Immigration-related party platform commitments: Updated with Green Platform

I have updated the immigration party platform table to include the Green Party. Please note that this analysis is based on the published platforms only, not other public commitments.

Some general observations that supplement my earlier summary:

  • All platforms have a mix of specific commitments (e.g., LPC reduce family class processing times to under 12 months) versus non-specific commitments (e.g., NDP address backlog for refugees);
  • All platforms resort to process commitments (e.g., Foreign Credential Recognition);
  • Focus on Quebec particularly apparent in Conservative and NDP platforms. All parties save the Bloc silent on Quebec’s Bill 21;
  • All platforms contain “virtue signalling” or party base language (e.g., LPC reference to previous CPC cuts to immigration levels — not true, CPC “prepared to work hard, contribute to growth and productivity of Canada, and strengthen our democracy” for transition to permanent residency);
  • All platforms save PPC are silent on immigration levels. Surprising that Liberals didn’t mention the levels plan given all the messaging around achieving 400,000 this year;
  • Limited immigration policy innovation, save for CPC family class “point system,” expedited processing fee and replacing GARS with PSRs and Blended refugees, along with operational innovation;
  • Clear divisions on the STCA: Liberals silent, CPC and PPC would apply across the border (closing Roxham Road “loophole”), Bloc and Greens would end the agreement, with NDP surprisingly silent;
  • Relatively little attention paid to operational and administrative issues save for general reference to processing times;
  • All parties are silent on issues where either their record is mixed (Liberals on processing) or party positions may be controversial (e.g., CPC on multiculturalism and anti-racism) or unclear (e.g., NDP on economic immigration);
  • Some catering to specific groups (e.g., Liberals with respect to Blacks, Conservatives with respect to visa-free travel for Ukrainians, Bloc of course with Québécois);
  • Liberal (82 pages), Conservative (160 pages), NDP (114 pages) and Green (103 pages) platforms are lengthy, allowing them to micro-target. The Bloc (30 pages) is more concise given its focus on Quebec. PPC has not provided one complete pdf to compare length but covers most areas. Unlikely that any party could deliver on the majority of commitments.

Updated by issues

  • Levels: No reference to specific levels by CPC, NDP, Bloc and Greens.
  • Liberals are silent (save for a false claim of previous Conservative cuts) but levels are known through the immigration plan.
  • PPC platform commitment to reduce levels to between 100 and 150,000.

Economic:

  • Liberal commitments to welcome talented workers through existing Global Skills Strategy and reduce processing times to under 12 months.
  • Conservatives emphasize the priority to be given to healthcare workers and expansion of the Provincial Nominee Program in regions which retain immigrants.
  • PPC commits to increase percentage of economic and require in-person interviews with questions regarding alignment with Canadian values along with additional resources for background checks.

Family:

  • Liberals commit to electronic applications and a program to issue visas to spouses and children abroad pending full application processing.
  • Conservatives, more innovatively, propose replacing the lottery system with a point system based upon childcare and family support along with language competency, along with additional resources.
  • NDP proposes to end the caps on Parents and Grandparents, the Greens propose an increase while the PPC proposes to abolish P&Gs and limit others.
  • Greens also propose to revise adoptions procedures, including adoption bans from Muslim countries.

Refugees:

  • Liberals propose to increase the number of Afghan refugees from 20,000 to 40,000 as well as 2,000 skilled refugees through the Economic Mobility Pathways program with a healthcare focus.
  • Conservatives propose replacing Government Assisted Refugees (GARS) with Privately Sponsored (PSR) and Blended programs with no change in numbers. Priorities will be the most vulnerable, SPOs with strong track record and the introduction of a “human rights defender stream” for situations like Hong Kong as well as making the LGBTQ Rainbow Refugee program permanent. Additional capacity for the IRB along with closing the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) loophole (between official points of entry) and joint border patrols with the US are part of the platform.
  • NDP commits to addressing the backlog and working with Canadians to resettle refugees in communities.
  • Bloc would end the STCA and welcome French speaking refugees.
  • Greens also propose to end the STCA, and revise all CBSA practices (e.g., detention centres, family separation), address long processing times, and lower family reunification barriers for convention refugees.
  • PPC commits to fewer refugees, declaring the entire border an official port of entry (thus covered by the STCA), reliance on private sponsorship and no longer relying on UN selection of GARS with priority given to religious minorities in Muslim countries and those who reject “political Islam.”

Foreign Credential Recognition: All three major parties with continue to work with provinces and territories, with the Conservatives committed to a task force for “new strategies.” The Greens promise greater funding and collaboration with accreditation issues.

Cultural Sensitivity: In addition to the Conservative proposal on “cultural sensitivity,” the Greens propose to “address xenophobia in all aspects of settlement, including temporary visa liberalization, issuing of temporary permits …and family reunification.”

Immigration fees: The Conservatives would introduce an expedited service fee for quicker application and the Greens would provide a fee exemption for low-income immigrants.

Temporary Residents: Both Liberals and Conservatives commit to a trusted employer system to reduce the administrative burden on employers.

  • Liberals mention the Global Talent Stream focus on highly skilled workers and commit to an employer hotline to resolve issues.
  • Conservatives would introduce standards and timelines for Labour Market Information Assessments (LMIA).
  • Bloc proposes the transfer of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program to Quebec.
  • Green platform has general reference to liberalization for temporary workers and strategies for workers to report abusive employers without losing status.
  • PPC would limit the number of temporary workers and ensure that they are only filling temporary positions and not competing with Canadians.

Temporary to Permanent Transition:

  • Liberals would reform economic immigration programs to expand pathways to Permanent Residence.
  • Conservatives commit to pathways for both the “best and brightest” as well as low-skilled workers, latter based on labour market data, and those that are “prepared to work hard, contribute to growth and productivity of Canada, and strengthen our democracy”. Employers would be allowed to sponsor those wishing to transition.
  • NDP would provide a pathway to all Temporary Residents, highlighting caregivers in particular.
  • Greens would lower barriers to transition, particularly for healthcare workers.

Consultants: Only the NDP mentions consultants and commits to government regulation.

International cooperation: PPC commits to withdraw from the Global Compact on Migration.

Settlement/Integration:

  • Conservatives state they will support settlement services but with no specifics.
  • NDP states that it will work with the provinces.
  • Greens would provide greater funding for language training and employment skills.

Administration (Processing):

  • Conservatives emphasize simplification and streamlining of application and administrative processing, with technology being used to speed up application vetting. The IT infrastructure (the one currently being developed) would record all transactions and applicants would be allowed to correct “simple and honest” mistakes rather than the application being rejected. The Conservatives also commit to harmonizing FPT systems.
  • The Bloc would accelerate Permanent Resident application processing.

Citizenship:

  • Liberals recycle their 2019 commitment to eliminate citizenship fees.
  • Bloc plans to table a bill requiring knowledge of French to obtain citizenship (currently, knowledge of either official language). Ironic, given the Bloc’s persistent in respecting jurisdictional competencies as citizenship is exclusively under federal jurisdiction.
  • Greens would update the citizenship guide (already been revised, awaiting political decision to release) and exemption from citizenship fees for low income applicants
  • PPC promises to make birth tourism illegal.

Visitor visas

  • Strangely, the Conservatives commit to a five-year super-visa when they had introduced a 10-year super-visa when in government that was maintained by the Liberal government. They also commit to explore more “generous and fairer visas” by more enforceable commitments on length of stay.
  • Greens would remove visa requirements for most parents visiting children, including TRs

Multiculturalism:

  • CPC: No mention or commitments
  • Liberals commitments include: improve gender & racial equity among faculty (Canada Research Chairs $250m), reference to existing initiatives (Black Entrepreneurship, Black-led non-profits, youth), implement the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund, strengthen equity targets for fed-funded scientific research, specific target for Black Canadians and Funding for promising Black graduate students $6m), support production led by equity seeking groups, creation of a Changing Narratives Fund for diverse communities, BIPOC journalists and creatives $20m), and Increase funding to multiculturalism community programs.
  • NDP commitment include preventing violent extremism through support for community-led initiatives, confronting systemic racism (few details), a national action plan to dismantle far-right extremist organizations, a national task force and roadmap to address over-representation of Blacks and Indigenous peoples in Canadian prisons and, working with the provinces, the collection of race-based data health, employment, policing.
  • Familiar Bloc commitments include placing the federally-regulated sectors (banking, communications, transport) under Quebec’s language charter, opposing Court Challenges Program funding for challenges to Quebec laws (e.g, Bill 21), a commission on prevention of “honour crimes,” and excluding Quebec from the Multiculturalism Act.
  • Greens would implement recommendations from the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, limit RCMP role and funding in municapt and reserve policy, develop a national oversight approach working with provinces, end RCMP carding and shift police resource to social and community services. 
  • PPC would repeal the Multiculturalism Act.

Anti-Racism/Hate:

  • CPC: No mention or commitments
  • Liberal commitments include: a National Action Plan on Combatting Hate, possible amendments the Criminal Code hate provisions, boosting funding to the Anti-Racism Strategy and Anti-racism Secretariat, introducing legislation to combat serious forms of hurtful online content including making social media platforms responsible for such content, strengthening the Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to more effectively combat online hate, and the creation of a National Support Fund for Survivors of Hate-Motivated Crimes.
  • NDP commitments include: ensuring all major cities too have dedicated hate crime units, establishment of national standards for recording hate crimes (beyond police-reported which already exist?) and work with non-profits to increase reporting, ban carding by the RCMP and establishing a national working group to counter online hate and protect public safety, and making sure that social media platforms are legally responsible for distributing online hate.
  • Bloc condemns hate speech but no proposed changes to the Criminal Code and denounces “Quebec bashing” assertions regarding racism in Quebec.
  • Greens commit to developing better guidelines to address weaponization of free expression, funding data collection online hate and real-world violence, improve AI solutions to detect online hate & violence and require social media to detect and prevent online hate.

Employment Equity:

  • Liberal commitments include: the creation of Diversity Fellowship for mentoring and sponsoring of under-represented groups, French language training for 3rd and 4th year university students to bridge language barriers to entry, expand recruitment to international students and Permanent Residents, and the creation of a mental health fund for Black public servants & support career advancement for Black workers.
  • NDP commitments include: a review to help close the visible minority and Indigenous peoples wage gap and ensuring diverse and equitable hiring in the public service and FRS (recent public service data indicates considerable progress).
  • Bloc proposes the use of blind cvs in public service hiring (pilot carried out in 2017 suggested little difference between existing and blind cv processes).
  • Greens welcome the review of the Employment Equity Act and call for greater working input, an extended timeline and increased resources, and broadening it application to outsourced workers.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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