Prime Minister Paul Martin announced the Liberal government will eliminate the $975 landing fee for new Canadians in a speech in Victoria on January 3.
"We as Liberals have always been committed to supporting families, and that means support for all Canadian families," the Prime Minister said. "For many Canadian families with immediate relatives overseas, one of the challenges that they have faced is the $975 right of permanent residence fee."
“We’re going to eliminate that fee, over the course of our mandate.”
The landing fee will be phased out over the next three years. The fee will drop immediately to $600, then to $300 after 12 months, and finally to zero within the next two budgets. The fee was introduced in 1995 as a deficit-fighting measure.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Joe Volpe agreed the decision would build on measures the Liberal government has taken to encourage immigration.
“This government has made immigration a priority,” said the Minister. “Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, we have made investments in the recognition of foreign credentials, in improving settlement and integration services, and on improving the system so that those interested in coming to Canada will know what contributions they can make to this country.
“Today’s announcement is another step in improving that system for Canadians from all walks of life.”
Recent measures undertaken by the Liberal government include an investment of $700 million to improve the immigration processing system and establish an in-Canada economic class.
We have also invested $1.3 billion to fund improved settlement and integration services across the country, including $920 million over the next five years for the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement.
Last spring, the Liberal government launched the Internationally Trained Workers Initiative, a more than $300-million effort to improve the outcomes of foreign-trained professionals in Canada.
“This is a nation of immigrants,” said the Prime Minister. “Canada's immigration history is rich and diverse, and the nearly 15 million people from around the world who have emigrated to our country have shaped the values and ideals of Canadian citizenship.
“Today’s immigrants are a vital force in building and sustaining a stronger nation, and we welcome them.”