I want to thank the Auditor General for her report and recommendations on the Provincial Nominee Program, a joint Federal-Provincial program.
In 2013, 103,000 immigrants came to Ontario, and 1,300 individuals were nominated through the Provincial Nominee Program. The number of nominations increased to 2,500 in 2014. Through this joint program with the Federal Government, Ontario has attracted more than 121 specialist doctors and 107 world class professors. The Auditor General notes that the Federal Government has a higher approval rate for Ontario PNP applications compared to other Provinces and Territories. The approval rate on nominee applications is 97% across Canada, and 99% for Ontario nominee applications.
Given the important role immigration plays in our economy today and the critical role it will play in the future, the Auditor General’s comments and recommendations are both significant and timely. The Auditor identifies oversight gaps that need to be addressed. That is one of the reasons why we re-introduced Bill 49, the Ontario Immigration Act, which will do just that.
During the course of our own program work and the Auditor’s review, Ministry officials were made aware of allegations of fraudulent conduct related to a small number of immigration consultants and applicants to the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program. We reported these allegations to the OPP who informed my Ministry in November that they would investigate the allegations. We will continue to cooperate with our law enforcement partners to ensure that these incidents are appropriately addressed.
The Federal Government has not yet confirmed Ontario’s allocation for 2015 PNP applications.
Ontario’s employers, students, hospitals, and universities benefit from this program and a delay in confirming the allocation potentially harms Ontario’s and Canada’s economy. We look forward to working with the Federal Government to confirm Ontario’s allocation at the earliest opportunity.
Our government is committed to making immigration work better for newcomers, employers and Ontario. Careful oversight and compliance of our immigration programs is a key element of this commitment.
We have pro-actively taken action on all 14 of the Auditor’s recommendations.
Over the past year, the Ministry has been working hard at developing and implementing measures that enhance the integrity and administration of the provincial nominee program.
The provincial nominee program is a key component of Ontario’s immigration strategy and we are committed to its long-term success. We will continue to work with all of our partners to improve the administration and integrity of the program so that immigration can work better for newcomers, employers and our province.
Bryan Leblanc, Minister’s Office, 416-325-0208
Laura Sylvis, Communications Branch, 416-314-7010