Argitis: Canada’s population advantage offset by weak productivity

Good comments on the productivity conundrum and how the current focus in increased immigration is not addressing productivity and in fact is weakening productivity. But Argitis only states the issue and offers no approaches or solutions to address the issue:

Canada’s population grew by a whopping 362,453 people in three months through Oct. 1, a quarterly gain of 0.9 per cent. That’s the fastest quarterly increase since 1957. Canada’s population is up 2.3 per cent from a year ago—double the historic annual average over the past half century.

Almost all the growth came from non-Canadians moving here, illustrating how there is no greater competitive advantage we have as a country than open immigration policies free of the hang-ups and complexities that hamper population growth elsewhere.

The latest data shows the country hit a minor milestone sometime over the summer, surpassing the 39 million mark.

Since the start of the pandemic, our population has grown by one million people.

At the current pace, Canada will hit the much bigger milestone of 40 million people no later than 2025, which would represent an increase of about 10 million people in the first quarter of the current century. That would be almost a one-third increase in population, which blows past most of Canada’s peers.

Canada’s fast population growth, however, is masking deeper economic problems around productivity and underlying competitiveness.

The same quarterly population numbers released last month to measure per-capita output reveal a disturbing trend. When factoring out population, our economy has been completely stagnant over the past four years. There’s no growth outside of immigration.

For example, while real GDP increased 0.7 per cent in the third quarter, the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent on a per capita basis. In fact, there’s been no increase in per-capita output since 2018.

I can think of no bigger threat to the consensus around immigration than Canada’s inability to increase productivity and improve living standards of people already living here. …

Theo Argitis is the managing director of Compass Rose, a public affairs firm in Ottawa.

Source: Canada’s population advantage offset by weak productivity

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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