The COVID-19 pandemic has had unparalleled ramifications for global health, social and economic systems and in Canada has had a deep impact on newcomers, immigration policies and the delivery of services to newcomers.
Canada’s immigration intake, the most important source of its population and labour force growth, has been severely disrupted by COVID-19. Lower immigration diminishes Canada’s population growth thereby undercutting economic growth and cultural vitality. Owing to the pandemic in 2020 Canada saw overall immigration reduced by more than half compared with the year 2019.
In order to make up for the shortfall of newcomers, the government of Canada announced that beginning in 2021 the country would welcome 400 000 newcomers (the previous target for that year was about 350,000). And there would be additional increases over the next two years so as to address crucial labour market gaps and keep Canada competitive on the world stage.
The pandemic has highlighted the contribution of immigrants to the well-being of our communities and our health care system with significant numbers of immigrants working on the country’s front lines.
This is a critical time in the history of Canada, a country where immigration has played a fundamental role. In meeting the economic and social challenges ahead it will be essential for maximal cooperation between key immigration sector partners and stakeholders. Also engagement with immigration partners outside of Canada and various international agencies will be increasingly important.
To that end, in what will likely be the most important Metropolis Conference to date, from March 22nd to March 26th, 2021 the 23rd edition of this year’s virtual gathering will devote five consecutive days to deliberations between service providers, policy makers and researchers around immigration, integration and settlement. The Conference will examine the multiple and varied impact of the pandemic on migrants, migration and mobility as well as our collective contributions to COVID-19 response and recovery.