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Securing Provincial Immigration Needs

Recommend a sound action plan to influence federal immigration policy on an issue of interest to Albertans.

Outcomes References Related Resources

Suggested Activities

Students consider the interests of the provinces and their role in shaping and implementing immigration policy by writing a speech from the point of view of a policy advisor to the premier of Alberta. The speech focuses on how best to secure the province's interests on a contemporary immigration issue.

Set the context
Present students with the following scenario:

Your school has won a competition and is awarded $10,000 to purchase materials for the school. Various clubs and sports teams are competing for the money. You want to make sure the principal provides your club/team with a share of the money. How would you go about making sure your interests are looked after?

Invite students to share their ideas. Record ideas as shared. Ask students to cluster the ideas in any groupings they like as long as the relationships are clear. Possible clusters might include:

  • negotiate with other groups
  • try to deal directly with the principal
  • mount an ad campaign in the school to raise support.

Introduce provincial challenges regarding immigration
Explain to students that immigration is a federal responsibility and that provinces must lobby the federal government or act in indirect ways, such as offer incentives or establish additional qualifications, to promote their immigration-related needs. Suggest to students that each province will have its own needs and concerns regarding immigration.

Ask students to consider which of the strategies they suggested for the school context  would also be effective for provinces to use when trying to influence federal policies.

Ask students to identify possible provincial concerns about immigration, such as a shortage or excess of workers or language constraints.

Introduce the example of Québec
Explain that Québec has been more affected than most provinces by immigration, with special concerns about the use of the French language.

Provide students with reading material on Canada's immigration policy and on Québec's responses. Select concise summaries of immigration policy that include Québec's special status regarding immigration (see References).
As a class, summarize information from the articles according to the following topics:

  • immigration-related language concerns
  • efforts to influence federal decision making
  • efforts to affect implementation of the policies in the province
  • overall impact of these efforts.

You may want to use the chart and rubric found in Collecting Information (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.

Research impact of immigration on other provinces
Assign one of the remaining Canadian provinces (other than Alberta) to each group of students.

As with the previous example of Québec, ask students to gather information about the following:

  • immigration-related concerns
  • efforts used to influence federal decision making
  • efforts to affect implementation of the policies in the province
  • overall impact of these efforts.

Consider strategies for influencing immigration
Invite each group of students to share with the class the various strategies used by its assigned province for:

  • influencing federal policy—behind-the-scenes lobbying, public pressure, alignment with other provinces
  • affecting policy implementation—moving allowances, residency requirements.

Suggest to students that they use a PMI chart (Plus–Minus–Interesting) to consider the relative merits of the different strategies.

PMI Chart





Behind-the-scenes lobbying




Public pressure




Identify a current immigration concern in Alberta
Explore with students, though newspaper and television reports, the details of a current concern in Alberta about Canada's immigration policy. Invite students to identify the challenges the province faces in trying to address this concern.

Be sure to review the limitations placed on a province's ability to act on immigration matters under the Charter and the Constitution Act.

Explain that their plan should include two broad strategies:

  • efforts to influence the federal government in setting its policy
  • efforts to establish incentives and restrictions to affect implementation of the policy in Alberta.

Identify criteria for an action plan
Discuss the qualities of an effective action plan that the province might use to decide how best to achieve its aims. For example, the plan should meet these criteria:

  • feasible
  • likely to be effective
  • constitutional.

Rank the qualities of an action plan
Ask students to rank the qualities of an effective action plan and to use the top three or four as criteria for their decision.

For more information, see Ranking Options (Support Material).

Write the speeches
Ask students to work in groups to write a speech from the point of view of a policy advisor to the premier of Alberta. The speech should focus on the best way to advance the province's interests.

Present the speeches on the recommendations
Invite a representative from each group to present its speech to the rest of the class. Using the previously discussed criteria, ask students to assess the proposal and select the best action plan or combination of plans.

You may want to use the chart and rubric in Rating Options (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.

Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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