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Reasons why Canada’s federal government launches economic class pilot programs

Austin Campbell

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Reasons why Canada’s federal government launches economic class pilot programs

The Canadian immigration system has undergone a fair amount of ages in the last decade. The federal government has shown a preference for launching pilots as compared to introducing permanent programs since 2012.

A reform was introduced to the country’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in 2012, which gave the immigration minister the legal authority to come up with new economic class pilot programs and launch them. These programs would aim to welcome immigrants and also address the priority areas in the country’s economic and labor force at the same time. Since then, most of the new federal economic class programs have been introduced as pilots. Many such pilots took off in 2019, and we have two more pilots to look forward to in 2020.

Before the emergence of the pilot program approach, it was necessary for the federal government to table new economic class programs directly to the Parliament. Then, these programs would be subjected to thorough reviews, debates, and votes before they could be made accessible to prospective immigrants. While this process was fair and democratic, it also slowed down the process of immigration significantly. This delay would often create problems for employers to find workers in times of skilled labor shortages leaving many empty jobs. Hence, the 2012 reform actually proved to be beneficial. The federal government could launch pilot projects because of the reform and avoid parliamentary delay because the pilots work like trial runs. A pilot can remain in existence for up to five years and welcome up to 2,750 principal applicants each year.

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Introducing pilots is a great way of avoiding the hefty costs of introducing programs that could prove to be unsuccessful in the long run. The federal government is free to test out pilots and then make an informed decision about their future.

 

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