P.E.I. Minister Speaks On Immigrant Program—-Province Not On Hook For $400 Million

P.E.I. minister speaks on immigrant program

Province not on the hook for $400 million of immigrant investment funds: innovation minister

The Times and Transcript
Published Wednesday December 24th, 2008

CHARLOTTETOWN – Innovation Minister Richard Brown broke his silence on the provincial nominee program this week to deny suggestions the province could potentially be on the hook for $400 million of immigrant investment funds.

Brown has previously stated he would not speak about the program until the provincial auditor general finishes an investigation into it.

But statements made by the federal director of the program suggesting the 1,877 applications P.E.I. processed before the regulations changed may not be accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada forced Brown to comment.

Brown said any applications not approved by Immigration Canada are not the responsibility of the province.

“I'm told by legal advisers that there is no liability on the government of P.E.I. because each and every document that was processed states this is not a provincial government program and we are not legally responsible for the transactions that occurred here,” he said.

The nominee program is a federal-provincial program in which the province nominates foreigners for immigration to Canada in exchange for an investment of $200,000 into a local business. This fast-tracks them through immigration, which is why so many people have used the program to come to P.E.I.

But P.E.I.'s nominee program only offered immigrants a passive role in the companies they invested in. The federal government didn't like this and changed the regulations so immigrants would be required to have an active role.

Brown was opposed to the regulatory changes. When the federal government announced it would give provinces a transition time to wind down their programs, Brown instead sped P.E.I.'s program up.