January 30, 2017 – Immigrants and the children of immigrants could represent almost half of Canada’s population by 2036, according to the latest Statistics Canada projections.
The diversity of Canada’s population is set to grow across every part of the country, although Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver will continue to dominate as the preferred places to settle for new immigrants.
The figures cast Canada in direct contrast to the U.S., where President Donald Trump plans to limit immigration, reduce refugee numbers and build a wall along the border with Mexico.
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In the year to July 2016, Canada welcomed its highest number of immigrants since current record-keeping began, boosted by the federal government drive to bringing in thousands of Syrian refugees.
While 2017 will see refugee numbers fall, the overall number of immigrants will be maintained as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada looks to make up for a shortfall of skilled workers by bringing in foreigners from abroad.
An aging population and low fertility rates make immigration crucial to Canada’s economic prosperity. Labour market growth in the coming years will be fuelled entirely by immigrants, as a trend for newcomers as an increased proportion of the population, dating back to the early 1990s, continues.
Statistics Canada says the proportion of immigrants in the population could be ‘twice as high as in 1871’.
A recent International Monetary Fund report, released in November, says immigrants have an undeniable long-term benefit for advanced economies.
Both high and low-skilled immigrants make a contribution over time that results in boosting the GDP of the country they move to, the study says.
The IMF report is supported by a vast amount of collaborated evidence.
A leading study concludes that immigrants are far more likely to own businesses than their Canadian counterparts, a key growth component.
Released in March 2016 and titled Immigration, Business Ownership and Employment in Canada, the study says that ‘rates of private business ownership and unincorporated self-employment are higher among immigrants than among the Canadian-born population’.
We know this officially for the first time because data based on immigrant business ownership has only recently become available with the introduction of the Canadian Employer-Employee Dynamics Database, which you can access here.
Statistics also show immigrant children consistently beat their peers with Canadian-born parents in terms of educational attainment.
A paper entitled ‘Educational and Labour Market Outcomes of Childhood Immigrants by Admission Class’ by Statistics Canada reveals the children of immigrants graduate high school at a rate of 91.6 per cent, against 88.8 per cent of children who are third generation or more.
When it comes to university, the gap increases, with 35.9 per cent of immigrant children graduating against 24.4 per cent from the established Canadian group.
Contribution of Immigrant Children
CANADIAN (OR MORE)
Figures: Statistics Canada
At the same time, further figures show the percentage of immigrants in the working-age population has been steadily increasing for the last decade as the Canada-born proportion drops, illustrating the need to make up for the shortfall by bringing in foreign workers.
In 2006 less than 20 per cent of the workforce – those aged 15 and over – were from the landed immigrant population, while more than 78 per cent were born in Canada.
But fast forward 10 years and the latest data released by Statistics Canada shows an immigrant percentage just less than 24, while the Canada-born proportion has dropped almost as low as 74 per cent.
If the trend continues – and there’s no indication it will not – the two percentages will converge.
The numbers are increasingly dramatic over the last 12 months, when the number of immigrants in work increased by more than 260,000, 6.6 per cent higher than a year ago,
In the same period, the number of native-born workers has decreased by 93,300, although it is showing signs of recovery in the last two months.
Analysts say the data shows Canada has reached the point where it cannot grow without immigrants, with Canadian-born workers exiting the labour force at such a rate.
A further study suggests the more immigrants of a given nationality or culture a country welcomes, the more likely the nation of origin is to invest further down the line.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, investment comes in the long term, as often the ‘push’ factors of migration mean the nation of origin is not able to invest in the short term.
A good example of this is Syria, extremely unlikely to invest any time soon, but with refugees spreading all over the world, including almost 40,000 in Canada, investment could flow in more stable times when citizens are looking for places to put their assets.
Canada is now pivoting to capitalize on the immigration card. The current liberal government is pursuing policies to increase immigration levels as an important tool to grow the Canadian economy.
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