Saturday October 28, 2017

Minister says 300,000 new immigrants a year is Canada's 'new normal'

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, holds a news conference to update Canadians on the possible impacts of recent immigration-related decisions made by President Donald Trump, in Ottawa on Sunday, January 29, 2017.

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, holds a news conference to update Canadians on the possible impacts of recent immigration-related decisions made by President Donald Trump, in Ottawa on Sunday, January 29, 2017. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Listen 8:21

Canada's immigration minister says Canada will welcome at least as many immigrants next year as it is in 2017.

The government's plan for annual immigration levels, which was set at 300,000 for this year, is expected to be tabled in the House of Commons next week.

Immigration minister Ahmed Hussen told The House that the government will not go below that level next year.

"Three hundred thousand is now our new normal," he said, while not closing the door to a higher number for 2018.

"As a government we went from 260,000 to 300,000 because of the need to meet the demands of Canadian families who wanted to reunite with their loved ones," Hussen continued. "But also employers who are asking us to allow them to continue to use immigration more and more as a way to meet their growth needs."

Hussen added that he's been in the process of consultations since April to put together the immigration outlook that's coming soon, and that those consultations focused on the numbers Canada should bring in and what the right mix immigration, in terms of the different classes, should be.

He said the "vast majority" of immigrants coming in will be from the economic class because that's where the greatest need is.

This will be followed closely by family class immigrants and then refugees, Hussen said.

Statistics Canada census numbers released Wednesday revealed the number of immigrants in Canada has reached its highest rate in a century.