Every year, at least 200,000 people immigrate to Canada due to its excellent working conditions, high standard of living and world class health care system. However, there is a growing concern that newcomers take away jobs and opportunities from native Canadians.
It is important to note that not all immigrants are allowed into Canada and that their foreign qualifications are not recognized, especially if they do not have language skills in English or French. Critics of immigration programs often lump all newcomers into the same category and blame them for job shortages and other issues. What needs to be understood is that there are many different programs and streams that bring people into Canada and that many of them have a very positive effect on the economy and job creation.
Why does Canada need immigrants?
The Canadian population is aging at an alarming rate. Between now and 2021, a million jobs are expected to be vacant across the country largely due to expected retirement. In less than two decades, a third of the population will be over the age of 65, retired, and dependant on services supported by younger generations. Unless Canadians start to have significantly larger families, the country will be dependent on a dramatic increase in immigration levels. With the right newcomers, Canada can become an innovative world leader. The immigrants that will make this happen belong to the economy class and include skilled workers, provincial nominees, those with prior Canadian experience, entrepreneurs and investors.
“Labour shortages are going to be the single biggest impediment to economic growth in Alberta for the foreseeable future,” says Ben Brunnen, chief economist at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “At the end of the day, we just don’t have the people to fill the jobs that are being created. … We can’t alleviate our labour needs without tapping into immigration.”
With economic growth booming in Alberta and an aging population who will soon be retiring, it is easy to see that Canada will become more and more dependent on policy that is immigrant-friendly.
How do immigrants positively affect Canada?
When an immigrant moves to Canada they not only fill a gap in the work force, but also pay taxes, housing, transportation and consumer goods. These actions stimulate the Canadian economy and their economic success increases the country’s overall productive capacity, creating a positive ripple effect across the entire economy.
Additionally, the descendants of immigrant in Canada tend to be among the most educated, initiative-taking and hard-working young people in the country. Recent reports have also found that the majority of wealthy citizens in Canada are 1st or 2nd degree immigrants, just proving how well they do in Canada.
There can be clashes and difficulties when it comes to harmonizing multiculturalism, but it is easy to see that increased diversity enriches Canada’s workforce and culture. Top managers of businesses are smart to choose heterogeneous teams; people with different backgrounds, knowledge and experience greatly improve outcomes and decisions. If everyone was identical and had the same ideas, experiences, and knowledge, several important decisions would lack depth, direction, and perspective. Immigrants in Canada enhance professional environments across the country. As government parties become increasingly diverse, knowledge-sharing will become an important asset in steering Canada towards progress.
What is Canada doing to attract the best and brightest from around the world?
A couple weeks ago Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism took a trip to Silicon Valley to promote CIC’s new Start-Up Visa program to the concentration of immigrant entrepreneurs working in the area. The U.S. is presently going through a very intensive session of immigration reform to deal with high levels of illegal immigrants and highly-skilled, desirable immigrants who have been waiting years to get their applications processed and approved. While the debate rattles on in the U.S., Canada has taken one of the first steps to swipe some of the best and brightest to join our country and add great potential value to Canada. Myriad programs have been implemented to target much-needed individuals from around the world, and a series of measures have been implemented to improve the efficiency of these programs. The end result is a strategic and diverse immigration system that classifies potential newcomers that can make a positive impact on the country and that provides them with the necessary venues to make Canada their new home. Notable among these programs are the Start-Up Visa program, the Canadian Experience Class program, and the Skilled Worker Program.
Entrepreneurs: These immigrants can qualify for immigration to Canada via the Start-up Visa program. They are connected with an angel investor who has Canadian business experience and can lend their expertise and resources. Immigrants entering Canada through this program will create new businesses and ultimately create more jobs for Canadians.
Canadian Experience Class: Individuals in this class have either previously studied or lived in Canada and have decided they want to make Canada their home. They have interests in Canada and have attained Canadian credentials proving their skills, and as a result will be value adding to the economy and society.
Skilled Worker Program: These workers are very important to Canada’s economy because they fill labour shortages where there are not enough Canadians with the desired skills to fill the gap. They can be selected through provincial nominee programs, as provincial governments are more familiar with their local economies and can accurately choose appropriate skilled workers.
It is only when we learn to recognize the contributions that hundreds of thousands of immigrants have made to this country throughout centuries, and embrace measures that target those who can make it grow even more that we will ever come to terms with the rich diversity and multiculturalism that has made Canada one of the most successful and welcoming countries in the world.
About the Authour
Sarah Mae Dalgleish is a content writer and marketing intern at FWCanada Immigration Law Firm in Montreal, Canada. Presently, she is studying International Business, French and Spanish at McGill University.