Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced the Canadian government’s Economic and Fiscal Update in Parliament on the evening of December 14.
This is the first revision of the government’s economic forecast since the 2021 Federal Budget was released in April.
The statement shows where the government is planning to spend its fiscal budget. For example, last year's fiscal update called for increased spending on child benefits, and in the spring the government promised to implement $10-dollar-a-day childcare.
Fiscal updates and the Budget frequently contain action items that most often affect newcomers directly or indirectly. Government policies on a variety of issues including job creation, health care, education, infrastructure, child care, and more impact all those who live in Canada, including immigrants. Sometimes the action items are tailored to immigration, as was the case in Budget 2021.
“Immigration is another important driver of economic growth and a Canadian competitive advantage. Our government is committed to bringing in 411,000 immigrants in 2022, the highest number in Canadian history. To help support this effort and reduce processing time for permanent and temporary resident and citizenship applications, we are investing $85 million in our immigration system.” Freeland told reporters in a news conference
This announcement emphasizes that the Canadian government is committed in achieving the ambitious targets set under the Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023. Additionally, Freeland suggested the need to reduce immigration application processing times. Application backlogs have grown during the pandemic.
At the beginning of the year, Budget 2021 contained five significant pledges on immigration, some of which have already come to pass such as the funding for the Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (TR to PR) pathway.
Budget 2021 also called for the replacement of the outdated Global Case Management System (GCMS), which processes citizenship and immigration applications.
It also proposed the government is looking to reform Express Entry, giving the immigration minister more authority to select candidates based on labour market needs, although further details are not yet available.
Furthermore, Budget 2021 announced more spending on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The additional funds would increase employer compliance inspections to prevent worker mistreatment, and support vulnerable foreign workers by allowing them to get open work permits if they were abused by their Canadian employers.
Finally, Budget 2021 proposed additional spending on initiatives to improve the employment outcomes of racialized newcomer women.