March 5, 2020
Marco Mendicino laid out his vision for Canada’s immigration system in Toronto.
It was his first major policy speech since his November 2019 appointment as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Mendicino was appointed after the Liberal Party of Canada was re-elected to a second mandate in October and he is currently pursuing an immigration plan laid out in his mandate letter.
“Vision” speeches are a long-standing tradition among Canada’s immigration ministers. They outline the government’s aspirational goals and what policies and programs the government will pursue to achieve the goals.
Mendicino’s speech was no different.
Mendicino opened his speech by stating that Canada’s future depends on immigration. As such, it is critical to have a dialogue on how many people Canada needs to secure its economic prosperity.
This dialogue, Mendicino said, is necessary due to Canada’s demographic realities. As an aging country with a low birth rate, Canadians are living longer and not having enough children to maintain the size of its population.
This places greater pressure on Canada’s economy and fiscal standing. This is due to fewer workers being relied upon to fund rising government expenses, such as health care, which will become more expensive to deliver as the share of elderly Canadians continues to rise.
Mendicino said a major part of the solution is to welcome immigrants. Today, some 80 percent of Canada’s population growth will come from immigration, and estimates suggest this will reach 100 percent by the 2030s.
This is why Canada will welcome over one million immigrants over the next three years, said Mendicino, as he noted that he will formally table Canada’s 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan in March.