Letter to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada - Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
July 29, 2002
The Honourable Denis Coderre, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada
365 Laurier Avenue West, 21st Floor
Dear Mr. Coderre;
Thank you for sending the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance the final regulations which will accompany the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
I regret that CATAAlliance's members do not find the revised version to be a significant improvement over the original. A new graduate of MIT, Cambridge or the Indian Institute of Technology will still not be able to immigrate to Canada. He will only have 46 points, or 56 if she has a job offer in hand. They can surpass the 75 point threshold only if they have four years of experience, which new grads of course do not have.
Establishing such high bench marks would be practical policy if Canada had no competition in the race to attract skilled immigrants. It is no secret that competition for the skilled is ferocious, as declining rates of population growth force more and more developed countries to turn to immigrants to sustain their economic development. Canada is being placed at a disadvantage.
The problem will only be aggravated by the proposal that immigrants be forced to settle outside the major economic centres. This appears to be an attempt to reverse one of the longest, strongest trends in demographic and economic history, the growth of cities. The merit of forcing people to settle in those areas where unemployment is highest, rather than lowest, is highly questionable. It will inevitably fail. Dispersal will have a negative effect on innovation and productivity growth. It will certainly discourage the skilled from coming to Canada. The solution to the skills shortage in the regions is improved education and training, not restricting mobility.
The Canadian high tech industry is highly successful, a research and export driven sector which has been the biggest contributor to Canada's economic and employment growth for the past decade. It is the classic knowledge industry, entirely dependent for its success on the creativity, education and skills of its people. Global competition for this sort of talent is fierce. Placing obstacles in the way of the highly skilled risks inflicting serious damage on the industry, and on Canada.
On July 16 the Prime Minister identified immigration as the solution to Canada's slow population growth. He noted that the government is working to reform the immigration system, to bring in more people. The reforms now under discussion will aggravate the shortfall in immigration, not alleviate it.
CATAAlliance recommends that the IRPA regulations be reviewed and amended at the earliest opportunity. We strongly urge that no restrictions on location be placed on skilled immigrants.
The Honourable Jane Stewart
The Honourable Alan Rock
Mr. Steve Mahoney, M.P.