IRCC Minister Transition Binder 2019: Federal/Provincial/Territorial and International Relations
- Increasing global migration creates both opportunities and challenges for Canada: an opportunity to access human capital to meet our economic needs, and a challenge for our asylum system as a result of high numbers of irregular arrivals.
- These opportunities and challenges are driving the need for enhanced engagement and dialogue, both domestically and internationally.
- Engagement with provincial/territorial and international partners is crucial to the effective delivery of the Department’s mandate, including to attract and retain human capital in support of economic growth, to maintain public support for immigration, as well as to address global migration challenges.
- Domestically, IRCC engages with provincial and territorial governments on immigration issues, as a shared responsibility, to ensure that policies benefit both national and jurisdictional interests.
- Internationally, IRCC engages with other countries as well as with international organizations and forums to foster cooperation on key migration issues, to exchange best practices, and to enhance the integrity of migration systems in order to protect the safety and security of Canadians.
IRCC engages provinces and territories multilaterally through the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration, while bilateral engagement is guided by legally-binding bilateral agreements.
- Federal/provincial/territorial governments work collaboratively to leverage immigration as a means to grow the economy and address regional labour market needs.
- The federal government is responsible for federal economic immigration, family class immigration, refugees, protected persons, and assessing the admissibility of all cases.
- Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for nominations under the Provincial Nominee Program.
- Immigration-related matters with Quebec are unique and are governed by the Canada-Quebec Accord. The Quebec Government is advancing an ambitious agenda to revamp its immigration system to address significant labour market shortages and improve newcomer integration.
Provinces and territories have been focused on a broad range of immigration issues including:
- Economic Immigration:
- Provincial and territorial governments have indicated an interest in having 65% of annual admissions focused on the economic class, supported by faster processing times.
- A key priority has been to grow immigration outside of major urban centres to meet labour market needs; this would also help alleviate pressure on settlement and other services in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montréal.
- Asylum Volumes:
- There are concerns about growing asylum volumes, which have put pressure on provincial and territorial social services (social assistance, housing, education, health).
- Settlement Services:
- Provinces and territories are seeking increased federal investment in settlement services to better support and integrate newcomers. Currently, IRCC invests nearly $778M in 2019-2020 on settlement services outside of Quebec.
Multilateral International Engagement
IRCC conducts multilateral international engagement through various forums to support our mandate, including the resettlement of refugees, to identify collective solutions to global challenges, and to promote a positive narrative on migration.
- Composed of senior officials from the immigration agencies of Canada’s closest partners – the “Five Eyes” countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States) and serves as a platform to collaborate in addressing common migration challenges. The Migration Five receives direction from the Five Country Ministerial, an annual meeting of “Five Eyes” public safety and immigration ministers. Canada will chair the Migration Five in 2020.
United Nations organizations
United Nations Refugee Agency:
- Relied on by IRCC to identify the most vulnerable refugees around the world in need of resettlement.
International Organization for Migration:
- An essential partner in our refugee resettlement efforts, providing transportation, pre-departure medical services, and orientation to refugees destined for Canada. The International Organization for Migration also supports the delivery of our capacity-building efforts and plays a key role in global migration governance.
Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees
- The Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees is a forum of 12 European states and Migration Five countries who exchange information and debate policy. Canada is the chair of the Forum for 2019-2020.
Bilateral International Engagement
Bilateral international engagement allows IRCC to address migration issues that are specific to its relationship with another country, learn from other countries’ experiences, and share information about Canada’s model of migration.
Examples of IRCC’s bilateral engagement include:
- A strong and longstanding relationship with United States counterparts, regularly collaborating on issues relating to border security, information-sharing and asylum in the North American perimeter.
- Discussions with the European Commission through the Canada-European Union Joint Consultations on Migration and Asylum, on asylum and visa policy, regular migration pathways, and international migration governance.
- Working with Mexico through the Canada-Mexico High Level Dialogue on Mobility, to discuss migration challenges and opportunities for collaboration, including issues related to the 2016 visa lift and the increasing levels of asylum claims from Mexico.
- Strengthening bilateral cooperation with Nigeria, including to deter irregular migration and facilitate returns.
- Incoming visits from a variety of countries seeking to learn about aspects of Canada’s approach to managed migration.
Bilateral Relations with the United States
IRCC has a strong and longstanding relationship with United States counterparts, regularly collaborating on issues relating to border security, information-sharing and asylum in the North American perimeter.
Northbound irregular migration at the Canada-U.S. border has become a leading driver of Canada-U.S. engagement:
- IRCC is engaging with the U.S. to modernize the Safe Third Country Agreement
- IRCC has been closely monitoring the shifting political developments in the U.S., particularly for their impact on Canada and the designation of the U.S. as a safe third country.
Other key areas of collaboration include:
- The Canada-U.S. Information Sharing Treaty
- Regular engagement with U.S. consulates in source countries on visa issuance practices
- Automated information sharing on certain eTA populations
The Safe Third Country Agreement, including Canada’s designation of the U.S. as a safe third country, is currently being litigated before the Federal Court, although a decision by the Court is not expected imminently.
Through capacity-building, IRCC helps countries develop tools and policies to manage migration and deal with migration challenges. These efforts support our departmental mandate, promote safe and orderly migration, and support the deterrence of irregular migration.
Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative
- IRCC shares its experience in private sponsorship of refugees with other countries and helps them to create similar programs, expanding the number of resettlement spaces available globally.
- Since the establishment of the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative in December 2016, an estimated 1,000 new protection spaces have been created worldwide.
International Migration Capacity Building Program
- Through the International Migration Capacity Building Program (IRCC provides $1,000,000/year in funding), Canada works with partners to strengthen migration management systems and influence the global discourse on international migration. Past projects have focused on sharing best practices for travel document integrity, strengthening asylum systems and piloting complementary pathways for refugees.
- The Program includes a new envelope that will allow for capacity-building to deter irregular migration and increase removals cooperation.
- Engagement with provincial/territorial and international partners is key to the effective delivery of the Department’s mandate, as well as to address global migration challenges.
- As global migration flows continue to increase without a corresponding increase in regular pathways for immigration, irregular migration is expected to continue, posing challenges for receiving countries in terms of managing arrivals, returns and growing anti-immigrant sentiment.
- Canada has a balanced narrative on migration that is viewed positively and allows us to present an alternative approach on the world stage.
- International engagement to deter irregular migration and support removals is an important component of efforts to support the integrity of Canada’s migration and asylum system and to help preserve public confidence.
- While provinces and territories remain supportive of immigration as a means to grow the economy, they will continue to call for faster processing times, additional allocations under the Provincial Nominee Program, and compensation for asylum costs.
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