WHY DOES IMMIGRATION MATTER?
Updated: Oct 8, 2019
THE 2018 ANNUAL REPORT TO PARLIAMENT ON IMMIGRATION
Immigration serves a number of valuable purposes in Canada. Canada is currently facing a number of issues, which include an ageing population and a declining birth rate. Immigration serves as a remedy to both of these challenges. According to the 2018 Canadian Immigration Report, “immigration makes an important contribution to Canada’s economy and society and has immediate and long-term social outcomes. Whether through economic immigration, family reunification, or the protection of refugees and vulnerable persons, immigration is a central pillar of Canada’s success story.”
IMMIGRANTS CONTRIBUTE TO THE LABOUR MARKET AND ECONOMY
Immigration is important in helping Canada’s population and labour force continue to grow. A large number of Canada’s population is set to retire in coming years. According to The Conference Board of Canada, a quarter of Canada’s population will be over the age of 65 by 2035. Further, five million Canadians are set to retire by 2035. This leaves a large gap in the labour market. Immigration can help mitigate the challenges of a declining and ageing population. Programs such as the Temporary Skilled Worker Program, Foreign Skilled Worker Program, and Provincial Nominee Program will help meet labour market needs, nationally and regionally.
Foreign workers are required to obtain a work permit or authorization to work in Canada under a foreign worker program. One of the programs available is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. Employers must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) first to verify that there is a need for a temporary worker and that no Canadians can perform the job.
The Provincial Nominee Program allows immigrants to work in Canada to fill the labour shortages in a particular region. Each province and territory has its own “streams,” which target certain groups. Some streams target students, business professionals, skilled workers, or semi-skilled workers.
Not only do immigrants who work in Canada help to fill the labour shortage but they also contribute to the economy by paying taxes, spending money on housing, transportation, and consumer goods.
Canada has a longstanding history of supporting family reunification. Many immigrants are drawn to Canada by the prospect of being reunited with family members. “Family members bring with them a cultural richness and diversity of experience, and can act as a bridge between their culture of origin and that of their new home.” Immigration supports not only the Canadian economy but social and cultural development as well. Families often reunite through family sponsorship programs. There are several classes of sponsorship applications, which include spouse or common law sponsorship, parent and grandparent sponsorship, dependent child sponsorship, and provincial family class sponsorship.
HUMANITARIANISM AND SOCIAL OUTCOMES
Immigration also plays an important role in upholding Canadian international and humanitarian commitments. There are a number of programs available to aid in the resettlement of refugees from abroad. Further, immigration links source and host countries together and enhances social and business networks. Newcomers are able to build communities and engage with citizens about a variety of issues and experiences.
To read the full immigration report for 2018, click here.