Canada’s Immigration System: As seen by Economists and Alarmists
By Author: Admin | April 20, 2010
“Canada will have to increase the number of immigrants allowed into the country by about 100,000 per year in order to boost productivity and help pay for pensions…”
The above statement was not uttered by some bleeding heart NGO, or by a perpetually angry anti-poverty activist, or a well-heeled immigration lawyer. The above is a quote from the Conference Board of Canada’s chief economist Glen Hodgson.
Who does the Conference Board serve? Their brochure mentions “The Conference Board builds leadership capacity for a better Canada by creating and sharing insights on economic trends, public policy and organizational performance.” They serve both big business and government.
Mr. Hodgson said, “The government will have to implement a very active immigration policy to grow the workforce, increase the number of workers making pension contributions and help offset the effects of an exodus of baby boomers from the labour market”
Hodgson also said that governments will need to implement policies that boost productivity, including developing an integrated immigration policy, investing in a more skilled workforce, and increasing the labour force by encouraging older people to work longer.
An integrated immigration policy appears to be one that, generally speaking is geared toward those immigrants that immigrate to Canada on the basis of their skills and business background, as opposed to being sponsored by relatives already established in Canada. The Liberal government took steps towards this end by making the sponsorship of parents a low priority, so low, that it takes at least three years for a parent to immigrate. Similarly, the family class was restricted in the early 90s, disallowing brothers and sisters of immigrants to qualify as members of the family class.
Hodgson also mentioned, “We’re a much older country, we’ll have fewer workers coming in to feed the system… that’s going to suck the life out of our economy. Slower labour force growth means slower economic growth,”
“Feed[ing] the system” is a reference to the pension system that supports retired Canadian workers. But this means workers who are in productive, well-paying jobs where taxes on wages and withholdings for retirement and EI are sizeable. Admittedly, the system will not be replenished by illegal immigrants who have evaded removal, who are paid ‘under the table’ working at low-level service jobs.
Thus, Immigration Minister Kenny’s proposal for reforming the refugee system would appear to be a further attempt to rehabilitate the immigration system by making the refugee process faster. A faster refugee process would also entail restrictions on filing other types of non-skilled immigration applications such as Humanitarian and Compassionate applications. Such proposals, while contested by some well-placed advocates, cater to those more preoccupied with Canada’s economic future. The proposals also embolden those in opposition to immigration and multiculturalism in Canada who, while positing no economic arguments against immigration, appear to take comfort in providing mandatory fashion advice to a small number of Muslim women in Canada.
Immigration to Canada is thus a punching bag for Malthusians and closet racists, but will always be propped up and protected by those who advocate for Canada’s economic growth.
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