Immigrant dream turning sour
Jul 25, 2007 04:30 AM
It always surprises Don Drummond, chief economist of the Toronto Dominion Bank, when business leaders tout immigration as the key to Canada's economic success.
Their information is at least 25 years out of date.
Since the early 1980s, immigrants have done less well than their Canada-born peers. Each year, they fall further behind.
Today's newcomers, despite being highly educated, take longer to become self-supporting than their predecessors. Some never do. What is even more worrisome is that their children are dropping out of school, creating an intergenerational cycle of poverty.
"They're pulling the economy down," Drummond said. "I don't think people have really understood that."
Business leaders are right that Canada will have to depend on immigrants to maintain its standard of living. They already account for two-thirds of the country's population growth. By 2030, it will be 100 per cent.
NOTE - That's contestable. And to say that Canada will have to depend on immigrants to maintain its standard of living is an assumption that needs to be challenged along with the assumption that population growth is also necessary for maintaining a high standard of living.
But they are wrong to blithely assume that the 240,000 newcomers who arrive in Canada each year will integrate into the workforce, catch up to their native-born contemporaries and propel the economy forward.
That used to happen.
Some commentators blame the decline on a shift in immigration flows. They contend that recent newcomers from Asia don't adapt to life in this country as well as their European predecessors.
Note - There are reasons for that. First: Immigrants predominately came from ethnically and culturally similar parts of the world such as Europe or the U.S. Second: We didn't accept too many of them. Canada's high immigration numbers hurt immigrants as well.
But a number other factors have also changed:
Ottawa has revamped Canada's immigration system to attract highly educated foreigners, not skilled tradespeople. This has created a workforce that is out of sync with the country's labour needs. It has also stunted the careers of many well-qualified immigrants, who arrive only to find their academic and professional credentials aren't recognized here.
Read it all here.
The rest of the article goes on to say how Canada has failed them, blah, blah, blah, as someone of Carol Goar’s ideological bent is compelled to do. Other than that it is still a worth while read.
She is wrong of course. One of the main reasons for the decline is that we accept too many immigrants. A sizeable portion of immigrants enter Canada via the family class stream or other sponsorship schemes where the beneficiary does not need any marketable job skills or language skills. Adding to these numbers are self selecting immigrants or economic migrants gaming the most generous and lax refugee policy in the entire industrialized world.
Canada’s immigration system is no longer designed to meet the economic needs of the country. If that were the case then Canada could achieve this goal if we imported somewhere between 60 to 80 thousand immigrants a year (including their nuclear families) via the skilled class only . We do not need their aged parents, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, nephews, etc. But Canada accepts about 240,000 to 260,000, the highest per capita intake in the entire world, each year. These high numbers guarantee employment for those who make a living off of Canada immigration industry (lawyers, social workers, community groups, etc.) It also serves as an effective tool for Canada’s political parties to garner a favourable report with Canada’s ethnic communities and buy their votes. It costs Canadian taxpayers an estimated $2-4 billion dollars a year to service this country’s immigration policy. These costs effectively eat up any economic benefit this nation may derive from the importation of these people.
Canada needs to reduce its immigrant intake. This country accepts too many immigrants and, ironically, immigrants are suffering for it. If Carol Goar et al. wish to do something about the economic plight of Canada’s immigrant communities then we should start with reducing the numbers Canada accepts as immigrants each year and then go from there.