Immigration and Canadian Demographics-Highlights

1. This study was done by Roderic Beaujot (University of Western Ontario) in 1997-98 for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. It is a follow-up to Charting Canada’s Future. It looks at a considerable amount of research done on Canada’s population and summarizes the research.

2. The research does not indicate a demographic or economic need for immigration. The economic benefits are very small. The demographic benefits assume a need to either maintain population growth or to prevent population decline. When demographers recommend that Canada’s population continue to grow or avoid decline, they do not take environmental considerations into mind.

3. Immigration can be used to prevent population decline. A level of 200,000 would be sufficient. The notion that Canada’s population is in immediate, serious danger of decline is not true. Even with no immigration, Canada’s population would continue to grow over the next 20 years. Then, it would begin to decline. In 100 years (2096), Canada’s population would be 18 million.

4. Immigration brings only a slight reduction in aging. Immigration is not an effective tool for offsetting the process of aging. Immigrants grow old and dependent. Encouraging, by different means, a raising of Canada’s fertility levels is more effective than immigration.

5. Immigration to Canada is primarily urban and is accentuating the differences in population distribution in favour of Ontario and B.C., particularly the Toronto and Vancouver metro areas.

6. It would be best if immigration had a supportive rather than an essential role in influencing the future demographics of Canada.

7. It is more important to maintain cohesiveness as a society than to avoid population decline.

8. Environmental arguments, in particular, would favour population decline.

9. By way of contrast with Canada, demographers from Sweden tend to conclude that the absence of cheap labour has prompted policies that ensure strong labour force participation for women.

10 A stronger case can be made for immigration on socio-cultural terms than on demographic terms. Immigration can bring richness, but it can also bring conflict and resentment.