Too much too fast: Immigration changes make Canada less welcoming

New Maytree report, Shaping the future: Canada’s rapidly changing immigration policies, discusses the impact of the multitude of recent changes and proposes a national conversation on how to get immigration policy back on track.

Toronto, October 4, 2012. The pace and scope of change inCanada’s immigration system in recent years leaves one breathless. From 2008 to July 1, 2012, the federal government has made changes to every aspect of immigration policy, including the way in which reform is undertaken, and more changes are proposed.

While some of the recent changes are positive, many are problematic, concludes a new report, Shaping the future: Canada’s rapidly changing immigration policies, written by Naomi Alboim and Karen Cohl and published by Maytree. The changes could have a dramatic impact on both the social and economic fabric of Canada and how the country is perceived by potential immigrants from around the world.

“Perhaps Canadians have become complacent in thinking that there will always be a long line of people waiting to come here,” says Naomi Alboim, Maytree Senior Fellow, and a fellow, adjunct professor and Chair of the Policy Forum at theSchoolofPolicy Studiesat Queen’s University inCanada. “But we can’t take our reputation, or our past success, for granted.”

The report describes how reforms have been taken without meaningful consultation with the provinces or public, and through the use of increased Ministerial powers and Omnibus budget bills that do not benefit from the usual checks and balances of Parliament.

As a result, the authors suggest that the public be engaged in a national conversation on what kind of country we want to be and how immigration can help us get there. They list four principles that should guide the conversation and subsequent reform:

  1. Immigration policy should be based primarily on long-term social and economic objectives and a commitment to citizenship.
  2. Immigration policy should be evidence-based, comprehensive, fair and respectful of human rights.
  3. Immigration policy should be developed through public and stakeholder engagement, meaningful federal-provincial-territorial consultation, and democratic processes.
  4. Immigration policy should enhanceCanada’s reputation around the world.

The report also makes recommendations on specific immigration, refugee and citizenship programs.

For the full report, visit http://www.maytree.com/policy.

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To set up an interview with Naomi Alboim and for more information contact:
Markus Stadelmann-Elder, 416-944-2627 ext. 284, mselder@maytree.com.

About Maytree:
Established in 1982, Maytree is a private foundation that promotes equity and prosperity through its policy insights, grants and programs. The foundation has gained international recognition for its expertise in developing, testing and implementing programs and policy solutions related to immigration, integration and diversity. www.maytree.com.