Together with Urban Futures Inc, IEC-BC has participated in this year’s National Conversation on Immigration. How can we strengthen our Canadian fabric and what are the best ways to unlock Canada’s diverse needs – these are some of the topics covered in the joint submission.
Filling in the country’s demographic needs, supporting Canada’s economic growth and innovation, and strengthening its diverse social fabric – a stronger, more cohesive and more responsive immigration system will contribute to our long-term success and prosperity as a nation in many ways.
Immigration influences Canada’s demography in two ways: it increases the size of the national population, and it makes it younger. Given our aging domestic population and our below-replacement level birth rate, immigration will account for a growing proportion of Canada’s population growth in the coming years. Without immigration, Canada’s population would begin to decline in size within the next decade and would continue to do so each year thereafter. Immigrants to Canada are also overwhelmingly younger than existing residents. Currently, while the most typical Canadian is 53 years old, the most typical immigrant is 30. In addition to contributing to a growing Canadian population, immigration also helps slow its inevitable aging.
Immigration will arguably be the single most important direct mechanism through which Canada will be able to influence its future path of economic growth. In addition to its direct impacts on the size of the Canadian workforce, immigration has the potential to impart additional indirect impacts by contributing positively to productivity gains.
By encouraging immigration and identifying those immigrants who can specifically fill sectoral opportunities and challenges, immigration will support economic growth and innovation in the years to come.
In order for this human potential to be fully unlocked, government policies and programs need to be fast, fair and flexible. Along with meeting the needs of communities welcoming new immigrants, they must also meet the needs of Canada’s employers.