Canada facing housing shortages

Canada is thinking of limiting the number of foreign students who are permitted to reside there, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said according to a CTV report, as the government faces criticism for a housing affordability crisis.

Canada depends on immigration to drive its economy and support an aging population and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been ramping up annual immigration. The housing crisis has been blamed on an increase in migrants and international students fueling demand for homes just as inflation has slowed construction.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller said in a taped interview with CTV Question Period that the Liberal government is considering a cap on international students in the first and second quarters this year.
“That volume is disconcerting,” Immigration Minister Marc is quoted by CTV as saying, referring to the number of international students in Canada. “It’s really a system that has gotten out of control.”

He did not say how much of a reduction in international students the government is considering.

Immigration Minister Marc spokesperson could not be immediately reached.

Official data show there were more than 800,000 foreign students with active visas in 2022, up from 275,000 in 2012.

The interview with the Immigration Minister Marc is scheduled to air on Sunday.

Canada is one of the popular destination for international students since it is relatively easy to obtain a work permit without challenges compared to other destinations.

The Liberal government floated the idea of capping the number of foreign student visas in August, but Housing Minister Sean Fraser said then that the government had not yet made a decision of whether to pursue that option.

“We have a sense of what those numbers would look like, what the reduction of those numbers look like, out of courtesy to my colleagues in the provinces, those are discussions that we’re first going to have around the negotiating table,” he said, adding that the financial needs of academic institutions is also a factor.

The federal government has faced criticism for welcoming an increasing number of immigrants who are both permanent and temporary residents while the country faces an acute housing shortage.

Meanwhile, CTV reported citing The Canadian Press, which cited the internal documents obtained through an access to information request, the federal government was warned by public servants two years ago that its ambitious immigration targets could jeopardise housing affordability.

The Liberals have set targets aiming to bring in 485,000 immigrants this year, and 500,000 in both 2025 and 2026.

Temporary residents, largely comprising international students and migrant workers, are another part of the equation, with more than 300,000 of them arriving in Canada in just the third quarter of last year.


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