what immigration means to Canada, and why it is so important in Canada’s social and economic development.

This policy paper proposes that Canada’s immigration policy ought to represent Canada as a nation and have a strong commitment to national citizenship. In addition, immigration policy should be looked at through a long-term scope focused on the social and economic objectives of Canada and how immigration can best enhance these objectives. In addition, Canada’s immigration policy should enhance Canada’s reputation and image internationally and be respectful and abide by international human rights norms.

It is important to address the social implications of Canada’s immigration policies because the functioning of society is the framework upon which countries operate. Social well-being correspondence directly with economic well-being, and without one you can’t normally have the other. Immigration policy must find ways to permanently, not temporarily, address Canada’s demographics crisis of an ever-aging population and diminishing birth rate. Immigration can play a central role in remedying the long-term predicament that the labour market will face. Currently, the federal government has been seeking short-term fixes to the labour shortage problem in Canada through the low-skilled foreign worker program. What the government should really be focusing on is enhancing and revising the Skilled Foreign Worker Program to attract young, skilled, educated immigrants to Canada. In addition, this program should be revised to allow faster acquisition of citizenship, along with a proactive establishment of immigrant support networks to ensure that the skills and education of immigrants end up being paired with appropriate job markets. Canada currently does seek highly skilled foreign workers as part of their immigration policy, however, upon the acquisition of citizenship a vast amount of immigrants end up in low-skill low paying jobs not corresponding to the educational and skilled background they possess. This is because the federal government’s policies towards immigration are weak on the front of social integration. Immigration policy should better match immigrants with labour market and demographic needs. Programs ought to be put into place that connects immigrants with employers seeking their specific background of expertise. Naomi Alboim (2012) states that “high rates of citizenship acquisition are associated with better employment rates and being a citizen is a prerequisite for participating in many aspects of civic and political life. It is an indication of an immigrant’s commitment to the country… where our neighbors do not live in fear of deportation” (Huffington Post, Oct 18 2012). Therefore, the quicker the process to achieving citizenship, and the quicker the immigrant is immersed into the labour force through such things as mentorships, internships, bridge-training, and enhanced language training (Naomi...
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