Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino delivered a keynote address on May 12 called “Modernizing Canada’s Immigration System.”
Mendicino gave the speech at a virtual event hosted by the Canadian Club of Ottawa. Since 1903, the Canadian Club has hosted prominent speakers to discuss the country’s most important issues.
Immigration has been a critical issue well before Canada’s founding in 1867 and is emerging as an even more important one during and after the pandemic.
In late-October, Mendicino tabled Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023. The plan calls for the highest levels of immigration in Canada’s history to support the country’s post-coronavirus economic recovery. Canada is now aiming to welcome at least 401,000 immigrants per year, and early statistics show it is on pace to achieve this target in 2021.
Under his watch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been pursuing an ambitious agenda throughout the pandemic, even despite travel restrictions.
Mendicino began his speech by noting that despite COVID-19 challenges, IRCC has kept immigration corridors open to allow essential travelers to enter the country safely. Moreover, Canada continues to provide humanitarian assistance, and is currently the world’s number one destination for resettled refugees.
Looking ahead, Canada needs to end paper-based applications, said Mendicino. Canada is heading towards a modern immigration system.
Currently, Canada’s immigration system is bogged down by paper and is outdated.
All applicants will eventually be able to make their submissions online and track IRCC’s progress. For instance international students will only need to complete one single online application. New Canadian citizens will be able to take their oaths online. The minister said that some 50,000 new Canadians have participated in about 9,000 virtual citizenship ceremonies over the past year.
Mendicino stressed the importance of moving away from the aging Global Case Management System (GCMS).
Last month, the Canadian government proposed a nearly $430 million investment to modernize its information technology infrastructure.
The investment will allow IRCC to process applications much more quickly. The state-of-the-art platform will be the cornerstone of Canada’s modernized immigration system. Mendicino said a major goal of the new platform is to inspire the confidence of Canada’s immigration applicants.
A central part of Canada’s current immigration strategy is to transition those already in the country to permanent residence. This encourages them to settle in Canada and make long-term contributions to Canada’s prosperity.
Mendicino hopes that Canadians will look back at these efforts and appreciate the major contributions essential workers and newcomers in general have made to help the country combat COVID-19.
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