Canadian Immigration News

What Are the Consultation Findings on the Municipal Nominee Program?

3.3 minute read
"The Liberal Party of Canada promised to launch the Municipal Nominee Programs (MNP) during the 2019 Federal Elections. The MNP was also a key priority highlighted in the 2 mandate letters issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino after the elections."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Nov 14, 2021
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The Liberal Party of Canada promised to launch the Municipal Nominee Programs (MNP) during the 2019 Federal Elections. The MNP was also a key priority highlighted in the 2 mandate letters issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino after the elections. 

Since then, the pandemic has hindered any work on the program. During the 2021 Federal Elections, the Liberal Party once again promised to introduce the MNP. Now, an internal memo by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada revealed the highlights of the 2020 stakeholder consultations on the MNP. 

As the pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed across Canada and all over the world, the path to introduce the MNP seems more clearer than ever. 

Why Is the Municipal Nominee Program (MNP) Needed?

The idea behind launching the MNP is to encourage economic immigration across smaller municipalities in Canada. The IRCC along with the Canadian provinces and territories have been making larger efforts to encourage economic immigration to smaller jurisdictions since the 1990s. 

The MNP will help attract and retain more workers to support and sustain economic development across Canada as more of the Canadian workforce retires. Until now, programs like the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP), and Quebec’s Immigration system have done a great job at promoting economic immigration across Canada.

Every Canadian province and territory (except Quebec and Nunavut) has their PNPs to nominate eligible candidates for permanent residence, provided they have the skills and experience to contribute to the local labor market. Before the PNPs were launched in 1998, 85% of all the immigrants were settling in major provinces such as Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. 

However, after the launch of the PNPs, this figure went down to 70%. Due to the PNPs, economic immigration to provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador increased significantly. However, concentrating the immigration population from big cities in these provinces to smaller cities and towns remains the biggest challenge. Canada aims to address this challenge through the launch of the MNPs.

What Did the Memo Reveal?

The memo revealed that the IRCC was planning to hold in-person consultations in 2020 which were shifted to virtual meetings in spring/summer 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The IRCC consulted with many stakeholders including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, an organization representing over 2,000 Canadian municipalities, labor councils, academics, and immigrant-serving organizations, among others. 

These stakeholders were asked questions regarding:

  • What would a successful MNP look like?
  • How do you select the municipalities that will participate in the program?
  • What role each stakeholder will play in ensuring the success of the MNP?
  • How to support settlement and retention of new immigrants? 

According to a majority of the stakeholders, retention is the most important aspect to gauge the success of the program. This is because once the candidates receive permanent residence, they will be free to live anywhere in Canada. Therefore, to maximize the benefit from immigration, there must be enough job opportunities and a welcoming environment to help the settlement of new immigrants.

The stakeholders also identified addressing labor market needs and supporting economic growth in smaller communities as a metric of success for the program. These discussions concluded that the MNP needs to encourage economic immigration to smaller communities in a way that addresses the local labor market needs and also ensures the retention of new immigrants in these communities. 

On how to decide which communities will participate in the program, the majority of stakeholders identified local labor market needs as the main determinant. To support the retention of economic migrants, municipalities need to have the critical infrastructure, the ability to welcome newcomers, existing economic growth strategies, and publicly-funded colleges and universities. The main infrastructure requirements included the availability of housing, healthcare, and schools. Nearly half of the stakeholders agree that the MNP can operate within the PNPs. 

What’s In Store for the Future?

It is still unclear when the MNP will be launched. Many questions regarding what the program will look like, what the eligibility requirements will be, which municipalities will participate, and what role will be played by key actors such as employers and immigrant-serving organizations remain unanswered. If the program is based on previous retention-driven programs such as the RNIP, it can be expected that the IRCC will issue a call for proposals to invite eligible municipalities to submit applications to recruit economic immigrants through the program. 

It is also unclear whether this program will be temporary or permanent. Since 2013, every new program launched by the IRCC has been a 5-year program with an application cap of 2,750 candidates. If we go by this, the IRCC can be expected to implement the MNP for 5 years and decide whether to make it permanent or not during that period. The IRCC will require approval by the Parliament to make the program permanent.

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