In a report published earlier this month, the Conference Board of Canada examined what exactly would happen if Canada were to stop accepting immigrants. The report reveals that without a large number of new immigrants each year, the Canadian economy would weaken and slow. In contrast, by increasing immigration targets, will support growth in the Canadian economy and labour force!
The report examined two hypothetical situations and the impacts these would have on Canada. The first hypothetical asked: “What would happen if Canada stopped accepting new immigrants?” And the second hypothetical asked: “What would happen if Canada increased the number of immigrants it accepts?”
The results of the report are aligned with what research has shown in the past: that immigration is a vital tool in growing Canada’s economy over the long term.
According to the report, if Canada were to stop accepting new immigrants, the country’s economy would suffer. Canada’s potential economic growth would slow from an average of 1.9% to approximately 1.3% annually without a yearly influx of immigrants. As well, the average age of the population would increase, with almost 27% of the population being over the age of 65 by the year 2040.
These numbers show that if Canada were to cut back its immigration programs, this would have an undeniably negative effect on the country as a whole and the quality of life enjoyed by all Canadians.
The report also examines the potential impact of increasing annual immigration targets. While Canada’s current immigration levels aim to accept a number of immigrants equivalent to approximately 0.8% of the Canadian population, the report examines what would happen if this number were increased to 1% of the Canadian population.
By increasing the immigration levels, the report projects that Canada would be better equipped to handle its aging population, especially regarding the demands an elderly population places on health and social services. As well, with increased immigration levels, the Canadian economy would continue a modest growth.
Canada has increased immigration levels to historic highs over the next three years. Many experts in the past have touted the benefits of increased immigration levels, some even recommending the annual immigration target be set at 450,000 per year. While the immigration levels are still below 1% of the total Canadian population, it is clear that the Canadian government recognizes the crucial role immigrants play in sustaining the Canadian economy and will continue to accept a high number of immigrants in the coming years.
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