How Canada intends to set new records with its refugee goals
The immigration minister of Canada submits a yearly report to Parliament in November that includes immigration goals for the following three years. Their immigration targets have made news this year because they aim to accept 500,000 permanent immigrants annually by 2025.
While the majority of news stories highlighted the notable increase in economic immigration, the refugee targets are unprecedented.If all goes according to plan, Canada will resettle more migrants in 2023 than at any time before to 1979. The objective for the upcoming year is to resettle over 50,000 refugees.
This is higher than the amount of Syrian refugees that Canada accepted in 2016, when the Liberal government introduced an expansive and lauded program for them.
It exceeds what Canada agreed to in 1991 after the Cold War ended.
And it’s not just the refugees who arrived in Canada in 1979 or 1980 during the Indochinese refugee crisis that earned the Canadian people the Nansen Award from the UNHCR for outstanding dedication to the cause of refugees.Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s restrictions, Canada has ranked first in the world for the previous three years in terms of resettlement of refugees. Sean Fraser, the minister of immigration, has set some ambitious goals, but they will necessitate a major expansion of state power.
The 2023 goals will represent a 150% increase from the 20,000 refugees that were resettled in Canada in 2021.
Yet establishing a policy aim is simpler than carrying it out. The administration has already had trouble meeting its resettlement objectives due to lengthy processing timeframes. And it will take comparable expenditures in staff and more effective procedures to achieve these lofty goals.In our book Strangers to Neighbours: Refugee Sponsorship in Context, we examined Canada’s refugee sponsorship program and what lessons it might have for other countries.
Many refugee advocates point to the principle of what’s known as “additionality” as an important part of the program: they argue that private sponsorship should complement, not replace, government commitments to refugees.
While the government-assisted stream of refugees will remain historically high for the next three years, that commitment is projected to decline by more than 30 per cent between 2023 and 2025. Meanwhile, private sponsorship will continue to rise.