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Canada May Boost its Immigration Levels for a Thriving Future!
On November 1st, Canada said it plans to maintain the same number of immigrants each year, aiming for about 500,000 in both 2025 and 2026. Even though Canada already has a lot of immigrants coming in, a recent report from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) suggests that they might need to allow even more in the future. The report says that the current immigration rates won’t be sufficient to support the country’s population and meet the needs of the job market.
THE CURRENT SITUATION:
Canada relies on immigration for several important reasons, particularly to address issues related to the country’s demographics and job market.
Canada has one of the world’s aging populations, coupled with a low fertility rate (1.40 births per woman), a trend seen in many Western countries.
This makes it challenging for Canada to sustain its population solely through natural births, emphasizing the importance of immigration. Additionally, the demands of Canada’s economy, ranked as the ninth-largest globally by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), contribute to challenges in the labor market, which is affected by the same population replenishment issue.
These factors highlight the critical role of immigration in ensuring the future health and prosperity of Canada. The current record-breaking pace of immigration in the country can be attributed to these considerations. However, It’s essential to note that the recent stabilization of immigration targets tells only part of the story.
WHY IMMIGRATION MAY RISE AGAIN:
Currently, Canada plans to stabilize immigration at 500,000 newcomers per year until at least 2026. While this marks a record number of annual newcomers, around 1.3% of Canada’s current population, it falls short of stabilizing the country’s population and meeting future labor needs sustainably.
According to the RBC report, Canada would need an annual immigration rate equivalent to 2.1% of the current population, meaning 849,944 new permanent residents yearly. This implies a need to increase current immigration targets by over 300,000 annual immigrants to address both the low fertility rate and the aging population in Canada.
A Desjardins study from early 2023, examining the optimal immigration for Canada, highlighted similar findings. The report suggests that Canada not only needs to boost immigration efforts but should focus on growing the working-age population. The 500,000 newcomer figure includes immigrants from all categories, such as family sponsorships and refugees. According to the Desjardins study, annual growth of the working-age population should be at 2.2% (equivalent to 721,600 newcomers) to maintain current ratios of young to old working people, or 4.5% annually (1,476,000 newcomers) to sustain the historical ratio of the working-aged to retired population.
In both scenarios, Canada must significantly increase its current immigration levels, not just for demographic reasons, but also to meet labor demands, support economic growth, and sustain the country’s healthcare, infrastructure, and broader social institutions.
THE NEED TO STABILIZE LEVELS BETWEEN 2024 – 2026:
While it’s widely recognized that Canada needs immigrants in the long run, the RBC report suggests that stabilizing the current immigration levels is a reasonable decision by IRCC.
The success of Canada’s immigration program depends on its ability to effectively welcome and integrate newcomers into both its population and economy. Recently, concerns have arisen about the country’s ability to provide affordable housing, not just for new immigrants but also for existing Canadians. This issue has sparked additional debates about immigration. In reaction to this, IRCC has pledged to review the number of temporary residents, like those on study or work permits, which surged after the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the government is dedicated to tackling shortages in the construction industry, a field with ongoing job openings. They aim for a balanced immigration approach aligned with the stabilized targets, aiming to address both labor shortages and the growing need for housing, as suggested by economists in Canada.
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