John McCallum, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, has stated his goal of significantly increasing immigration to Canada beyond its current record level as a way to fill the country's labour needs and rise to the demographic challenges faced by an aging population.
McCallum made the comments in Manila, Philippines during a speech to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
"So why not substantially increase the number of immigrants coming to Canada? And that is, I think, I hope, what we are about to do . . . the direction in which I would like to go is to increase substantially the number of immigrants," McCallum said.
Earlier this year, the Liberal government of Canada unveiled its immigration plan for 2016, which projected that Canada would welcome around 300,000 new permanent residents this year. This marked the highest projected immigration level in decades, and around a seven percent increase on the 2015 plan.
Key to the government's larger plan to promote innovation and grow the economy is McCallum's three-year immigration plan, which he plans to unveil this fall. Following his comments in Manila, it is likely that this plan will showcase the government’s objective to increase overall immigration numbers.
However, McCallum said that no final decision on immigration has been made and that there will be some work to do in getting convincing his cabinet colleagues, as well as the Canadian population, about the merits of his new plan.
During a visit to Beijing earlier in his Asian tour, McCallum announced that the government of Canada plans to increase the number of visa offices in China, in order to facilitate the numbers of Chinese visitors, workers, students and prospective immigrants expected to come to Canada in the future.
McCallum’s department is expected to make a number of other changes before the end of 2016, including modifications to the Canadian Citizenship Act and changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.