Canada has one of the most liberal and welcoming policies among the industrialized nations. With a population of 36,779,667 (2017), Canada’s targeted immigration level is 300,000 immigrants per year. In November 2017, the Government of Canada published its new Immigration Levels Plan that will see the country welcoming 310,000 new permanent residents in 2018, 330,000 in 2019 and 340,000 in 2020.
The subject of immigration can induce fear and ethnic tensions in any country. The anti-immigrant rhetoric that has been amplified by some in the political classes of the USA and Europe, for example, have the potential to spread across borders into liberal countries like Canada, with a negative consequence on public attitude. Hard, evidence-based facts are the only antidote there is to the poisonous utterances of purveyors of alternative facts.
A new report by the Conference Board of Canada provides such an antidote that should go a long way towards reassuring Canadians who may be nervous about this country’s open-door policy on immigration. The report should be useful to policy makers and should be of interest to people who are considering a change of address from, say, East Africa, to Canada.
The report by Kareem El-Assal and Daniel Fields shows that:
- A no-immigration world would result in weak economic growth and fiscal strain—a situation that would reduce the motivation for private investment. Productivity-enhancing investments would not fully compensate for the negative impacts of a shrinking workforce.
- Increasing annual immigration to 1 per cent of Canada’s population by the early 2030s, when we forecast that immigration will account for 100 per cent of population growth, would support modest labour force and economic growth.
- Family class immigration has a role in supporting economic development and Canada has taken additional steps in recent years to ensure this class does not pose an undue economic burden. It is also important for Canada to boost the labour market outcomes of family class immigrants as it becomes more dependent on immigrants to support its economic growth.
The full report is worth reading. It is very well written in very accessible language.
Reference: El-Assal, Kareem and Daniel Fields. Canada 2040: No Immigration versus More Immigration. Ottawa. The Conference Board of Canada, 2018.