Liberal government raises immigration targets with goal to bring in 300,000 newcomers per year

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      The Trudeau government has announced ambitious new targets for immigration, saying it wants to bring 300,000 newcomers to Canada annually.

      British Columbia would receive between 39,000 and 42,000 of those immigrants, according to the Vancouver Sun.

      The plan was released Monday (October 31). Its implementation will mean a sizable but not unprecedented increase in the number of newcomers allowed to move to Canada.

      In 2015, Canada admitted 271,847 permanent residents. That compares to 260,282 in 2014, 259,039 in 2013, and 257,809 in 2012.

      John McCallum, minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, is quoted alongside the plan’s release describing the new targets in the context of the country’s economy.

      “The 2017 levels plan will put Canada in a strong position for the future and support our overall economic and social development as a country,” he said.

      Of the 300,000 immigrants, the plan says that 57.5 percen, or 171,000, should fall in the economic category (which includes skilled workers and caregivers, among others); 28 percent, or 84,000, can be family members; 39,900 should be refugees; and 0.8 percent, or 3,500, should fall under the ministry's humanitarian category for immigrants.

      The figure of 300,000 is described as a target for 2017 that the government intends to see serve as a baseline for subsequent years.

      In an interview with CBC News, B.C. NDP MP Rachel Blaney argued that Canada’s immigration target should be even higher.

      "We know that immigration is good for the economy and good for communities," she said. "It's disappointing to see us not taking a more ambitious statement on this."

      A ministry statement that accompanies the plan’s release reiterates that the federal government primarily looks at immigration as a benefit to the economy.

      “As we look to grow our country, immigration will play a key role in contributing to our society’s well-being, to our economic prosperity, and to our success as a nation,” it reads. “We will continue to ensure that our immigration system balances compassion, efficiency, and economic opportunity for all while protecting the health, safety, and security of Canadians.”