Experts and analysts in several fields are coming forward with some harsh criticism for the recent Fraser Institute report on the cost of immigration to Canada.
The report, which was released publicly last month, used census data to estimate the overall cost of immigration to Canadian taxpayers for a year. The authors estimated that each immigrant costs Canada approximately $6000 and that in total, the cost is somewhere between $16 and $23 billion each year.
The analysis was based on the average income of immigrants compared to their Canadian counterparts. The Fraser Institute analysed the amount of income taxes each group pays on a yearly basis and compared their relative costs to the country’s social programs.
However, critics say that these analytic tactics painted an incomplete and misleading portrait. In an article for The Province, think-tank analyst Robert Vineberg argues that the critical flaw in the Fraser Report methodology was not taking into account as a separate category immigrants who have been in Canada for several years.
Vineberg, a senior fellow at Canada West Foundation, postulates that the supposed cost of immigration would be much lower if the study takes into account immigrants who have been in the country for at least 15 years, who on average earn more than their Canadian-born counterparts and, therefore, pay higher income taxes.
Vineberg goes onto argue that the Fraser Institute should have looked at more factors than simply the amount of income tax that a person pays when weighing their “contribution” to Canadian society. For example, immigrant entrepreneurs often employ other Canadians or if hired by a Canadian employer, they contribute skills which make the employer more profitable, and therefore able to employ more Canadians.
Vineberg does acknowledge that the Fraser Institute’s intent to spark debate on the benefits of certain kinds of immigration to Canada is worthwhile, but says that the data upon which they are trying to base that debate is fundamentally flawed and incomplete.
Source: The Province