Speaking notes for the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship at the closing press conference for the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration

Speech

Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the Government of Canada’s official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with its communications policy.

Bonjour tout le monde. Good afternoon, everyone.

I would first like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional, unceded territory of the Kanien’Kehà:ka (Ga-niyen-ge-HAA-ga), which has always been a meeting place for many Indigenous Peoples and other Tiohtià:ke [Joh-jaw-gay] / Mooniyang / Montréal communities.

I’m happy to be joined by Jeremy Harrison from the Government of Saskatchewan [Minister of Trade and Export Development, Immigration and Career Training, Innovation Saskatchewan, and Tourism Saskatchewan], as the co-chair of this forum.

I’ve had the pleasure of being back in my hometown and riding for the past couple of days, meeting with my provincial and territorial counterparts from all across the country.

We got right down to business today, sharing our experiences and ideas on important topics—many of which you’ve been covering extensively lately.

We discussed how we plan to get the balance right on different priorities, such as:

  • Factoring temporary residents into immigration levels planning in ways that continue to spread the benefits of immigration across Canada while taking into account capacity pressures on communities;
  • Strengthening Francophone immigration in minority language communities;
  • Reducing the overall number of temporary residents in Canada while acknowledging the important role they play in regional immigration priorities, including the Provincial Nominee Program;
  • Implementing reforms and strengthening the integrity of our International Student Program, so Canada continues to benefit from the social, cultural and economic contributions that international students make—in sustainable numbers aligned with planned temporary resident levels;
  • Continuing to offer safe harbour to some of the world’s most vulnerable people and families, as well as those arriving here seeking asylum, through federal supports and closer collaboration across governments. We agreed to having a coordination table on how to best support asylum seekers. To be clear, we are willing to coordinate with our counterparts on transfers and supports, however any movement of asylum seekers will require their consent;
  • Recognizing the importance of having good data to ensure we understand labour market needs and communities’ capacity to support newcomers. That’s why I’ve asked my counterparts to share any data on the TR population in their jurisdiction, rate of TR to PR transitions within the Provincial Nominee Program, and the capacity pressures within their communities.
  • Finally, we discussed better managing Canada’s response to humanitarian crises, through the new federal policy framework that’s being developed as well as through early communication on initiatives that may impact jurisdictions – among other topics.

We also discussed how to balance the need to retain temporary workers with in-demand skills and help them transition to permanent residence, with our duty to safeguard job opportunities for Canadians and existing permanent residents.

On that issue, we’ve made significant progress recently. As my department announced this week, we’re working with Manitoba on a temporary measure to extend the open work permits of approximately 6,700 temporary residents, giving the province more time to process their applications under the Provincial Nominee Program while they bolster their processing capacity.

This measure will not only boost Manitoba’s retention rates and economic prosperity—but it also supports the government’s priority of helping workers already in Canada become permanent residents.

We are open to exploring options with other provinces and territories to transition a greater portion of current temporary residents to permanent residence and address their labour market needs. The federal government/we are committed to ongoing collaboration with provinces and territories to address immigration opportunities and challenges.

Our immigration levels will be finalized in the coming months, and we will communicate the levels for 2025–2027 accordingly. Stabilizing immigration will require difficult decisions, but we’re convinced that our goal is important: to preserve the integrity of our system, and ensure that immigrants are properly supported.

I appreciate my colleagues’ thoughtful and helpful comments, and remain committed to working in partnership with the provinces, territories and municipalities.

I am / We’re happy to take your questions.

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