John McCallum says plan for 450,000 new immigrants a year too ambitious

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OTTAWA – Immigration Minister John McCallum is acknowledging the advice of a high-powered group of external advisers that recommends a dramatic increase in Canada’s immigration levels to stimulate economic growth.

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But McCallum suggests the recommendation — a 50 per cent increase in targets to 450,000 people a year, targeting skilled, entrepreneurial newcomers — might be too ambitious.

He says to meet the target suggested by the Advisory Council on Economic Growth would be a costly endeavour and might not find support across the country.

He says discussions are continuing and the government will announce immigration targets for 2017 next month.

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The 14-member panel, chaired by Dominic Barton of the firm McKinsey and Co., is to deliver a set of recommendations to Finance Minister Bill Morneau on Thursday.

The group is trying to come up with ways for the government to boost growth beyond the forecasted two-per cent annual level.