Evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program
4.1. Program relevance
4.1.1. Continuing need for the program
Finding #1: All stakeholder groups consulted for the evaluation reported a continuing need for the program.
The majority of respondents in all interview categories (including CIC, PT, stakeholder and employer representatives) stated that there is a continuing need for the PNP. Specifically, interviewees from all PTs strongly felt that there is a continuing need for the PNP. Reasons given by interviewees in many PTs included: the need to respond to unique labour market needs for their jurisdiction; other programs not addressing PT needs; and the view that PTs should have control over the selection of immigrants.
All CIC interviewees at NHQ and in the regions agreed that there is a continuing need for the program. Two key reasons cited were that the PNP responds to the need for regionalization (including the concept of sharing the benefits of immigration) and that it fills a gap related to addressing local employment needs (especially for low and semi-skilled workers, specifically).
For their part, of the 66 employers interviewed, 87% (n=58) want to see the PNP continue. In the absence of this program, nearly one quarter of employers (27%, n=18) indicated that their business’s operations or service(s) would have suffered and another 15% (n=10) claim they would have gone out of business altogether. About one fifth of employer respondents (22%, n=15) said they would have had to rely more heavily on other immigration programs for workers (including temporary programs). Just over one quarter of employers discussed other negative impacts on their business in the absence of the program, including an unstable workforce due to turnover of their foreign workers (11%, n=7), slower/no growth in their business (9%, n=6), and greater out-of-pocket investment in recruitment activities (7%, n=5).
4.1.2. Alignment with federal priorities
Finding #2: PNP is consistent with the CIC strategic outcome related to the benefits of migration on Canada’s economic development and the broader Federal Government priority related to regional development.
Two of the primary objectives of PNP (To increase the economic benefits of immigration to PTs and To distribute the benefits of immigration across all PTs) are consistent with the CIC strategic outcome Migration of permanent and temporary residents that strengthens Canada’s economy within the departmental Program Activity Architecture (PAA)Footnote 40.
As well, as found in the CIC Annual Report to Parliament (2010) , making “immigration programs responsive to the unique economic, social and labour market needs of each province and territory” is a “shared goal” of both CIC and PTsFootnote 41, with PNP designed to be mechanism to accomplish this.
Most CIC interviewees felt the program was consistent with the CIC outcome of maximizing the benefits of immigration. All interviewees from all respondent groups felt that the program is consistent because it aims to respond to Canada’s specific and local economic needs in a more direct way than other programs.
In its most recent Speech from the Throne, the Government reinforced its commitment to enabling communities to meet their unique needs: “Local communities are best placed to overcome their unique challenges, but government can help create the conditions for these communities—and the industries that sustain them—to succeed.”Footnote 42, which aligns with the objectives of the PNP to increase the economic benefits of immigration to PTs and enhance FPT collaboration.
Additionally, PNP is linked to government priorities around economic development and prosperity, addressing skills/labour shortages and contributing to diversity in general. Finance Canada highlighted PNP as an important program by which immigration could be linked with labour market needs suggesting that, “greater use of the PNP could help address local shortages.”Footnote 43 As well, other federal documents illustrated the necessity to engage PTs on the best ways to “broaden the regional distribution of immigrants”, a PNP objective.Footnote 44 Thus, PNP is consistent with not only CIC priorities, but also priorities of the Federal Government more broadly.
4.1.3. Appropriateness of the Federal Government Roles and Responsibilities
Finding #3: The federal government has a role in both the policy and operational aspects of the PNP. This role is felt to be appropriate by key informants.
Key informants expressed the view that the federal role is different in the context of the PNP than it is for other federal immigration programs in that the responsibilities for the PNP are shared between two levels of jurisdiction. They reported that CIC not only has a role in the policy realm and in providing directions for the program nationally, but also has an operational role related to admissibility screening of applicants and final selection of PNs.
Most interviewees from all respondent groups stated that the federal role in PNP, as they understood it, is appropriate. This was also supported by findings from the document review. Some CIC interviewees also suggested that there is room for an expanded federal government role in terms of responsibility for program and policy direction. A few regional and local office CIC interviewees acknowledged the federal role as appropriate, noting that for such a program, CIC needs to have a balanced national view, while respecting PT interests given that this is a shared jurisdiction.
4.1.4. Relationship with other programs: Potential complementarity, overlap and alternatives
Finding #4: While the PT PNP streams share similar themes and objectives with several federal economic immigration programs, there are additional elements that allow the PNP to meet PT-specific needs linked to economic development and population growth for example.
Finding #5: Respondents were not able to identify alternatives to the PNP that would meet the needs of PTs and employers to the same degree.
Finding #6: From 2005-2009, a large proportion of landed PNs (principal applicants) had previously been in Canada as temporary foreign workers. While the PTs’ use of the TFWP in conjunction with PN programs offers benefits to the applicants and employers, it raises the question of conflicting program objectives.
188.8.131.52. Other federal economic immigration programs
A natural comparison for the PNP is with four other federal immigration programs that offer permanent residence: FSW; business immigration programs; CEC; and Federal Family Class, as they most closely align with the various PT PNP streams. Each of these programs is similar to PNP to some degree (especially with regard to certain PT streams).
While some objectives of these federal economic programs are very similar to those of PNP, they do not necessarily overlap, as the applicants they are meant to attract differ. The evaluation sought to explore the concept of overlap with a closer examination of criteria and program streams. The following section provides a description of the federal economic immigration and family class programs in order to illustrate the degree to which they share themes with PNP. The descriptions highlight the nuances within the programs that help assess the extent to which there is overlap between the PNP and other federal programs. A comparison of the requirements for the federal programs and the parallel PN streams is provided in the PT appendices, under separate cover.
Federal Skilled Worker Program
The objective of the FSW program is to bring in foreign nationals who are skilled workers and professionals to Canada. This program focuses on the human capital model and is similar to the “employable skills” models adopted by some PTs in their PN programs, often a skilled worker stream. Most skilled worker streams under the various PN programs require applicants to have a permanent, full-time job offer, which is similar to the Arranged Employment Offer (AEO) criterion of FSWFootnote 45.
Although the FSW is based on a human capital model, in February 2008, CIC introduced Ministerial Instructions (MI), which identified a list of targeted occupations as an eligibility requirement for processing. After the introduction of the first set of MI, some PTs indicated that the FSW Program was no longer meeting their needs for specific occupations.
Four PTs have developed “Strategic Recruitment” streams as part of their PN programs in order to address specific labour market needs and/or to target specific occupations in the PT, such as engineers in Alberta. In many cases, the occupations targeted by these Strategic Recruitment streams overlap with occupations included in the MI (e.g., health professionals, engineers); however, PT representatives indicated that the FSW alone does not meet their PT’s labour market needs for these occupations and FSWs may not necessarily choose to settle in the PTs where occupational needs were identified. These Strategic Recruitment streams may appear to overlap with TFW, given that nominees are brought in to target a specific occupation; however, where TFW is intended to focus on short term needs, strategic recruitment is intended to address long terms needs and offers permanent residence.
Business immigration programs
There are a number of federal business programs and several have criteria that overlap with those of the PNP. The federal Entrepreneur program is very similar to several PNP business streams, in that both the federal and the PT programs seek to attract experienced business people who will own and actively manage a business in Canada. They seek different types of business people, as the federal Entrepreneur program requires a higher level of investment ($800,000) than most similar PT programs where there is a range of minimum investment amounts from $65,000 in New Brunswick to $3 million in Ontario; $150K is the minimum investment amount in three PTs.
The Immigrant Investor program is different in that it is a passive investment in a business by a foreign national. Since the changes to the IRP Regulations, passive investment programs are not allowed under the PNP. Those PTs that had PN streams that were deemed to be passive investments were discontinued by September 2008.
Canadian experience class
The federal CEC, introduced in 2008, has some overlap with PN streams. The CEC was developed to build
a more responsive and attractive immigration system and [facilitate] the transition from temporary to permanent residence for certain TFWs and International Students who have demonstrated their ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market.Footnote 46
Program criteria include having skilled Canadian work experience (at NOC Code skill levels 0, A or B for two years for TFWs and for one year for international student graduates), proficiency in English or French (measured according to the Canadian Language Benchmarks) and Canadian post-secondary education (for international students).
The potential overlap between the CEC and some PN streams lies most notably with the international student graduate streams and the use of TFW in combination with some skilled and semi-skilled worker streams. Eight PTs have international student graduate PN streams to attract students who have studied in their PT to remain. Some PTs require the graduate to have a minimum amount of work experience in Canada in his/her field and/or to have a permanent, full-time job offer. The criteria for these PN streams are very similar to those of the CEC except for the language testing requirements. The language testing requirements under the international graduate PN streams are not as formal as they are under CEC or the FSWP.
Nine PTs have PN streams that require applicants to have a specified minimum amount of work experience in that PT (usually six months) under a temporary work permit before being eligible for PNP. As will be discussed in Section 184.108.40.206, this is designed to strengthen the match between the worker and the PT and encourage settlement in that PT, which is very similar to the CEC program.
The objective of the Family Class is to facilitate the reunion in Canada of Canadian citizens and permanent residents with their close relatives and family members.Footnote 47 This differs from the objective of PT PN family connection streams, as all of the PN streams are related to the objective of economic benefits from immigration. However, there is an intention to build on the notion that having family connections in the PT would also mean that PNs would be more likely to stay in the nomination province or territory while demonstrating the ability to establish economically.
The federal Family Class is open to limited family members (spouse/common-law partner, dependent children, parent and grandparent). The Family Connection stream offered in six PTs is similar to the federal program because Canadian citizens or permanent residents may sponsor an eligible family member for permanent residence in the PT. However, all PTs have tied their PNP family streams to the labour market: in three PTs, there is a requirement that the nominated family member have a permanent, full-time job offer. In all other PTs, the family member is required to meet criteria that are related to employability.
Another difference from the family class program is that some PT streams open the definition of an “eligible family member” to a wider group than that offered through the federal program, including, for example, sisters/brothers, step-brothers/sisters, nieces/nephews, step-daughters/sons, uncles/aunts, sisters/ brothers-in-law and first cousins. As such, the target group for the PN family streams is broader than that for the federal Family Class.
Comparison of programs
While there are similarities in objectives and criteria across the federal and PN programs, there are several ways in which the PN streams differ from the federal programs:
- Language requirements: Two of the major federal economic programs give a lot of weight to language ability in the official languages. Language is one of the main factors of the FSWP selection grid, where an applicant can obtain up to 24 points out of a possible 100 for language abilities in French and English. The CEC has minimum language requirements for applicants (which vary according to the job classification). Applicants to both programs have to submit official test results to prove their language proficiency. On the other hand, there is no consistent minimum standard across PTs and streams.
- Link to a particular PT: None of the federal programs include a requirement that the applicant have the intention to settle in any given province while all PN streams have this requirement. Though many CIC interviewees suggested that those applying under the CEC are likely to remain in their current province of residence, the lack of attachment to a specific employer/job may contribute to their likely inter-provincial mobility.
- Flexibility regarding eligible occupations: While introduced in February 2008 and only overlapping two years of this evaluation, the Ministerial Instructions did not include several occupations that PTs have identified as critical. Thus, some needs identified by PTs have not been met through the federal economic immigration programs, especially since Ministerial Instructions were introduced.
- Permanent residency for semi-skilled workers: There are no federal programs that allow for the entry of semi-skilled workers as permanent residents.
- Broader definition of family members, but requiring employment/employability: The family connection streams allow for a broader range of family members to apply as PNs than the federal Family Class. All family connection PN programs have criteria that require the family members to be able to establish economically, something that is not found in the federal class.
According to representatives in a few PTs, some of them encourage applicants who qualify for a federal program to apply under that program, particularly if there is evidence that the applicant will settle in the PT. However, this is not the case in all PTs.
220.127.116.11. Temporary foreign worker program
A number of PTs use the TFW program and other temporary resident programs in combination with their PN programs. However, the extent to which they do varies by year and by PT of nomination. From 2005 to 2009, the period covered by this evaluation, the share of PNP PA landings that were individuals who had been in Canada on a work permit within four years prior to landing has ranged from a low of 31% in 2005, increasing gradually to a high of 54% in 2009Footnote 48. Throughout this period, over 50% of PAs nominated to British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador were already in Canada on a work permit as a TFW (up to four years prior to landing). In other PTs, the rate is generally considerably lower – e.g. PEI (10% or lower across all years) and Manitoba (generally below 30%).
The interviews with PTs and CIC NHQ and regional and the document review suggest that there are several advantages of using temporary visas in conjunction with the PN programs:
- It provides an opportunity for the PN and employer to see if there is a ‘good fit’ with the employer and the position, and whether the PN is interested in and/or likely to stay in the PT. PNs are often required to have been working for an employer in the PT for six to nine months prior to making a PNP application. In some PTs, this requirement is waived if the PN has a permanent job offer. The requirement to have worked as a TFW is expected to contribute to ensuring that the PN is likely to remain employed in the long-term and have the ability and intention to settle in the nominating PT;
- It provides an opportunity for the PN to become familiar with the community and/or establish a business. Three PTs require that PNs who want to apply to a PN business stream reside in that PT for two years prior to applying. This provides them with the opportunity to establish a residence in the PT, transfer the required investment funds to the PT and generally meet the requirements of performance agreements established with the PT. After the two years and successful completion of the requirements, the applicant is nominated as a PN.
- It is used as a mechanism to bring workers into the PT faster and, as a result, be able to meet employer needs in a more timely way.
In terms of disadvantages, a few CIC interviewees noted that as part of the requirement to get a temporary visa, the applicant must satisfy a CIC visa officer that he/she will leave Canada at the end of his/her stay. This requirement was raised in the interviews with IPMs and it appears that given the ability to consider “dual intent,” as outlined in the IRPA, IPMs did not see a conflict with the use of temporary visas in conjunction with PNP. In fact, in some cases, IPMs noted that considering two applications for the same immigrant at the same time, or closely together, facilitated the process.
However, TFWs becoming permanent residents through the PNP presents potentially conflicting program objectives, as TFW is designed to fulfill short-term labour market needs, whereas the PNP is a permanent resident program designed to address long-term needsFootnote 49.
Interviewees from PTs unanimously felt that there was no other federal program that would respond to their needs to the extent that PNP currently does. In discussing other federal immigration programs during interviews, none were considered to be true alternatives to PNP since these other programs were noted to have limitations. Interviewees in a few PTs mentioned that FSW does not bring in immigrants with the necessary skills for their labour markets (namely those in the trades and agriculture sectors). The FSW evaluation also found that “most provincial governments prefer the PNP, citing perceived advantages such as greater responsiveness to immediate labour needs and provincial priorities, the ability to attract workers who wish to settle in destinations other than major urban centres and shorter processing times”.Footnote 50 Regarding the TFWP as a possible alternative, interviewees from a few PTs mentioned that the program does not allow for sustainable growth because foreign workers under this program must leave when their temporary visa expires, requiring the employer to hire and train new workers.
When asked to describe what the impact would be on their PT in the absence of the program, interviewees from a few PTs cited specific potential impacts, including lower PT GDP and labour shortages, businesses shutting down and lower PT economic growth. Interviewees from a few PTs said that they would focus on training local workers. Of the three CIC NHQ interviewees who answered this question and most of the CIC regional interviewees, there was agreement that there are no other federal programs able to do what PNP does in terms of regionalization of immigration, meeting local/regional labour market needs and granting permanent resident status to semi-skilled workers. If the PNP no longer existed, these interviewees acknowledged that federal program criteria would have be adjusted to serve the same needs as those currently addressed by PNP (for example, assigning extra points if the immigrant wishes to settle outside of Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver).
PN survey respondents cited a number of reasons for applying to PNP rather than through another federal immigration category. The most common reason was they had been told PNP was faster than other programs (45%), followed by PNP was suggested to them by family and/or friends (36%). The third most common reason was that the application process seemed to be easier than for other programs (33%). Most of the 4% who said they had previously applied to another federal program applied under the FSW program. Of the 36% who said they were referred by a friend or family member, 56% of the referring individuals were themselves PNs.
The performance of the program against its four key objectives is addressed in this section. First, findings related to the objective of increasing the economic benefits of immigration to PTs are presented. Then, the objective related to distributing the benefits of immigration across all PTs is assessed. Next, the ways in which the program enhances Federal-Provincial/Territorial (FPT) collaboration is discussed. Finally, the evaluation addresses the extent to which the PNP encouraged development of official language minority community.
4.2.1. How the program is meeting PT needs
Finding#7: According to PT interviewees, PNP is addressing the PT needs related to local and regional labour market needs (including filling specific skill shortages), attracting investment, and contributing to population growth.
Finding #8: In terms of how PTs identify their need for PNs, only one PT has a formal labour market strategy that directly links labour market shortages to immigration and, ultimately, to their PN program. Others rely on consultations with stakeholders and more general labour market or planning documents. Therefore, this makes it hard to assess to what extent admitted PNs actually meet PT needs.
18.104.22.168. PT objectives/needs addressed by the programFootnote 51
Interviewees from most PTs indicated that labour market needs were being addressed by PNP, and seven noted skills shortages as a need being addressed by the program. Five PT interviewees mentioned attracting investment as a need addressed by the program. Table 4-1 provides further details on these and other findings. Of the ten PT interviewees who highlighted that the program addressed labour market needs, interviewees from five PTs indicated that their PN program also served to address the need for the PT to increase its population, either because the existing population is declining or not growing, or because it is aging.
Table 4-1: PT needs addressed by PNP
|Need cited by at least one interviewee||Total PTs|
|Labour market needs||10|
|Economy (as a whole)||4|
|Communities outside urban areas||3|
|Succession planning (small businesses, farms)||2|
Source: PT Interviewees
22.214.171.124. Degree to which PNs address labour market shortages
Labour shortages are not well documented in PTs. However, where PTs have conducted evaluations or reviews of their PN programs, results suggest that PNP is helping them to fill shortages in the labour market. As well, interviewees from most PTs indicated that the PNP does help them to address their identified labour market shortages.
In considering their overall experience with PNP, 66% of employers (n=44) said PNP has allowed for them to fully meet their identified labour market needs, while 15% of employers (n=10) said PNP has helped them to meet their identified labour market needs but they continue to experience labour shortages.
Employers reported that PNP helps to address labour market shortages in their workplace and in their sector. In fact, all employers interviewed (n=67) cited using PNP as a result of experiencing difficulties hiring locally and/or nationally. The following reasons were cited as contributing to the difficulty of hiring within their city, province and/or Canada:
- Workers lack the relevant skill set(s)/shortage of qualified workers in the sector;
- Local workers uninterested in the work;
- Size of the labour pool is small in small communities;
- Difficult to attract workers to a rural community; and
- Difficult to attract workers due to the low salaries that accompany the low cost of living.
When asked for suggestions on how the PNP could be more responsive to their needs, almost all employers cited concerns with the perceived lengthy timelines involved in securing permanent residence. The average acceptable timeline cited by employers, from the start of the PNP application process through to PR status, was thought to be one year.
126.96.36.199. PN needs identification
PTs use a number of different methods to identify their needs for PNs. Because many say they are operating with limited labour market information, many identify needs in dialogue with employers, industry associations and other stakeholders (e.g., regulatory bodies, regional development authorities, chambers of commerce). In fact, only one PT was able produce an evidence-based, formal labour market strategy that directly links general labour market shortages (in key sectors) to immigration and illustrates how the PN program can be used to respond to those shortages. Other PTs had labour market planning documents that did not specifically identify the extent of shortages or contain a sufficient level of detail regarding how the PT would address those shortages, but still specifically linked immigration to the PT’s labour market planning approach.
Of those PTs that did not have labour market planning documents, most have an Immigration Strategy or other immigration-related planning document that links immigration to the PT’s economic and/or population growth needs.
4.2.2. Economic outcomes for PNs
Finding #9: The vast majority of PNs have established economically, with employment incidence at almost 80% in the first year. They are working from the first year after landing and continue to do so afterwards. The large majority report employment or self-employment earnings each year and very few access employment insurance and/or social assistance benefits.
Finding #10: Their average annual employment earnings increase over time. The majority also have jobs at a skill level commensurate with, or higher than, the skill level of their intended occupation.
Finding #11: Economic establishment varies by province of nomination and residence:
- PNs nominated by the Atlantic provinces have lower incidence rates of employment earnings;
- PNs nominated by the Atlantic provinces and Manitoba have lower earnings than those nominated by other PTs; and
- Those in PEI, New Brunswick and Manitoba are less likely to have employment at the level of their intended occupation, compared to PNs nominated by other PTs.
Finding #12: Economic establishment varies also by PN stream, with the most successful, by incidence of employment, being skilled and semi-skilled workers and international graduate students.
Finding #13: PNs who came in under the business or family connection streams are less likely to establish economically. They are less likely to report employment earnings and have earnings below those of other PN streams. Just half of the PNs in the business stream established or took over an existing business after landing.
Finding #14: PNs who have been in Canada on a temporary permit before landing are more likely to establish economically. They are more likely to have a job offer prior to landing, have a job at a higher job classification and report a higher salary.
Finding #15: PNs establish economically earlier than immigrants in other federal economic programs (FSW, Entrepreneur, Self-Employed and Investors), reporting higher incidence of employment/self-employment earnings and higher earnings in the first year after landing. When compared to FSWs, PNs continue to maintain a slightly higher rate of reported employment/self-employment earnings over the years after landing. However, FSW earnings have surpassed those of PNs by the fifth year after landing.
A fundamental aspect of the PNP, being an economic immigration program, is the ability of nominees to become economically established in Canada. IRPA does not define “economic establishment” as it applies to the PNP, so for the purposes of this evaluation, this was measured by the following indicators:
- The extent to which PNs are working (as measured by the extent to which they report employment earnings and/or self-employment earnings, as well as the use of employment insurance (EI) and social assistance);
- Average earnings and employment history; and
- A job at a skill level commensurate with their intended occupation on landing.
The two primary sources for this information were IMDB data and the PN survey.
It is important to recall that PN program priorities vary by PT; for instance, some are more focussed on business or investor immigrants, or lower skilled occupations. This may be reflected in the particular PT PN economic outcomes (such as average employment earnings), and results should be considered in the appropriate context.
188.8.131.52. Economic outcomes
This section presents the economic outcomes for PNs, looking at three major indicators: extent to which PNs are working, their level of employment earnings and their occupation level.
Extent to which PNs are working
The primary indicator of whether a PN is working is the reporting of employment or self-employment earnings. The IMDB data shows that, after one year in CanadaFootnote 52, 90% or more of PNs have declared employment and/or self-employment earnings (see Figure 4-1). The incidence rate of declaring earnings, by cohort, is generally stable over time; for those cohorts where the incidence rate does change, the change is very slight (between 1% and 3%). Three years after landing, between 91% and 97% of PNs have declared employment and/or self-employment earnings. Five years after landing, between 93% and 96% of PNs have declared earnings.
Figure 4-1: Percentage of provincial nominees (PAs) declaring employment and/or self-employment earnings, by years since landing (2000-2008 cohorts)
The extent to which PNs are working varies by PTFootnote 53. Compared to the other provinces, PNs nominated in the Atlantic provinces have a lower incidence of reporting employment/self-employment earnings. In the first year after landing, between 52% and 76% reported such earnings depending on the province, compared to 94% - 98% in Manitoba, BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan (see Figure 4-2).Footnote 54 PNs nominated by New Brunswick have the highest incidence rate (76%) among the Atlantic provinces.
Figure 4-2: PNs (PAs) reporting employment/self-employment earnings, by province of nomination and years since landing
The incidence rate of declaring employment and/or self-employment earnings by province of residence, rather than by province of nomination, also varies by province (Figure 4-3). The comparison of these rates reflects the impact of secondary migration.
When shifting the focus to province of residence, results indicate that PNs residing in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are still more likely to report employment/self-employment earnings compared to those in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. However, the incidence rates are between five and ten percent higher for those PNs nominated by BC than they are for PNs residing in BC. This suggests that the BC is receiving PNs nominated by other PTs who may be taking longer to establish economically than those who remain in their PT of nomination.
On the other hand, in the Atlantic provinces, incidence rates are higher for PNs residing in these provinces than they are for PNs nominated by the Atlantic provinces. On average, 75% of PNs in the Atlantic provinces report earnings one year after landing and 89% reporting earnings five years after landing.Footnote 55 This suggests that those PNs nominated by the Atlantic provinces who have not found employment have left the nominating region to improve their economic outcomes.
Figure 4-3: PNs (PAs) reporting employment/self-employment earnings, by province of residence and years since landing
The PN survey reflects similar results to the IMDB data. When looking at salaried employment, survey results indicate that at the end of their first year in the country, 80% of the PNs are employed, this proportion increasing to 84% and 85% three and five years after arrival.Footnote 56
Employment insurance/social assistance
Another indicator of whether PNs are working is the extent to which they rely on employment insurance and/or social assistance benefits as a source of income. PNs make very low use of employment insurance benefits. Between 6 and 11% of PNs used these benefits in the first year after landing, depending on the cohort, compared to between 4 and 7% of FSWs.Footnote 57 This low use of EI may be explained, in part, by the fact that individuals must accumulate a minimum number of work hours in order to be eligible for EIFootnote 58. The use of EI increases over the first two to three years in Canada, after which it tends to slightly decrease. This indicates that PNs are working.
The incidence rate for the use of social assistance is negligible, too low to report.
This section looks at the level of employment earningsFootnote 59, which is a second key indicator of economic establishment.
IMDB data show that one year after landing in Canada, PN employment earnings range from $29,600 to $41,700, depending on the cohort (see Figure 4-4). Average employment earnings increase with the number of years spent in Canada: after three years, the average increases to between $35,200 and $45,100 (increase of about $5,000 to $7,000). Five years after landing the average is $39,300 to $44,000, which represents a further increase of $4,000 to $6,000 depending on the cohort, when compared to the average earnings at the three year mark.
Figure 4-4: Average PN (PA) employment earnings, by years since landing (2000-2008 cohorts)
IMDB results show that employment earnings vary considerably by PT of nomination. Earnings are lower in the Atlantic than in other provinces. The average employment earnings of PNs nominated in the Atlantic provinces and Manitoba are below $40,000 in the first year after landing – the lowest is PEI at $23,200 and the highest in the Atlantic is NB at $37,900 (See Figure 4-5). The average employment earnings are above $40,000 in the Prairie provinces and British Columbia for the same time period. Average employment earnings in most PTs rise the longer the PN is in Canada; however, the profile of earnings by PT changes slightly. Even though data is not available for all provinces three years after landings due to declining numbers of PNs to report onFootnote 60, PNs nominated by Alberta still have the highest employment earnings with an average of $93,300, followed by PNs nominated by BC at $80,300. The average earnings in the other provinces also continue to rise. After three years in Canada, PNs nominated by Saskatchewan have average employment earnings of $58,000, followed by New Brunswick ($50,300) and Manitoba ($33,600).
Figure 4-5: Average PN (PA) employment earnings, by province of nomination and years since landing
The average employment earnings also vary by province of residence (see Figure 4.6). The trends are similar to those seen in the incidence of reporting employment/self-employment earnings.
Whereas the PNs residing in Alberta and BC have the highest average earnings, these earnings are lower than those for PNs nominated by those two provinces. Whereas there were too few cases of PNs nominated by Ontario to report on average earnings, the average earnings for PNs residing in this province rise to $40,200 by the fifth year after landing. BC, Alberta and Ontario are affected by the secondary migration of PNs from other PTs who are seeking better economic outcomes. This brings down the average employment earnings in these provinces. On the other hand, the average earnings for PNs residing in the Atlantic provinces are higher than the average earnings for PNs nominated by all the Atlantic provinces except NB. This also reflects the impact of secondary migration. Those PNs residing in the Atlantic provinces tend to be those who have become established economically and remain in the province of nomination.
Figure 4-6: Average PN (PA) employment earnings, by province of residence and years since landing
The PN survey reflects somewhat higher salary levels for PNs. By the end of their first year in Canada, PNs surveyed earned on average $54,100, their earnings increasing to $61,500 and $64,600 three and five years after landing. The difference between the IMDB data and the PN survey results may be due to the fact that earnings for the survey results were calculated based on the employment situation at the end of each year of residence, projecting their salary to an annual basis (whether they have worked or not the entire year). Also, these are self- reported figures from the survey, which may also account for some of the difference from the IMDB data.
Economic outcomes by stream
Economic establishment also varies by PN stream. The PN survey – the only data source for the PN streams – reflects relatively high levels of employment incidence in most streams, beginning with the first year after landing (see Figure 4-7). Over 80% of PNs, except those in the business (43%) and community sponsored (72%) streams, reported employment by one year after landing. These percentages remain steady, or rise slightly, by the third or fifth year after landing for PNs who came in under the skilled worker, semi-skilled worker and family connection streams. Employment for PNs in the business stream gradually increases up to 61% by the third year after landing.
Figure 4-7: Percentage PNs (PAs) employed, by streams and years since landing
A similar pattern of variation across the streams is also reflected in the average earnings for PNs. The PNs with the highest average earnings are those who came in as skilled workers – $66,400 in the first year after landing, rising to $74,400 and $79,400 in the third and fifth year, respectively. Semi-skilled workers earn $45,600 to $50,000 in the first and third year after landing. Respondents in the skilled worker stream were more likely to be employed in occupations at the NOC 0 and A levels, while respondents in the semi-skilled stream were more likely to be in occupations at the NOC B and C skill levels.Footnote 61 As a result, it is understandable that the gross salaries for semi-skilled workers are lower than those for skilled workers.
Economic establishment for survey respondents coming to Canada under business streams would be expected to be different from that of PNs expecting to integrate into existing jobs. Business stream respondents are generally required to establish or take over existing businesses. Half (46%) of the respondents who came to Canada under a business stream indicated they had set up a business after becoming a PN, which is a relatively low rate of economic establishment when compared to incidence rates of employment earnings reported by PNs overall. Audits conducted by provincial government auditors in selected PTs highlighted concerns with the business streams, noting, for example, in some PTs, ineffective selection processes and the lack of monitoring and outcomes. These challenges are also noted in selected PT profiles. Key informants reported many of the provisions now in place to ensure that business stream PNs follow-up on their commitments were put in place to address the lack of adequate performance of business stream PNs in the early years of the PNP.
However, for the half who set up a business, the businesses appear to be operating well – three-quarters of the businesses are still operating and over three-quarters had full- and/or part-time staff. Some PTs identified, during the site visits, success stories from some business stream PNs.
The economic establishment of respondents in the business stream was not limited to setting up a business. About three-quarters (72%) of survey respondents in the business stream had one or more jobs after becoming a PR at a gross salary of $28,600.Footnote 62 However, they were more likely to not have had a job since arrival (4%) compared to 2% for all PN survey respondents. They were more likely to have salaries under $20,000 than PNs in the other PN streams and they were more likely to say that their first job was below their expectations. This suggests that the level of economic establishment of those in the business streams was below that of other PN streamsFootnote 63.
Even though data illustrates that PNs are becoming economically established, a key consideration is whether they are finding work consistent with their intended occupation, and whether their actual job is consistent with their skill level prior to becoming a PR.Footnote 64 This analysis is based on a comparison of survey respondents’ intended NOC code skill levelFootnote 65 with the NOC skill level associated with their jobs one, three and five years after landing as a PR.
Overall, about 70% of the PNs surveyed have a job commensurate with their skills, this rate being fairly consistent across the years. As can be seen in Figure 4-8, over half of PNs in all provinces have had jobs at a skill level equal to, or higher than, the skill level of their intended occupation in the first year after landing. However, as with rate of reporting employment/self-employment earnings and the earnings levels, the comparison of intended and actual NOC code skill levels varies by PT. Survey results show that over 80% of the PNs nominated by Alberta and BC have jobs at these skills levels by the end of the first year in Canada. Survey respondents in the Atlantic, except in Newfoundland, are less likely to have a job at a NOC code skill level equal to, or higher than, their intended level in (below 80% at the first year after landing). The levels in Manitoba (62%) are also similar to those seen in PEI.
Figure 4-8: Percent of PNs (PAs) with jobs at skill level equal to, or higher than, the skill level of their intended occupation, by PT of nomination and years since landing
Similarly, the match between the intended and actual skill level of the jobs held in Canada also varies by PN stream. In the first year after landing, PNs in the following streams have a job at a NOC skill level equal to, or higher than, their intended level (see Figure 4-9):
- Semi-skilled worker (81%); and
- International graduate students stream (82%).
PNs respondents in the skilled worker stream have a slightly lower match rate (74%) one year after landing. Lower matches between intended and actual occupation level are found in the following streams one year after landing:
- Business stream (67%);
- Family connection stream (53%).Footnote 66
The considerably higher rates for semi-skilled workers can possibly be explained by the fact that a high proportion of PNs in the semi-skilled worker stream (89%) are working in Canada as TFWs before landing as a PR, compared with other streams.
Figure 4-9: Percent of PNs (PAs) with jobs at skill level equal to, or higher than, the skill level of their intended occupation, by stream and years since landing
184.108.40.206. Characteristics associated with economic establishment
A regression analysis of IMDB data on the characteristics associated with the likelihood (in 2008) of reporting employment or self-employment earnings identifies the following list of characteristics that are associated with successful economic establishment:Footnote 67
- The chances of reporting earnings decreased with age: Compared to their younger counterparts aged less than 30 when becoming a PN, those aged between 40-49 years old and those who were aged 50 and above when becoming PR are less likely to report employment earnings;
- PNs are more likely to report earnings if they speak an official language;Footnote 68
- PNs nominated by the Atlantic PTs are less likely to report earnings compared to Alberta;
- Males are more likely to report earnings than females;
- PNs from Africa, Middle East and some islands of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, from Asia, Australasia and Pacific and from Europe (except UK) were less likely to report earnings than PNs from the United Kingdom;
- PNs who stayed in their province of nomination since landing had increased likelihood of reporting earnings; and
- The NOC skill type of the intended occupation was also significantly associated with chances of reporting earnings. When compared to those intending to work in the natural and applied sciences and related occupations, most PNs had significantly less chances of reporting earnings, except for those who intended to work in occupations unique to the primary industry or to processing, manufacturing and utilities for which no significant difference was found. The only group who had a higher likelihood of reporting earnings than the reference group was for PNs intending to work as trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations.
If the regression analysis only includes the reporting of employment earnings (as opposed to the previous analysis which also included self-employment), a slightly different picture is presented for two variables, thus suggesting a slightly different dynamic associated with self-employment:
- Gender was not significant in terms of predicting the likelihood of reporting employment earnings; and
- PNs from two regions (the Asia, Australasia and Pacific region and the Latin America, Greenland, some islands of the Atlantic and Pacific region) were more likely to report employment earnings than PNs from the United Kingdom.
A similar linear regression was done for the log of employment earnings for PNs (see technical appendices, provided under separate cover). It illustrates the following:
- Employment earnings of the PNs grow over time, as suggested by earlier cohorts earning more than PNs who arrived more recently;
- Men earn more than their women counterparts;
- PNs who come from the United States fare better than PNs from UK, while all groups from other regions compare negatively to this reference group (except for those from Latin America, Greenland, some islands of the Atlantic and Pacific region for which no significant differences are found);
- When compared to PNs nominated by Alberta, PNs nominated by another PT all reported significantly lower employment earnings (the greatest earnings difference being for Nova Scotia and PEI);
- Higher levels of education are associated with better earnings;
- PNs who report knowing an official language upon arrival earn more;
- Individuals aged 50 and over compare negatively to their younger counterparts; and
- NOC skill type of the intended occupation is also associated with earnings.
These results are comparable to the analysis of the likelihood of reporting employment/self-employment earnings.
220.127.116.11. Impact of TFW Program on PN economic outcomes
The use of the TFW program in conjunction with the PNP has an impact on outcomes. According to the PN survey, about one-third of PNs self-reported being in Canada as a TFW prior to landing as a PR.Footnote 69 The survey data suggests that these PNs are more likely to establish economically than those who are not working in Canada on a temporary visa before becoming a PRFootnote 70. These PNs who were in Canada as TFWs are more likely to:
- Have a job offer prior to becoming a PR (95% compared to 40% for those with no temporary visa);
- Have had only one job since becoming a PR (51% compared to 36% for those with no temporary visa);
- Have had job at NOC Code level 0 or A in their first job after becoming a PR (see Table 4.2);
- Have reported salaries in their first job of $60,000 or more (47% compared to 15% for those with no temporary work permit); and
- Say their first job met or exceeded expectations (81% compared to 52% for those with no work permit).
Table 4-2: NOC skill level of first job since landing by temporary visa/permit streams (***)
|TFW||Student||Other||No Temp Visa/Permit||% of respondents|
Source: PN Survey
*** p<.001Footnote 71
The vast majority of the TFWs have jobs at a level equivalent to, or higher than, their intended occupation (see Table 4.3). As with the semi-skilled workers, the match between their intended and actual occupation drops between their first and current job.
Other temporary visa holders (e.g., international students) are likely to get jobs at skill levels equivalent to, or higher than, their intended occupations. The match between international students’ intended and actual job increases slightly between their first and current job.
Table 4-3: Actual NOC skill level equal to, or higher, than intended NOC skill level of first and current job, by use of temporary visa (***)
|TFW||Student||Other||No Temp Visa/Permit||Total|
|Counts (n = )|
Source: PN Survey
Note: NOC “Other” consists of those that did not provide enough information to code into NOC.
18.104.22.168. Comparison with other federal economic immigration programs
This section compares the economic outcomes for PNs with immigrants who came to Canada under other federal economic immigration programs, namely the FSWP, the Entrepreneur Program, Self-Employed Program and the Investors Program
PNs’ incidence rate of reporting either employment and/or self-employment earnings are higher than those of other immigration categories (see Figure 4-10). One year after landing, the incidence rates for PNs of different cohorts are all 90% or higher; whereas the incidence rates for FSWs are between 81% and 86%. The rates for the Entrepreneur and Self-Employed Programs are lower.
After three years in Canada, incidence rates for PNs are between 91% and 97%, whereas the incidence rates for FSWs are between 86% and 87% depending on the cohort. Again, the rates for the Entrepreneur and Self-Employed Programs are lower. The gap between PNs and FSWs, in terms of incidence rates, does not close even past five years after landing.
Figure 4-10: Percentage of PAs who declared employment and/or self-employment earnings by immigration category and years since landing (2000 to 2007 cohorts)Footnote 72
There is a somewhat different pattern for the earnings by economic program.Footnote 73 The average employment earnings for PNs (except the 2000 cohort) are generally higher than FSWs’ employment earnings in their first year after landing.Footnote 74 After three years in Canada, the average employment earnings for PNs are slightly higher (between $35,200 and $45,100) than FSWs (between $36,400 and $42,700).Footnote 75 The earnings of FSWs grow faster than those of PNs and by the fifth year after landing, the FSWs’ earnings, on average, are $2,000 to $7,000 higher than the PNs’.Footnote 76
The two immigration categories with the lowest average employment earnings are Investors and Entrepreneurs. PN earnings remain higher than earnings for immigrants in these categories even over five years after landing. Contrary to a large share of PNs, the main source of income for immigrants admitted under the Business programs might come from outside salaried employment (from business and self-employment revenues), thus explaining the lower employment earnings for this category (see Figure 4-11).
Figure 4-11: Average employment earnings for PAs by landing year, 2000 to 2007 cohortsFootnote 77
4.2.3. Regionalization of immigration
Finding #16: The PNP distributes a larger proportion of economic immigrants outside Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia compared to immigrants entering under other economic immigration programs, thus contributing to the objective of regionalizing the benefits of immigration.
Finding #17: In 2008, more than three-quarters of PNs who became permanent residents between 2000 and 2008 had remained in the PT that nominated them, with retention the lowest in the Atlantic provinces (56%) and highest for Alberta and British Columbia (above 95%). PNs who leave their nominating PT tend to do so within the first five years after landing.
Finding #18: PNs that arrived under a Skilled Worker or Family Connections stream are more likely to stay in their PT of nomination than PNs who came to Canada under other streams. PNs who declared employment earnings in the previous year, have knowledge of at least one official language, and have a Bachelor’s degree are more likely to stay in their PT of nomination.
Finding #19: Inter-provincial mobility of PNs is of concern to the PTs that are losing PNs, as their labour market and population growth objectives are not being fully met. It is also an issue to PTs that are gaining PNs, since the PNs that arrive may not fit with the specific labour market needs of their new PT.
PNP is spreading the number of economic immigrants across Canada, rather than being concentrated in a few PTs in their major centres (as is the case with other economic immigration programs). See Table 4-4 for a breakdown of the proportion of PAs by province of destination for PNP and FSW.Footnote 78 While over 95% of FSW PAs are destined to either Ontario, British Columbia or Alberta, only 36% of PNP PAs are destined for these same provinces. Some PTs with a low PNP share of provincial immigration are still seeing a higher absolute number of economic immigrants through PNP than FSW.
Table 4-4: PNP (principal applicants) compared to other immigration categories – landing years 2005-2009
|Count||% of PNP||Count||% of FSW|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||222||0.7%||353||0.2%|
|TOTAL - National||33,722||100%||150,970||100%|
Source: FOSS data
As well, CIC dataFootnote 79 reveal a downward trend in the percentage of economic immigrants who are intending to settle in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal (from 80% in 2000 to 75% in 2005 and 63% in 2009). However, when subtracting the PNs from the equation, the percentage of economic immigrants destined to the three traditional immigration cities remained steady at around 75%, suggesting that the overall decline of the share destined to Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver stated above for economic immigrants in general can be attributable to the PNP. Indeed, during these years, the PNP grew substantially over the period considered by the evaluation (a 450% increase in the number of admissions, from about 8,000 admissions in 2005 to 36,000 admissions in 2009), which contributed to distributing the benefits of immigrations across PTs.
22.214.171.124. Retention in nominating PT
Retention is important because PNs are brought into PTs to fill specific labour market needs. IMDB data reveal that, overall, in 2008, 82% of PNs who landed between 2000 and 2008 continued to reside in their PT of nomination. The retention rate of PNs varies by region and PT (Table 4-5)Footnote 80. In particular, only 56% of PNs who were nominated by an Atlantic province remained in the region as of 2008; however, the retention rate varies by province in the Atlantic region. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have a higher retention rate with 68% of their PNs continuing to reside in the province in 2008, while only a minority of PNs nominated in PEI (37%) and Newfoundland (23%) were still residing in the province in 2008. Conversely, retention was the highest (over 95%) for PNs that were nominated in Alberta and BC.Footnote 81
Table 4-5: Percentage of PNs (PAs), landed between 2000-08, who were residing in their province of nomination in 2008, by province of nomination
|Province of Nomination||Continuing to Reside||Total Nominations (N)|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||22.9||55||240|
The survey of PNs found that 95% of respondents reported that they were currently living in the PT that nominated themFootnote 82. Respondents who arrived under a Skilled Worker or Family Connections stream were also more likely to report living in the PT that nominated them than respondents who came in under a different stream, whereas respondents who came under a Business stream were less likely to report this. Respondents who were former international students were also less likely to report living in the PT that nominated them.
An analysis of IMDB data regarding net migrationFootnote 83 over the 2000 to 2008 cohorts reveals that only Ontario, BC and Alberta experienced positive net migration (see Table 4-6). British Columbia experienced the largest net change (43.4%) followed by Alberta (34.9%).Footnote 84
According to FOSS data on landings, most PAs intend to land in the PT that nominated them (found to be over 90% for all PTs except Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and PEI). This proportion is highest among PNs nominated by Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.Footnote 85 Ontario and BC were the two most frequent destinations for those PNs not intending to settle in their province of nomination.
PT interviewees from Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia all acknowledged that they have a net in-migration of PNs from other jurisdictions. Most interviewees from these provinces characterized this in-migration as a concern since they did not choose the profile of those PNs who are moving to their jurisdiction. Interviewees from PTs with out-migration are also concerned when this occurs.
Table 4-6: Summary statistics on PN (PAs) inter-provincial mobility – 2008 status (2000-2008 cohorts)
|Province of nominationFootnote 86||Out-migration||In-migration||Net
|Net change (%)||Retention rate|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||240||185||5||-180||-75.0%||22.9%|
When considering the IMDB data by years since landing rather than status of PNs in 2008 as above, PNs do leave their nominating PT over time with more out-migration in the early years after landing (Table 4-7). In particular, one year after landing, 17.9% of PNs resided outside their PT of nomination. This proportion increases to 26.6% after 3 years of landing and to 30.5% after 5 years. After 5 years, the proportion of PNs leaving their nominating PTs stabilizes with few departures over the next three years.
Table 4-7: Distribution of PNs (PAs) who have resided at one point in another province/region than their province of nomination by years since landingFootnote 88
|Years since landing|
|Have resided elsewhere than province of nomination||%||11.6||17.9||22.9||26.6||28.2||30.5||31.0||32.1||29.2|
|Total tax filers||n||20,425||14,820||9,850||6,130||4,130||2,395||1,210||670||325|
Factors contributing to PN mobility
Regression analyses of the IMDB data were conducted to better understand the factors that influence the chance of a PN leaving their PT of nomination to settle in another PT over timeFootnote 90. The evaluation found that there are five main factors that predict whether a PN will remain in the PT of nomination:
- Province of nomination: When compared to PNs nominated by AlbertaFootnote 91, PNs nominated by an Atlantic province experience a significantly higher risk of leaving their province of nomination (especially for nominees from NL and PEI). Manitoba and Saskatchewan PNs also have a considerably higher risk of leaving their province of nomination for another PT when compared to Alberta. On the other hand, BC nominees have a lower risk of settling outside their province of nomination over time than those in Alberta.
- Country of last permanent residence: When compared to PNs from the United KingdomFootnote 92, PNs are more at risk to leave their nominating PT if they were from Africa, the Middle East and some Atlantic/Pacific islandsFootnote 93 (90% more chance of leaving). This was followed by PNs from Asia, Australasia and Pacific (50% more chance of leaving). PNs who had a lower risk of leaving their nominating PT were those from the United States (57% less chance of leaving).
- Extent of economic establishment: PNs who had employment earnings the previous yearFootnote 94 had a decreased risk (by about 50%) of leaving their PT of nomination, while those who were self-employed saw the risk of leaving decreased by 45% when compared to those who did not have such earnings.
- Knowledge of official language: PNs who knew at least one of Canada’s official languages have approximately 30% less chance of exiting their PT of nomination than PNs who did not know either French or English upon arrival.
- Education: PNs with a Bachelor degree are at a lower risk of moving than PNs with a Masters degree or doctorate degree.
The survey of PNs also explored the reasons (outside of the aforementioned IMDB variables) PNs chose to leave their PT of nomination. The most commonly cited responses:
- 49% of respondents said they had a specific job offer in another PT and/or saw more job opportunities elsewhere;
- 21% cited the reason as wanting to join family and/or friends; and,
- Other reasons were all cited by fewer than 10% of respondents.
The survey asked PNs who had stayed in their nominating PT whether they planned to move in the next one to three years. A majority (83%) said they were not intending to move and only 3% said they were; the remaining 13% said they did not know. PN respondents in Alberta and those who came under a skilled worker or community stream were most likely to say they were planning to stay, while those in Nova Scotia, PEI and those who came under an international graduate stream were most likely to say they were planning to leave.
During site visits, when discussing the retention of PNs, interviewees in many PTs mentioned that they have increased the availability of settlement services (including language training services, among others) to PNs to encourage them to stay in their jurisdiction. A few PTs have established regional welcome centres and/or otherwise increased settlement services available in smaller communities.
4.2.4. Delivery / processing of PNP
Finding #20: The processing of PN applications by CIC has historically been faster than other federal economic immigration programs; it remains faster than almost all federal economic immigration programs. Currently only FSW C-50 application processing is similar in duration to PNP.
Finding #21: PTs each have guidelines that support consistent processing, but the approaches vary across PTs. There is a broad variation in CVOAs processing procedures for PNP applications.
Finding #22: PNs were generally satisfied with the overall timeliness of the federal and PT application process. However, PTs and applicants expressed a desire for more information about the status of applications during the federal process.
As discussed in section 2.2, 11 PTs each deliver a PNP and are responsible for designing and managing their programs. In delivering PNP, PTs have designed their own PN programs and unique streams, criteria and delivery mechanisms.
126.96.36.199. Overview of processing
Provinces and territories
For PNP, under the Canada-PT Immigration Agreements, the PTs are responsible for the nomination of immigrants destined to their jurisdiction. To determine these nominations, all PTs reported or documented standard approaches to guide consistent processing, however, these steps vary across PTs, meaning that processing and assessment may not be consistent across Canada. In general, a review of PT processes found that the process starts with an administrative review of applications to verify that all required information is provided. The next step is for program officers to review files to determine that applications meet the criteria for the stream under which they were received. These criteria are posted on PT websites, and PT representatives reported that they work with applicants to assist with clarifying criteria. Most jurisdictions then have a secondary review of applications prior to nomination decisions being made. In addition, most PTs reported that they have written guidelines for staff to apply in the review process.
In terms of processing, CIC is responsible forFootnote 95:
- Admissibility screening (medical, criminality and security), based on federal admissibility standards and IRPR, Section 87; and
- The final selection of PNs – the satisfaction of the visa officer that the applicant:
- has the ability to establish economically in Canada;
- intends to reside in the nominating province; and
- has not been nominated on the basis of a passive investment.
These responsibilities are met through CVOAs. Visa Officers receive formal training, guided by training manuals to assist them in understanding these responsibilities. In addition, CVOAs receive interpretive guidelines to clarify processing.
188.8.131.52. Assessment of federal processing
A key attraction to PNP noted by many respondents is the timeliness of processing. Most PT interviewees, employers, and PN focus group participants reported that PNP was a faster mechanism for immigrating to Canada when compared to other federal programs. Notably, CIC International Region data (see Figure 4-12) indicate that PNP applications, on average, are processed faster than other economic category applications, including FSWs. When looking at the period of the evaluation (2005 to 2009), on average, CIC processed 80% of PNP applications within 12 months, compared to 55.5 months for FSW applications and 53.5 months for all economic categories, a significant difference.
It should be noted that agreements with PTs commit CIC to process PN applications as expeditiously as possible, taking into account mutually agreed upon targets in the national levels plan, legislative requirements and operational and resource constraints.
In recent years there have been some improvements to processing times for FSWs due to the introduction of Bill C-50Footnote 96. For example, the average processing time in 2009 for a sub-set for FSW applications (i.e., C-50Footnote 97) was 17 months. Therefore, the recent total processing time for PNP is comparable to FSW C-50 applications, considering that PNP applications must first go through a PT nomination process that is approximately 6 months in addition to the CIC process.
When discussing priority processing, CVOA interviewees reported that PNP applications are generally a processing priority ahead of other economic categories.
A few CVOA interviewees reported that given the size of their caseload, every type of application is processed immediately because they do not have any backlog or inventory. Most CVOA interviewees indicated that office priorities are determined by NHQ and target numbers are established by category, as a proportion of all visas to be issued by the office in all categories in a given year. As such, a category (i.e., PNP) will only be a priority until the category’s target is reached. With respect to individual cases, CVOA survey respondents noted that certain factors and associated level of effort needed to review issues with documentation, inability to confirm applicant information, and potential fraud, can influence timing of the application process.
Figure 4-12: Months to process 80% of economic category applications
With respect to PT processing timelines, employer interview results suggested that it varied by province. Interviews with employers also found that the federal component of the PN application process varied in duration, with respondents estimating a range of from 4 to 24 months. Interviewees indicated that many provinces processed PN applications in less than 6 months, while some provinces often took more than 6 months. PN survey respondents reported that it took an average of 9.9 months from the time of application to the receipt of the nomination certificate.
Overall, PNs were satisfied with PT and federal application processes and processing time. Most PNs (84%) reported that they were satisfied with the PT process, while slightly fewer PNs (74%) reported satisfaction with the federal process. PNs were fairly consistent in reporting satisfaction with the time required for application processing (71% satisfied with PT component; 68% satisfied with federal component).
The evaluation found that despite the training and guidance documents provided to CVOAs, applications are not processed consistently among CVOAs. This is evident in the differing prioritization and scope of review across CVOAs. For example, many CVOAs (69%) report that they prioritize PN applications above other immigration streams; however, some CVOAs (39%) do not. Moreover, when asked about the extent to which CVOAs review PN applications to ensure that sufficient documentation has been included to support the PN nomination (e.g., verify applicant’s educational or occupational credentials) some (34%) CVOAs review 10% or less of the PT files, while almost half of CVOAs (42%) review more than 50% of PT files to confirm evidence to support the PN nomination.
When considering the tools and information necessary for consistent visa office decision-making in processing PN applications, CVOA survey evidence shows that 85% of CVOAs are satisfied with information from NHQ to a “moderate/ large” extent. In addition, 65% of CVOAs report that they receive adequate training. However, CVOAs do not consistently understand PT criteria, with 48% of CVOA survey respondents stating that lack of understanding of PT eligibility criteria is a factor in slowing down processing. Some CVOA interview respondents reported that some of the confusion over PT eligibility criteria is related to revisions to multiple streams across PTs. In addition, the review of documentation found that some PTs do not provide CIC missions sufficient information to make decisions on PN applications. For example, many CIC Missions report a lack of information on employers, verification of the experience claimed by the PN, and limited assessment of the PNs’ actual plan to stay in the nominating PT, as the main areas of concern.
Most PN survey respondents (74%) were satisfied with the process, but did indicate they felt that the federal process was not entirely transparent. Overall, most PN focus group respondents indicated that they would like more access to federal information throughout the PN application process. Specifically, respondents felt that transparency would be improved if PNs were provided with: a contact name or phone number for PNs to track the process of the CIC portion of their application process (41%); more information about required documents (36%); and more information on admissibility requirements (32%). In addition, from a PT perspective, most PTs reported that their system is transparent in that they have a formal appeal system in place if applicants oppose decisions. These PT respondents reported that very few appeals have occurred to date; however, no systematic collection of appeal data has occurred.
4.2.5. Program integrity
Finding #23: While the extent to which fraud is occurring in the PNP is not fully known, CIC and PTs representatives interviewed acknowledged a continued need for strong emphasis on program integrity as it pertains to fraud and misrepresentation.
Finding #24: Monitoring and evaluation of PT PNPs has been inconsistent over time and differs across PTs. There has been no systematic collection and reporting of common metrics of success by PTs and CIC, and where PT monitoring has occurred, findings have not been consistently shared with CIC and among PTs.
184.108.40.206. Fraud and program misuse
The definition of program integrity varies among PTs. Some look at integrity in terms of internal review processes while others take on integrity efforts such as investigation of potential fraud and/or misrepresentation on applications, with most PTs reporting that they are investing resources to address issues such as fraud and misrepresentation investigation, and mistreatment of workers. At least one PT has established a dedicated Program Integrity unit, which focuses on follow-up with PNs after they arrive.
One indicator of potential fraud or misuse is the rate of defaults on good faith deposits and business bonds. Evidence from PT interviews indicates that most provinces that have a business stream require PN applicants to submit good faith deposits or bonds that are refundable, contingent on establishing a business. These PTs report that the deposit or bond mitigates the chance that a PN would arrive and not establish a business. Interviewees in PTs reported that there are some cases in which PNs do not recover their deposits; however, the extent to which this is occurring across PTs could not be confirmed due to lack of consistent data on defaults.
A few interviewees from CIC NHQ expressed concern that there are challenges to program integrity. For example, they suggested that there are differing levels of rigour applied by PTs when confirming applicants’ adherence to eligibility criteria and, as a result, fraud and misuse can occur. It should be noted that some CVOA staff interviewed for this evaluation expressed the same types of concerns, but the general perception was that it was no more likely that there would be fraud (mainly related to jobs) on PNP applications than on any other economic program applications.
A few CIC NHQ interviewees raised concerns that fraud detection is not at an optimal level. CIC International Region data (Figure 4-13) indicates that 56% of FSW applications are refused, while only 3% of PNP applications are refused by CVOAs. Although this suggests that the level of scrutiny applied to PNP applications is different than that applied to FSW applications, acceptance rates for the PNP are similar to those for Quebec skilled worker applications (97% to 98% between 2005 and 2010) where the province also does the initial screening of the applications.
Figure 4-13: Economic program application approval rate
Interviewees from a few PTs stated that they would like CIC to provide more thorough fraud detection training to PTs. In other instances, a few PTs report hiring the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to verify certain documents and/or information as genuine, based on local knowledge, which PTs reported assists with fraud mitigation. Based on these findings, a potential gap in fraud detection could be occurring due to insufficient training at the PT level and variation in practices among CVOA officers. To that end, PTs expressed the desire to access local expertise for document verification prior to nomination.
220.127.116.11. Monitoring and evaluation
As stated earlier, program monitoring, evaluation, and performance reporting are part of the responsibilities of PTs. To that end, the evaluation explored the extent to which CIC and PT evaluations and accountability tools are being developed, shared and implemented.
CIC and PTs have made progress in recent years in developing and implementing monitoring tools. Document review evidence shows that CIC generates landing and retention data and provides this to PTs on a periodic basis. Interviewees in most PTs reported that their jurisdiction conducts periodic monitoring of PNs who enter under a Business stream. The evaluation found little data available about whether this monitoring actually occurred.
The document review and key informant interview findings showed significant differences in levels of monitoring of PNs among PTs. Program documentation shows that most PTs try to track the percentage of PNs who remain in the nominating province and the percentage who find employment in their intended occupation through a variety of methods ranging from qualitative inquiry with third-parties (e.g. employers, SPOs, etc.) to follow-up surveys with PNs. A few PTs also look at length of employment and average salaries and other retention/integration statistics. However, a comparison of administrative data reflects that information is not systematically collected or shared. CIC NHQ interviewees also supported this finding in stating that they had not been able to obtain regular, timely program outcome information from PTs. This lack of information on PN outcomes was recognized by a 2009 report from the Auditor General of Canada, which notes –
Although PNP agreements require the provinces and territories to collect information on the retention of nominees within their respective jurisdictions, the information is either absent or incomplete and not always shared with the Department. The lack of information on the retention of nominees was raised in recent reports of three provincial auditors general in which one specifically noted that this represented non-compliance with the PNP agreement.Footnote 98
Most PTs have planned evaluations or reviews for 2011 or 2012. In addition, in the past two years, several PTs have completed or are in the process of planning evaluations or surveys of their own PNPs. The numerous PT PNP evaluations or surveys recently completed or underway use various approaches and timeframes for analysis in their studies. A review indicates that some reports categorized by PTs as evaluations are actually client feedback surveys, and some are limited to one or two lines of inquiry, making the results less comprehensive and also leading to a lack of comparability of results.
4.2.6. Effectiveness of FPT relations
Finding #25: Respondents expressed diverse opinions regarding the clarity of roles and responsibilities for PNP; the areas of determining the ability to establish economically and fraud verification were felt to be particularly unclear.
Finding #26: The effectiveness of FPT PNP oversight mechanisms was unclear, as respondent views were mixed and findings were not consistent across data sources.
18.104.22.168. Clarity regarding roles and responsibilities
Although the Canada-PT Immigration Agreements clearly outline the PT and CIC responsibilities for PNP, these roles are not exercised consistently. Key informant interview evidence from most respondent categories suggests that further work is required to clarify and agree upon roles and responsibilities.
Among CIC NHQ interviewees, there was a lack of agreement on the clarity of roles and responsibilities. Some CIC NHQ interviewees reported that roles and responsibilities are not clear, while some other CIC NHQ interviewees suggested that they are fairly well understood. A few CIC NHQ interviewees also suggested that PTs do not fully understand the intention of their roles as written in PT agreements. For their part, interviewees from most PTs (9 of 11) indicated that the roles are clearly understood.
In particular, there were two main areas reported where a lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities presented challenges described below.
Canada-PT Agreements stipulate that CIC must be satisfied that a PN applicant has the ability to establish economically in Canada, yet evidence from CVOA interview data suggests that this remains an area of ambiguity. Specifically, many CVOA interviewees reported that they understand that determining the ability of PNs to become economically established is part of their mandate, while some suggested that CVOA staff had a limited role to play in this regard because it is the responsibility of the PTs when presenting nominations. Thus, to many respondents, the extent to which CVOA staff is expected to review applications against this criterion remains unclear.
A second responsibility that was noted to require additional clarity is regarding fraud verification, especially verifying job offers and educational/training credentials and work experience. Interviewees indicated that visa officers may be hesitant to review this documentation because their roles and responsibilities for this activity are not clearly outlined in operational guidelines, and some PTs noted that CIC also does fraud verification, confirming the uncertainty about the understanding of that role. As such, almost all interviewees stated that the interpretation of federal versus PT roles and responsibilities must be clarified. Most CIC NHQ interviewees indicated concerns about program integrity/quality assurance in the selection and nomination of PNs, which was intended to be a PT responsibility, but CIC is playing a role in this area. To that effect, interviewees from a few regional and local CIC offices indicated that PTs should have a larger role in program integrity. The respondents indicated that PTs should be diligent about ensuring that they are getting legitimate applications from people who intend on staying in the province of nomination.
22.214.171.124. Effectiveness of consultations and oversight
Although several committees and working groups exist within the FPT immigration governance structure, CIC and PT interviewees reported that for PNP, the most significant one is the FPT Economic Immigration Working Group (EWG)Footnote 99.
Respondent views on the effectiveness of the PNP FPT working groups were mixed. When asked, almost half of the CIC NHQ respondents reported that the FPT working groups are challenging, rather than effective mechanisms for consultation and collaboration. Specifically, interviewees commented on the lack of consistent information collection and sharing across PTs which limits the effectiveness of the working groups. The lack of appropriateness and utility of FPT working groups was also raised as a concern – since the EWG is a multilateral forum, there can be challenges in managing to raise and discuss the views, needs and issues of all participants. Additionally, CIC respondents stated that there is no formal decision-making structure for the EWG, which can result in prolonged periods of time to achieve decisions. Conversely, interviewees from many PTs stated that the EWG forum is useful for bringing together all PNP PT heads in a discussion forum, providing a mechanism to address operational issues, sharing general information across all PTs, and providing a forum for PTs to share information as they wish.
In terms of consultation and oversight, key informant interview evidence revealed a range of perspectives on the effectiveness of FPT relations. However, the underlying issue appears to be a lack of clarity regarding the nature and type of consultations and oversight that should be occurring. For instance, a few CIC regional and local office interviewees believe that the centralized policy role at CIC NHQ likely means that CIC is missing some valuable policy input from regional and local CIC offices. However, some other CIC regional and local office interviewees indicated that the current structure for policy development is appropriate, as well as noting that CIC NHQ is increasing consultative activities with regional offices.
Many interviewees from all respondent groups suggested that CIC is improving the consultative process to allow more PT input on various issues, with document review evidence indicating that several FPT joint initiatives are being undertaken. However, some challenges remain as CIC attempts to take on a larger role in implementing policies to guide PT PNP design. Some interviewees from CIC regional and local offices and interviewees from a few PTs identified a need for stronger communication linkages between the various committees in terms of policy development.
Finally, with respect to information sharing, a few CIC regional and local office interviewees stated that FPT relations could be improved through more open sharing of information between PTs and CIC. While there is documentary evidence of sharing information related to program design changes, best practices and training, it is not clear if these items were timely or effective. This was supported by key informant interview evidence which suggested that both CIC and PTs would appreciate timelier sharing of information (e.g., changes to program delivery, annual PT level plans and program results/reports).
4.2.7. Official language minority communities (OLMCs)
Finding #27: There has been a limited focus on the federal objective of encouraging the development of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs), with only three PTs identifying it as a priority for their PNPs.
One of the federal PNP objectives is to encourage development of official language minority communities. However, only a few CIC NHQ interviewees and one PT interviewee cited supporting and enhancing OLMCs as an objective of PNP. While there is a clause pertaining to OLMCs in all PNP agreements, it was unclear to CIC NHQ respondents the extent to which this objective is being met. It was considered as a priority for only three PT programs. CIC regional interviewees were generally more positive about the extent to which PTs are addressing (or attempting to address) this objective, particularly in the Atlantic and Prairie regions.
Applications data reveal that a small percentage of PAs speak French, averaging 4.6% between 2005 and 2009 (with the highest proportion reported in 2005 at 5.9% indicating they speak French). In comparison, the percentage of PAs admitted under the FSW program between 2005 and 2009 who reported some knowledge of French upon landing was twice as high (10.5%).
Interviewees in some PTs mentioned that they directly engage with francophone organizations/communities in their jurisdiction. A few specifically mentioned that these efforts are in support of official language minority communities. In terms of the contribution of PNP to strengthening OLMCs, a few PTs specifically mentioned it is not a focus of their PN program and some PTs indicated that PNP has had a small or no contribution to this federal objective.
4.2.8. Economy and efficiency
Finding #28: Resources are invested in the PNP both at the federal and PT level. Resources invested by the PT vary given the magnitude of their respective programs.
Given that PNP is jointly administered by the federal and PT governments, the two levels of government allocate resources to the program separately. Federally, PNP resources are managed by the Permanent Resident Policy and Programs group within CIC’s Immigration Branch. In 2011-12, CIC NHQ resources devoted to PNP include 4.5 FTEs.
CIC provides resources to all CVOAs which issue Permanent Resident visas to PNs. According to the information available from the survey of CVOAs an average of 2.7 visa officers per office process PNP applications, with a range of one to six officers across all offices. More than half of the CVOAs (59%) have one or two officersFootnote 100.
The PTs utilize their own resources to manage PNP. Most PN programs (8 of 11) have a separate budget and resources allocated to the administration, operation and management of the program, ranging from $540,000 to $4,300,000 in annual operating costs, and from 4.5 to 43 program staffFootnote 101. The other three PN programs are operated from within the budget and resources of the PTs’ larger immigration services’ budget and staff. Most PN programs are currently managed by immigration units within each PT’s responsible Ministry or Department. In some PTs, the Business streams of PNP are managed by business development units. Details of each program’s management and resource costs are provided in Table 4-8.
|PT Ministry||Human Resources||Financial Resources|
|Newfoundland and Labrador
Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism in the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
Island Investment Development Inc. (crown corporation) under the Ministry of Innovation and Advanced learning
|7 FTEs||$1.05 million|
Nova Scotia Office of Immigration
|19 FTEs||$5 million|
Population Growth Division in the Department of Post-Secondary Education
|Not available||$4.1 million|
Opportunities Ontario unit in the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
|9 FTEs||$1.6 millionFootnote 104|
Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program
|43 FTEsFootnote 105||$2.16 millionFootnote 106|
Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program in the Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration
|43 FTEsFootnote 107||$2.33 million|
Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program in the Ministry of Employment and Immigration
|33 FTEs||$4.3 million|
Economic Immigration Programs Branch in the Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development
|41 FTEs||$2.5 million|
Department of Education, Culture and Employment delivers the non-business streams
Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment delivers the business stream
|11 FTEsFootnote 108||$540,000|
Advanced Education Branch in the Department of Education delivers the non-business streams
Business and Industry Development Branch in the Department of Economic Development delivers the business stream
|3.5 FTEs||Not available|
Source: PT documents and data
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