Ontario Wants More Control Over Immigration Selection

The Toronto Star reports that Ontario Premier Doug Ford is looking to get into  fresh discussions with the federal government to implement immigration rules similar to Quebec’s so Ontario can address its labour shortages at war footing. 

Ontario’s immigration minister, Monte McNaughton shared his concern over labor shortage in the province in an interview.  He said that hundreds of thousands of jobs are going unfilled in Ontario and this is having a huge impact on the province’s  economy.  

The Ontario government now believes that gaining more control over its provincial immigration program, like Quebec, will help bring more skilled, economic immigrants into Ontario at a much faster pace helping the province’s economy to recover quickly.

McNaughton says, “That’s why we’re setting out to renegotiate the Ontario-Canada immigration agreement that expires this fall to give Ontario more of a say in the number of immigrants and the kind of immigrants that we want to build a stronger economy.”

The province has already tried to double the number of nominations under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program from 9,000 but they have recently received an allocation of just 9700.

Ontario’s labour shortage

With the unemployment rate to a record low to 5.1%, Ontario is currently struggling with huge labour shortages costing a lot of money to the province. The latest Statistics Canada data shows that the province has over 340,000 job vacancies.

Provincial Nominee Program

Each province and territory, except Quebec and Nunavut, runs a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) under which they nominate Canada PR aspirants that they feel would be the best fit for the province’s economy. Having a provincial nomination adds 600 points to your overall profile thereby strengthening your chance of getting permanent resident status.

Please note that even after getting a nomination, the sole power lies with the federal government whether to send you an ITA for permanent residency or not. 

Read Our Comprehensive Guide On Provincial Nominee Programs

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

One of Canada’s most populous provinces, Ontario welcomes the most number of immigrants and is one of the most preferred choices of immigrants.

In 2021 nearly 50% of all immigrants to Canada chose to settle in Ontario. Under the Immigration Levels Plan for 2022, PNPs have been allocated 83,500 spots that include principal applicants and their spouses and dependents. 

Ontario has the highest PNP allocation at 9,700 but the province does not believe it is adequate to alleviate stress on the economy caused by a shortage of skilled workers.

McNaughton says, “To be blunt, this increase isn’t going to move the meter. We have single companies in Ontario who are short 700 workers.”

Read Our Comprehensive Guide On The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

The impact of  increasing Ontario’s allocation on the rest of Canada?

A significantly higher PNP allocation for Ontario could undermine the federal government’s efforts to promote a broader distribution of immigration across Canada.

One of the main goals of the PNP is to help smaller provinces and territories attract more immigrants.  Given that Ontario already welcomes nearly half of Canada’s immigrants, providing the province more immigration autonomy will help the province’s labor shortages but will hurt other provinces and territories’s prospects to grow and become stronger economies.

That being said, there are many reasons Ontario is a popular destination for immigrants to start and build their lives. 

Read our comprehensive guide on Ontario Immigration Nominee program and make your  Canada dream come true with KEEL. 

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