Priorities for Canada’s New Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

On December 16, 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued Mandate Letters to each of Parliament’s Cabinet Ministers, outlining the Ministers’ priorities for their term in office.

The Mandate Letters give the public an idea of the matters our government will be prioritizing over the next 4 years. Most notably in the immigration context, the Prime Minister has tasked Minister Fraser with the following priorities (our comments below the priorities):

Reduce application processing times, including to address delays that have been impacted by COVID-19

IRCC will need to resume processing applications that were submitted early in the pandemic and applications from applicants who are not physically present in Canada

Work to strengthen family reunification by introducing electronic applications for family reunification and implementing a program to issue temporary resident status to spouses and children abroad while they wait for the processing of their permanent residency application

implementation of electronic application system has already began

this suggests that IRCC will issue work and study permits to spouses and children of Out-of-Canada family class applicants to enable reunification prior to the PR application being approved, as is the case for in-Canada applicants. This is essential, considering the prolonged processing times that have been caused by the pandemic

establish a Trusted Employer system for Canadian companies hiring temporary foreign workers in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

this will be key to enabling employers in Canada to access the labour resources needed to recover from the pandemic and address the unavoidable labour shortages that will continue to grow as Canada’s aging population retires and exits the labour market.

Expand pathways to Permanent Residence for international students and temporary foreign workers through the Express Entry system.

international students and foreign workers in Canada are already making significant social, cultural and economic contributions to Canada. Ensuring there are clear pathways to PR for these individuals to remain in Canada and continue to shape our communities and economy are essential to keeping Canada competitive on a global scale

The full Mandate Letter can be read here: