As known to most, if not all, of us, Canada is a vast country with a relatively small population. Immigration is a vital component to Canada’s population and economic growth and Canadian immigration policies are reviewed and reformed by the government to streamline and address present day and pressing issues.
However, this post is not an overview of the immigration policies but a take on the general impact on Canada due to immigration. This topic is a sensitive issue and the post is not meant to hurt anyone (immigrant or otherwise); it is simply a means to open a discussion among the readers.
One of the benefits of immigration is the availability of an increased labor pool – both in the skilled and unskilled categories. The need for medical doctors in rural Canada is a case in point and immigrant doctors can fulfill this need, at least on a temporary basis, before they depart to the city.
The law of supply and demand dictates that an increased labor pool (supply) at times of steady demand will lead to a drop in cost (employee wages). On the other hand, shortage in labor supply at times of steady demand or steady labor supply at times of increased demand may push wages up as employers fight for the limited human resources available.
Maintaining a balance between labor supply and demand is essential for economic growth and prosperity and immigration lends a global perspective to the country’s socio-economic scenario. In addition, an increased labor pool at the right time leads to an increase in construction of homes to accommodate the newcomers and overall spending, which provides a fillip to the economy.
Immigration opens doors for people from two different countries to meet, mingle, and form long-standing friendships. The diversity in cultures and the presence of various organizations/events celebrating them is testimony to the success of the immigration policies in Canada. Sharing of knowledge and views among people from diverse backgrounds leads to better education opportunities as it provides a first-hand international flavor.
The theory of comparative advantage refers to the ability of an individual or a nation to produce a good or service at a lower cost over another. Hiring a trained immigrant worker for a certain job may be more advantageous than hiring an untrained worker from Canada and spending several weeks/months to get them up to speed. The need for prolonged training in some cases and delay in project completion could prove expensive.
All of the above addressed the pros of immigration but there are cons to be discussed as well.
Typically, immigrants land in the big cities, i.e., ones with the best job market. There was a time when Ontario was the go-to location; now, we see people moving from the east to the west as a paradigm shift occurs. In both cases, there was/is overcrowding. Many immigrants prefer the cities that offer the better infrastructure as newcomers seek the best life that the country has to offer. So, despite the influx of overseas talent, they seem to be concentrated in the cities, leaving the rural and suburban areas scrambling.
The additional costs borne by the government to support the education and health care of immigrant families may or may not be completely offset by the value offered by immigrants through their skill set. To put the above statement in perspective, immigrants bringing skills that are relatively scarce to find in Canada is different from those who compete for the easier unskilled jobs with existing workers.
This post is only skimming the surface and I’m fairly certain that there are other pros and cons involved but I’ll let you discuss them in the comments section.
Have you formed any long-standing friendships with immigrants? Do you like the cultural diversity that they bring to Canada? Do you think that we are close to a saturation point in terms of financial burden?
About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.