July 8, 2020
5 Months Into a New Coronavirus/COVID-19 World: Canadian Immigration Reflections – What Will the Future Hold?
As we soon enter our fifth-month of a new reality, the world is changing and unfolding rapidly. Each day brings a spectrum of news, emotions, and developments ranging from the promise of a vaccine before the end of 2020 to others warning that we may live with Coronavirus/COVID-19 for years or perhaps permanently. Border restrictions remain in effect, and immigration flow slowed, the health of many in peril and the economy shaken to its financial core. Each day many of us ask what does the future hold? How will we find a way, recover, move forward? Our world of Canadian immigration is inextricably tied to the delicate societal, economic and political tapestry that the world finds itself. Unquestionably this remains a very challenging time. Recently, we held a firm-wide general meeting and reflected on the state of Canadian immigration and the next steps forward for Bellissimo Law Group PC (BLG PC).
I began by thanking all of our staff for their diligent work and continuing to serve our clients while doing their part to keep themselves and others safe. We noted we appreciated the quarantine fatigue for some that have resulted from months of remote work. In Ontario, much of the province has reopened as has our building complex, although the state of emergency in Ontario has been extended to mid-July and the border closure until at least July 21st for the United States and July 31st for other parts of the world.
As always, we continue to closely monitor and listen to public health sources for accurate and up-to-date information regarding the evolving situation with Coronavirus/ COVID-19, informing our protocol for best practices to attempt to protect the health and safety of our staff, clients and visitors. Although there is much excitement about reopening our medical sources have reiterated the virus is present, effective treatment and/or vaccine are not available, immunity duration and health consequences for even those that are asymptomatic is still unknown for those that have contracted the virus and a second and potentially more dangerous wave could emerge with estimates ranging from September to December.
See latest updates here:
Although the wave has been flattened, the number of new cases in Ontario and, in particular, Toronto is still too high for effective tracing. The virus does appear to be less contagious in open spaces with appropriate distancing and masking. Public health authorities also continue to urge that unless a return to the workplace is absolutely essential, it should be avoided.
So, we continue to perform our work primarily remotely, as will many professional offices, even many immigration offices throughout the world. As we reflect on Canadian immigration developments, the modernization that began a number of years ago will have to move at a scorching pace to facilitate the movement of Canadian immigrants, both temporary and permanent. As discussed in previous blogs, immigration to Canadian remains lifeblood for our country, and that will not change. In looking at some of the high level and macro implications, much can be learned from these past four months.
High-Level Immigration and Economic Implications
- Although the flow has been slowed, permanent residents, workers, students and essential visitors continue to enter Canada
- The potential for subsequent waves and hot spots like the United States makes immigration forecasting extremely difficult
- Any reopening of the border with the United States may have to be done on a piecemeal basis as a full-scale reopening is not imminently foreseeable at this time.
- Our financial sources confirm this is the most disruptive financial event since World War Two, and the recovery will be slow and uneven with no “V” shaped recovery.
- Consumer spending, investment, trade, travel, supply chains, all significantly down.
Macro-Level Immigration and Economic Implications
- Need for even more science, innovation and skill demand for immigrants.
- Anti-globalization will mean more on shoring and the need for local or immigrant labour.
- Diminished wealth and deflationary pressures.
- New work models.
- Day to day tasks will be difficult to complete.
The need for immigrant labour and skill will only increase as more countries, and Canada is likely no exception, will seek to manufacture, create, innovate, supply within its borders. Immigration authorities will need to become even more nimble and responsive to what could be a long-term situation and the need for ongoing and increasing immigrants to meet worsening demographics in Canada. The Federal Court of Canada is one shining example of instituting remote hearings as the de-facto position in these uncertain times. Regrettably, in my view, the Immigration and Refugee Board has not followed suit. Applicants will require representatives more than ever to navigate an increasingly complex and frequently shifting Canadian immigration landscape.
Stay the Course Canadian Immigration Central
We continue to follow the situation and risk levels actively and are ready to implement immediate changes here at Bellissimo Law Group PC as required. We will also continue to communicate with our clients, staff and community at large in a timely manner. We cannot lose our resolve or let our guard down. As noted previously, public health officials see the reopening as a period of experimentation that will likely lead to a second wave of infection, as we have seen in other parts of the world. There remain opposing medical views on the best way forward.
In all, in the interim, we continue to find a way to perform essential services and can see no scenario where immigration is not central to Canada’s recovery and growth. Again, I thank our staff who have done an exceptional job of continuing our important work.
Thank you for reading. As always, please stay safe.