Canada Government commits $100 million towards settlement initiatives for newcomers during the post-COVID-19

Canada announced that it will allocate $100 million to help new immigrants settle and integrate in Canada during the post-COVID-19 period.
Canada announced that it will allocate $100 million to help new immigrants settle and integrate in Canada during the post-COVID-19 period.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that it will allocate $100 million to help new immigrants settle and integrate in Canada during the post-COVID-19 period.

This funding will be provided over the next three years and will focus on improving the ways newcomers access settlement services.

The funding will come from the Ministry’s Service Delivery Funding (SDI) program. The SDI is a funding process program that focuses on needs assessment, information, language training and skills development, employment-related services and community ties.

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“Settlement services play a fundamental role in Canada’s immigration system. From work to housing to language training, they set newcomers up for success. During this challenging year and a half, I think it’s safe to say everyone has needed support in some form or another. One can only begin to imagine the additional hurdles this pandemic has presented newcomers trying to start their lives in Canada. These new SDI projects will help us enhance and improve settlement services so every newcomer can reach their full potential here,” said Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

IRCC has selected 78 projects under the 2020 funding process.

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“These projects will explore how to better integrate newcomers in their new communities and support the settlement sector as it recovers from the pandemic,” IRCC said in a statement.

“Throughout the pandemic, many settlement services have moved online. SDI funding will help IRCC determine the kinds of services newcomers need, while taking into account the increased reliance on online service delivery.”

Examples of projects that are part of this funding process were also provided. They are as follows:

  • The University of Windsor’s Artificial Intelligence: A Rapid Response Leveraging Newcomers’ Pathway to Settlement will test whether artificial intelligence can be used to develop an effective settlement strategy for newcomers.
  • The Accessible Community Counselling and Employment Services’ Connecting Canada: Employer Engagement Driving Settlement in Smaller Communities will test whether connecting newcomers with employers in smaller urban and rural communities before they arrive will lead to more newcomers choosing to settle there.
  • S.U.C.C.E.S.S.’s An Anti-Oppression Framework to Combat Systemic Racism in Immigrant Services will explore service approaches designed with an anti-oppression framework.

Funding will begin in the fall of 2021 and run until March 31, 2024.

Canada’s federal government plans to welcome more than one million new permanent residents over the next three years and recognizes the need to invest in settlement infrastructure.

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Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023 is the most ambitious effort to welcome newcomers in its history.

Canada will aim to welcome over 400,000 new immigrants each year to support its economic and social prosperity. Canada is welcoming skilled workers to strengthen its economy, family class immigrants, and refugees. This comprehensive CanadaVisa page outlines everything that you need to know about the plan, why Canada welcomes high levels of immigration, and the impact of COVID-19.

Summary of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan

Canada Immigration Levels Plan Infographic

Over the next 3 years, Canada will seek to welcome over 1.2 million new immigrants. 

Each year, the federal department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) releases a new Immigration Levels Plan which it uses to guide its operations.

In 2021, IRCC will target the arrival of 401,000 immigrants. In 2022, this will rise to 411,000 new permanent residents (PRs). In 2023, Canada will aim to welcome an additional 421,000 immigrants. The following table summarizes Canada’s immigration targets between 2021-2023 by immigration class:

Immigration Class 2021 2022 2023
Economic 232,500 241,500 249,500
Family 103,500 103,500 104,500
Refugee 59,500 60,500 61,000
Humanitarian 5,500 5,500 6,000
Total 401,000 411,000 421,000

2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan

Immigrant Category 2021 2022 2023
Target Low Range High Range Target Low Range High Range Target Low Range High Range
Overall Planned Permanent Resident Admissions 401,000 300,000 410,000 411,000 320,000 420,000 421,000 330,000 430,000
Economic Federal High Skilled 108,500 81,000 110,250 110,500 96,250 112,900 113,750 100,000 114,500
Federal Business 1,000 400 1,250 1,000 250 1,250 1,000 500 1,250
Economic Pilots: Caregivers 8,500 4,900 9,250 10,000 4,500 10,500 10,250 4,500 11,000
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program 6,000 3,300 6,250 6,250 3,000 6,750 6,500 3,500 6,750
Provincial Nominee Program 80,800 64,000 81,500 81,500 63,600 82,500 83,000 65,000 84,000
Quebec Skilled Workers and Business See the Quebec immigration plan To be determined To be determined
Total Economic 232,500 180,500 237,000 241,500 199,000 247,000 249,500 207,000 253,500
Family Spouses, Partners and Children 80,000 61,000 81,000 80,000 60,000 81,000 81,000 60,000 82,000
Parents and Grandparents 23,500 15,000 24,000 23,500 14,000 24,000 23,500 14,000 24,000
Total Family 103,500 76,000 105,000 103,500 74,000 105,000 104,500 74,000 106,000
Refugees and Protected Persons Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad 23,500 17,000 25,000 24,500 19,000 25,000 25,000 19,500 25,500
Resettled Refugees – Government-Assisted 12,500 7,500 13,000 12,500 7,500 13,000 12,500 8,400 13,000
Resettled Refugees – Privately Sponsored 22,500 14,900 23,000 22,500 15,400 23,000 22,500 15,500 23,000
Resettled Refugees – Blended Visa Office-Referred 1,000 100 1,000 1,000 100 1,000 1,000 100 1,000
Total Refugees and Protected Persons 59,500 39,500 62,000 60,500 42,000 62,000 61,000 43,500 62,500
Humanitarian and Other Total Humanitarian & Compassionate and Other 5,500 4,000 6,000 5,500 5,000 6,000 6,000 5,500 8,000
4.4% of total admissions outside Quebec 12,144 16,544

Why Canada Needs Immigrants

Canada welcomes high levels of immigration to keep its economy strong.

Canada has one of the world’s oldest populations and also one of the world’s lowest birth rates. This creates economic and fiscal pressures. Canada has a low rate of natural population growth which results in low rates of labour force and economic growth. Low economic growth makes it difficult for Canada to raise the taxes it needs to support social spending on services such as education, health care, and other important areas that provide high living standards in the country.

As a result, Canada has been increasing its immigration levels since the late 1980s to increase its rate of population, labour force, and economic growth. Canada now depends on immigration for the majority of its population and labour force growth and a larger share of its economic growth.

Consider that Canada will have 9 million baby boomers reach the retirement age of 65 by the year 2030. This means that Canada will have fewer workers at a time when its social spending on health care will rise. To alleviate this challenge, Canada has been proactive by gradually raising its immigration targets for over 30 years now.

As shown in the chart below, Canada has regularly welcomed over 200,000 immigrants per year since 1988. In recent years, it has decided to increase its levels to over 300,000 per year. Canada’s immigration rate now stands at around 0.9 per cent. In other words, Canada welcomes three times more immigrants on a per capita basis than then the United States of America.

Based on its demographic realities and its immigration trends, it appears likely that Canada will continue to gradually increase its immigration levels over the foreseeable future. Immigration will remain critical to supporting a healthy economy and fiscal situation in the country.

Moreover, a strong argument can be made that immigration’s importance has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has weakened the Canadian economy in the short run and increased government spending on social services. In addition, Canada’s birth rate fell to its lowest level ever of 1.47 children per woman in 2019. Given the low birth rate prior to the pandemic, and the chance the pandemic will reduce the birth rate even further due to economic uncertainty, Canada will become even more dependent on immigration for its population growth in the coming years. If Canada’s birth rate remains low, then immigration will comprise an even larger share of labour force growth in the decades to come. Finally, Canada will need to strengthen its tax base through immigration to support government spending following COVID-19.

Canada Immigration Levels 1860-2019

How COVID-19 is Impacting Canada Immigration

Canada has continued to operate its immigration system throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, the Canadian government has communicated its desire to minimize disruptions to the immigration system so it can continue to welcome skilled workers, family class immigrants, refugees, temporary foreign workers, international students, and visitors. When Canada initially imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions, it announced that some new permanent residents would be allowed to enter the country.

COVID-19 has reduced the flow of new permanent resident arrivals into Canada. At the same time, the ongoing processing of immigration applications means that those who are not able to enter Canada in 2020 should expect to be able to move to the country once the pandemic situation has improved.

In the meantime, Canada is still issuing new immigration invitations to skilled workers under Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and through Quebec’s immigration programs. Spousal sponsorship applications are also being processed. The following CanadaVisa page contains the latest updates on how COVID-19 is affecting Canadian immigration.

Overview of Canada’s Immigration Programs

Economic immigration, which is a major driver of Canada’s economic growth, accounts for more than half of planned admissions through the multi-year levels plan.

Nearly half of projected economic admissions will be through the federal Express Entry system programs:

Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) also plays an important role in terms of economic immigration. This program allows participating Canadian provinces and territories to nominate eligible immigration candidates who match local workforce needs for permanent residence.

The following are immigration programs included in Canada’s Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan:

Economic Programs

  • Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program:
    This Express Entry-managed program is for immigrants with the requisite education, work experience, proficiency in English and/or French and other skills need to establish themselves economically in Canada.
  • Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC):
    The Express Entry-managed Federal Skilled Trades Class is for foreign workers with qualifications in a skilled trade.
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC):
    The Canadian Experience Class is managed by the Express Entry system and welcomes expressions of interest from foreign workers with Canadian work experience or recent graduates of Canadian educational institutions working in Canada.
  • Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP):
    The Atlantic Immigration Pilot allows designated Atlantic employers to recruit and hire foreign skilled workers or international graduates in the Atlantic Canada region (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick).
  • Caregivers Program:
    Canada allows eligible foreigners caring for children and people with high medical needs the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
  • Federal Business (Start-Up Visa Program and Self-Employed Person):
    Federal business class programs allow foreigners who meet eligibility requirements the chance to run new or pre-existing businesses in Canada.
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP):
    This program allows participating provinces and territories to nominate eligible economic immigration candidates for Canadian permanent residence.
  • Quebec Skilled Worker Program and Quebec Business:
    The province of Quebec runs its own immigration system outside the federal system. The Government of Quebec’s planned levels for 2019 to 2021 have yet to be determined.

Family Class Programs

Refugees and Protected Persons, Humanitarian and other


Contact Campbell Cohen for Assistance

Campbell Cohen is a leading Canadian immigration law firm with over 45 years of experience. Campbell Cohen is comprised of over 60 Canadian immigration lawyers, paralegals, and other professionals. We are dedicated to helping people achieve their Canadian immigration goals. We assist in areas including skilled worker and business immigration, family sponsorship, work permits, study permits, citizenship, and inadmissibility. was founded in 1994 as the online presence of Campbell Cohen. CanadaVisa has since blossomed into the one of the world’s most trusted resources on Canadian immigration. Please reach out for assistance. We’re happy to help:

Settlement services offered by the Government of Canada are geared towards people who arrive in the country as refugees, as families or as economic immigrants. Their purpose is to help people overcome specific barriers to the newcomer experience, such as lack of official language skills and knowledge of Canadian social, cultural, civic and economic life.

Newcomers who can integrate into Canadian society and settle quickly can make a greater contribution to Canada’s economic growth.

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