Immigrants-Key To Canada Growth Strategy

Canada is facing a labour market crunch. By 2030, all its 9.2 million baby boomers will have reached retirement age – placing the country under economic and fiscal pressure. A recent report from The Conference Board of Canada, Can’t Go it Alone: Immigration is Key to Canada’s Growth Strategy, evaluates various solutions to help strengthen the country’s labour force and economy.

“The report quantifies how immigration is the most powerful fuel to replenish our workforce numbers,” says Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the board, adding that “These solutions, including better labour market integration for underrepresented groups, identify how to maintain a growing labour force to stimulate economic activity, as well as the tax revenues required to fund vital social expenditures such as rising health care costs.”

The Conference Board of Canada conducted a new study which determined the ‘best path’ for the country at the moment. Immigration will play a very important role in propelling the Canadian economy. The study also emphasises why there is a need to improve the participation of under-represented groups and elevate their status in the labour force. If the country makes the required efforts, there will be economic growth and a rise in living standards over the next two decades.

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The study titled, ‘Can’t Go It Alone: Immigration is Key to Canada’s Growth Strategy’ takes into account various labour force scenarios between the years 2018 and 2040 in order to arrive at a conclusion. The 22-year period will witness 9.2 million Canadian baby boomers enter their retirement periods. The study also predicts that there will be an increased demand for Canada’s publicly funded social services, considering that almost one-quarter of the population will turn 65 or older in the year 2040. Today, the percentage stands at a mere 17 per cent. The upcoming absence of labour force growth solutions will put immense pressure on Canada to fund the health care system which most Canadians depend on.

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Currently, immigrants represent one in five people in Canada. By immigrants, we mean people born outside of the Canadian territory. Since 1990, over six million new immigrants have arrived in Canada. “Thanks in great part to the newcomers we have welcomed throughout our history, Canada has developed into the strong and vibrant country we all enjoy”, stated Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen.

Immigrants and their descendants have made immeasurable contributions to Canada, and our future success depends on continuing to ensure they are welcomed and well-integrated, also affirmed the minister in the 2018 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration. Recently published, this report brings key analysis and data on immigrants contributions to the Canadian economy and labour market.

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In Canada, immigrants of all categories tend to have positive outcomes across a range of economic indicators, including refugees. In 2017, for example, the labour force participation rates of immigrants aged 25 to 54 who landed more than 10 years earlier are comparable to those of the Canadian-born (86.9% vs. 88.4%), shows report data. The economic performance of all immigrants increases with time spent in Canada. Average employment earnings reach the Canadian average at about 12 years after landing. Principal applicants in the Canada Experience Class and Provincial Nominee program exceed the Canadian average within the first year of landing.

The Conference of Board Canada, a Canadian not-for-profit applied research organization, also published many reports on the immigration impacts on Canada’s economy. The main conclusions of their most recent studies on immigration were summed up in the following infographic.

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immigration canadaTemporary residents also contribute to the Canadian labour market and economy. Just in 2016, visitors and international students contributed $31.8 billion to the Canadian economy. While temporary worker programs are essential in meeting broader short-term labour market needs. The 2018 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration brought data on initiatives to recruit foreign skilled immigrants. Such as the Global Skills Strategy, that make easier for Canadian businesses to quickly attract the temporary foreign talent. Once inland, foreign skilled workers can drive innovation, help Canadian firms to grow and make the economy stronger. Temporary work programs are also very important to fulfill seasonal demands, especially in certain agricultural sectors.

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