Evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program

5. Conclusions and recommendations

The following section provides the overall conclusions and recommendations of the Evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program.

5.1. Conclusions

Relevance

There is a continuing need for the PNP and the program is consistent with CIC and Federal Government priorities. Roles and responsibilities of the federal government were also found to be appropriate.

The majority of respondents felt that there is a continuing need for the PNP. This was a particularly strong view from all PTs, with most citing the need to respond to the unique labour market needs of their jurisdictions and a dearth of other programs able to address PT needs.

The evaluation found that the PNP is consistent with a CIC strategic priority related to the goal of migration that strengthens Canada’s economy, and to a broader Federal Government priority related to regional development. This consistency demonstrates that the program is aligned with the current government direction. As such, PNP remains a relevant program in which it is appropriate for the federal government to have a role, as supported by various federal government documentation such as the Speech from the Throne and the departmental Program Activity Architecture. Roles and responsibilities were seen to be appropriate by stakeholders consulted given the cross-jurisdictional context in which the program operates.

While some PT PN program objectives and streams share similar themes with other federal economic programs, the operations of these programs include additional elements that allow the PNP to respond to the unique needs of PTs.

PTs have demonstrated a need for this program insofar as it responds to their economic needs aligned with broad labour market and population growth strategies. In order for these needs to be addressed in a sustainable way, the evaluation found that PTs reinforced the necessity of a mechanism to attract, select and retain economic immigrants. PNP offers a flexible mechanism under PT direction which allows them to address their specific labour market needs that would be difficult to address otherwise, with few able to identify superior alternatives.

However, in assessing how these needs are identified, only one PT had a formal labour market strategy that directly linked the labour market needs with immigration and their PN program. The lack of formal strategies, supported by evidence, that connect PT labour market needs with the requirement for PNs/economic immigrants at specific skill levels or in particular sectors makes it difficult to determine the extent to which the PNP is effective in meeting those needs and responsive to labour market shortages in the different jurisdictions. Ensuring a close, rigorous alignment between identified PT labor market shortages and PNP nomination strategies could further enhance the economic establishment of PNs and positively affect retention.

Performance

The PNP has four main objectives:

  • To increase the economic benefits of immigration to PTs, based on their economic priorities and labour market conditions;
  • To distribute the benefits of immigration across all PTs;
  • To enhance Federal-Provincial/Territorial (FPT) collaboration; and
  • To encourage development of official language minority communities.

Evidence from the evaluation indicates that significant progress towards three of the four objectives was made.

A majority of PNs become economically established quickly, particularly those with knowledge of an official language, though this is less likely for those in the business stream. As such, the PNP is meeting the objective of increasing the economic benefits of immigration to PTs.

For the most part, PNs are becoming economically established, although less so in the Atlantic provinces and Manitoba. PNs report employment or self-employment earnings from their first year after landing and continue to report earnings over five years. On the whole, their average employment earnings increase over time. Further, most PNs have jobs at NOC skill levels equivalent to, or higher than, the skill level of their intended occupation. Those PNs arriving in the business streams fared less well, with only half of them indicating they had established a business, and generally reporting lower earnings than the other PN streams.

The evaluation found that one of the main determinants of PNs’ ability to establish economically is the knowledge of one of the official languages, yet there are no consistent language requirements across all PTs. Inter-provincial mobility and the importance of language reinforces the need for some consistent minimum criteria across PTs; some standardized criteria – such as language - may reduce the negative impacts associated with secondary migration and further improve the economic outcomes of PNs.

The rate of retention by nominating province is high, which, when taken in the context of the finding about the successful regionalization of immigration, demonstrates the distribution of economic benefits of immigration throughout the PTs. While the overall retention rate for PNs was high, those who leave their province of nomination will do so within the first 5 years of landing, and tend to move to Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta – with these provinces experiencing the largest positive net migration of PNs over the 2000-2008 period. Conversely, out-migration was most prevalent in the Atlantic provinces, though broader economic conditions and migration patterns may also influence this movement and should be considered.

The impact of inter-provincial mobility is felt by both PTs who are losing as well as gaining PNs. When PNs leave there is a direct effect on the nominating PT in that their needs continue to be unmet to some degree when the nominees do not settle in their province. The evaluation also found challenges for PTs who experience net in-migration, as the overall economic performance of those PNs who leave their province of nomination tends to decrease. A further concern cited by those experiencing in-migration is that since the PNs arriving were not selected by that PT, the need or labour market connection was not determined. Two of the key factors cited by PNs for choosing to leave the PT of nomination were the existence of a job offer in another PT/more opportunities elsewhere and the desire to join family or friends in another PT.

The PNP has been successful with respect to the objective of regionalizing the benefits of immigration.

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. Further, the evaluation found that almost half (47%) of PN PAs report they intend to settle outside of PT capitals and, for those destined to British Columbia, outside Vancouver.

With respect to FPT collaboration, while roles and responsibilities in the PNP were generally clear and well-understood among all partners, several program delivery areas posed particular challenges. As well, there is a continued need for strong emphasis on program integrity as it pertains to fraud and misrepresentation. Finally, monitoring and evaluation of PT PNPs has been varied over time among PTs and inconsistently shared with CIC.

While most roles and responsibilities appear to be generally well understood by key informants at the federal and PT level, there are some key areas where additional clarity is required. The role of determining the ability of PNs to establish economically is a responsibility of CIC, yet the extent of the role of PTs in assessing this criterion was not clear to all respondents, which suggests that this role is not well understood. The role of CVOAs and PTs in fraud verification was also found to be unclear.

The capacity for program integrity (through fraud detection and identifying misrepresentation) during the selection of PNs varies considerably across PTs. While most PTs have implemented a number of mechanisms in their processing approaches, they seek additional training on fraud detection and related matters. CVOAs, on the other hand, report being well equipped and well trained for verifying information on applications from around the world.

Finally, with respect to monitoring and evaluation, the lack of common indicators among PTs and the inconsistent reporting on PT PN programs has made it difficult to compare program outcomes and led to varying levels of comprehensiveness in evaluations and reviews conducted by PTs. This inconsistent monitoring and evaluation means that PTs (and subsequently CIC) have varying degrees of understanding about the performance of their PN programs, and therefore the extent to which they are addressing objectives. One area of particular concern is the business stream, as there is a widespread lack of information in PTs about the number of new businesses established or whether these businesses resulted in the creation of jobs.

There has been a limited progress toward 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.

The PNP has had little success in encouraging immigration to OLMCs, which is one of the federal program objectives. PTs seem to be placing little emphasis on this, as most did not cite developing OLMCs as a PT program objective. 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). This modest proportion of PNs (half of the equivalent proportion of FSWs) and the fact that only a subset of those reporting this ability will choose to establish in OLMCs support this conclusion.

The evaluation showed limited information was available to assess the efficiency and economy of the program.

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. To further assess efficiency and economy, thorough analysis on costs associated with administering the program would have been needed. However, not only would information about the costs associated to select PNs have been required, but these would have to be assessed against an appropriate benchmark. As the PNP is unique given that part of the processing of applications is handled by PTs, comparison against other federal immigration programs is difficult.

5.2. Recommendations

The following recommendations are presented based on the findings and conclusions of this evaluation to enhance the operations of, and outcomes associated with, PNP.

1. CIC should work with PTs to develop a requirement for minimum standards across PT programs regarding language ability.

Establishing minimum language requirements is supported by the fact that language is one of the key determinants of economic establishment. In addition, as a portion of PNs move across PTs, having a minimum language requirement could aid in economic establishment in the new provinces, especially since these individuals were not selected based on the needs of the PT they were moving to.

2. In order to strengthen linkages between the occupational profile of PNs and PT labour market/economic needs, CIC should work with PTs to enable more effective, evidence-based identification of their needs for PNs.

Formalized labour market strategies could assist in the identification of labour shortages, and also be used to assess how PNP addresses these needs.

3. CIC should clarify the roles and responsibilities of the CVOAs and PTs.

Specific areas where clarity is necessary are:

  1. the assessment of PNP applicants’ ability to establish economically, and
  2. fraud detection.

Additional training and/or guidance should be provided regarding how these functions should be interpreted and applied by each partner during the assessment of applications. Clarification and additional guidance or training in these areas would be beneficial and could potentially decrease duplication and the level of effort required for these activities, as well as contributing to more effective fraud verification.

4. CIC should work with PTs to strengthen the focus on the PNP objective of encouraging the development of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs).

Given the limited success in meeting this objective the department should review how to best incorporate it into the program design and delivery.

5. CIC, in collaboration with PTs, should develop and implement a monitoring and reporting framework that contains common, agreed-upon performance indicators.

The department should define baseline data, establish consistent performance measures, determine a reporting schedule, and allocate responsibility within and across PTs.

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