Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has launched online consultations on the appropriate level of immigration for Canada and the most suitable mix between economic, family class and protected persons.

‘Immigration has been a sustaining feature of Canada’s history and continues to play an important role in building our country,’ he said. Canada has one of the highest per capita rates of permanent immigration in the world, roughly 0.8% in recent years, and has welcomed 3.5 million immigrants in the last 15 years.

‘The online consultation provides an important opportunity to gather input from stakeholders and the public on key questions facing CIC. This is also a chance to highlight some of the considerations and difficult choices involved in managing a global immigration system,’ explained Kenney.

In planning for the total number of people to admit as permanent residents, CIC not only balances immigration objectives but also considers several other factors, including broader government commitments, input from provinces and territories, and current and future economic conditions.

The Department must also consider its ability to process applications in a timely manner, as well as the capacity of communities to welcome newcomers.

The questionnaire is a key component of the cross-country consultations Kenney and his parliamentary secretaries are currently leading on immigration levels and mix. In July, the Minister consulted with stakeholders in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto.

In August parliamentary secretaries Rick Dykstra and Chungsen Leung held round tables in Mississauga, Scarborough and London. Additional sessions may be planned in the coming weeks and months.

Thus far, the majority of stakeholders present at the consultation sessions expressed a fairly positive view of the current immigration system. They have identified immigration as a critical way to meet labor market needs, citing economic factors as among the most important considerations when establishing immigration levels, followed by integration concerns. Participants have also highlighted the importance of family reunification and the need to address wait times in the parent and grandparent stream.

More than 1,600 people have already signed up to complete the questionnaire. It is available at the following link .

A report on the consultations, including the online questionnaire, will be available on the CIC website in the autumn of 2011 or winter 2012.