Today there is a need for more balanced growth in population across the Ontario province and it must identify ways to ensure that more immigrants can settle outside the Greater Toronto Area.
Ontario Immigration and the Associated Figures
This fact is highlighted by the new Conference Board of Canada study. This Area presently is home to 77 percent among the new immigrants to Ontario that translates to 106,000 newcomers in 2018. Also 23 percent of the remaining provincial newcomers settle in other areas and 15 Census Metropolitan Areas outside the GTA have 20.5 percent population. This population is 6.4 million and the share of immigrants in it is 46 percent. Additionally this makes the GTA a populous and multicultural metropolitan center of Canada. There are 25 municipalities and Toronto city in it making it vibrant and business as well as financial capital of Canada. Furthermore, it produces 20 percent GDP of Canada.
The reality puts the remaining Metropolitan Areas of Ontario at a disadvantage to attract immigrants. The newcomers seek settlement destinations having a reliable job opportunity and connections with community and family.
Consequences on Ontario Immigration
The disparity will result in vital economic consequences for other CMAs of Ontario in case they fail to attract more immigrants in the future and take measures for the growth of the labor force. This is a major factor to spur economic growth and also to maintain top quality of life for the residents. Not attracting more immigrants, will lead to slow economic output, and hence fiscal resources will be directed away from these areas for funding the growing infrastructure and services demand in the GTA.
Creating a Strategy for Regional Immigration received a thrust when the federal government introduced the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot. As per the study such efforts will help in the long run.
The purpose behind this strategy must be encompassing a vision for the future, realizing the short, medium, as well as long-term targets for regionalization, and setting the regional economic priorities. Moreover, there must be a focus on performance measures, tracking of progress, and a working plan outlining the role and responsibility of all parties to achieve the targets. These Parties are the Municipal Immigration Committee of Ontario, government representatives, business groups, workforce development groups, organizations serving the immigrants, apart from the universities and colleges. The study of Conference Board offers an example that medium-term target will help in increasing the share of newcomers to settle outside GTA to reach the level of 35 percent in the next decade.
Reforming the OINP
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program will be of immense use to help in attracting more immigrants to the areas lying beyond the GTA. This Program allows the province to nominate specific number of economic applicants meeting its priorities in labor market and economic development to seek permanent residence in Canada every year. The OINP must also establish an annual allocation for the regional provincial areas that face difficulties in recruiting immigrants. The focus must be on northeast as well as northwest Ontario, and change in the eligibility requirements for immigration streams reflecting the local conditions. Additionally, there must be a new Community and Family Support Stream in the OINP. The study finally says that there are streams like the Community-Identified Stream of Nova Scotia, supporting the regionalization and channeling some immigrants to areas where communities or family ties exist.
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