Western Canadian provinces and territories have plans to collectively urge the federal government to lift the cap on immigration through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), according to Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger’s interview with Bloomberg. The purpose of loosening up control on the number of provincial nominees is to fill in the skilled labour shortages in Western Canada.
“Ottawa has imposed a cap of 5,000 applicants [for the PNP] per year. We have no problem reaching that 5,000 applicant number,” said Christine Melnick, immigration minister for Manitoba. “We would really like to see Ottawa give us more ability to bring more people in regardless of family size.”
Manitoba aims to bring in a minimum of 75,000 skilled workers in the coming seven years to counter the effects of a shrinking labour force that have been felt throughout the province. A preliminary report released by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in February this year indicates that Manitoba has received 2,572 less immigrants in 2012 than in 2011.
“We’ve seen some changes that have potentially put a crimp in our ability to grow our economies and have people living in our communities,” said Premier Selinger.
To address the alleged labour demand, leaders from Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut plan to draft and submit a policy statement to the federal government to advocate for lifting the immigration cap.
Due to the recent controversy over the abuses of Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) in Ottawa, Premier Selinger also promises to help unemployed domestic workers upgrade their skills by accessing federal training programs.
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