On October 30, 2020, Canada announced its most aggressive immigration plan ever by aiming to welcome over 1.2 million immigrants by 2023.
What does the future holds for immigrants to Canada?
It’s no surprise COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the world in many ways, for better and worse. In Canada, COVID-19 showed the government and the public just how important immigrants are to the country’s social and economic well-being.
For example, in Quebec, as the number of deaths in senior nursing homes (CHSLD – centre d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée) soared in the early days, it was the asylum seekers and immigrants who risked their lives by braving the virus and caring for the elderly.
2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan
Immigration came to a near standstill due to the pandemic as Canada shut its borders to the world. Prior to closing its border, in early March 2020, Canada had announced its intention to welcome over one million new immigrants by 2022. Border closures meant Canada was unable to fulfill their immigration target of 341,000 permanent residents for 2020.
In order to make up for this loss and ensure there are no significant gaps in the labor market, an increased number of immigrants will be welcomed into the country over the next couple of years, divided as follows:
- 2021: 401,000 (previous plan targeted 351,000 in 2021)
- 2022: 411,000 (previous plan targeted 361,000 in 2022)
- 2023: 421,000 (no previous target was established for 2023)
Immigrants create jobs. https://t.co/3ozUuHy3tg— Marco Mendicino (@marcomendicino) October 30, 2020
Other Highlights from 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan:
- 60% of the new admissions will be chosen from the Economic Class, as the plan’s focus is on the country’s immediate and long-term economic growth.
- Community driven immigration approach in order to address Canada’s labour and demographic needs.
- Promote the growth of francophone communities throughout Canada and outside of Quebec. Individuals who speak French will be awarded additional points under the Express Entry system.
- Admit 500 refugees over a period of two years through the Economic Mobility Pathways Project.
- Creating a pathway for eligible asylum claimants who provided care to patients on the front lines during the pandemic between March 13 and August 14 2020
Why is Immigration Important? Something that may not be immediately obvious to many Canadians is just how much Canada relies on immigrants to keep the country growing.
2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan
- Approximately 33% of all business owners with employees are immigrants.
- A quarter of the people working in Canada’s health sector are immigrants.
- In order to remain competitive on the world stage, Canada is reliant on immigrants to fill crucial labour roles
There is a saying that immigrants are the backbone of the economy and the pandemic was proof of that. According to a Statics Canada survey, in 2016, one third of the people employed as nurses, patient service associates and orderlies, were immigrants.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Marco Mendicino as he unveiled the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan.
That number has only grown in the last four years. While the pandemic raged, it was the immigrants the public relied upon to care for their aging parents, check out their groceries or deliver their food and packages.
A recent study published in the Lancet over the summer found that global fertility rates are plummeting and it is anticipated that by year 2100 nearly three-quarters of the countries around the world won’t be reproducing enough to maintain a stable workforce or support a growing economy.
In Canada itself, the total fertility rate (TFR) hit a new low in 2019, declining to 1.47 births per woman compared to 3.94 births in 1959. Since 1971, the TFR has been below 2.1, which means, Canadians are not reproducing at a rate where the current population can replace itself.
It is too soon to see, what, if any, effects COVID will have on fertility rates. What we have seen, however, is immigration rates falling because of the pandemic. Therefore, in order for Canada’s economy to thrive, fertility rates will need to increase, as will immigration rates. Immigration is responsible for 82% of Canada’s population growth.
The Lancet study predicts that Canada will hit its peak population by 2078 and fall slightly by the turn of the century. In order to offset this anticipated decline and ensure the country’s economy stays strong and vibrant for the rest of the century, Canada is pursuing a very aggressive immigration plan.
Should Canada reach its target goals and continue to increase the number of newcomers it welcomes into the country? Canada will have the world’s highest net migration rate. Meaning, over the next decade, Canada could have the world’s 10th largest economy and add an estimated 5 million workers to the labour market!
This is incredibly important because by 2030, approximately 9.2 million of Canada’s baby boomers will be retiring and if Canada doesn’t have enough immigrants coming in, there will be severe labor shortages and the economy may grow stagnant or start declining.
By aiming for the highest level of immigrants in its history, Canada is hoping to maintain a strong and steady population and economy.
While Canadians in general have always been very accepting and supportive of immigrants, the pandemic has increased that acceptance even more. According to a survey conducted by Environics Group, the majority of Canadians believe that immigrants are essential to the country’s growth and in order to recover economically in a post-pandemic world, we need more immigrants.
By aiming for the highest level of immigrants in its history, Canada is hoping to do just that.