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April 3rd, 2024

The Honourable Marc Miller

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

365 Laurier Ave West

Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 1L1

Dear Minister Miller,

We are writing to you on behalf of the Chambers of Commerce for Greater Moncton, Fredericton, and the Saint John region, to express our concerns regarding a series of policy related changes to immigration – most recently, your announcement on capping the number of temporary residents allowed in Canada. We were quite surprised to see a second blanket cap on a critical immigration stream in 2024, when you have already acknowledged that adjustments are required for the international student cap announced in January.

During the recent Democracy Forum at Toronto Metropolitan University, you emphasized the imperative of taking action rather than succumbing to inaction—a sentiment with which we wholeheartedly agree. Indeed, we recognize that exponential growth in terms of volume and disturbing instances of exploitative conditions for vulnerable foreigners, underscores the urgent need for government intervention. While we acknowledge the validity of the examples you highlighted, we must also voice our apprehension regarding the current policy approach. It appears that the policies enacted thus far fail to effectively address existing problems while inadvertently penalizing reputable entities with established records of responsible management – and therefore our regional economies.

Moreover, as representatives of communities within the Province of New Brunswick, and the broader Atlantic Canada region, we emphasize the importance of recognizing the unique demographic dynamics and industry requirements of our province and region. A blanket national policy overlooks these distinctive realities and risks undermining the economic vitality and social cohesion of our communities.

The presence of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada is instrumental across multiple sectors, addressing critical labor shortages and sustaining economic vitality. Industries such as agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and hospitality heavily rely on the contributions of TFWs to maintain productivity and meet market demands. Beyond mere labor provision, these workers often bring diverse skills, experiences, and cultural perspectives, enriching the local workforce and fostering innovation. However, your announcement to restrict the intake of temporary immigrants, fail to address the fundamental needs of New Brunswick and its key industries.

On January 22nd, you announced that Canada will reduce the number of new international student permits this year as part of a temporary two-year cap on foreign enrolment. As the allocation of cap space would be determined by province based on population, New Brunswick’s allocation of permits will equal roughly 7,560 – a steep reduction of the 11,410 international students welcomed in 2022. The policy outlined the duty of distributing these permits to the provincial government, and the federal government’s onus was to continue to work with the provinces to refine the policy. We encourage this partnership to quickly accommodate the required alterations.

We had hoped that a one size fits all policy would not be applied to our region, which boasts so many examples of positive integration and supports for international students, while obviously offering world class educational experiences. We call, therefore, for the necessary and timely actions to support and protect our universities and colleges which have exhibited a history of sustainable growth, including an alteration to this two-year policy to allow for the realities of the Atlantic provinces. Through this form of inclusive partnership-based policy, we see an opportunity to proactively prescribe and affirm that higher education is an essential resource and partner in Atlantic Canada, serving a function as a talent pipeline and as an indispensable resource within numerous issue areas such as health care, housing, innovation, and far beyond.

In light of these considerations, we also urge you to reconsider the proposed temporary resident cap and collaborate with regional stakeholders to devise more nuanced and effective solutions that safeguard both the integrity of our immigration system and the well-being of our communities. Without this kind of close collaboration to understand the unique circumstances our of region – unintended consequences of blanket national policies will be a near certainty.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We remain eager to engage in proactive dialogue and partnerships towards a more equitable and sustainable future for all.


Morgan Peters, CEO, The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce

Nadine Fullarton, CEO, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton

Tracy Bell, CEO, The Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce

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