Dr. ERIC HOSKINS
Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
The provincial government is stepping in to help Ontario newcomers hurt by recent federal cuts to services that help new Canadians integrate, train, work or start their own business creating new jobs and contributing to the economy.
Recently, the federal government decided to cut $44 million in funding to Ontario community agencies – leaving agencies to face layoffs, program cuts or closure. The province will provide one-time funding to assist community partner organizations hardest hit by the federal cuts. This support will ensure that thousands of newcomers can continue to access settlement services and better integrate, while agencies develop alternative, long-term plans.
Cutting support to help people get settled, find work and contribute to the economy couldn’t have come at a worse time. Ontario is stepping in where the federal government has failed yet again. The federal government should be working with us to support new Canadians, to help find work or start their own business and create more new jobs that help our economy grow stronger.
Ontario is currently in negotiations with the federal government to improve our immigration system. Through a new agreement, we want to ensure that these kinds of cuts won’t happen again. We are pushing for the same treatment already given to Manitoba, Quebec and British Columbia.
In the negotiations, we are also looking at how immigrants are selected to settle in Ontario. We are asking the federal government to give Ontario a stronger voice in this process.
For example, you may have heard that the Federal Government is planning a significant reduction in the number of parents and grandparents it will admit through its family reunification programs. Next year, the number of visas given to parents and grandparents will be reduced by about 20 per cent. It means that parents and grandparents will have to wait up to 13 years to join their families in Canada.
Because immigration is a shared responsibility, Ontario is also seeking a greater role in providing services to our newcomers.
With more responsibility for providing services, Ontario can provide its newcomers the unique tools they need to succeed. We can eliminate duplication in services. For example, did you know that Ontario and the Federal Government both provide language training services? Ontario serves 120,000 newcomers every year in our language training programs and we are able to provide these resources more effectively and at a lower cost. We owe it to Ontarians to eliminate duplication and overlap in our programs, and make every dollar count.
These are just some of the ways Ontario is confident that we can improve our immigration system.