One million new immigrants over the next 3 years
The federal Liberal government has announced a new and bold immigration strategy to increase the number of immigrants allowed into Canada over the next three years. One million new immigrants will be admitted during that time.
That is actually a modest increase over the 300,000 allowed in 2017 and well under the 450,000 per year recommended by the government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth.
Something happened in 2015 that caused this change in policy. No, it wasn’t the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.
In 2015, for the first time in Canadian history, we had more seniors than children living in our country.
In September 2015 Statistics Canada announced that people aged 65 and older outnumbered children aged 14 and younger. According to population estimates, on July 1, 2015, people aged 65 and older made up 16.1% of the population, while those aged 14 and younger made up 16.0%.
StatsCan wrote, “It is a gap that will likely increase in the coming decades, driven by aging baby boomers.”
In recently released data from the 2016 census, this gap is, in fact, getting larger. The survey counted 5.9 million seniors, compared to 5.8 million children 14 years of age and younger living in Canada.
It projects that by the year 2031, 25% of all Canadians could be 65 years of age and older, while the share of children will remain at 16%.
This trend does not come as a surprise. In the 2011 census, data showed that for the first time there were more people aged 55 to 64, typically the age group where people leave the labor force, than those aged 15 to 24, typically the age group where people enter it.
So we will have fewer people working and generating income to support more retirees whose life expectancy is longer than ever before. If we want to maintain our standard of living we have one simple choice.
We need more young people working in Canada and paying taxes to support the standard of living we expect in Canada.
We have two ways to stop the growing age gap.
First, the current population can start having more children immediately, which is unlikely. In Canada, mothers are tending to be older and waiting longer than ever before to have children. That’s if they decide to have children, as fewer and fewer Canadians are choosing to have children.
So the only realistic alternative to increasing the population of working Canadians to support our aging population is to increase immigration. The idea we would stop immigrants from coming into our country to take advantage of us is the opposite of reality.
We need to attract the best and brightest immigrants from around the world to come to Canada, to take advantage of them. We need their labor to pay for our seniors and their health care.
Canada is the best country in the world to work, live and play. It took a nation of immigrants to make it that way.
It will now take a new generation of immigrants to keep it that way. We can debate how to choose who comes to Canada. We can debate how best to integrate them into our society.