Canada’s Immigration must be increased for a stable economy- Says Conference Board of Canada

Posted on May 16, 2018

The Conference Board of Canada in its recent report argued upon the growing need of immigrants in the country for a stable growth. “The new report echoes calls by the Government of Canada, provincial governments, economists and business leaders across the country for increased immigration to counter labour shortages produced by Canada’s aging population” reflects a statement in the CIC news.

The report says that increasing the immigration to one percent of its total population by 2030 would help the country compensate for the aging population imbalance. On a rough estimation, Canada must have to raise the admissions to 415,000 by 2030 to off-set aging population and spur economy-says the Conference Board of Canada.

According to the authors of the report and Research/Economists Staff of Conference Board’s National Immigration Centre, Kareem El-Assal and Daniel Fields“Based on current demographic trends, increasing the immigration rate to one per cent by the early 2030s will allow Canada to replicate its population growth rate of recent decades (one per cent) and support modest labour market and economic growth over the long term.

The Conference Board of Canada also draws information in the report on the implausible scenario if all the immigration to the country is stopped. Without immigration, there would be a shrink in Canada’s labor force. This would eventually slow the estimated average GDP growth by 2040 and also increase the rate of taxes with the decrease in the number of taxpayers. This would eventually affect the living standards of several taxpayers and contribute to growing costs of public services, especially health care.

The report signifies the role immigration has played in the labour force growth and population growth of Canada. In a note of prediction, the Conference Board of Canada estimates that “Immigration will account for nearly 100 percent of Canada’s annual population growth by the year 2034 when the natural population increase is expected to drop below zero”.

With this, the report also warns of the potential downside of this increase, in case Canada does not take relevant measures to improve its labour market outcomes of immigrants. It also recommends several initiatives in this regard:

  • Improvement of Labour Market Integration for immigrants in order to receive their better contribution to Canada’s economic and financial development
  • Seek ways for economic growth in a way that both Canadian born workers and immigrant workers get similar access to jobs and social services like education, accommodations, medicare etc.
  • Be certain that the public support for immigration through border management while maintaining the integrity of Canada’s immigration and TRV programs. Equally encourage “safe spaces for open debate on the merits and drawbacks of immigration”

The authors also urge that the labor market barriers, which are critical, are removed for newcomers arriving through Family Class Sponsorships. There must be a fundamental shift in the way outcomes of family class immigrants are assessed, i.e. there should be a focus on household income instead of individual incomes.

The authors also write that “While Canada has prioritized economic class admissions since the mid-1990s; family class admissions should also be viewed as part of economic development policy.”

“Immigrant families are faring well in relation to Canadian-born families in important economic metrics such as household income and home ownership. Immigrant families bring other benefits as well, such as boosting immigrant retention rates, important to population growth in Atlantic Canada, and to all other provinces as well” adds the report.