Immigration Flood An Economic Strain On Peel

Immigration flood an economic strain on Peel

By: Radhika Panjwani
The Missassauga News
November 21, 2008 09:02 AM

A snapshot of the latest census report reveals housing and poverty are poised to become even more troublesome issues in Peel due, in large part, to population growth.

According to 2006 census data, almost 100 people daily, most of them recent immigrants to Canada, made Peel their new home between 2001 and 2006.

Of those, 30 settled in Mississauga each day. During that period, Peel's population increased by 17 per cent, statistics show.
Peel Data Centre staff presented the findings of the census to Peel Region Council yesterday.

During the five-year period, Mississauga grew by 9.1 per cent, whereas Brampton and Caledon reported 33 per cent and 12.8 per cent growth, respectively.

The data helps illuminate the issue of poverty, among others, officials say. Mississauga has the largest number of people earning low incomes (16 per cent), followed by Brampton (14 per cent) and Caledon (four per cent), and nearly one in five children up to age five live in low-income households.

“Growth in Peel is fuelled by immigration and most of our immigrants come from South Asia, specifically the Indian subcontinent countries,” said Arvin Prasad, Peel Region's director of planning policy and research.

“The growth is leading to more diversity and lots of new opportunities. However, there are challenges as well challenges in the area of housing affordability and poverty issues.”

Region staff said high growth in Peel will continue to put stress on transit, as well as other services and programs.

Census numbers also provide officials with demographic information that will help the Region and other agencies tailor their programs and services to the population, said Ron Jaros, Peel's manager of research and information.

“This information will help groups such as Success By 6, United Way of Peel, social planning council, all of whom need it to focus on the delivery of human services,” Jaros said. “The trends will explain the impact on programs and services.”

The PDC also compiled data for each of the wards in Peel's three municipalities.

“The ward information can help councillors or other groups compare data with that of the adjacent ward, or a municipality or Canada,” said Jaros.