Finley Defends Immigration Reforms

Finley defends immigration reforms

Kelly Cryderman
Calgary Herald
Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Promoting her controversial immigration legislation, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley says the government has an obligation to the country and businesses to bring workers with needed skills to Canada.

“The system right now was meant to protect the domestic labour market,” Finley said, speaking here Tuesday to reporters after a national conference on foreign credential recognition.

“That doesn't provide any flexibility for changing circumstances.”

Finley said that with a 925,000-person backlog, and longer wait times looming, a fairer and more efficient immigration system is needed. She said her government will look at short- and long-term labour needs, and will set a yearly limit on applications.

Immigration lawyers have criticized the legislation on many fronts. Some argued it would reduce transparency in the system.

D'Arcy Lanovaz, provincial president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said he favours bringing more permanent residents to Canada instead of increasing the number of temporary foreign workers.

But he said the labour shortage would be eased if employers just paid wages the market is now demanding.