A spanking new study from the Conference Board of Canada suggests that immigrants might be the answer to Canada’s looming labour crisis, and that the country should throw wider its doors to facilitate their settlement.
In its new 44-page report, “450,000 Immigrants Annually?”, the conference board’s National Immigration Centre pitches the idea of increasing the current intake ceiling of 300,000 immigrants by 50% to alleviate the fallout from an aging population saddled by a low birth rate.
In this way, immigrants can step into jobs that might otherwise go unfilled for their various challenges. For example, a new provincial agency, the Rural Employment Initiative, is working with the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association and the city’s Community Economic Development Commission to matchmake individuals open to moving with northern Ontario clients.
It’s an idea that benefits the immigrant as well as the community. By relocating to areas outside of major centres without the local population to fill their professional roles, immigrants stand a better chance of finding work that’s directly aligned with their training and skill set.
Using the country’s current yearly immigration level of 0.82 percent of the population as the base, the study projected that higher intake percentages of 1 and 1.11 percent would grow the country’s GDP by 1.94 and 2.05 percent, respectively.
More than that, increasing the annual immigration intake to 1.11 percent of the population could slow the aging of the population, bringing Canada’s over-65 demographic down to 22.5 percent, and its workers-per-retiree ratio to 2.53.
Still, the report urges caution. “With Canada becoming more reliant on immigrants to meet its labour market needs, the success of its immigration system will greatly depend on its ability to improve the labour market outcomes of immigrants, expand its absorptive capacity and maintain public support for immigration.”
Let the improvements begin.