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Canada's Demographic Future, Is Immigration The Key?

1666 words - 7 pages

"What we're seeing now is demographics which are really driven more and more by immigration."-Dough Norris, director general of Statistics Canada.For the first time in history, Canada is facing a population decline beginning in 2010. Population decline this is happening in a decade where both demographic and economic growth is imperative. From 1996-2001, Canada's population had a 4% (1.2 million) increase in population, making it the lowest 5-year growth rate census taken in Canadian history. Also, during the census it was concluded that the birth rate in Canada is also declining at an alarming rate, (See Graph 1). For the first time in 100 years the birth rate fell below that of the United States. The census showed that about 80% of the 1.2 million new Canadians in the 5-year span were a result of immigration. People are now saying that immigration is Canada's only chance to fill its demographic and economic needs.To keep the population of Canada stable, a major influx of immigration is required each year. Statistics show that Canada's fertility rate is extremely low, at 1.5 children per family. In order to maintain a stable population, the fertility rate should be around 2.1. On top of this, Canada will be facing a major labour shortage within 5-10 years, because there will not be enough skilled workers to fill the job demands. A policy analyst, speaks of another downfall for Canada's economy when she says,"This is the generation of people whose incomes and wealth will be required by that proportionately larger number of Baby Boomers once they've retired." .Another huge upcoming economic setback in Canada is the aging baby-boomer population. By 2035, the percentage of Canadians who are 65+ will double from 12% to 25%, (See Graph 2). By that time, there will no longer be enough middle class workers to support an elderly population, and be able to fill the already job ridden market. The population of Canada will take on the unhealthy image of a "funnel" pattern, (many elderly, not enough middle and young aged) instead of the healthy "pyramid" shape it should be. Another reason for this "funnel" pattern began during the 1990's. Demographics show that, Canada was hit by something known as the "brain drain", where almost half a million Canadians left the country, largely to pursue careers elsewhere. This impacts the levels of middle class workers that live in Canada severely. One of the many full circle thoughts on immigration comes from the minister of immigration,"We are already seeing skill shortages, and we know that immigrants bring buying power and prosperity. One does not have to do much more than drive around the larger urban centers to see the prosperity that immigrant communities have brought," she said. "We are growing older and having fewer children. More than three-quarters of Canada's labour-force growth comes from immigration. In merely 10 years, immigration will count for all labour-force growth in Canada. In merely 20 years, all of...

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