Mandate letters are submitted to the cabinet by Prime Ministers, historically speaking. Priorities remain the same as the Liberal government continues to designate immigration as a priority.
New immigration system priorities unveiled by Trudeau government
Some priorities stay the same as the Liberal government continues to prioritize immigration
The new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Sean Fraser, has just received his mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Historically, mandate letters are submitted to the cabinet by Prime Ministers as a way of outlining priorities and expectations from their Ministers while the current party is in power.
These letters help Ministers figure out what they need to focus on and what their agenda is.
For Canada’s immigration system, the mandate letter is an extremely important policy document and will play a significant role in shaping federal and provincial immigration policies.
Who is Sean Fraser?
Soon after the federal election of September 2021, a new cabinet was unveiled by Trudeau in October.
A trained lawyer from Nova Scotia, the Honorable Sean Fraser replaced Minister Marco Mendicino during the cabinet shuffle as the new immigration Minister.
Minister Mendicino is now the Minister of Public Safety.
Mandate Letter: Overview
Trudeau’s letter to the Honorable Sean Fraser can be read in full here but here’s a brief overview of the Liberal Party’s immigration priorities:
- Processing time: One of the things Trudeau wants Fraser to focus on is reducing the application processing time. There is a severe backlog of applications and the pandemic hasn’t helped the situation. Getting through this backlog is of upmost priority.
- Express Entry: Trudeau would like to create more pathways via Express Entry which will allow more International Students and Temporary Foreign Workers to become permanent residents.
- Family reunification: Establish electronic applications for family reunification and create a program that will allow spouses and children with temporary residence as they wait for their permanent residency applications to be processed.
- Municipal Nominee Program: Trudeau would like to establish the MNP in order to encourage and promote a broader distribution of immigration throughout Canada. This was previously flagged as a priority in 2019 but the pandemic disrupted the plans.
- Waiving of Citizenship application fees: Another priority identified in 2019 but never delivered was waiving the application fees for Canadian citizenship.
- Establish a Trusted Employer system: The Minister has been asked to work with the Employment Minister in order to establish a Trusted Employer system. This will help Canadian employers hire temporary foreign workers. Fraser has also been asked to make improvements to the Global Talent Stream by simplifying work permit renewals and other tweaks.
- Undocumented workers: Trudeau has expressed a desire to build on pilot programs that are already in place and identify how they can be used to regularize status for workers who are undocumented in Canada.
- Francophone immigrants: As a bilingual country, Trudeau is placing an increased emphasis on welcoming French immigrants. The federal government is working closely with Quebec to support newcomers’ French language skills and promote a national Francophone immigration strategy.
- Refugees from Afghanistan: Canada has committed to resettled 40,000 Afghan refugees. Fraser will need to fulfill that goal.
Immigration has increased since 2015
The Liberal Party first came into power in 2015, they are now on their third term. Over the last six years, they have continued to prioritize immigration and have set increasingly aggressive goals for themselves.
Immigration goal has shot up from 300,000 per year to over 400,000 with Trudeau previously pledging to welcome over 1.2 million newcomers into the country by 2023.
The coming year promises to be a big one for immigration and the coming months will see the priorities revealed in greater detail.