The Provincial nominee program (PNP) is a system for economic Immigration to Canada. It allows provincial governments to identify the needs of their province and grant Permanent Residency (PR) to eligible immigrants. The program, along with the Express Entry system, is responsible for most of the economic Immigration into Canada. It helps out less popular and neglected Canadian provinces and allows them to access the benefits of Immigration.
What is the history of the PNP?
Immigration in Canada is a concurrent topic with the federal government and provinces sharing similar responsibilities. The Constitution Act, 1867, (95)- states that the provincial legislature and the Parliament of Canada can make laws with respect to Immigration.
However, a federal body- the ‘IRCC’ assumes a primary role in the administration of Immigration in Canada.
The history of the PNP’s foundation goes back to 1968 when Quebec became the first Canadian province to have an immigration department. Even today, Quebec enjoys more autonomy in Immigration matters. The Canada-Quebec Accord/ Gagnon-Tremblay-McDougall Agreement of 1991 gave the province more control over economic Immigration and allowed it to determine the number of Permanent Residents.
In the aftermath, other provinces too started ramping up demands for more control over their own Immigration.
The Federal government signed unique agreements to satisfy this increasing demand for autonomy in immigration matters.
The PNP was introduced in 1998 to help provinces have more say in the Immigration to their own provinces.
What is the current issue with Provincial Nominee Programs?
Recently, provinces have voiced their desire for more control over immigration numbers through the PNP program. For example, Ontario could only extend Invitations to 4.5% of the immigrant pool due to the federal government’s allocated nominations. With 378,000 vacant jobs still on its plate, the province needs a drastic increase in allocations to meet its needs. Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have echoed similar sentiments.
Canada is increasingly reliant on immigration programs to meet its labour requirements. The latest reports point to a tightening labour market struggling to keep up with growing labour demands. The first quarter of 2022 also saw job vacancies climb to a quarterly record- 957,500, up 2.7% (+24,900) from the previous high in the fourth quarter of 2021. This is despite the workforce participation among the core working population (ages 24-54) being at an all-time high, with the country touching its lowest unemployment rate (4.9%) in July. The unemployment rate climbed slightly to 5.4% in August.
The provinces will continue to lose out on economic development if the recent trends persist.
Why is the country facing labour shortages?
Declining fertility rates and an increasingly aged core-working population are responsible for the country’s diminishing working population. The government has increasingly relied on positive immigration trends to meet labour demands.
What is the government doing to help out?
The latest Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 targeted up to 431,645 new permanent residents in 2022, 447,055 in 2023 and 451,000 in 2024. Half of all the planned targets were in the Economic Class and are meant to alleviate the problems and shortages facing the Canadian labour market.
Who controls Immigration to the provinces?
Canadian Immigration is a shared responsibility of the Federal government, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the provinces and territories.
Each agreement is negotiated separately and has its unique features and intricacies.
Here are links to the agreements as found on the IRCC portal.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Statistics on provinces’ PNP immigration
Below are year-by-year PNP statistics of some Canadian provinces.
The statistics for Immigration under the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program.
The statistics for the different streams of the British Colombia PNP program
Manitoba Immigration statistics for 2020 as reported on Manitoba Immigration Facts Report 2020
|Provincial Nominee Program||5,835|
|Human Capital Priorities stream||6,259|
|French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream||651|
|Skilled trades stream||1,324|
The Statistics for Prince Edward Island as reported in the Prince Edward Island Population Report 2021
Of this population increase, 1,211 were international immigrants.
Comparison of popular Canadian Immigration streams by province
We take a comparative look at some immigration streams operated by the provinces, their eligibility requirements and the scoring system.
- The Alberta Express Entry Stream, sends a Notification of Interest (NOI) to candidates who have:
- An Express Entry profile in the federal EE pool
- Your listed occupation aligns with Alberta’s economic needs.
- Have an interest in immigrating to Alberta
- Have a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 300.
A candidate can also improve their chances by having:
- An Alberta job offer
- Graduation credentials from a Canadian institution
- A close relative who is also a permanent resident of Alberta.
- French as their first language
Candidates who receive an NOI can submit an application to the Alberta Advantage Immigration program (AAIP)
- The British Columbia PNP (BCPNP) requires you to register if you apply under Skilled Worker, International Graduate or Entry Level and Semi-skilled.
Your Registration is scored on several factors, Economic (skill level, wage, location), Human capital (work experience, education, language). The BCPNP prescribed the following minimum scores for its General Draw in its latest 13-Sep-2022 Skills Immigration invitations:
- Skilled Worker – Express Entry British Columbia (EEBC) option – 120
- International Graduate EEBC option – 105
- Entry Level and Semi-Skilled – 78
- The Manitoba Skilled Worker Overseas stream also has its points system based on five factors (language proficiency, Age, Work Experience, Education and Adaptability). Candidates need at least 60 points to be eligible.
The Expression of Interest draw 156, on Sep 15, 2022, for the ‘Skilled Workers stream’ had:
- Letters of Advice to Apply issued – 388
- The score of the lowest-ranked candidate invited – 613
- The Newfoundland and Labrador’s Express Entry Skilled Worker program requires you to have a high-skilled job from a Newfoundland employer, along with a minimum of 67 points out of 100 on the PNP point assessment grid (education, experience, language ability, age, adaptability). Other requirements include acceptance to the IRCC EE pool. IRCC work permit, a Canadian post-secondary degree/diploma, intention to settle in Newfoundland and Labrador and language test results.
- The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) operates a Foreign Worker stream that allows skilled workers to register to its OINP Expression of Interest System. The OINP scores candidates based on a scoring system (- NOC skill level, Job offer type, wage, Canadian work experience, Canadian work experience, NOC skill level, Canadian earnings history and Regionalization) and nominates the eligible candidates.
There were 1705 nominations through the OINP’s Employer JobOffer: Foreign Worker stream in 2021.
- Saskatchewan allows candidates eligible for Occupations in-Demand and Express Entry to submit an International Skilled Worker Expression of Interest (EOI). Applications are ranked on a SINP point assessment grid that assesses Education, Skilled work Experience, Language ability, Age, Adaptability, employment offers, a close relative in Saskatchewan, past work experience in Saskatchewan and past student experience in Saskatchewan- for a maximum total of 110 points.
What was the CRS cut-off score in the latest PNP-specific Express Entry draw?
The latest PNP-specific Express Entry draw 225 on Jun 22, 2022, resulted in 636 Invitations to Apply (ITA). The cut-off CRS score was 752.
The call for more autonomy in the Immigration process has been gaining momentum among several Canadian provinces. The provinces need more control over PNP allocations to address their labour shortages. The Forum of Ministers Responsible (FMRI) for Immigration attempted to tackle this issue during their meeting on July 28. The most significant development was the agreement for a Multi-year Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allocation plan in the same vein as the Immigration Levels plan. It remains to be seen how this will impact the Provinces and their PNP programs.