Conservative Members of the Immigration Committee Discuss Backlog Report

Ottawa, March 6, 2012 –  Today, Parliamentary Secretary Rick Dykstra discussed the Report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.  After months of the study, the report entitled “Cutting the Queue: Reducing Canada’s Immigration Backlog and Wait Times” was tabled today.  Parliamentary Secretary Dykstra was joined at the announcement by the Conservative members of the Immigration Committee.

“When the Stephen Harper government was elected in 2006, it inherited an immigration system that was broken and did not meet Canada’s economic needs,” said Parliamentary Secretary Dykstra. “Since then the government has made many changes to better align immigration with the needs of the economy, but there is still more work to be done.”

The Conservative Members of the Immigration Committee noted that immigration is playing an increasingly important role in Canada’s economy and that Canada should have an immigration system that can help attract the best and the brightest from around the world.  The Immigration Committee’s report commended the government for the steps it had taken in the past five years to slow down the growth of the backlogs, and to even reduce them in some categories. However, the report also recognized that the overall immigration backlog now stands at nearly 1 million people. The queue in the Federal Skilled Worker category accumulated before 2008 alone is nearly 300,000 people long.

“Lengthy immigration backlogs are holding back our economy and stopping us from attracting the skilled immigrants we need right now and for our future,” added Parliamentary Secretary Dykstra.

To address this problem, Parliamentary Secretary Dykstra highlighted two of the report’s recommendations.

1. The government should review its immigration policies to better align the number of applications it accepts for processing with the number of admissions each year. Parliamentary Secretary Dykstra noted that it would be futile to continue the Liberal practice of accepting twice as many applications as we are willing to accept.

2. The government should focus on the Federal Skilled Worker backlog, study all the options, and move quickly to reduce this backlog.

“We believe that the government’s primary focus should be on jobs and growth.  We know that immigration can be part of the solution to addressing our economic needs,” concluded Parliamentary Secretary Dykstra, “That is why we think it is very important that the government act decisively to deal with the immigration backlog.”