IRCC Consultation on Immigration Levels and Municipal Nominee Program (MNP)

Meeting with the Minister

Discussion Guide



Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducts annual consultations on immigration in Canada. Given the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation – with varying impacts by region and sector – this year’s consultations will be particularly informative.

We recognize that there have been significant challenges, and consequently, there has been a need to innovate and adapt, where possible. We are interested in hearing your thoughts on immigration in the current context, but also longer term. We are seeking your views on Canada’s immigration levels plan, including the balance between different classes and programs, and how immigration can support Canada – particularly in light of the current pandemic.

This consultation also requests your feedback on the Municipal Nominee Program (MNP) – a new economic immigration program included in the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s 2019 mandate letter.

Through your experiences with immigration, your views and advice will help to shape a collective national vision for planning immigration levels in the coming years and will also support the development of an economic immigration program that will help fill regional labour market needs.

We thank you for your participation.

Immigration Levels Planning

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act requires the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to table a projection of permanent resident admissions (the levels plan) in Parliament every year. The immigration levels plan details how many immigrants Canada will welcome as permanent residents under the economic, family, refugee and humanitarian programs.

The 2020-2022 immigration levels plan renews the three-year time frame for the multi-year plan and proposes to increase the number of permanent residents Canada welcomes annually to 341,000 in 2020; 351,000 in 2021; and 361,000 in 2022. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, the 2020 target of 341,000 permanent resident admissions will not be met. However, assuming travel restrictions are eased, the current plan calls for levels to increase in coming years. We are seeking your feedback as there is an opportunity to adjust out-year targets (i.e., currently 2021 and 2022) each year. The full 2020-2022 levels plan can be found here.

A number of considerations are taken into account when developing the immigration levels plan, including:

The plan is designed to contribute to an immigration system that fosters economic growth; supports diversity; and helps build vibrant, dynamic, and inclusive communities; while maintaining border integrity to preserve the safety and security of Canadians.

The current plan outlines a steady increase in admissions that trends towards 1 percent of Canada’s population by 2022.

Closely linked with the question of how many people to welcome, is the question of the appropriate mix (or distribution) of permanent residents across the main immigration classes. In the current plan for 2021, the economic class would account for 58 percent of total admissions. The family class would represent 26 percent, and the refugee and humanitarian classes would account for 16 percent. Please see below for the full list of categories and programs (Annex 1).

Municipal Nominee Program (MNP): A regional economic immigration program for permanent residency

Canada is recognized as a world leader in innovative immigration programs that have long been based on fulfilling national economic growth objectives (OECD, 2019). In recent years, Canada’s immigration programs have evolved to be more regionally-focused, in order to better respond to the unique demographic and labour market challenges experienced in different areas of the country.

In 2019, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada was mandated to “Introduce a Municipal Nominee Program (MNP) that will allow local communities, chambers of commerce and local labour councils to directly sponsor permanent immigrants. At least 5,000 new spaces will be dedicated for this program.”

In designing the MNP, IRCC is committed to extensive consultation with key stakeholders. To date, we have had early engagements with key federal partners, provincial and territorial governments and some national stakeholder groups. We are now seeking input from stakeholders, like yourself, to help us scope out the following program considerations.

Objective of the New Program – Existing federal, provincial and territorial economic immigration pathways target various types of skills and candidate profiles and were designed to address various needs and gaps. Through consultation, we would like to define the objective of the program to ensure complementarity with existing economic immigration programs (Annex 2).

Scope and Criteria for Participation – Demographic, labour and immigration needs vary across communities and regions in Canada. While the MNP will be able to contribute to meeting those needs, it will be difficult to address all of them. Putting in place criteria for community participation will also be an important program design element. Parameters such as the population size of communities, amount of newcomers that communities have traditionally received and priority economic sectors or labour shortages in occupations could be used to inform criteria for community participation.

Retention – To meet Canada’s regional demographic and economic challenges, retention of newcomers in a particular region or community is important. Many factors contribute to retention (e.g., meaningful employment and career development opportunities for the newcomer, as well as for family members; welcoming communities; community infrastructure such as affordable housing, schools and healthcare services, etc.).

Role of municipalities and community partners – Municipalities, and regional and local economic development organizations have pre-existing relationships with local employers and services within the communities which they serve. However, the economic development and business landscape, and capacity to partner in an immigration program vary across municipalities, communities and regions within Canada.

Role of provinces and territories – Jurisdiction over immigration is shared between federal and provincial/territorial governments. Provinces and territories currently play an important role in the selection of economic immigrants based on their jurisdiction’s economic development and labour market needs via their respective Provincial and Territorial Nominee Programs.

Role of settlement and support services – Settlement and support services Footnote 1 contribute to newcomers’ settlement and integration, so that they may fully participate and contribute in various aspects of Canadian life. IRCC pilots such as the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) recognize that settlement cannot follow a one-size-fits-all model and have implemented retention-based principles which prioritize strong community settlement services.

Annex 1 – Immigration Classes and Categories

Immigration class Category
Economic Federal High Skilled
Economic Pilots
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot
Agri-Food Pilot
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
Federal Business
Provincial Nominee Program
Quebec Skilled Workers and Business
Family Spouses, Partners, and Children
Parents and Grandparents
Refugees and protected persons Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad
Resettled Refugees
Government Assisted
Blended Visa Office Referred
Privately Sponsored
Humanitarian & other

Annex 2 - Existing economic immigration programs

In developing the MNP, IRCC will leverage lessons learned from existing regional immigration programs and pilots listed below, in order to contribute to, and further, the overall aim of sharing the benefits of immigration across all regions of Canada.


Annex 3 – Discussion Questions

Levels and Mix

  1. As a result of COVID-19:
    1. What changes do you foresee to how your/your sector operate(s) in the short-term and in the long-term?
    2. What role do you see immigration playing in your recovery efforts in the short-term and in the long-term?
  2. Subject to potential impacts, changes or shifts due to COVID-19, the current plan sets notional targets for 2021 to welcome 351,000 newcomers and in 2022 to welcome 361,000 newcomers. What are your views on this levels trajectory, and where do you think levels should go in 2023?
  3. What priorities should form our immigration planning and mix in the short-term and in the long-term?

Municipal Nominee Program (MNP)

  1. What is the key gap you see the MNP program addressing that is not covered well by other programming?
  2. What would success look like in the short term and long term, and what is needed to get there?

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