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A New Direction: Ontario’s Immigration Strategy

Why does Ontario need an immigration strategy?

We need immigrants to fill skilled jobs

Demographics show that our population is aging, and our birth rate is low. Without further immigration, our labour force will begin to shrink by 2014. That will have a significant effect on the economic and social well-being of the province.

Ontario will face serious worker shortages unless we are able to attract new immigrants. Employers say that jobs are already going unfilled and their businesses are suffering. Most new jobs will require skilled workers and there will not be enough people here with the right skills to fill them.

Arnon Melo: Entrepreneur

“My first boss in Ontario was an immigrant who gave me the break I needed to get started in logistics. I feel an obligation to pay it forward”

Brazilian immigrant Arnon Melo is definitely paying it forward. The logistics company he founded now employs 10 people, most of them immigrants. MELLOHAWK recently won the Scotiabank and Canadian Federation of Independent Business “Small Business, Big Impact Challenge” award for its leadership role in community building.



Federal policies are hurting Ontario

The federal government selects the vast majority of immigrants who can come to Ontario, but it has significantly cut the number it allows to settle here. This affects our ability to fill skilled job positions. Immigrant selection needs to be able to respond to Ontario’s dynamic economy.

Immigration is a shared responsibility between the federal, provincial and territorial governments. However, the federal government is unilaterally reforming the immigration system. Ontario needs to be a full partner with Ottawa in making immigration decisions that affect our economy and our society.

The province needs more economic immigrants who are ready to step into skilled jobs. That means 70 per cent of our immigrants should be economic class as is the case in most other provinces.

Key Stats: Did You Know?

Dr. Luc Mertens: Pediatric Cardiologist

“I chose Ontario because of its academic and research qualities and the unique multicultural environment I discovered here.”

As a leading pediatric cardiologist, Luc Mertens had several job offers from the U.S., but chose Ontario. The trilingual doctor (English, French, and Flemish) credits the Provincial Nominee Program for a smooth transition from his native Belgium. He’s now doing ground-breaking research and clinical work at Sick Kids in Toronto, working with physicians from all over the world.



Newcomers need support to settle and succeed

Ontario must support immigrants so they can succeed and contribute to our economy and communities more quickly. Economic immigrants are ready to enter the job market, and when we welcome their families, they are more likely to settle stay and succeed. In addition, many will not only fill positions but also create jobs and invest in our province.

We also know that supporting immigration through family reunification programs builds strong communities. Families grow roots and settle permanently, and new generations enrich our culture and society.

We also need to help immigrants who are already here. Some skilled immigrants have not been able to find work in their professions or that matches their education and training. We must do more to help them succeed by removing barriers to meaningful employment.

Key Stats: Did You Know?

Ignat Kaneff: Builder and Land Developer

“With passion and vision, we the immigrants built this province into the mature and respected economic force it is today.”

Since 1956, he has constructed thousands of family homes, and has built commercial retail and office complexes and golf courses that are owned and operated by the Kaneff Group. The company employs more than 300 people. In recognition of his business achievements and philanthropy, Mr. Kaneff was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2011.