On April 19, Canada released Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience, (Canada Budget 2021) which includes investment of some $430M to take the Canadian immigration system digital, and plans to streamline the Express Entry immigration process. The budget also includes additional spending of $110M to help temporary foreign workers and $15M to help new immigrant women.
The budget is the Government of Canada’s plan to finish the fight against the pandemic and ensure a robust economic recovery that brings all Canadians along.
Budget 2021 includes $101.4 billion over three years in proposed investments as part of the Government of Canada’s growth plan that will create good jobs and support a resilient and inclusive recovery.
Budget 2021 is an historic investment to address the specific wounds of the COVID-19 recession, put people first, create jobs, grow the middle class, set businesses on a track for long-term growth, and ensure that Canada’s future will be healthier, more equitable, greener, and more prosperous.Department of Finance
The budget provides an overview of the state of the Canadian economy with particular emphasis on the ravaging effect of the pandemic on labor and productivity. It lays out the government’s policy priorities to revamp the economy, and the government’s spending and revenue projections.
Canada Budget 2021 – Implications for Immigration
Canada Budget 2021 has significant implications for immigrants who are already in Canada, as well as the systems and processes relied upon by foreigners applying to immigrate to Canada.
Diversity is our strength, including as a source of our economic strength. Net immigration contributed to half of Canada’s average GDP growth from 2016 to 2019, and nearly three quarters of its growth in 2019.
As our workforce ages, immigration ensures the Canadian economy continues to grow, that we attract more top talent and investment capital, and that we continue to create good jobs. Welcoming immigrants is an important part of Canada’s recovery.
A well-functioning immigration plan also enriches our communities, reunites families, and provides protection to asylum seekers and refugees.Budget 2021
Immigrants in Canada
Immigrants in Canada will benefit directly from key measures included in Canada Budget 2021. For example, the budget proposes new investments totalling almost $30 billion over the next five years for a Canada-wide early learning and child care system, and $8.3 billion ongoing to support this vision. has significant implications for Canadian immigration.
Immigrant entrepreneurs will benefit from small and medium-sized businesses transformative programs, such as new Canada Digital Adoption Program that will assist over 160,000 businesses with the cost of new technology. And it will provide them with the advice they need to get the most of new technology with the help of 28,000 young Canadians who will be trained to work with them.
Canada Budget 2021 will allow Canadian small businesses to fully expense up to $1.5 million in capital investments in a broad range of assets, including digital technology and intellectual property. This represents an additional $2.2 billion investment in the growth of Canada’s entrepreneurs over the next five years which will benefit immigrant entrepreneurs.
The budget also includes measures to support women, Black Canadians, and other underrepresented entrepreneurs who face barriers to launching and owning businesses through $300 million to enhance initiatives like the Black Entrepreneurship Program and the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.
Other measures that benefit immigrants include:
- Helping to build, repair, and support 35,000 affordable housing units for vulnerable Canadians through an investment of $2.5 billion and a reallocation of $1.3 billion in existing funding
- Establishing a $15 federal minimum wage
- Enriching the Canada Workers Benefit, which will support about 1 million more Canadians and lift nearly 100,000 people out of poverty. This will result in additional support of $8.9 billion over six years for Canada’s low-wage workers
- Investing $17.6 billion in a green recovery that will help Canada to reach its target to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s lands and oceans by 2025, exceed its Paris climate targets and reduce emissions by 36 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and move forward on a path to reach net-zero emission by 2050
Canada’s Immigration Systems and Infrastructure
Canada has committed to a new plan to increase immigration to 401,000 newcomers in 2021 and up to 1.2 million by 2023. Canada believes that immigration will spur economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis.
Restarting Canada’s immigration system and generating labour market market momentum for new Canadians will restore this key driver of working-age population growth.Budget 2021
The budget proposes a $428.9 million investment for the federal government to modernize its information technology (IT) infrastructure. IRCC’s Global Case Management System (GCMS), which is used to manage immigration applications, will be replaced. This will allow IRCC to respond faster, more efficiently and with better security to higher levels of immigration applications expected under Canada’s 3-year immigration level plans.
The digital infrastructure that supports Canada’s immigration system must be responsive and sustainable to ensure public confidence and support growing visitor, immigration, and refugee levels. A secure, stable, and flexible enterprise-wide digital platform that protects people’s information will improve application processing and help Canada remain a destination of choice.Budget 2021
Canada Budget 2021 also proposes to significantly enhance the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The budget notes that “the pandemic has highlighted the critical role that these workers—the vast majority of whom are racialized and precariously employed—play in Canada’s economy, particularly at the farms that feed Canada and the world.”
To build on recent actions taken in 2020 to support temporary foreign workers affected by COVID-19, the Government of Canada will continue to protect our most vulnerable and isolated workers, ensuring their health, safety, and quality of life are protected while working in Canada. To this end, Budget 2021 proposes to provide:
- $49.5 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Employment and Social Development Canada, to support community-based organizations in the provision of migrant worker-centric programs and services, such as on-arrival orientation services and assistance in emergency and at-risk situations, through the new Migrant Worker Support Program
- $54.9 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Employment and Social Development Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), to increase inspections of employers and ensure temporary foreign workers have appropriate working conditions and wages
- $6.3 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), to support faster processing and improved service delivery of open work permits for vulnerable workers, which helps migrant workers in situations of abuse find a new job.
Canada Budget 2021 will streamline the Express Entry immigration system to facilitate its 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan. Express Entry is the main way that Canada selects economic class immigrants. It accounts for about 30% of all the immigrants coming into Canada each year.
Canada’s Express Entry system has been in place since 2015. It has a track record of bringing in highly skilled immigrants who succeed in Canada’s economy and society.
These newcomers fill needs in our economy that are critical for our growth and create shared prosperity for all. Streamlining Canada’s Express Entry system will allow the government to ensure our immigration system responds to Canada’s growing economic and labour force needs and help Canada reach its 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan.Budget 2021
The budget calls for amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to provide the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada with certain powers to reform the Express Entry System. These will include authority to use Ministerial Instructions to help select those candidates who best meet Canada’s labour market needs from among the growing pool of candidates who wish to become permanent residents through the Express Entry system.
The budget recognizes that many newcomer women face multiple barriers to employment, including language, lack of Canadian experience, and in some cases gender- and race-based discrimination. It proposes to provide $15 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to IRCC to extend the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot initiative, which will continue to improve their employment outcomes and career advancement.
Budget 2021 also applauds the new immigration programs launched by IRCC in early April to provide accelerated permanent residence pathways to some 90,000 essential workers and international graduates in 2021.