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‘We need to take better steps to integrate folks’: Immigration Marc Miller in response to Leger-OMNI poll

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Days after the release of a Leger poll commissioned exclusively for OMNI News, Immigration Minister Marc Miller has responded, saying he agrees the Canadian government hasn’t resettled immigrants properly. 

“People have been left up to their own devices at times and relied on their own community members to bring them up and they have integrated. It’s taken a generation and their kids have essentially integrated, but that generation has left like a 30-year gap,” said Miller. 

The poll finds the ongoing affordability crisis is making the Canadian dream further out of reach for immigrants, with 83 per cent of respondents feeling affordability has made settling more difficult. Seventy-one per cent of poll respondents feel Canada has not thought through a settlement strategy.

While Miller said he has yet to review poll findings, he agrees there is more work to do.  

“I think we are realizing that as a country we need to take better steps to integrate folks,” said Miller. 

The Leger-OMNI poll, one of the largest polling samples of immigrants in recent years, surveyed 1,522 immigrants across Canada between Oct. 18 and 25. It is one of the few polls specifically surveying immigrants.  

“We need to get our own act together in processing times … so that they don’t feel like they’re on the outside looking in when they have a particularly good application.” 

According to a strategic review done by Miller and his predecessor, Sean Fraser, there needs to be more action from the government. 

“Also offer services, whether it’s language services, whether it is integration services, protected persons, persons dealing with trauma, and to do a better, more efficient job,” said Miller.

“Make sure the provinces and territories are doing their jobs, because there is a role. Those people are and will become good-paying taxpayers and will benefit their host provinces and territories.” 

Miller said his department spends over $1 billion in resettlement funds directly for people who need it most, noting that while some immigrants usually have the means to integrate, they might need some help as well. 

Pending further review from the poll’s findings, the minister stressed that when it comes to immigration, Canada is “first in class,” but the government can still do a better job of welcoming record numbers of newcomers. 

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