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The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting unemployment could lead to immigration to Canada being cut for the first time in a decade.

Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino hinted as much in testimony to the Commons human resources committee, according to Blacklock’s Reporter. Mendicino said cabinet will be “taking a look at our levels and what is our operational capacity.” The review “is of course going to be driven by the context,” he said. “As we all know, we are in the midst of a pandemic,” he said.

In an Immigration Levels Plan tabled in the Commons on March 12, cabinet proposed raising immigration by about 1% of the population a year, from 331,000 immigrants in 2019 to 341,000 in 2020 and 351,000 in 2021. But since then, Canada’s unemployment rate has risen to 13%.

“Given Canada’s massive unemployment for the foreseeable future, what is the government’s scale-back planning for economic migrants and refugees for the next two years?” asked Conservative MP Peter Kent.

“Given that the economic crisis will linger after the health crisis has passed, can Canada accommodate an additional 1% of immigrants and refugees added to our population in the foreseeable future?”

Mendicino said the feds will continue to look “at the circumstances including the surrounding context of Canada’s response to COVID-19 as we plan for the future,” and will provide an update in the fall.

This story was originally published in the Toronto Sun.

Updated: Tue, May 26th 2020 @ 11:30am EDT