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New immigrants in Prince Rupert and North Coast add to nation’s historic growth

431,645 new permanent residents make record year for Canadian immigration
New resident of Prince Rupert, Danny Atehortua, shows his enthusiasm for Canadian culture after completing his first polar bear plunge on Jan. 1. He immigrated to Canada with his wife ten months ago, making B.C.’s North Coast their new home. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Canada has surpassed its immigration goal for 2022, the Federal Government announced on Jan. 3, and newcomers to the North Coast have assisted with that milestone.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) Sean Fraser stated the nation planned to welcome 431,645 new permanent residents in 2022 and has now surpassed the previous 2021 record making it a historic year. Prior to 2021, the last time Canada had such large numbers through her doors was in 1913.

Included in the national numbers are permanent residents making British Columbia’s north coast their new home. Prince Rupert welcomed 65 new permanent residents in 2022, Terrace was made home to 105, Smithers saw 50 new permanent residents, Kitimat 20 and Haida Gwaii 10.

“Today marks an important milestone for Canada, setting a new record for newcomers welcomed in a single year. It is a testament to the strength and resilience of our country and its people,” Fraser said.

While there are 22 categories of permanent residency, including some classes specific to different provinces, information provided to The Northern View shows the Rural and Northern Immigration pilot program saw 440 people make Northern B.C. a new home, with more in other programs not specified. More than 61,080 immigrated to British Columbia in 2022.

In Prince Rupert, Hecate Strait Employment Development Society (HSEDS) is a partner organization offering settlement services to newcomers.

“In general, we definitely see more growth in the community and across the province,” Nina Dickinson program director of HSEDS said on Jan. 5.

“Locally, we are eager to serve individuals coming to our community. We see lots of new faces which has been ongoing. [Newcomers] definitely have a role to play in our community,” she said.

The Ministry stated IRCC processed approximately 5.2 million applications for permanent residence, temporary residence and citizenship — double the number of applications processed in 2021.

According to the Feds. immigration accounts for just less than 100 per cent of Canada’s labour force growth and roughly 75 per cent of Canada’s population growth, mostly in the economic sector.

The federal government projects that by 2036 immigrants will represent up to 30 per cent of the nation’s population compared with 20.7 per cent in 2011.

“Newcomers play an essential role in filling labour shortages, bringing new perspectives and talents to our communities, and enriching our society as a whole. I am excited to see what the future holds and look forward to another historic year in 2023 as we continue to welcome newcomers,” Fraser said.

“As the Government of Canada focuses on addressing the acute labour market shortages we are facing today and building a strong economy into the future, one thing remains certain: immigration is a key part of the solution,” IRCC stated in the media release.

Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship has already added resources, embraced new technology, streamlined processes and brought more processes online in efforts to welcome a growing number of newcomers.

“These changes are all important improvements to Canada’s immigration system, which will position us well for the future,” IRCC stated.

HSEDS assists newcomers with applications, residency and navigating the policies while understanding what the key issues are for new immigrants to overcome.

“It can be as simple as understanding the processes, banking, rental rights,” Dickinson said. “We are here to make them comfortable in our community. We are really just here to serve.

According to IRCC, during the 2021 Census, nearly one in four people counted were or had been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada — the highest proportion since Confederation and the largest proportion among G7 countries. Just over 1.3 million new immigrants settled permanently in Canada from 2016 to 2021, which is the highest number of recent immigrants recorded in a Canadian census. IRCC added that immigrants account for 36 per cent of physicians, 33 per cent business owners with paid staff and 41 per cent of engineers.

K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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