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WES Weekly Roundup July 26, 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.

Alberta, and the rest of Canada, are woefully unprepared for the coming immigration boom (Globe and Mail)

Newcomer organizations in Calgary are questioning their capacity to support increasing numbers of immigrants. As IRCC’s budget will be reduced at the beginning of the upcoming fiscal year, there are worries that Alberta’s significant increase in its newcomer population and intra-country migrations to Alberta are not being accounted for in investment calculations. With increasing levels of permanent residents entering Canada and the country’s ongoing commitment to welcoming Afghan and Ukrainian refugees, many organizations have begun turning to private donations for financial support. The concerns of Calgary’s newcomer organizations highlight Canada’s difficult balancing act of accepting and supporting newcomers whilst navigating financial constraints.

What’s the Right Number of Newcomers to Welcome to Canada? (Desjardins)

What is the optimal level of immigration to Canada? Increased immigration targets have long been looked to as a means to expand the workforce and bolster Canada's economy at large. Canada's population rose by nearly 1 million people last year (2.7 percent), the largest increase in history. Most immigration policy responses have been implemented to resolve short-term labour market demands, however, the long-term implications such as the aging work force and housing supply should be included on the agenda. According to latest research, the working age population (15-64 years old) would need to grow by 2.2 percent annually until 2040, to maintain old- age dependency ratio levels. Experts cite that strong upward immigration trends are adding both supply and demand to the economy, pointing to the current housing crisis where newcomers have been observed to ease the shortage of workers while adding to increased need for an adequate supply of housing.

Refugee Resettlement Spotlight

Canada Announces New $212m Funding for Interim Housing Assistance Program for Refugees (Canadian Immigration News)

The federal government announced a funding allocation of nearly $212 million to support the expansion of the Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP) for refugees and asylum seekers. Currently, Canada's shelter systems have been under significant strain. In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Canada's most populous region, has been grappling with shortages in shelter availability. Local programming has begun to exceed capacity, leaving many newcomers at risk of being without shelter. In the City of Toronto, the shelter system has grown by 500 percent in 20 months. While Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow has requested $157 million to facilitate the supply of additional interim housing, the latest funding would provide only $97 million for this year. Smaller municipalities such as those in the Durham region have partnered in a joint statement to request additional support from the federal and provincial government to fund the region's emergency response and increase shelter needs. Many of the more recent calls to action have risen in response to reports of nearly 500 (and counting) asylum seekers arriving to the region, yet without adequate shelter, are sleeping outside of housing support centres after being turned away due to limited capacity. Advocates across the migrant rights, faith-based, urban development, and policy making spectrum are calling on all levels of government along with community-based organizations to work collectively to develop long-term solutions to address the growing crisis.

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