This morning at 10:30 AM Eastern Time, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced significant changes to his cabinet.
Marc Miller, a Member of Parliament from Quebec, has been appointed as Canada's new immigration minister. Previously, Miller held the position of Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, where he focused on supporting the self-determination of Canada's Indigenous peoples. Meanwhile, Sean Fraser, the former Immigration Minister, will now take on the role of Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities.
Marc Miller's political journey began in 2015 when he was elected to Canada's Parliament. Before entering politics, he pursued a career as a lawyer and also served in the Canadian Armed Forces. Born and raised in Montreal, Miller earned two degrees from the Université de Montréal in Political Science and his law degree from McGill University.
The cabinet constitutes the group of ministers appointed by Canada's Prime Minister, and they are responsible for implementing and communicating the federal government's policy priorities.
Canadian Prime Ministers typically engage in cabinet shuffles approximately every two years. These shuffles serve various purposes, such as replacing underperforming ministers, promoting those who have demonstrated effectiveness, and providing an opportunity to revitalize policies and public communications.
The last significant cabinet shuffle occurred in October 2021, following that year's federal election. As part of this shuffle, Fraser assumed the role of Canada's Immigration Minister and took charge of the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Justin Trudeau has held the position of Canada's Prime Minister since November 2015. During his tenure, Canada has pursued a more robust approach to immigration.
Before Trudeau's time, Canada welcomed around 250,000 new permanent residents annually. After assuming office, this number increased to 300,000 per year and further escalated to 340,000 per year just before the pandemic. Amidst the pandemic, Canada raised its targets to over 400,000 new permanent residents annually. As per the Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, Canada is now aiming for 500,000 permanent residence landings each year by 2025.
This pursuit of significantly higher immigration levels is driven by Canada's aging population and low birth rate. The federal government views immigration as a means to fortify the country's economy and fiscal standing, especially as approximately 9 million baby boomers in Canada are expected to reach the retirement age of 65 within the next decade. The increase in immigration levels coincides with historically low unemployment rates and historically high job vacancy rates in the country.
Following a significant cabinet shuffle, the Prime Minister may opt to issue new mandate letters to the cabinet, outlining the specific areas of focus for each minister during their tenure.
In December 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau provided Minister Fraser with a set of immigration policies to prioritize. These policies included increasing immigration levels, streamlining application processing for newcomers, initiating reforms to the Express Entry system, enhancing family reunification initiatives, and promoting francophone immigration to Canada.
Subsequently, Minister Fraser has taken steps to implement several of these measures. For instance, in the past month, Canada has introduced category-based selection for Express Entry to address various economic priorities, including bolstering francophone immigration. Another noteworthy example is the announcement made by Minister Fraser in late May, which outlined measures aimed at facilitating the reunification of families in Canada.