Mandate letter progress: Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade
The Minister’s response letter to Premier Wynne, outlining the results achieved on key mandate priorities in 2014-15.
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January 11, 2016
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
It gives me great pleasure to report substantial progress on the key priorities outlined in your September 2014 mandate letter to me. Since then, the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade has worked hard to attract a skilled workforce and build a stronger economy, to help newcomers and their families achieve success, and to secure expanded international trade opportunities for the benefit of all Ontarians. Ontario has responded to the refugee crisis, and is helping more refugees settle in Ontario, including providing $2 million in relief assistance and $8.5 million in funding to help them resettle. Ontario remains the top destination for newcomers to Canada, and newcomers continue to fully participate in Ontario’s diverse and inclusive society.
Ensuring Newcomers Prosper in Ontario
- The Ontario Immigration Act was unanimously passed by the legislature on May 28, 2015, making Ontario the first province outside Québec to have immigration legislation.
Working with the Federal Government to Maximize the Economic Benefits of Immigration
- To help Ontario build a skilled workforce, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program can now nominate up to 5,200 highly skilled newcomers for permanent residence annually. After intensive negotiations with the federal government, our allocation was increased from 2,500 last year.
- The target of 2,700 allocated to Ontario under the new federal Express Entry system is at risk because of difficulties with the federal government’s software, but we anticipate that our full allocation will be met in 2016.
- Two new categories designed to attract economic immigrants (Human Capital Priorities and French-Speaking Skilled Workers) were launched through the federal government’s Express Entry system. Ontario is the first jurisdiction to launch a category dedicated to French-speaking prospective immigrants.
- Ontario has invested $26.5 million in 2015-16 in Ontario Bridge Training Programs to help highly skilled newcomers, and the province has reduced financial barriers through a renewed $5 million investment in the Ontario Bridging Participant Assistance Program.
- The ministry continues to lead Ontario’s participation in the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications to ensure that immigrants have the opportunity to fully utilize their skills within Ontario’s labour market as quickly as possible.
Building Strong, Inclusive and Diverse Communities
- Ontario continued to promote, celebrate and support the province’s diversity as a magnet for building a highly skilled workforce and a fair society. We are also coordinating cross-government efforts to celebrate Ontario 150, our sesquicentennial in 2017.
- The province continued to improve settlement and integration services for newcomers. Over the next three years, Ontario will invest $182 million in the Adult Non-Credit Language Training Program and over $31 million in the Newcomer Settlement Program.
- Ontario has responded to the refugee crisis with $8.5 million to increase the number of refugees settling in Ontario, and committed a further $2 million for immediate Syrian relief efforts. These funds have started to flow to settlement agencies.
- An Ad Hoc Minister’s Committee was struck to better manage and co-ordinate Ontario’s response to the refugee crisis, and two meetings of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for Immigration were held to strengthen collaboration and ensure the coordination of resources.
- The ministry assembled a group of 11 experts to recommend approaches to boost Francophone immigration to Ontario and achieve our five per cent target.
- As part of the Pan/Parapan Am Games Legacy, we developed a Volunteer Certificate Program for use in Ontario — over 23,000 Pan Am volunteers are the first to receive these certificates.
- We launched SPARK Ontario, the cornerstone of our Volunteer Action Plan. SPARK Ontario is an online recruiting resource that will modernize volunteering by connecting volunteers with opportunities available from organizations around the province.
Maximizing Ontario’s Global Trade Opportunities
- We developed and launched two new Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program business streams (Corporate and Entrepreneur) to attract foreign investment, talent and trade opportunities.
- We continue to implement the Going Global Trade Strategy, with the following results:
- In 2014-15, the International Trade Branch helped 1,700 new and experienced exporters to prepare for international markets and brought 625 companies on international missions to foreign markets. These companies anticipate $680 million in sales, directly attributed to these missions.
- Ontario’s International Trade and Investment Offices helped more than 575 companies access export markets, facilitated 40 trade transactions totalling more than $30 million and contributed to 15 won investment deals. A new International Trade and Investment Office in Hong Kong was announced.
- More than 75 staff-led trade missions are scheduled in 2015-16 in addition to Ministers’ and Premier’s Missions. The Premier’s two Business Missions to China generated $3.5 billion in business activity and could create up to 3,500 jobs in Ontario.
- In addition to the Premier’s Missions to China, France and the USA, MCIIT supported business and trade missions to China, the UK, Germany, USA, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, France, Turkey, Jordan and India for ministers and ministries across government.
- An investment of $3 million in the Export Market Access Program served 423 companies, generated $89 million in export sales and created 262 jobs.
- The Europe Global Export Forum 2015 brought together over 300 Ontario businesses and 10 qualified buyers to facilitate new trade connections for small- and medium-sized enterprises in priority European markets.
- The 2015 Toronto Global Forum, Pan American Edition, brought together international buyers from across the Americas. There were 220 individual B2B meetings between the buyers and our Ontario companies, and over 50 site visits were conducted.
- A ministerial working group has been established and two full meetings of the working groups have been held to date to ensure strong collaboration and information sharing among ministries to maximize international trade and foreign investment. Bilateral meetings between MCIIT have been held with the Ministries of Energy, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Northern Development and Mines, and Natural Resources and Forestry.
Premier, these are highlights from a busy and productive time spent implementing the priorities you assigned to the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade. My ministry will continue to deliver quality public services and build opportunity and a strong future for all Ontarians.
|Mandate Letter Commitment||Progress to Date|
|Work to attract a skilled workforce and build a stronger economy, help newcomers and their families achieve success, and secure international trade and investment opportunities for the benefit of all Ontarians.||
|Ensure that newcomers are able to participate fully in Ontario’s inclusive and diverse society and will continue to work with the federal government to maximize the economic benefits of immigration to Ontario. Your goal is to ensure that Ontario remains the top destination for newcomers to Canada.||
|Seeking to re-introduce the Ontario Immigration Act early in your mandate. The act would enshrine our government’s vision for immigration — which recognizes the important role immigrants play in growing the economy — and the importance of family and humanitarian commitments.||
|Continuing to implement Ontario’s Immigration Strategy, I ask that you release the first Immigration Strategy Progress Report as soon as possible and annually going forward.||
|Encouraging the federal government to be a willing partner in supporting Ontario’s goals for immigration. I ask that you continue to engage the federal government to obtain more input on the process of immigration to Ontario.||
|Pursuing an expansion of the Provincial Nominee Program base allocations. This expansion would increase Ontario’s direct role in immigrant selection and maximize our province’s ability to respond to its unique economic and labour market needs. As part of these efforts, you will, subject to federal and provincial privacy laws, work to improve the Provincial Nominee Program by making it more transparent and accountable — and by enabling it to support a greater number of annual nominees.||
|Continuing to improve our government’s bridge training programs so that immigrants with professional credentials can work in their field as quickly as possible. You will work with the ministers of Education and of Training, Colleges and Universities to ensure that people receiving bridge training, language instruction and other forms of adult education can make the transition from adult education to the integrated employment and training system.||
|Calling on the federal government to work with provincial governments, regulatory bodies and other applicable entities to simplify and streamline the foreign credential recognition process. Your goal is to fortify efforts and initiatives that enable new Canadians trained elsewhere to have their international training recognized so they can work in their field as quickly as possible.||
|Striving to build strong, inclusive and diverse communities. Ontario is a province that celebrates the benefits of being the new home of people from many cultures from around the world.||
|Collaborating with the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs to make progress on achieving our five per cent Francophone immigration target. Your goal is to support the growth of a strong Franco-Ontarian community.||
|Working with the federal government to increase Francophone immigration — and to enhance pre-arrival and settlement supports for them.||
|Examining opportunities to develop and implement Ontario’s first Volunteerism Strategy, which would provide an ongoing framework for our government’s support for volunteers. The framework should complement the Pan Am Games initiative and emphasize the importance of youth civic engagement and training.||
|Developing a strategy that leverages Ontario’s diversity to ensure better international trade and investment opportunities.||
|Working with the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure to establish a ministerial working group. You and the minister will co-chair the group, which will also include the ministers of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Education; Energy; Health and Long-Term Care; Northern Development and Mines; Research and Innovation; Training, Colleges and Universities; Tourism, Culture and Sport and other ministers, as appropriate. The committee’s objective is to ensure strong collaboration and information-sharing — and maximize international trade and foreign investment opportunities.||
|Continuing to implement the Going Global Trade Strategy. The strategy will advance Ontario’s international trade interests and ensure that Ontario benefits from global investment and trade opportunities.||
|Working to ensure that the Provincial Nominee Program is better recognized as an important economic tool to attract foreign investment, entrepreneurs, professionals and trade opportunities.||
|Expanding the reach of Ontario’s exports — particularly to fast-growing emerging markets — in partnership with the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. You will jointly pursue initiatives that expand the opportunity for Ontario firms to connect with foreign buyers and investors, showcase innovative goods and services, and find new markets. To this end, the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games offer you an opportunity to establish productive relationships between Ontario’s industries and business delegations from the 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organization.||
|Expanding international representation and strengthening relationships with Ontario’s major trading partners. I ask that you continue to engage Ontario’s trading partners and explore opportunities for new and expanded trade agreements.||
|Building on the existing linkages created by Ontario’s and Canada’s International Marketing Centres around the world. You will use those linkages to facilitate new capital investments by foreign-based companies in Ontario. Your goal is to help create jobs and opportunities for our highly skilled and diversified population.||
|Continuing to develop Ontario as a destination for investment and trade by reaching out to our global partners. Starting with the Premier’s planned trade mission to China in the fall of 2014, you will explore and pursue similar opportunities for the province to lead trade missions to other countries. I ask that you focus on emerging markets and industries — and at the same time include our existing trading partners and industries.||