Canada will soon return to record lows in unemployment and immigration, and will once again be key to supporting economic health in the country.
In late February and early March of this year, Canada's immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, made several public announcements claiming that the country would need to continue to raise its rates of immigration to sustain its economic growth.
How Canada's economy can expand after the pandemic
The two ways in which Canada will expand its economy are to add more jobs to the labour-power and use labor more productively.
Canada needs to tap into under-utilized sources of talent such as women , indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, elderly people and disengaged workers, including young people. It is both an economic and moral necessity, but it will also not be enough to allow sufficient compensation for all the 9 million baby boomers who will soon hit their retirement age.
Immigration would thus play a significant role in guiding the development of Canada's labor force in the years and decades ahead.
Minister Mendicino will need to announce the immigration level plan for Canada by November 1st. Actually Canada expects at least 341,000 immigrants annually.
Arguments can be put for maintaining this level, and against it.
The case against immigration
One might reasonably argue that it would be better to restrict immigration before the economy recovers. There is a need to get Canadians back to work and don't want to welcome immigrants at a time when they will find it harder to find jobs.
In addition, during a period of high unemployment, the Canadian public may not be as supportive of hosting high immigration levels. Public attitudes on immigration have not been studied since the beginning of the pandemic but with Canadians' economic well-being currently under pressure, Canada's immigration policies may face increased scrutiny.
The case in favor of immigration
On the other hand, one can legitimately argue that returning Canadians to work and welcoming immigrants is not mutually exclusive, and can be complementary indeed.
Maintaining high immigration levels would boost economic development as immigrants arrive with savings and need to spend money on such items as accommodation, transportation, telecommunications, clothes, leisure, and other items that boost Canadian jobs. Immigrants will also be creating employment as entrepreneurs.
In other words, the assumption that the weaker state of the economy will have a major impact on public sentiment may make us mistaken. Those sold on immigration benefits may stay in their corner, while the skeptics are entrenched in their corner.
We should not forget that, just a few months ago, before the pandemic, Canada's economy was firing on all cylinders. The unemployment rate in Canada had hit high lowers.
This assures us that once this public health problem is resolved i.e., a vaccine has been developed, Canada's economic growth will improve and more people will return to making an honest living.