According to the official Citizenship and Immigration Canada website (CIC), the federal government would like to gauge the public’s opinion about how many new permanent residents should be allowed into the country in 2014.

They also want to know how these new immigrants should be distributed across the various immigration categories. The website refers to this probing as a “consultation” and it is said to explore various issues that are derived from three basic questions:

What is the appropriate level of immigration for Canada, this year and beyond?

What is the best ratio – or mix – between the number of economic immigrants, family class immigrants and the refugee/humanitarian class?

Economic immigration is a key immigration goal for Canada’s long-term economic growth. What role can immigration play to support Canada’s economy?

Opinions Vary

Opinions vary quite a lot when it comes to the topic of immigration. A quick search of the internet turns up a recent paper from the Fraser Institute saying recent immigrants are a “fiscal burden on Canadian taxpayers” to the tune of $20 billion per year and that immigration should stop entirely for parents and grandparents. On the flip side, a Toronto Star article argues that for immigrants to find true success and successfully contribute, they must feel like they belong, which is only accomplished when their entire families are here with them.

A Personal Issue

The topic of immigration is definitely a personal issue and the opinions you’d expect aren’t always the ones you actually here. In July of 2013, famed environmentalist David Suzuki shared his opinion with French newspaper L’express when he was asked about Canadian immigration. He claimed that there was no more room in Canada for immigrants and that all of the livable space is “full.” This is a far cry from what many would expect to hear, but that is why the topic is so touchy and so personal.

Big Numbers

According to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website, since 2006 Canada has welcomed an average of 250,000 new immigrants per year. In 2002, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act listed a few specific government objectives for immigration. These included:

  • Seeing that families were reunited
  • Developing a strong Canadian economy and sharing the benefits of immigration across the different regions of the country
  • Fulfilling Canada’s legal obligation internationally; to provide assistance to refugees in need of resettlement.

At the same time, the government is dedicated to protecting the health and security of all Canadians, whether they were born here or not. There are many different issues to kick around when forming an opinion, and many of them contradict one another while making sense at the same time.

What Makes Sense?

Does it makes sense that only those people that can currently contribute to the economy be allowed into the country? What about those coming from war zones? What about those who can really contribute, but who have a spouse or kids or parents who also want to immigrate?

Immigration is always a potentially volatile topic, and quite often people base their opinions on what is going on in their own lives, rather than what may or may not be best for the country.

The survey closed at the end of August 2013, and the results are expected to be released in 2014. It will be interesting to see the public’s views on these important matters.