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‘Careless’ to attribute affordability crisis to immigration: Minister Marc Miller

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As Canadians continue to face a housing affordability crisis, Immigration Minister Marc Miller says higher numbers of temporary immigrants are not the only factor to consider.

“That is something that we can’t discount,” said Miller. “But I think it’s careless to attribute that directly to immigration and directly to sheer volumes. There’s lots of reasons for that.”

In an exclusive interview with OMNI News, Miller admitted that record immigration levels have driven up what economists call the “cost of shelter” but immigrants continue to be an asset for Canada.

The federal government has been under intense scrutiny as it grapples with the need for skilled workers to fill gaps in the strategic sector, and the pressure to deal with the housing crunch.

Miller said those workers shouldn’t “worry too much” about potential restrictions, but that he owes it to Canadians to look at some of the other temporary immigration programs.

Last month, the minister announced a two-year cap on international student admissions, and while he reiterated that that decision wasn’t meant to address concerns around affordability, he said the federal government needed to respond to “a groundswell of demand” for Ottawa and the provinces to act.

Calling the volume “disconcerting,” Miller said the number of international students would have risen to approximately 1.4 million if Ottawa “didn’t put controls on it,” adding that the measures were necessary to maintain the integrity of the system.

Last week, colleges and universities called on the government to delay the implementation of these measures as they pose a significant risk to Canada’s post-secondary sector.

During a press conference in King City, Ont., on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the idea, saying that “the financial viability of institutions doesn’t stack up” against the impact that a lack of support systems for students is having on their mental health.

“The last thing I want to do is stigmatize students,” added Minister Miller, stressing they “need to be properly surrounded in their student experience.”

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