Ontario has launched its first immigration strategy to help build a strong, globally connected economy.
The strategy sets a new direction for how Ontario selects, welcomes and assists immigrants to the province.
It emphasizes the critical role skilled immigrants play in Ontario’s economic development, as workers and job creators, in addressing labour market gaps due to the province’s aging population and low birth rate.
The strategy also highlights how to better support immigrants and their families so they can succeed and contribute fully to Ontario’s prosperity.
“This immigration strategy acknowledges that investing in services at the front-end, as soon as immigrants arrive, will have significant long-term benefits, not only for immigrants and their families, but also for Canadian society as a whole,” said Debbie Douglas, executive director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.
With this new direction for immigration, the McGuinty government is focused on attracting highly skilled workers and their families, supporting diverse communities and growing a globally connected economy.
“This is a bold new direction for immigration in Ontario. It sets a path so we can attract the highly skilled immigrants and investors that we need to fuel economic growth and help build stronger communities,” said Charles Sousa, minister of citizenship and immigration.
The federal government makes key decisions about immigration that impact Ontario. Federal decisions over the last 10 years have reduced the proportion of economic immigrants coming to Ontario to 52 per cent, while the average for other provinces is 70 per cent.
Without continued immigration, Ontario’s working age population will begin to decline by 2014. Newcomers make up 30 per cent of Ontario’s labour force.
“We need the federal government to provide Ontario with an expanded role in economic immigrant selection.
It needs to increase the proportion of economic immigrants coming to Ontario to 70 per cent and it needs to increase our nominations under the Provincial Nominee Program to 5,000 from 1,000 - to help build a skilled labour force,” said the ministry of citizenship and immigration in a communique.