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Canada to set targets to decrease the number of new temporary residents for the first time

FILE - Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marc Miller speaks to the media during the federal cabinet retreat in Montreal, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. Miller said Thursday, March 21, the country will set targets to reduce the number of new temporary residents in the country.(Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press via AP)

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Canada's immigration minister said Thursday the country will set targets to reduce the number of new temporary residents in the country.

Marc Miller said it's the first time Canada will do this. The federal government plans to decrease the number of temporary residents from the current 6.2% of the population to 5% over the next three years.

Canada has seen a sharp increase in temporary residents coming in each year, and the minister has said in the past that the country has become “addicted” to temporary workers.

The first targets will be set in September.

Canada announced in January a two-year cap on international student visas to ease the pressure on housing, health care and other services at a time of record immigration. Canada grew by about 1 million people last year, reaching a record 40 million, as many Canadians struggle with an increased cost of living, including rents and mortgages.

“We are now in a different economic picture,” Minister of Employment Randy Boissonnault said.

Miller said he’ll convene a meeting of provincial, territorial and federal ministers in May to talk about how the levels should be set.

He has also asked his department to review existing programs that bring in temporary residents so as to better align them with labor needs and weed out abuse in the system.