Overhaul of Canada’s Immigration System? Not this way

The Centre for Immigration Policy Reform launched this week calling for a review of Canada’s immigration policy under the questionable belief that the majority of immigrants are a significant drain on the system in Canada. For those regular readers of our blog, you know where I stand on such a position.

But let’s consider this group’s findings:

Canada takes in more immigrants per capita than any other country in the world, about 250,000 per year.

According to the organization’s website, the organization believes that:

– Immigration increases Canada’s population and economy but does not improve the standard of living in Canada.

– Immigrants receive more dollars per year (in the billions) in benefits than they pay in taxes.

– Only 17 per cent of immigrants who come to Canada each year have their language and work skills fully assessed.

– Immigration will not offset the fact that double the number of Canadians will be retiring soon.

– Over half of Canadians expect that immigrants should adapt fully to Canadian culture rather than Canada accommodating religious and cultural minorities.

“Immigration has done a lot of positive things for Canada,” Martin Collacott, a member of the organization’s board of directors, told the Globe and Mail, “but there are some serious problems with the system.”

The organization has drawn a number of criticisms for their disturbing comments and their intentions to bring immigration debate into the mainstream

My take: Seems like we are dealing with yet another “protectionist, anti-immigration” organization. Claiming that our social ills are due in part to immigration is as old as the bible which itself  is sometimes used as a justification to keep foreigners out.  The reality is that immigrants are and will always be the engines that drive our economy and enriches our social and cultural life.  History is filled with examples of how immigration results in a net-positive benefit to society. And “open economies” are always proven more resilient than closed ones.

That is not to say that there aren’t problems associated with immigration. Not all immigrants are law abiding, contributors; there may be issues with integration etc. However, the fact is that certain statistics are alwas open to interpretation and can be “spun” in any which way.

Yet there are some facts not open to debate: Canada is aging and without a steady flow of talented, educated immigrants, we face a serious labour shortage; immigrants tend to be very motivated to improve their lives when coming to Canada or elsewhere and economies that are open tend to do better than closed ones. You do the math.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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