The federal government has said immigration is crucial for the economy, and that it accounts for as much as 90 per cent of labour force growth in Canada. But critics of the plan have raised questions about the effects of higher immigration targets on the country’s already-unaffordable urban housing markets. And it is unclear whether Ottawa’s plan will help make up for shortages of labour in low-paid fields such as accommodation, food services, retail and health care assistance.
NDP immigration and housing critic Jenny Kwan said the federal government has missed an opportunity to give temporary foreign workers and undocumented workers permanent resident status. This would give them access to taxpayer-funded health care and allow them to live and work anywhere in Canada, indefinitely. (Temporary foreign workers are typically restricted to one employer and not allowed to switch jobs.)
“The government must stop relying on vulnerable workers and give them the protection of permanent status and ensure their rights are respected,” Ms. Kwan said in an e-mailed statement.
The flood of new permanent residents is expected to bring new homebuyers and renters to communities across the country. That could increase activity in the residential real estate market, which has slowed since early last year, when borrowing costs jumped with a rise in interest rates.