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WES Weekly Roundup April 4, 2023

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World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. The weekly roundup includes research, stories, and events of interest to the Canadian immigration and settlement community. This content has been created by WES and is reproduced here with their permission, in partnership.

How does Budget 2023 impact Canadian immigration? (CIC News)

Canada's federal government recently released the annual budget, highlighting key areas of funding allocations for the new fiscal year. A budget stipulates the government's plan for spending in line with their priorities, assessing Canada's economic security going into another finance cycle. The 2023-2024 budget focuses heavily on spending for the healthcare sector, clean energy initiatives and affordability measures for Canadians facing financial hardship in relation to higher rates of inflation. In addition to these areas, Canada's immigration system will impacted through an additional $55 million in funding towards streamlining application processing and streamlining current practices. The budget allocates $10 million over five years to support the implementation of biometrics examinations in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). To support the extension of the CUAET program, the federal government pledged an additional allocation of $171.4 million over the next three years beginning 2022-2023. The budget proposes nearly $123 million to boost Francophone immigration to Canada, which includes support provision to employers to recruit French-speaking skilled talent from abroad and settlement services upon arrival. Given Canada’s reliance on international students, some critics are citing this year’s budget as a missed opportunity, suggesting that the federal government ‘did not deliver’ on plans to support investments in research, international education, and student mental health services. In sum, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada announced plans to spend 4.5 billion in spending for the 2023-2024 fiscal period.

How Lethbridge, Alta., found a solution to its family doctor shortage (Globe & Mail)

Prior to the COVID-19, physician shortages in Lethbridge, Alberta was a common phenomenon. But once the pandemic hit almost half of the city found themselves without a primary doctor. In response to this healthcare resourcing problem, the city of Lethbridge formed a partnership with Alberta Health Services to recruit more doctors to the region. Seventeen new family doctors were recruited to the city in 2021 which is far greater than previous years. Sixteen of the new recruits are internationally trained and this joint partnership sponsored each physician to come to Canada including relocation costs and required credential assessments through the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta. While only six have arrived thus far, all of the doctors are expected to arrive by the end of the year and this alliance has already eased some physician needs of the community. Finally, while numbers appear to be small, supporters argue that it is a good start in the right direction.

Refugee Resettlement

Ottawa may have to adjust future help for Ukrainian refugees: immigration minister (CTV News)

IRCC recently announced the extension of the CUAET program until July 15, 2023. The program originally set to expire March 31, 2023, allows Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge in Canada to arrive with a temporary permit. Since March 2022, nearly 610, 000 individuals have been approved to arrive under the stream – with about 190,000 having already arrived. Given the influx of displaced Ukrainians, many organizations within the settlement sector are calling on the federal government to provide additional support to facilitate their resettlement. Settlement organizations, especially outside of urban centres are experiencing capacity challenges not only due to a lack of funding, but also due to limited staff; leading to a reduction in adequate services like language training and or employment services. Major cities across Canada have become hotspots for newcomers, however, must grapple with providing a sufficient supply of resources. For many smaller communities attracting additional newcomers is a priority to support economic growth through filling critical gaps in the workforce. Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser reports that IRCC is continuing coordination efforts at the local level in convening all levels of government (federal, provincial, and municipal) to ensure a tailored response based on the needs of the host community and Ukrainian evacuees.

Refugee Rights Advocates Express Concern Over New US-Canada Border Deal (VOA News)

New parameters under the U.S-Canada Safe Third Country agreement were recently released to the public. An immigration deal that was kept under wraps for a year has begun implementation with little opportunity for feedback from immigration and refugee advocates. Under the previous agreement, both countries were able to turn back asylum-seekers at formal points of entry, but it did not apply to unofficial crossings. Now with the new agreement Canada and the U.S. are permitted to turn away asylum-seekers at unofficial crossings like Roxham Road. Advocates argue that regardless of this change, individuals will still attempt to cross the border but will now do so in more dangerous ways. Additionally, they note that this bi-lateral partnership should build migration management systems that are sustainable and more humane.

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