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WES Weekly Roundup April 10 2024

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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.

Our kids first’: Doug Ford says Ontario students should get all medical school spots (Toronto Star)

In a recent announcement, Ontario Premier Doug Ford emphasized the need for medical school spots in the province to be reserved exclusively for Ontario students. This statement was made in the context of addressing Ontario's healthcare worker shortage and the opening of new medical education spots, including a significant initiative with York University to establish a new medical school focused on training family physicians. Ford highlighted that currently, 18 per cent of medical school positions are occupied by international students, and he expressed an intention to eliminate these spots for international students to prioritize Ontario residents. This policy direction is motivated by concerns over Ontario students studying medicine abroad and not returning to the province. The Premier's announcement is part of a broader strategy to increase the number of healthcare professionals by opening hundreds of new medical spots and postgraduate training positions, amidst a critical shortage of family doctors in the province. By prioritizing Ontario students for medical education, this policy’s aim is to ensure future doctors remain in the province, to better address the healthcare worker shortage.

Permanent immigration levels 'in the right place': Fraser (CTV)

Housing Minister Sean Fraser has indicated that the volume of permanent residencies in Canada is adjusted according to the country's ability to support growth and integration. This approach aligns with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's observations on the complexities introduced by an increase in temporary immigrants, aiming to maintain stable levels of permanent immigration while managing the impacts of temporary increases. The issue of housing affordability, worsened by high immigration rates, is part of a larger debate on balancing economic demands with the provision of social infrastructure and services. In response, the government has reduced the number of international student permits and established a "soft cap" on temporary residents to aim for immigration levels that the country's housing and resources can sustain. Fraser's comments reflect an immigration policy focused on demand-driven criteria for permanent residents to meet Canada's demographic and economic needs. This policy differentiates between permanent and temporary immigration, with temporary immigration being more directly influenced by the demand from institutions and employers. The Liberal government's future immigration targets include bringing in a considerable number of immigrants, with recent adjustments in temporary immigration policies designed to address the short-term challenges of integration and infrastructure support. This aims to find a balance between promoting population growth and ensuring the welfare of both newcomers and the existing community.

Is there a better place to put refugees than hotels? The push for a national asylum plan (Toronto Star)

Addressing Canada's challenge of accommodating a rising number of asylum seekers, particularly in the GTA, underscores a humanitarian and administrative dilemma. The narrative is marked by the visible struggles of asylum seekers, from sleeping on Toronto streets to makeshift accommodations, highlighting the urgent need for a more organized approach to asylum. The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) advocates for a national strategy similar to that for resettled refugees, proposing the creation of city reception centers to streamline the integration of new arrivals. This approach aims for dignity and fairness for asylum seekers and suggests a more cost-effective solution than current practices. Despite federal funding aimed at supporting these individuals, advocates push for a broader, sustainable strategy that includes extending settlement services to all asylum seekers, reducing risks of homelessness. The involvement of community and faith-based organizations emphasizes the potential for a community-driven solution. The narrative also calls for a streamlined asylum process to reduce backlogs and ensure a more dignified, inclusive approach to asylum in Canada.

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