There is little doubt that Canada needs a more aggressive immigration policy to ensure a sufficient supply of human capital for our future growth. Immigration facilitated our historical growth and, in many ways, defines who we are and what we have become as a nation. It is, therefore, obvious that immigration must be at the heart of our future growth and prosperity.
We need to not only create an entrance system that will allow more immigrants to Canada, but those individuals must be targeted to match the skill sets required by Canadian industry. The “best and brightest” of the world are increasingly mobile and as we must make sure that we keep our homegrown talent, we must also make sure that our immigration system enhances our chances of attracting highly skilled individuals with the skills we need.
Immigration policy in Canada must respect differences in the needs of our regions and have the flexibility to accommodate local requirements. Differences in industrial sectors, existing workforce skill sets and cultural strengths all contribute to the need for regional flexibility.
The Chamber believes we need changes to the existing system that will allow for an increase in total economic immigrants to Canada and will have the flexibility to satisfy regional economic requirements.
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Recommendations:
- Incorporate greater regional flexibility within the federal government’s immigration policy, particularly as it applies to immigration levels, to reflect and accommodate regional needs.
- Work with industry and professional associations to set accreditation standards for immigrants seeking employment within their respective fields in Canada.
- Look into the existing point system, which is skewed to the applicant having a specific job to go to, and change the system to one based on a set of skills and a welcoming community.
- Assess the skill set of the entire family unit when assessing economic class immigrants.
- Automatically grant home status to foreign students, educated in Canada, upon graduation.
- Grant private sector visas for companies to use to recruit needed workers.
Adopted by The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce board of directors, May 2000