The pandemic has forced Canada to re-evaluate its immigration plans. The country is set to make a major announcement on this topic that could affect its economic situation for a long time to come.
Immigration minister Marco Mendicino is planning to introduce Canada’s new Immigration Levels Plan that will specify the number of newcomers who will be welcomed by the country in 2021.
Canada’s need for immigrants
Liberal and Conservative governments have slowly increased the country’s newcomer intake since the 1980s. Canada relies on immigration heavily because of its low population density that results in gaps in the labour force. Newcomers help to alleviate the negative fiscal and economic impact of Canada’s low birth rate and ageing population. Without immigration, Canada would have a dead economy.
However, 2020 has changed the world, and it is important to consider the current situation when making a decision. The coronavirus pandemic is already keeping Canada from reaching the 341,000 newcomer target that it had set for 2020.
What would be the right call?
At this point, with so much uncertainty in every sphere of life, it might seem like a rational idea to lower the immigration target next year. The borders are still shut to lower the spread of the virus. The economy is weak and the country is experiencing high levels of unemployment. However, reducing the target because of COVID-19 could also be a very big mistake.
The pandemic has not lessened Canada’s need to welcome newcomers and make up for the over 9 million baby boomers who will reach retirement age by 2030. The birth rate being low will be unable to replenish the boomers. The economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic is definitely not going to make the situation any better.
Technological advances and immigrants will be able to meet the future workforce needs of Canada and ensure that the economy does not shut down altogether. If anything, immigration will become even more important in the post-pandemic era.