Empowering Canada’s Provinces: Immigration, Healthcare, and Housing Solutions

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In a recent gathering in Winnipeg, Canada, the leaders of the country’s provinces convened to discuss pressing matters that demand immediate attention. Among the key areas highlighted by the Premiers, three critical areas were closely linked to immigration:

  • building a strong labor force,
  • improving healthcare, and
  • addressing housing needs.

Building a Strong Labor Force

Recognizing the unique position of provinces and territories in addressing labor market needs and fostering economic growth, the Premiers emphasized the importance of taking action on international recruitment, credential recognition, and skills training. They have urged the federal government to support their efforts in addressing skills gaps through immigration. To achieve this, several measures have been proposed:

  • Expediting existing pathways and accelerating the processing of applications to meet specific labor market requirements, including the issuance of required work permits.
  • Increasing the proportion of provincial and territorial Nominee Programs in the selection of economic immigrants.
  • Enhancing the responsibility and involvement of provinces and territories in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
  • Ensuring the development of new immigration pathways in collaboration with provinces and territories to align with local labor market needs.

Additionally, the Premiers have called for the establishment of agreements similar to the Canada-Quebec Accord with the federal government. This accord grants the province of Quebec sole responsibility for determining its immigration levels and selecting economic immigrants. Currently, all provinces and territories, except Quebec and Nunavut, have their own Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) through which they receive nominations to support their provincial economy and labor force.

Improving Healthcare

The provinces emphasized their commitment to taking further action to enhance access to qualified healthcare professionals for Canadians. As healthcare falls under the jurisdiction of provinces and territories, it is their responsibility to recruit, train, and retain healthcare professionals. The provinces are actively supporting initiatives aimed at streamlining credential recognition and licensure for internationally-educated health professionals.

By joining forces and petitioning the federal government, the provinces believe they can secure increased funding, hire additional healthcare workers, and improve healthcare services across the country. In fact, their efforts have proven successful in the past, as evidenced by the $196 billion increase in health funding over the next decade, including $46.2 billion in new funding, following the previous year’s meeting.

Addressing Affordable Housing

With Canada projected to admit 500,000 new permanent residents annually by the end of 2025, the issue of affordable housing has become a pressing concern. The Premiers have put forth a series of suggestions to make housing more accessible and affordable for Canadians. The proposed measures include:

  • Increasing financial commitments to housing, including support services, operational funding, capital funding, and incentives to encourage the creation of new housing supply.
  • Ensuring funding flows through provinces and territories, rather than municipalities.
  • Designing flexible programs that are adequately funded and aligned with the unique needs and priorities of each province and territory.
  • Streamlining approval processes and program management through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
  • Modifying tax policies to incentivize the development of new housing, particularly purpose-built rental properties.

These measures are deemed necessary to tackle the escalating cost of living in Canada. Recently, on July 12, the Bank of Canada raised the overnight interest rate by 0.25 basis points to 5% as a means to control spending and curb inflation. The impact of this rate increase is felt by consumers seeking mortgages or other loans, as it raises the borrowing costs for banks, which are then passed on to the borrowers.

Improved Program for Displaced Ukrainians

The Premiers also expressed concerns regarding the Canada Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program, with the deadline for applications approaching on July 15. They believe that the federal government has not provided sufficient funding or support for displaced Ukrainians in Canada and are urging the establishment of an improved support program with a new funding partnership.


The meeting of Canada’s provincial leaders in Winnipeg underscored the urgent need to address key areas such as immigration, healthcare, and affordable housing. The Premiers emphasized the significance of provincial and territorial autonomy in managing labor force needs, recruiting healthcare professionals, and tackling housing challenges. By collaborating with the federal government, the provinces aim to implement effective measures and secure adequate funding to address these critical issues. With concerted efforts, Canada can build a prosperous future that caters to the needs of its people and promotes interprovincial and interterritorial cooperation.

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