Canada’s future prosperity depends on its people, including an increasing number of visible minorities. Canada’s visible minority population is projected to increase much faster than the rest of the population. According to demographic projections by Statistics Canada, the ethnocultural diversity of Canada’s population will increase greatly by 2031. In the Canada Year Book 2011, Statistics Canada reports: “By 2031, 29% to 32% per cent of Canada’s population—between 11.4 and 14.4 million people—could belong to a visible minority group, which is nearly double the proportion (16%) and more than double the number (5.3 million) reported in 2006.”3
At a time when Canada is already facing severe labour shortages in certain provinces, and given the forecast for shrinking labour availability as the baby boomers begin to retire in significant numbers, it is clear that immigrants will make up an increasing share of Canada’s labour force.
A 2004 study by the Conference Board concluded that visible minorities accounted for over 0.3 per cent per year of growth of potential output and, in turn, of real gross domestic product between 1992 and 2001. In the years ahead, their contribution promises to be at least as important as it already has been. As strong as the contribution of visible minorities is, it could be even stronger if not for the 14.5 per cent wage gap that exists. This gap is persistent and deepening. Evidence suggests that a learning recognition gap—due to widespread failure in Canada to recognize foreign credentials or foreign work experience—explains a portion of the wage gap. Full elimination of this wage gap would benefit not only visible minorities but also the overall Canadian economy.
Interested in reading more about the contribution of visible minorities to the Canadian economy?
Making a Visible Difference: The Contribution of Visible Minorities to Canadian Economic Growth, Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada, 2004.
The noted author Richard Florida argues that the key to economic growth lies in the ability of a city, region, or country to attract a “creative class” of people and to translate that underlying advantage into creative economic outcomes in the form of new ideas, new high-tech businesses, and regional growth. One important factor in attracting the creative class is diversity—that is, an area’s openness to different kinds of people and ideas.
Find out how Canadian cities rank on diversity:
City Magnets II: Benchmarking the Attractiveness of Canada’s CMAs, Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada, 2010.