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For minister Sean Fraser, immigration and housing are more than just numbers games

Sean Fraser, Canada’s new Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities, is pictured in Merigomish, Nova Scotia. (Photo by Darren Calabrese) In Canada, it’s not common for people to boast, but if you happen to overhear someone doing so, they might say that this is the best country in the world. And now, it seems that we have the data to back it up. In 2022, we welcomed almost a million newcomers, setting a new record. And the year before, we surpassed the United States as the top destination for international workers. It’s clear that people want to come to Canada, and we want them here. In June, in response to the ongoing labor shortage, the federal government announced a revamped express-entry system, which includes new pathways for permanent residency for individuals with sought-after skills in fields like healthcare, technology, and the trades. Prior to a recent cabinet shuffle by the Prime Minister, Sean Fraser was the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, responsible for delivering on the government’s ambitious goal of welcoming 500,000 immigrants annually by 2025. As a lawyer and proud Nova Scotian, Fraser has seen firsthand the talent drain from his home province as people seek better opportunities elsewhere. Now, in his new role as Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities, he faces questions about Canada’s affordability, particularly in light of our booming real estate market. In a recent interview with Maclean’s, Fraser expressed his belief that Canada is still the place to be, despite these challenges. According to Statistics Canada’s “population clock,” Canada reached 40 million people on Friday, June 16, just before 3 p.m. EST. When asked where he was when he heard the news, Fraser admitted that he saw it on social media, but his focus is on reuniting families and helping businesses access workers. While he may not have celebrated the milestone with a plaque or balloons, he did have a cake for his two-year-old’s birthday the day before. As a 39-year-old, Fraser acknowledges that he has often cited the 30 million population factoid, but now he has to adjust his speeches to reflect the new milestone. However, he also points out that Canada has been climbing the ranks as one of the most desirable countries for economic opportunities, surpassing the United States and Germany. While some may see immigration as a race, Fraser emphasizes that it’s not a competition. Instead, his office is focused on welcoming and integrating 500,000 new permanent residents every year. 

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