Open arms in an era of closed borders: pandemic-era immigration plan to be released


Canada's tradition of welcoming newcomers with open arms is being challenged in an era of closed borders.
How great that challenge is will become apparent today as the federal Liberals release a status update on immigration to Canada so far this year and a plan for how many they intend to admit next year.
The plan for 2020 had been to settle around 341,000 new permanent residents, a goal in keeping with ongoing increases to immigration levels for the last several years.
This year's number, however, was released literally on the eve of Canada beginning to cut itself entirely off from the outside world to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The day after, Parliament would close its doors, the week after the border with the U.S. slammed shut to all but essential workers and travel restrictions reduced air travel to Canada so sharply that airports became ghost towns.
Families were stranded oceans apart, the agricultural sector's steady flow of temporary workers dried up, university campuses were devoid of international students whose tuition helps pay the bills, refugees were left stuck in untenable situations abroad and bosses who'd pinned their hopes for growth on new arrivals were left in some cases not even able to run their businesses, let alone hire new employees.

At the same time, the machinery that drives the system also went on hiatus as thousands of civil servants in Canada were sent home, and immigration officers overseas boarded up visa offices and stopped doing interviews.