In his mandate letter, Prime Minister Trudeau instructed Immigration Minister Mendicino to begin work on a program that would give local communities, chambers of commerce and labour councils a say in the selection of immigrants, helping them match newcomers with labour needs.
The GNCC has suggested such a program in the past, anticipating that allowing communities to target immigrants for skills and professions would help solve local labour shortages and allow businesses and local economies to grow. We feel that immigration should be a top priority for communities like Niagara and have identified several initiatives that would help, including not only targeted immigration strategies but membership in the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities, the hiring of diversity and inclusion officers, and more.
This program would also help communities such as Niagara attract more immigration, which we need to support our aging population and to supplement our slow rate of population growth. Historically, immigrants have tended to favour large cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Targeted programs through which communities such as Niagara could bring in immigrants with in-demand skills would result in more newcomers settling in the region, bringing economic growth.
The GNCC feels that this forward-thinking program will result in benefits for both local communities and immigrants. The former will be able to fill labour market gaps and grow their populations and their economies, while immigrants will be drawn to communities where their skills are in demand and where they will be welcomed.
We offer our thanks to the Government of Canada, the Prime Minister, and Minister Mendicino for advancing this initiative. The GNCC, representing our business community, is ready and willing to serve such a program in the interests of Niagara.
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in Niagara and the second-largest Chamber of Commerce in Ontario, with 1,600 members representing 50,000 employees. More information on the GNCC is available at gncc.ca.
Mishka Balsom, President & CEO of GNCC
firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-684-2361