Minister warns of “huge figure” amid talks of bringing in 450K newcomers


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.

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.

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.