Liberal Immigration Minister Marc Miller is monitoring the government’s immigration levels as the feds face a wave of criticism over its record-level targets while Canada faces a housing crisis.
Miller said that while his office will be examining the immigration flow, there are currently no plans to revise the 500,000 per year target. Additionally, Canada took in over 800,000 international students last year – a number not included in the immigration target.
“I don’t see a world in which (changing the target) happens, but again, I’m going to be looking at the facts and I’m not a dogmatic person,” said Miller while attending the Liberal cabinet retreat in Charlottetown.
“We have to look at what that impact is, and what the impact of immigrants actually is on the housing supply.”
Miller claimed that it was undeniable that a higher volume of people would increase demand but the exact details of how immigration impacts housing are unclear.
“You’ll find a wide divergence of views of what that impact is, of immigration on housing,” said Miller.
“Volume is volume, and it does have an impact. There’s no denying that. But the specific role that immigration plays in certain areas is something we have to kind of break down a little more.”
His comments come shortly after Minister of Housing Sean Fraser said that a possible cap on foreign student visas could help alleviate some pressures on Canada’s housing market.
“I think that’s one of the options that we ought to consider,” Fraser said on Monday.
“But I think we should start by trying to partner with institutions to understand what role they may play to reduce the pressure on the communities that they’re operating within.”
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said on Wednesday that it was due to Fraser’s “total incompetence” while he held the immigration file prior to Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle that the program is in its current state.
“There’s no question that Sean Fraser has ruined the program but I find it incredible that these puff pieces are being written about Trudeau’s housing minister,” said Poilievre.
“(There’s) disasters unfolding right now in that program because of Fraser’s total incompetence.”