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Canadians want to boost immigration, McCallum says after consultations

Canada's Immigration Minister John McCallum speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Jan. 26, 2016.

Chris Wattie / Reuters

The Liberal government will announce Canada's new immigration targets in November and the minister in charge said most people are telling him to boost the number of immigrants.

Speaking with reporters following a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill, Immigration Minister John McCallum summarized the results of his recent cross-country consultations on Canadian immigration.

"I have been hearing a lot of input, and all the hundreds of people I've spoken to across the country, most of them, almost all of them, have advocated [for] more immigrants, whether for demographic reasons or for job-shortage reasons," Mr. McCallum said. "But we as a government will not decide our proposal until November."

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Canada's 2016 immigration-levels plan aims to bring in about 300,000 permanent residents this year. That includes targets of 80,000 under family reunification, between 51,000 and 57,000 refugees and protected persons, and between 151,200 and 162,400 economic immigrants.

Canada's immigration levels have been roughly constant over the past two decades. Between 1994 and 2014, the yearly immigration levels represented either 0.7 per cent or 0.8 per cent of the population.

In 2014, Canada accepted 260,404 immigrants, representing 0.7 per cent of the population.

Mr. McCallum said he has received a "huge amount of input" on the topic of immigration over the summer.

Mr. McCallum's assessment of public opinion is at odds with the results of a recent Nanos Research survey conducted for The Globe and Mail that was released on Sept. 1.

That survey of 1,000 Canadians found that 39 per cent said the government should accept fewer immigrants in 2017 than the previous year. Thirty-seven per cent said Canada should accept the same amount in 2017, while only 16 per cent said the target should be increased.

The minister has also promised to announce changes to the rules related to temporary foreign workers. A House of Commons committee is expected to release a report as early as next week that will outline recommendations based on several days of hearings earlier this year. Mr. McCallum said he would wait for that report to be made public before commenting further.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

A member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery since 1999, Bill Curry worked for The Hill Times and the National Post prior to joining The Globe in Feb. 2005. Originally from North Bay, Ont., Bill reports on a wide range of topics on Parliament Hill, with a focus on finance. More

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