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Op-Ed by Minister Jon Reyes on Manitoba's Newly Announced Immigration Advisory Council

by Jon Reyes, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration, Feb 18, 2022

Manitoba has long been a leader in immigration policy, and is proud to be at the forefront of implementing innovative changes to Canada’s immigration system. In 1998 the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program began, bringing more than 165 000 talented, hard-working newcomers and their families to Manitoba since its inception.

 

While we’re very proud of these results, we know there are different areas of the labour market that need people with very specific skills. The Manitoba economy is projected to require an additional 15,500 workers per year for several years, and that demand will continue beyond 2025. Immigration is a crucial enabler to address this shortage.

 

When Premier Heather Stefanson came into office in November of 2021, she set out a bold plan to attract investment, foster job creation, and improve education and training opportunities to facilitate strong economic growth and get our economy roaring. We know that immigration and a diverse workforce contributes to a strong economy.

 

That’s why she announced the creation of a new advisory council on immigration, an expert panel tasked with recommending improvements to our current immigration policies and programs.

 

The Immigration Advisory Council, co-chaired by myself and Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, will review all aspects of Manitoba immigration policy - from promotion of the program, retention of newcomers and expanding access to starting a life in Manitoba. It will provide clear recommendations and concrete actions to the Manitoba Government, including strengthening the Canada-Manitoba Immigration Agreement by looking at options to include new annexes or memoranda of understanding. We’re committed to continuously building on our strong platform, and making Manitoba the obvious choice for skilled workers, families, and hard working people from across the globe. 

 

Additionally, the advisory council will focus on:

 

  • building on promotion to attract and recruit more immigrants and business investors to the province;
  • streamlining the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, especially with regard to setting the right balance between the province’s regional labour market, economic development and community needs
  • fostering Manitoba’s settlement and integration programs and services, as well as foreign credential recognition programs, to encourage labour market attachment, improve foreign credential recognition and bolster immigrant retention.

 

This new advisory council will be made up of a diverse group individuals with lived experience with the program as well as those with expertise related to immigration services, governance, economic development, analysis, project management and community integration. It will represent front-line immigration service providers, ethnocultural community leaders and organizations, representatives of Manitoba’s business, industry, and academic communities, and will have urban, regional and francophone representation.

 

The council will help us look at new and innovative ways for Manitoba to continue to be a welcoming new home for all newcomers, including refugees and international students. Premier Stefanson and I want Manitoba to be a dynamic destination for immigration and business investors and an attractive place for people to come to build a life of opportunity and prosperity for themselves and their family.

 

Work will begin immediately to finalize the council’s membership, with a final report to be provided by the end of the year.

 

This advisory council is extremely important to me, for a number of reasons. Many of my Waverley constituents are newcomers to Canada, and I have heard from them how complex and complicated the current process can be. And more recently, my role in supporting economic development in Manitoba clearly showed me how important immigration is to helping grow our labour market and diversify our economy. 

 

Our Skills, Talent and Knowledge Strategy notes that immigration is a tool that we can use to address labour and skill shortages and to attract and recruit international talent. Manitoba has a need for a range of skilled workers in the province, and we want to focus on the unique talent needs of Manitoba’s employers, and bring in talent that is not accessible locally.  

 

I encourage you to visit https://immigratemanitoba.com/ for more information on the advisory council and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program.

 

 

 

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.