Syrian refugee arrivals could affect intake of other immigrants: Ottawa
Thursday, March 10, 2016

The federal government will increase the total number of immigrants it welcomes this year, but the arrival of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees could still lead to cutbacks for other immigration streams, according to Immigration Minister John McCallum.

Mr. McCallum’s comments come as the government prepares to table its 2016 immigration targets by March 9, outlining the anticipated number of new permanent residents Canada will welcome this year.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail last week, the minister said the government will be “expanding the pie” to accommodate its ambitious Syrian refugee resettlement plan, which recently saw the arrival of the 25,000th Syrian since December. However, he said that “there are limits to how much we can expand the pie, so there will always be trade-offs.”

“We will be aiming for a relatively high level of total immigration, so to a degree, the additional refugees will be accommodated by a higher total, but … to some extent, it’s a zero-sum game. If you let in more of one, you let in less of another,” he said. Mr. McCallum refused to provide specific targets or say what those trade-offs could look like before the immigration levels plan is tabled in Parliament.

Queen’s University immigration and refugee law professor Sharryn Aiken said she is concerned about Mr. McCallum’s comments. “The Liberals campaigned on a commitment to immigration and a clear recognition of the overall benefits of immigration to Canada,” Prof. Aiken said. “I wouldn’t want to see what actually constitutes a very modest increase in the refugee program result in downward pressure on other categories.”

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Source:  Globe and Mail