Canada has always been an open country. The nation is known to open its borders to millions of immigrants across the world—so much so that it boasts the highest immigration rates in the world. Canada does a great job in helping newcomers assimilate into Canadian society, thanks in part to the help of all the three levels of government, as well as the high-touch system that delivers the policy objectives of the government. This is because Canada believes that the success of immigrants plays a huge part in the collective economic and social success of the nation.
But ever since the COVID-19 outbreak wreaked havoc across the world, many have wondered if Canada will take a step back with its immigration plans. However, even with the threat of a global pandemic, Canada’s immigration plan is set to gain full steam in the foreseeable future.
COVID-19’s impact on Canada
Just like most countries, Canada appears to head towards a recession. The coronavirus outbreak upended many industries and caused a price war between major oil producers globally. The collapsing price of oil will have negative ramifications for Canada’s economy. What’s more, the weakened economic activity adversely impacted nearly every sector, with tourism and hospitality bearing much of the hit. To mitigate the blow, the Bank of Canada made the decision to employ an emergency cut to its overnight interest rate. Analysts predict that there may be more cuts in the future to help Canada withstand this crisis.
Why it makes sense for Canada to continue welcoming immigrants
Canada’s economy is set to plummet in 2020. This can make everyone think that ramping up immigration initiatives may not be ideal, but it actually makes the most sense in this case. If Canada continues to welcome immigrants, they could help fill immediate job vacancies. This means that the immigration policies will be a huge contributor to strengthening the country’s economic standing years and decades from now. Even if immigrants arrive during a time where the economy is at its worst, Canada expects that they will be catalysts for economic growth in the future.
A major reason behind this is Canada’s nine million baby boomers reaching retirement age by the end of this decade. Given that Canada is also experiencing a low birth rate at this time, it is relying on immigration to drive the majority of its labour force growth, which is one of the two ways to grow the economy, with the other one being able to use the labour force more productively.
From the outside looking in, welcoming high levels of immigrants during a period of economic distress might not make sense, but it can do wonders in boosting the country’s economy. It may not make sense for newcomers to emigrate to Canada either. But while immigrants who are arriving in Canada in 2020 may find it difficult to find work that aligns best with their skills, education, and experience, they will soon face the prospects of working in a country where the supply of labour will be constrained as more baby boomers reach retirement. Soon enough, they will experience employers competing for their services, resulting in much better employment opportunities and salaries.
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