A new Conference Board of Canada report says that eliminating immigration would have a negative impact on Canada's economy. The study imagined what would happen by 2040 if Canada's borders were completely shut.
“Immigration contributes to the economy in several ways,” explained Kareem El-Assal, senior research associate with the Conference Board. “They are going to contribute to our labour force, but they’re also going to contribute in terms of economic activity.”
By 2034, immigration will account for 100% of Canada's population growth
Immigration currently is 71% of Canada's population growth and 90% of labour force growth, according to the Conference Board. By 2034, it's expected to account for 100% of Canada's population growth, and deaths will exceed births. The Conference Board report recommends boosting Canada's immigration rate to 1% of the total population, from 0.8% in 2017.
Without immigrants, the study found that:
- Canada's population would age more rapidly.
- The labour force would shrink. By 2040, the ratio of workers to retirees would drop from 3.6 to 2.0. More than a quarter of the population (26.9%) would be 65 and over, compared to 22.4 % with a gradual increase in immigration.
- Paying for social services like health care would result in tax increases across the country.
- The shrinking labour force, lower local demand and tax increases would lower levels of business investment and businesses would likely choose to forego Canadian operations.
- Economic growth would slow down without immigration. Canada's GDP growth is expected to grow by an average of 1.9% in the decades to come with a gradual increase in newcomers. Without immigrants, growth would slow to 1.3%.
Economic immigrants — skilled workers and other newcomers — contribute the most to Canada's economy.