On the heels of the Government of Canada’s announcement that it will welcome some 310,000 immigrants in 2018 and is introducing a multi-year levels plan for just the second time in history, the Conference Board’s Craig Alexander offers the following insights:
“Canada’s decision to increase immigration will help sustain long-term economic growth in light of its rapidly aging population and low birth rate. Introducing a multi-year levels plan will improve the ability of governments, employers, immigrant-serving organizations, and other important stakeholders to successfully integrate newcomers into Canada’s economy and society.”
—Craig Alexander, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada.
- Canada’s 2018 immigration target of 310,000 represents a 19 per cent increase compared with its newcomer intake between 2006-2015.
- The immigration target will be 330,000 in 2019, and 340,000 in 2020.
- Canada’s intake is the highest since 1913 and will represent about 0.90 per cent of the population by 2020 which is also high by historical standards. Unlike the past, however, Canada can no longer count on natural increase (births minus deaths) to grow its labour force.
- Population aging is one of the biggest economic and fiscal challenges facing Canada.
- An October 2017 report by the Conference Board shows that immigration is a strong driver of Canada’s economy. Today, 75 per cent of population growth is due to immigration. Canada’s population growth will come entirely from immigration as the number of deaths is forecast to outpace births by the early 2030s.
- In the absence of immigration, economic growth and government revenues would slow, and Canada would struggle to fund vital social programs. Health care, for example, will only become more expensive to deliver as an older population requires more services.
- Canada is introducing a multi-year levels plan for just the second time in its history. The plan will allow stakeholders to make informed decisions as they seek to integrate newcomers into the economy and society. For instance, city planners can more accurately project how many newcomers will be arriving over multiple years and what sorts of infrastructure investments are required to successfully absorb a larger population.
- Canada first introduced a multi-year levels plan for the period between 1982-1984 but the onset of a recession effected the federal government’s ability to continue with the plan.
- Opinion polls show that public support for immigration remains high. To maintain this support, it is essential that newcomers are equipped with the tools that they need to benefit the Canadian economy and complement domestic workers.