The immigration minister says Canada’s immigration system is too generous to newcomers and “not fair” to the long-term unemployed, according to a CBC News report.
Peter Kent says Canada needs to focus on ensuring the long term unemployed have the right skills and have enough support.
The minister says the Canadian experience shows people with less than $30,000 in savings and no prior work experience are more likely to be left out.
The Immigration Department says Canada has a “fair” and “effective” system.
Kent says the current system is a “dire” one and Canada needs a “real adjustment” to get back to the status quo.
CBC News spoke with the immigration minister about the report, which comes as the Conservatives continue to defend the system.
CBC’s Dan Hunter: What are your thoughts on the report and what are your hopes and fears for the future?
Peter Kent: I think this report is disappointing.
It is a report that is very much a product of a Conservative government that is determined to maintain its position on the immigration system.
The immigration system in Canada is based on the fact that if we can keep the numbers of people coming in that are low and we can get the numbers back up, we can have a strong immigration system that is fair to the people who are coming in, and it is fair for the Canadian economy.
So I think it’s disappointing to me that the Conservatives are continuing to defend this system.
That’s not good for Canada.
I think we need to look at the current immigration system, what is it?
And what is the future of it?
How are we going to be able to adapt it?
The government needs to take a real look at how we can make it fair and efficient for Canadians.
And how can we make sure that the long time unemployed, those who are just looking for a little bit of security in their life, don’t fall through the cracks?
And we have a great system that we have in place that has a system that can help them, and is fair, that is really good for the economy.
And so that’s why I think that it is a really bad report.
I can’t speak to the findings of the report.
I’ll let the report do the talking.
But I think what I can say is that Canada has been successful in attracting people who need to be in the labour market and that is why we have had such a successful immigration system for so long.
And it’s really disappointing that it continues to be this way.
We need to have a change in the immigration regime, a real adjustment to get to a fair immigration system where Canadians can find a place to live and support themselves and support their families.
That is the way to create a sustainable economy.
Hunter: You’ve been in government for two years.
What have you learned from that time?
Kent: There are a number of things that we know that we need in Canada that we haven’t really thought of in terms of our immigration policy.
For example, the Canadian model is a good model.
It has been in place for a long time.
The current immigration model is an absolute failure.
It needs a major overhaul.
And we know the Conservative government is doing a poor job of addressing those issues.
We’ve been able to find a few things that have helped us.
We are trying to bring back a more modern immigration system and we are bringing back a fairer immigration system so that Canadians can have the best possible chance of living their lives.
But we also know that the Conservative Government’s approach to immigration policy, particularly its approach to long-time workers, is not in keeping with Canada’s international and human rights commitments, and so it’s just not fair for Canada to continue to rely on the current rules that we are currently using.
That being said, there are a few key areas where we have made some progress.
We have a new system, the Canada Experience Visa Program, which is a new program that provides support for long-standing Canadians who are seeking a job in Canada.
We now have the possibility of extending this program to other skilled workers.
We also have a better system for processing applications for skilled workers, and we have introduced a new employment insurance program.
So we have done a lot of things to address some of the issues that we had identified in the past.
But what I would say is the government has made some important strides in addressing the issues of the long working and long-paying labour force in Canada and we still need to do a lot more to address the issues facing long-serving Canadians in our economy.
But at the end of the day, we are a very, very strong economy and we do have a lot to be proud of.