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Ontario asks federal government to double numbers of economic immigrants

Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade of Ontario, speaks during a press conference announcing that Bombardier Inc. has secured a long-term lease from the Greater Toronto Airport Authority to build its flagship business jet at Pearson airport, in Mississauga on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.
Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade of Ontario, speaks during a press conference announcing that Bombardier Inc. has secured a long-term lease from the Greater Toronto Airport Authority to build its flagship business jet at Pearson airport, in Mississauga on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

TORONTO – Ontario is asking the federal government to double the number of economic immigrants to the province in order to deal with a skilled labour shortage.

Economic development minister Vic Fedeli says an expansion of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program would respond to the labour market needs of the province’s employers.

Fedeli made the request in a letter to Marco Mendicino, the new federal minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.

In the letter, Fedeli asks that the number of immigrants accepted under the program be increased from about 7,000 this year to 13,300 in two years.

READ MORE: Former Toronto Hydro building becomes refugee shelter, thanks to Iranian-Canadian immigrants

Fedeli says Ontario requested an additional 1,000 nominations this year, but only received 50.

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He says the program is already over-subscribed and demand is far outweighing Ontario’s annual nominations.

A spokesman for Mendicino said the government has committed to increasing the number of spaces in the provinces’ nominee programs by nearly 27,000 spaces, giving them “the autonomy” to select the economic immigrants that suit their labour market needs.

“We have also introduced the Rural and Northern Immigration pilot, which will help rural and remote areas attract and retain newcomers to tackle some of the demographic challenges we face,”

Mathieu Genest wrote in a statement.

“Furthermore, the Municipal Nominee Program announced in the electoral platform will help enhance the ability of communities to seek out the talent they need to help their economy grow.”