U.S. Immigration to Canada: Strength and Opportunity through Diversity

Last Updated: 9 April 2020.

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“Deep in our history of struggle for freedom, Canada was the north star. The freedom road links us together.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

When U.S. President Barack Obama invoked the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when addressing the Canadian House of Commons in June 2016, few could have imagined that the election of Donald Trump would once again turn American eyes to the North. On election night in 2017, as state after state turned Republican red, the website of the Canadian Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship crashed. Moving to Canada could be an option for many Americans (and others) who no longer see their own values reflected in their country’s leadership and growing divisiveness.

Over the past several years under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada has been a leader in welcoming Syrian refugees, the latest in a long line of communities who have sought new and better lives on our shores. Canadians are proud of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which emphasizes equality for all and also has led Canada to be a leader in legalizing same-sex marriage. Reiterated in his 2019 victory speech, Prime Minister Trudeau stated “From coast to coast, tonight, Canadians rejected division and negativity… We will champion Canada in all its diversity. We will give voice to the voiceless”. To those Americans (and of course others) who want to live in a country that values diversity and progress, we welcome you.

As President Trump closes America’s doors (and builds walls), Canada is working hard to implement the 2019 Immigration Mandate – a robust plan to increase our population and to build a stronger country by actively recruiting the skill and experience of those from abroad. We value not just demographic diversity but also diversity of values and beliefs. Canada’s future depends on the contributions of newcomers.

New data shows the number of people immigrating to Canada increased by 26% between 2015 and 2019. In 2019, the United States was Canada’s fifth largest source of immigrants. As a percentage of each country’s population, Canada currently admits approximately three times as many immigrants as the U.S.

Throughout our history, many have moved north to do business, reunite with family, and to find love. The North American Free Trade Agreement, which united the diverse populations and economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico, has led not only to the free flow of goods between our countries but also of people. Thanks to NAFTA, now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and our bilateral relationship, American citizens do not need visas to visit Canada and can more easily apply for work permits. While Canada cannot accommodate every potential immigrant, American applicants for permanent resident status will find themselves nearer to the front of the line and with shorter wait times than those from elsewhere.

For 45 years our team at Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall have represented American professionals, families, small business owners and entrepreneurs to navigate the process of becoming Canadian. Warren Creates is a certified specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law (Immigration and Refugee Protection) and has successfully helped thousands of businesses and individuals create new beginnings in Canada.

Our country is stronger because of the diversity of skills and experience of those who came here to build better lives and a better country. Give us a call or write us so we can help you navigate the path of coming to Canada.

Warren Creates is Head of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall’s Immigration Law Group. He is a Certified Specialist in the fields of Immigration Law, Citizenship Law, and Refugee Law. He can be reached at wcreates@perlaw.ca or 613.566.2839.