One year later: How the pandemic is affecting Canadian immigration

ANALYSIS: A look back at COVID-related measures and how they are shaping the future of Canadian immigration

Days after Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced plans to increase immigration in 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the world that the Canadian border would be closed on March 18— one year ago today— as a public safety measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Initially, the border was just supposed to be closed until June 30, 2020. Although travel restrictions have undergone some changes, they are still in effect. Border crossings are down between 88 per cent and 96 per cent for land and air travel, respectively. The government currently has no plan for when nor how it will reopen the border.

Up until January, Canada’s immigration levels had taken a huge hit, in part due to travel restrictions. By the end of 2020, only 184,000 new permanent residents had landed in Canada, the lowest level since 1998.

But travel restrictions were not the only measure that would upset immigration levels. Social distancing and other COVID safety measures at home and abroad also affected operations at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).