Canada has announced the number of immigrants it will accept will increase in each of the next three years. In 2018 it will accept 310,000 permanent residents, in 2019 the number will increase to 330,000 and by 2020 it will be 340,000 or one per cent of the population. The reasons for boosting the numbers involve the economy and demographics.
“I think it’s consistent with our demographic challenges in Canada,” says Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies. “We have an aging population. We want to be sure that we have a robust labour market. And immigration is an important factor in contributing to the vitality of labour market.”Listen
Most immigrants will qualify under the economic class
Of the almost one million newcomers, 58 per cent will be admitted under the economic class requirement. That is they will be chosen for their ability to become economically established in Canada. Another 27 per cent will qualify because they already have family in Canada and another 14 per cent will be refugees. Business groups expressed satisfaction with the increased numbers.
But while the Canadian Council for Refugees welcomed the overall increase in new immigrants, it said the refugee levels “fall far short of what Canada can and should be doing.”
About one-third think too many immigrants are admitted
As for the general public, Jedwab says the numbers fluctuate a bit but surveys suggest that around 35 per cent of Canadians think the government admits too many immigrants, 40 per cent think the numbers are about right, and 15 per cent think they are too low. That said, respondents often don’t know what the numbers actually are.
Those who think there are too many immigrants historically have said they have a negative effect on the economy, they may take jobs away from people or reduce incomes. But Jedwab says that actually, unemployment is down in spite of a recent increase in the number of immigrants coming to Canada. These days, he adds, people are more likely to raise concerns about security or cultural values.
Immigrants ‘have contributed immensely’
As things stand, over one in every five Canadians were born outside the country. They and the second generation make up 40 per cent of Canadians. “They’ve contributed immensely to, I think, enriching us culturally,” says Jedwab. “When you have the type of diversity we have with over 250 ethnic communities, it gives you a greater connection to a lot of other parts of the world…a thicker degree of global engagement…
“It’s a source of greater cultural intelligence and synergy…between people of various cultures.”