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Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Globe and Mail - Can immigrants be told where they must live in Canada?

Immigration Minister John McCallum has been speaking recently about ambitious plans to significantly increase the number of immigrants admitted to Canada. Whether Canadians are open to such an increase is questionable; yet, the minister has mentioned an intriguing possibility for raising the numbers: He would like newcomers to settle in small towns and rural areas, rather than big urban centres, such as Toronto and Vancouver.

He acknowledges the constitutional limitations to this idea, given the mobility rights of citizens and permanent residents that are protected by Section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, he does not follow this prudent reminder by mentioning that the protection granted to permanent residents is not absolute, because the Charter includes qualifications in the same section, along with a more general clause on reasonable limits.

It may not be obvious in our liberal democracy, but the issue of controlling where new immigrants can settle for their initial years in Canada is important in terms of securing public support for increased immigration.

Can the government legally require some immigrants to settle in small towns and rural areas?

Read the entire Globe and Mail article here