Given the trying economic situation Canada and much of the industrialized world finds itself in I have to modify my position, albeit temporarily, and say that Canada should halt all immigration into the country (genuine refugee cases notwithstanding). I do not support a total ban on all immigration but desperate times require desperate measures and a stoppage on all immigration into the country, at least for the foreseeable future, is what Canadian workers need right now.
Much has been printed of late about the consequences of the economic downturn, often described as the worst since the Great Depression, that makes me feel that more immigrants into the country is not what we need right now and will only make things worse. Below are a collection of articles that should persuade anybody to my reasoning. And if you consider a temporary moratorium on all immigration into Canada as a bit extreme then surely a decrease in the numbers is warranted.
Ontario has long been considered the economic engine of the nation and the prime destination for almost half of all immigrants into the country. So what is to become of the nation if the manufacturing power house goes out of business? Such is the grim prospect as Ontario faces "have not" provincial status. Ontario's prosperity relied heavily on the auto industry but North America's "Detroit Three" are seeking a (U.S.)$25 billion dollar bailout to stave bankruptcy. In response every assembly plant in Ontario is facing cuts. Oshawa, Ontario is home to many auto workers and that city recently experienced a 96.4% spike in EI claims.
The housing sector of Ontario is also on shaky ground. It has been credited for "pulling the Toronto area out of the previous recession" but "can't be counted on to be an engine of growth as the economy stumbles."
According to Statistics Canada 71,000 jobs were eliminated in November, the largest monthly net loss in 26 years and pushing the nation's jobless rate to 6.3 per cent. Off those 71,000 lost jobs 66,000 were in Ontario pushing the province's unemployment rate to 7.1 per cent.
And this likely won't be the end of gloomy unemployment reports. With Canada's economy poised to contract, said CIBC World Markets economist Krishen Rangasamy, "things will certainly get worse before they get better." He sees the unemployment rate "creeping up steadily toward 7 per cent," with another 100,000 job losses expected over the next few months.
Since peaking in 2002, according to the report, Canada has shed 388,000 manufacturing positions. Since 2005 Ontario has lost 190,400 manufacturing jobs, a number that should be compared to the yearly intake of about 150,000 immigrants into the province. Also Canada has witnessed substantial job declines in warehousing and transportation. What is pertinent to point out here is that these jobs were the life lines keeping low skilled Canadians and new immigrants above the poverty line. And now what do new immigrants have to look forward to? Retail sales jobs? Fast food counter help? Domestics? Temporary and contract work?
So what is someone living in Ontario to do? To which province can we look to as an excuse to justify importing 260,000+ immigrants and an equal number of foreign workers into Canada? Booming Saskatchewan whose premier was in Ontario this year trying to attract immigrants to his province to fill job vacancies, jobs that he said most of which the immigrants were overqualified for? (This, you understand, means his province needs workers to fill vacancies in low paid service jobs). Should we look to Alberta, a province that was humbled by having to readjust its budget surplus to (CDN)$2 billion down from an $8.5 billion dollar estimate? An oil rich province having to deal with oil prices below (U.S.)$45 and where some projects are being put on hold? A province experiencing layoffs in construction as housing starts fall?
If you are looking for work or if you are a potential immigrant investigating Canada then I suggest you move to Mexico for that's where many of Canada's jobs are disappearing to. These are jobs that once paid $18 an hour in Canada are now being performed at $2 an hour in Mexico. And, as well paying Canadian and American jobs are being exported to Mexico as a return gesture Mexico is exporting its surplus labour north of the Rio Grande afflicting a double whammy on Canadian and American workers.
The reality many Canadian now face is not very pleasant. It is one full of uncertainty with little guarantee that even playing by the rules will get you anywhere as outlined in this Toronto Star report. University educated the woman described has been a contract worker for nine years with no stable job prospects. How many times this story is repeated across the country is anyone's guess but keep in mind that it is estimated that a third of all jobs in Canada now are temporary and contract work. How are Canadians supposed to rear a family if they are barely able to support themselves.
The consequences of this is an unstable society, one divided by rich and poor and increasingly the signs of poverty are being born by immigrants. The 905 area that rings Toronto (so called by its telephone area code) has seen child poverty soar. I'm sure the fact that the 905 area has also witnessed a likewise increase of its immigrant population (not to mention crime rates and gang activity) is purely coincidental. I'm also certain that the increases in poverty rates in Toronto have nothing to do with the fact that much of these increases rose with Toronto's immigration population and can be witnessed in immigrant heavy neighbourhoods.
Canada, for the sake of ethnic block votes and to keep those in the immigration industry happily employed, may have imported a superfluous population, a "reserve army of the unemployed". This Toronto Star report though spun as a sob story shows what is wrong with the system. The couple described worked for auto parts supplier Progressive Moulded Products. The company employed mostly immigrants. Why it couldn't find Canadian workers is beyond me since it paid a decent wage. But that doesn't matter now since the company had to close. Such is the business cycle and people losing their jobs happens. But most of those employed were immigrants who have a poor command of the English language. (In a related note the Sri Lankan woman in the child poverty link above cannot speak English at all and needed a translator). Fluency in either of Canada's official languages is key to success in this country yet we seem to be bringing in people who cannot speak either. How that Indian family got into the country with poor language skills should raise questions. The most likely answer is that they were sponsored by relatives. In the case of the Sri Lankan woman she is probable a refugee. In both classes of immigrants the applicant does not need to speak a word of English. And the fact that the couple were able to reside in the country for so long without having to learn or speak much English is troublesome.
The real problem facing immigrants is jobs and the truth is Canada is bringing in immigrants for whom there are no jobs waiting. That is to say jobs in their related fields. That appears to be the sentiment behind this Toronto Star report. The immigrants highlighted in it speak of a fear of bringing in more skilled immigrants because they know that the job market is fierce in Canada which is especially so for newcomers. After all, Canada has the highest educated workforce in the industrialized world.
They also describe a new reality not factored in: fierce competition from Canadians who are far better educated than a generation ago.
Full-time university undergraduate enrolment has grown from 69,000 students in the mid-1950s to over 600,000 today – when the population only doubled.
The changes to the system, which were legislated this summer, place a heavier emphasis on jobs skills.
After sending out five to 15 resumes a day, every day for two years, she realized she wasn't going to find a job as a graphic designer, despite a degree from the University of Tehran and 12 years experience.
"Toronto has the biggest population of graphic designers in Canada. And companies now think they have the software, so they can do design themselves."
"We didn't have much, ... but Canada was very different then," said Chakraborti, 60, who lives in Vaughan. "Earlier immigrants certainly faced the same difficulties as the next ones who came, but the job market has also become so much more competitive."
"You hear stories (in the Philippines) about how nurses make $50 an hour (in Canada), when it's the exact opposite. Nurses work as caregivers, professionals are working in factories."
In this Toronto Star report on Ottawa's poaching list, er I mean shopping list for foreign trained immigrants, a member of the Council for Access to the Profession of Engineering states that of its 1,820 members "60 per cent are underemployed or underutilized in Canada."
"You can't keep bringing people into the country you aren't going to employ," said Bambrah. "Not only are they forced to go on to welfare, so they are a burden on society, but it's also that you are killing all their creativity," she said. "You have to go back and ask what is the focus of your immigration policy, and why are you particularly targeting these people?"
Adding to this we read that more Ontarians are turning to food banks, crisis looms in welfare rolls, 30 per cent of Toronto Families live in poverty, and of a warning from the Bank of Canada that many Canadians may lose their homes.
Now tell me, anyone who is reading this, why Canada should continue to bring in so many immigrants especially in a time like this? Please tell me. I'm so depressed right now from writing the above I could use a good laugh.