By Kathleen Crowley
The Competition for Global Talent immigration conference had the ear of Canada’s Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, the Honourable Jason Kenney.
The Minister gave the keynote address at the conference luncheon, taking the opportunity to make a new policy announcement – the adoption of Bill C-38.
He then opted to stay for the full afternoon of panel presentations and discussion initiated and co-chaired by Haskayne School of Business professor Eva Klein and co-presented in Calgary on June 28 by Haskayne and the C.D. Howe Institute.
“Minister Kenney’s participation in our sessions was a welcome bonus,” said Klein. “This was a stakeholder meeting, with participants representing Calgary business, professional associations and immigrant support agencies, hearing from experts and discussing issues of labour shortage, barriers to entry and credentialing.”
Klein noted a key objective of the conference was to present the Minister with evidence-based research to drive policy decisions.
“We were pleased to have him hear the issues and suggested solutions firsthand; particularly the need for talent in Canada."
The CEO of Royal Bank, Gordon Nixon, opened the conference with an inspirational talk on the value of diversity and inclusion in Canadian society, referencing Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s immigration policy which laid the foundation for multiculturalism. He encouraged immigrants to remember the land of their ancestors while embracing the land of their children.
The daylong conference heard from immigration policy experts from across Canada and from as far away as Australia. Speakers from Calgary included the director of the University of Calgary’s School for Public Policy, economist Jack Mintz.
Post-conference, next steps include policy papers from the C. D. Howe Institute and a publication from Klein incorporating the conference presentations, identification of issues and suggested solutions.
The Competition for Global Talent immigration conference was organized as an initiative of “Investing in New Canadians” a research and outreach program directed by Klein at the Haskayne School of Business and supported by the RBC Foundation through a $1 million grant over 10 years.