The Re-Invention of Investment Immigration in Canada and Constructions of Canadian Citizenship – MC-RP 2017/2


This article discusses the evolution of investment immigration in Canada and its impacts upon constructions of Canadian citizenship. Canada has led the way in providing permanent residency to foreign individuals in exchange for an investment. While investor immigration programs in Canada have gone through some changes over the years since it was first established in 1986, foreign investors have always had to meet certain economic criteria; the common denominator has always been a large sum of investment in exchange for the right to reside in Canada, and eventually become a Canadian citizen. There have been some recent developments in investment immigration in Canada which bring to the fore important questions, including how investment immigration is construed in Canada, how it impacts Canadian citizenship values, and ultimately how immigration laws and policies will shape the future of Canada’s economy and society. While investment immigration has existed in Canada for some time—and is now a global phenomenon—the topic remains under-theorised and understudied in Canada. In light of changes to investment immigration in Canada, this paper examines the circumstances under which investor-type immigration is justifiable, and ultimately desirable, in the Canadian context. Through an examination of the historical evolution of investment immigration in Canada and interdisciplinary scholarship, this article questions the phenomenon and argues that this kind of immigration devalues Canadian citizenship by construing it as a commodity to be traded for the right amount of investment.

Prof. Miriam Cohen PhD (Leiden University); LLM (Harvard Law School); LLM (Cantab); LLM/LLB (Université de Montréal); Member of the Quebec Bar. Assistant Professor, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University.

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