More help for newcomers
Canada is a vast, sprawling land with a relatively small population that would benefit greatly from more company. Now, thanks to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, more company will be arriving.
The immigration targets unveiled by the government recently are large enough to increase dramatically the flow of newcomers in this period but sensible enough to avoid fuelling needless, anti-immigrant fears. Provided there are increased resources to back up the increased numbers, Ottawa’s plan should benefit the people living here as much as those who are coming. But we have to be ready.
From this year’s target of accepting 300,000 immigrants, the plan is to admit 310,000 permanent new residents in 2018, 330,000 in 2019 and 340,000 in 2020. That last figure represents a 30 per cent increase over the number admitted in a typical year when Stephen Harper and the Conservatives were in power. And it’s 21 per cent higher than the number who arrived in 2010, the peak immigration year during Harper’s term.
There are strong arguments for these increases. With our low birth rate and a rapidly aging population, it makes sense to start dramatically boosting the number of immigrants Canada accepts each year. In the coming decades, the percentage of our population made up of retirees will soar as the percentage of workers declines. This demographic shift will put greater pressures on public pensions and the public health-care system Who will pay for it all? Part of the answer is immigrants and their children.
What the government has to focus on now is ensuring there are enough resources available from its own agencies as well as private organizations to help settle the higher immigrant flows. We must always remember we’re talking about real people, not just numbers in a bureaucrat’s file.
Canadians now have a very reasonable immigration plan. But its success will be determined by how well it’s managed.