Rethinking immigration

Countries by birth rate in 2008
Countries by birth rate in 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Country of birth of "immigrants and non-p...
Country of birth of "immigrants and non-permanent residents" in Canada in 2001 Census (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Globe and Mail Update

Canada is facing a demographic crunch and labour shortage that will hinder our future prosperity. The solution: More economic immigrants who are selected for their skills. Scroll through the interactive below to delve into the challenges of immigration and possible fixes. Hear from immigrants and innovators. Share your own immigration story and see what immigration looks like in your community according to the latest available census data.

Canada accepts roughly 250,000 immigrants each year. But for newcomers, resettling can be daunting: You might be told your previous work experience no longer counts. Or you might lack the personal connections to find the best opportunities. Those struggles can, however, make the triumphs all the more precious.

Canada needs more immigrants. In some regions and industries, Canada is already short of educated, skilled workers. With birth rates low and lifespans ever longer, those problems will deepen in the future. Worse, our social safety system could become unsustainable. A possible solution is to expand immigration for "economic" migrants – those selected for their skills – to as much as double current levels. This would raise annual immigration to nearly 400,000 by 2016.

The coming demographic crunch

With baby boomers heading for retirement, eventually there will be only two workers for every senior citizen. This increases the burden on workers for seniors' pensions and other social programs, slows growth and makes labour shortages even more dire.

Canada's working-aged population per senior citizen over time, and the same ratio by province  

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