A CEO of a top Canadian bank is warning that the Liberal government’s plan to raise immigration levels to 500,000 newcomers per year by 2025 could lead to an unprecedented social crisis.
According to Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) CEO Victor Dodig, Canada will face disastrous consequences if the country is unable to build enough housing to accommodate the new immigrants.
“New Canadians want to establish a life here, they need a roof over their heads. We need to get that policy right and not wave the flag saying isn’t it great that everyone wants to come to Canada,” said Dodig on Feb. 14.
“The whole ecosystem has to work. If they can’t get a house, if they can’t get a doctor, if they are struggling to get a job, that’s not so good.”
Dodig cited healthcare woes, including an “unbelievable long line of people waiting for doctors, for procedures” in Canada.
He called on governments to address the issue by recognizing certifications and skills gained abroad.
“We should just advance those folks and not meet them in an Uber and say what do you do: I am a doctor from Iran and I can’t find a job here,” said Dodig.
“I think that still holds true for immigrants today. He was unskilled and for those that are coming with skills, many of the skills aren’t being recognized.”
Recent polls show that not all Canadians are on board with the federal government’s new immigration targets.
A Nov. 2022 Leger survey found that 49% of people polled thought the half-a-million annual immigration target was too high.
The federal government has also faced criticism from Quebec over its handling of the migrant crisis.
Recently, Ottawa has agreed to ship asylum seekers out of Quebec to Ontario and elsewhere as Quebec struggles to deal with the intake mainly coming from the controversial Roxham Road crossing point.
Earlier this week, Quebec Premier Francois Legault called on Trudeau to announce that Canada was full, referencing a past tweet by the prime minister which welcomed refugees to the country.
“It is time for Justin Trudeau to put out a new tweet to say not to come anymore, because we have exceeded our reception capacity,” said Legault.
“So, Trudeau has a responsibility in this, listen, we have problems with housing, capacity in schools, staff in hospitals, at some point, Trudeau has to send a new message.”