The Hamilton Spectator

Immigratio­n boost good for Prairies, report finds


A new Desjardins report suggests Canada’s immigratio­n target increase could spur economic growth, with the Prairies standing to benefit the most.

Principal economist Marc Desormeaux says his analysis finds Canada’s plan to increase immigratio­n could boost gross domestic product per capita if newcomers continue to have the same success getting work that they’ve enjoyed recently.

“That’s significan­t because there have been questions in the past about whether immigratio­n boosts just GDP or GDP per capita,” he said.

GDP per capita is a country’s gross domestic product divided by the population. Many consider it a better measure of living standards than the overall GDP figure.

In November, the federal government announced a new immigratio­n plan that would see Canada welcome 500,000 immigrants per year by 2025.

Immigratio­n minister Sean Fraser has argued that a boost to immigratio­n is necessary to address labour shortages and Canada’s aging population.

The Desjardins analysis finds Alberta, Saskatchew­an and Manitoba would see the most GDP growth rate boost among provinces.

Desormeaux says that’s because those provinces have higher labour market participat­ion rates and were the first to embrace provincial nominee programs, which allow provinces to select immigrants that match their economic needs.

As Canada stares down a potential recession, however, Desormeaux says “it’s an open question as to whether some of these strong labour market outcomes continue over the next year.”

The Bank of Canada’s interest rate hikes over the last year are expected to slow down the economy significan­tly in the coming months.

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