Canada is betting big on immigration to fill the gap in its economy left by aging Baby Boomers leaving the workforce – but not everyone is on board with bringing in so many people from abroad.
Earlier this month, the federal government announced an aggressive plan to take in 500,000 immigrants a year by 2025, with almost 1.5 million new immigrants coming to the country over the next three years.
This plan would see Canada welcome about eight times the number of permanent residents each year – per population – than the UK, and four times more than its southern neighbor, the United States.
But a recent poll shows that there is also anxiety about welcoming in so many newcomers.
Canada bets big
For many years, Canada has tried to attract permanent residents – landed immigrants who have the right to stay in the country indefinitely but who are not citizens – to keep the population and the economy growing. Last year, the country took in 405,000 permanent residents – the most in its entire history.
The reasons are in, some ways, about simple math. Like many western nations, Canada has an aging population with a lower birth rate. What that means is that if the country wants to grow, instead of shrink, it will have to bring in immigrants.
Immigration already accounts for practically all of the country’s labor force growth, and by 2032, it is expected to account for all of the country’s population growth too, according to a government news release.
Earlier this month, the government announced that by 2025, they hope to bring in 500,000 new immigrants a year, up about 25% from 2021 numbers.
A unique place in the world
Today, about one in four Canadians have come to the country as an immigrant, the highest among G7 nations. Compare that to the US, known colloquially as the world’s melting pot, where only 14% are an immigrant.
The UK also has an immigrant population of about 14%.