Canada’s Housing Minister, Sean Fraser, has suggested that the federal government may reconsider the country’s historically high immigration levels targets. In an interview on CTV’s Question Period, Fraser emphasized the need to align immigration policies with the absorptive capacity of communities, including factors such as housing, healthcare, and infrastructure. While Fraser acknowledged that there is work to be done with temporary immigration programs, he did not necessarily imply a reduction in the number of newcomers. Instead, he highlighted the importance of carefully considering immigration targets in consultation with other levels of government and institutions responsible for housing.
Fraser also emphasized the need to increase housing supply in conjunction with immigration review to address current housing challenges. He stated that it is essential to focus on increasing housing supply when tackling housing issues. Fraser believes that immigration remains one of Canada’s strongest competitive advantages in the global economy and should not be overlooked.
The current immigration targets, introduced by Fraser last year, aim to welcome an estimated 500,000 newcomers per year until 2025. Initially, these targets were set to address labor shortages and contribute to Canada’s economic prosperity. However, experts from academia, banking, and politics have warned that the high-growth immigration strategy is exacerbating the housing crisis. A TD report from July estimated that if the current immigration strategy continues, Canada’s housing shortfall could potentially widen by half a million units in just two years.
Some experts have suggested reducing immigration numbers to alleviate the housing crisis. Tony Keller, a columnist for The Globe and Mail, proposed setting a cap on the number of international students coming to Canada due to concerns about the deterioration of the international student immigration system. While Fraser has hinted at support for this suggestion in the past, he still believes that welcoming significant numbers of international students is beneficial for Canada in both the short and long term.
Fraser acknowledges that shifting the way Canada operates its immigration laws to align them with housing capacity would be a monumental change. He emphasizes the importance of doing it right and ensuring that international students are properly supported and integrated into the communities they live in.
In conclusion, Housing Minister Sean Fraser’s indication of potentially reconsidering Canada’s immigration targets reflects a recognition of the need to align immigration policies with the absorptive capacity of communities. While the current targets aim to address labor shortages and contribute to economic prosperity, experts have warned that they are exacerbating the housing crisis. Fraser emphasizes the importance of increasing housing supply alongside immigration review and believes that immigration remains one of Canada’s strongest competitive advantages. The decision to make any permanent changes to immigration laws must be carefully considered in consultation with other levels of government and institutions responsible for housing.