Canadian Lawyer

April 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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www.canadianlawyermag.com 43 be needed as an economic catalyst to ensure labour force growth and to kick-start the economy when it comes out of lockdown. The federal government has certainly acknowledged the need for increased immi- gration as part of building an economy in a country with an ageing population. In October of 2020, it announced immigration targets until 2023. The plan aims to increase the number of permanent residents accepted to 401,000 in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023. As a comparison, Canada accepted 341,180 permanent residents in 2019, before the pandemic hit. During 2020, travel restrictions and quar- antine requirements drastically changed the rules for who can enter Canada, while visa office closures outside the country and processing challenges within Canada increased wait times for most applications by at least several months. Barbara Jo Caruso, of Corporate Immigration Law Firm and past chairwoman of the Canadian Bar Association immigration law section, says that, while there has been some innovation on dealing with the immi- gration issues of candidates with work visas who are already in the country, the delays in processing and the "black hole" of not getting any answers on already-filed applications is creating a lot of anxiety. One area where she has seen clients partic- ularly anxious is in spousal sponsorship applications, which is still a paper-based system that has been clogged up due to slower processing times. Given the pandemic, enough hardship has been created that close family members should not be kept apart unnecessarily, she says, especially if it is due to a processing blockage. It got to the point, Caruso says, that the government in the fall finally came up with a "band-aid" solution to the fact that the appli- AMBITIOUS GOALS: PERMANENT RESIDENT TARGETS 500K 400K 300K 200K 100K 0 2021 2022 2023 401,000 411,000 421,000

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