Rise in expat voting expected to continue, creating new political footholds, say experts

Of note. One of the reasons that one of the former Chief Electoral Officer did not oppose expatriate voting was his expectation that most will not bother to vote which the 2019 election confirmed although that will likely increase slowly. And yes, riding breakdowns would be useful, but it is interesting to note the Conservative focus on Canadian expatriates in Hong Kong rather than the much larger living in the USA:

Expat voting tripled between the last two Canadian federal elections, and sources who recently spoke with The Hill Times say they expect numbers of those who cast ballots from abroad to continue to trend upwards, opening new opportunities for political parties.

But while a conservative group launched in January is working to boost registration of international electors, there’s no sign of a liberal equivalent.

“I think we’re the only Canadian kind of political-oriented expat group that’s trying to help Canadians get registered [to vote] abroad,” said Brett Stephenson, vice-chair and policy chair of Canadian Conservatives Abroad(CCA), which officially launched in January of this year with an aim, in part, to encourage registration of international voters, in a recent phone interview with The Hill Times from Hong Kong.

Involved in the group are a number of notable names: former Conservative foreign affairs minister John Baird, who now works for a number of international firms in Toronto; Nigel Wright, a former chief of staff to then-prime minister Stephen Harper who’s working for Onex in London, U.K.; Herman Cheung, a former manager of new media and marketing in the Harper PMO who now works for Philip Morris International in Hong Kong; Barrett Bingley, a former adviser to then-foreign affairs minister David Emerson who’s now working for The Economist Group in Hong Kong; Patrick Muttart, a former deputy chief of staff to PM Harper who’s now working for Philip Morris International in London, U.K.; Jamie Tronnes, a former Conservative staffer on the Hill who’s now working as a consultant in Oakland, Calif.; Georganne Burke, an experienced Conservative campaigner and organizer who’s based in Ottawa; and Ian Vaculik, who briefly worked as an adviser in the Harper PMO and now works for KBR Inc. in London, U.K. Mr. Stephenson is also a former Conservative staffer, including to Lisa Raitt during her time as natural resources minister. 

“I don’t think the … small ‘L’ liberals have come together to form an organization. I thought they would after we had formed in January, but there still hasn’t been any effort as far as I can see,” said Mr. Stephenson. 

Similar efforts have been underway by political parties in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia for decades, said Mr. Stephenson—for example, Democrats Abroad or Republicans Overseas—but similar outreach to Canadian expats has long been a “missing component.”

“We’re about 40 years behind our fellow English-speaking countries when it comes to having some sort of international space to engage with expats abroad,” he said. 

Citizens who had resided outside of Canada were barred from voting if they’d lived outside the country for more than five years in 1993, though it was seen as loosely enforced until 2011. In that year’s election, two Canadians who’d been outside the country for more than five years—Gillian Frank and Jamie Duong—had their ballots rejected, a decision they took to court, leading to a January 2019 Supreme Court decision that ruled expats have the right to vote in federal elections no matter how long they’ve lived outside the country. That decision came on the heels of a Trudeau Liberal bill, the Elections Modernization Act, which received royal assent in December 2018 and, among other things, amended the Canada Elections Act to scrap the requirement that only Canadians living outside the country for less than five consecutive years, and who intended to return in the future, could vote.

Subsequently, expat voting surged. In 2015, 15,603 expats were registered with Elections Canada as of that year’s election, with 10,707 valid ballots cast. In 2019, 55,512 Canadians were on the international register of electors come the October election, of which 32,720 cast valid ballots, an increase of nearly 206 per cent from the election prior. 

Even with the increase, that’s still a small fraction of the total number of Canadians living abroad. The Canadian Expat Association estimates some 2.8 million Canadians live outside the country (the number of eligible voters among that count though is unknown); registration with Global Affairs Canada is entirely voluntary, and only 352,245 Canadians are currently registered.

Graph courtesy of Infogram.

There are early signs that the number of expats registering to vote continues to rise.

On Sept. 13, 2019, two days after the writs were issued and roughly one month out from voting day (Oct. 21) in the last election, the Huffington Post reported that, at that point, 19,784 people were on the international register of electors. That number rose 180.6 per cent to 55,512 by election day. 

As of July 25, there were 29,632 Canadians on Elections Canada’s international register of electors—roughly 10,000 more than were on the list one month out from the last election. (Elections Canada does a verification process after each federal election, asking those registered to confirm their continued registration and mailing address, and removes the names of those who don’t respond or have returned to Canada.)

Though it’s still not official that a federal election will happen soon, expectation seems widespread that an election call is imminent, with the vote seen as likely to be held this fall, possibly in September.

“The opportunity is there for expats to have an impact,” said Mr. Stephenson, adding he expects the number of ballots cast by expat voters in the next election to be on par with 2019 levels or to potentially go up. “I don’t think it will dip down.”

John Delacourt, a former Liberal staffer and now a vice-president with Hill and Knowlton Strategies, said the numbers “certainly suggest” expat voting is on the rise.

“If that is indeed the case … it would be viewed as an opportunity, and as an opportunity for outreach, and virtually every party, I think, is interested in growth to connect with members, whether they be beyond our borders” or in Canada, he said. 

Semra Sevi, a PhD candidate with the University of Montreal’s department of political science who has explored the subject of expat voting (her master’s thesis looked at the impact of such voters in Canada), said the fact that expat voting appears to be on the rise is “not very surprising,” given increased attention on the matter, and she expects it “will continue to climb,” as political groups increasingly turn their sights to such voters and awareness builds. 

Mr. Delacourt said he doesn’t know of a Liberal-equivalent group to the CCA, adding the Conservative effort is “a little ironic” given the party’s past position supporting previous expat voting limits.

The Hill Times asked the federal Liberal Party directly about the existence of any such groups, and none were noted in response, though senior director of communications Braeden Caley did highlight that the party “works both with volunteers and organizers on a series of initiatives to help encourage Canadians abroad to participate in our democracy and elections,” noting “particularly strong support from Canadian students who have been living abroad in recent years.” 

Mr. Stephenson and Mr. Bingley previously formed a Canadian Conservatives in Hong Kong group in 2019, on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision, similarly aimed at encouraging expats to register to vote. Through one registration drive event held a few days before writs dropped in 2019, attended by Mr. Baird, he said the group helped get between 150 to 200 expats registered. (The total number registered overall as a result of the group’s efforts is unknown, as expats have to register themselves.)

“That’s the kind of thing we’re hoping to replicate more on a global level” now, he said, with a particular focus currently on the Asia-Pacific region (Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia in particular), the European Union (France and Germany in particular), Israel, the U.K., and the U.S., with the latter two being “likely where most Canadian expats live.” 

A lot of the group’s work, said Mr. Stephenson, is about “information sharing” and helping expats understand the process of registering, a process that involves “a lot of clicking” and is “not very simplified.” For example, a question that often comes up among expats, he said, is how voting in Canada could impact their taxes (zero impact, he said, citing Canadian tax experts).

Along with expat registration, Mr. Stephenson said the CCA is working to build a conservative network across the globe and has plans to start advertising on social media “soon.” The group also has a third function: providing informal policy advice and feedback to the Conservative Party and caucus back home (as well as provincial conservative parties, “as it comes”—for example, they recently had an open forum discussion with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, he said). 

“Tapping into that network of experience and breadth of knowledge across sectors and countries can help to really inform policy issues back into Canada,” he said. “Canada sometimes gets a little bit isolated in international conversations … and sometimes we don’t read the newspapers in other countries about what’s going on, so we wanted to be able to have that policy feedback loop to improve the discussion back in Parliament a bit more.” 

To be on the international register of electors, you need to be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years old on polling day, and have lived in the country at some point in your life. Elections Canada requires a copy of one piece of ID, either from a Canadian passport, birth certificate, or citizenship card/certificate. Expats also need to provide the last address they lived at in Canada (it can’t be a PO box). That address is used to determine the federal riding in which their vote will be counted. Registration can happen at any time, according to Elections Canada, but must happen before 6 p.m. on the Tuesday before election day (which is always a Monday) to have their vote counted in that election.

Elections Canada begins the process of mailing out special ballot kits to those on the register “immediately after the drop of writs” and it typically takes two to three days to mail all of them out, said spokesperson Matthew McKenna. 

“This time around, we have done what we can to prepare kits in advance so we are ready to go as soon as possible,” he said. 

How long it takes to reach international voters varies by country, he said, noting the agency uses DHL, a private courier service, for “many destinations.” Completed kits have to be received at Elections Canada’s Ottawa distribution centre by no later than 6 p.m. on election day.

Since 2015, Elections Canada has run a “paid advertising component” to reach out to international electors online; prior to then, it did “some smaller-scale targeted advertising” along with “non-paid outreach and organic communication,” explained Mr. McKenna. The agency also works with Global Affairs Canada to share information with Canadians living abroad about how to register and vote, and has a dedicated section on its website.

Impact of expat voters hard to gauge, says Sevi

In the 2019 federal election, 18.4 million Canadians cast valid ballots. International voters accounted for a small fraction of that, rounded to just 0.2 per cent. 

But Mr. Stephenson said he thinks there’s still potential for expats to make an impact. In his understanding, “many of the Hong Kong Canadians,” for example, are from B.C.’s Lower Mainland, the Greater Toronto Area, and Calgary and Edmonton. If “even just 10 or 20 per cent” of Canadians in Hong Kong vote, he suggested “it could tip the scales in a lot of close election races in the GTA and Lower Mainland.” Both areas are seat-rich and seen as target regions by Canada’s major political parties. 

Gauging the impact expat voters have had in federal elections is hard to do, said Ms. Sevi. The riding-by-riding vote breakdown currently provided by Elections Canada lumps together all votes by special ballot as one category; that includes international electors, but also captures votes cast by prisoners, members of the military, and people voting domestically by mail-in ballot. (Elections Canada is anticipating mail-in ballot use to rise considerably in the next federal election as a result of COVID-19.) 

“It’s hard to disentangle the patterns to say that you know expat votes would make a difference in a specific constituency historically,” said Ms. Sevi. The Conservative Party has in recent elections gotten more votes by special ballot than any other party, she said, but that’s special ballots as a combined group. A Maclean’s piece penned by Ms. Sevi and Peter H. Russell in 2015, notes that in 2008 and 2011, Ontario saw the highest share of expat voters, followed by Quebec, then B.C., then Alberta, with expat votes spread “increasingly in urban ridings.”

However, separate research she’s done into voting by Turkish expats (in Turkey’s elections)—information on which is “disentangled” as a separate category—indicates that while turnout is lower than among domestic voters in Turkey, expats “tend to vote along similar lines as domestic voters.”

Ms. Sevi said she hopes Elections Canada provides a riding-by-riding breakdown of the types of special ballot votes in the future. 

Source: Rise in expat voting expected to continue, creating new political footholds, say experts

Canada’s tragic residential-school reckoning could be grim harbinger for U.S.

Of note. Will reinforce efforts here I suspect:

It took just two weeks for the first Indigenous cabinet member in American history to publicly express her deep personal dismay at the grim residential school revelations emanating from north of the border.

It was only another 11 days before Deb Haaland, one of the first Native Americans ever elected to Congress and President Joe Biden’s newly appointed secretary of the interior, took matters into her own hands.

“The department shall undertake an investigation of the loss of human life and the lasting consequences of residential Indian boarding schools,” Haaland wrote in a memo last week.

“Only by acknowledging the past can we work toward a future we are all proud to embrace.”

In geopolitical terms, the time between Haaland’s June 22 memo and May 27 — the day a B.C. First Nation announced the grim discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former residential school — was the blink of an eye.

Rarely do developments on Canadian soil prompt such rapid, dramatic policy decisions in the U.S., a telling measure of magnitude for what Haaland’s investigation may uncover in a country where Indigenous issues are seldom considered front-page news.

“There is a reckoning happening,” said Chase Iron Eyes, a prominent U.S. Indigenous activist and lead counsel for the North Dakota-based Lakota People’s Law Project.

“They don’t teach this in schools — not in Canadian schools, not in American schools — that there are mass graves of children at church-run, government-sponsored residential schools and boarding schools.

“And now we’re no longer able to hide from those truths.”

Haaland’s own heritage doubtless helped move things along.

“My great-grandfather was taken to Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania,” Haaland wrote in a moving column in the Washington Post this month that opened with the news out of Canada.

“Its founder coined the phrase, ‘Kill the Indian, and save the man,’ which genuinely reflects the influences that framed these policies at the time.”

It’s a chilling echo of words frequently attributed to Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald — “take the Indian out of the child” — in his 19th century defence of Canada’s residential school system.

The similarities between the systems that existed in Canada and the U.S. likely don’t stop there.

“I think the scale, in terms of sheer numbers, is fairly comparable,” said Circe Sturm, an anthropology professor and Indigenous issues specialist at the University of Texas at Austin.

By the turn of the century, after the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs had taken over Indigenous schooling from the Christian missionaries who started the effort, the department was operating 147 day schools and 81 boarding schools on U.S. reservations, and another 25 boarding schools off-reserve, Sturm said.

In Canada, an estimated 150,000 Indigenous children are believed to have attended one of about 150 residential schools that operated between the 1880s and when the last one closed in 1996.

Haaland’s “Indian Boarding School Initiative” will seek to identify all of the schools that were part of the program, with a particular emphasis on “any records relating to cemeteries or potential burial sites … which may later be used to assist in locating unidentified human remains.”

The department will also liaise with Indigenous communities across the U.S., including in Alaska and Hawaii, on how best to handle any such remains, with plans for a final report by April of next year.

“Many who survived the ordeal returned home changed in unimaginable ways, and their experiences still resonate across the generations,” Haaland wrote.

“The work outlined will shed light on the scope of that impact.”

The potential scale of the situation in Canada took a dramatic turn Thursday when the Cowessess First Nation announced the discovery of what are believed to be 751 unmarked graves at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School on southern Saskatchewan.

That news generated uncommon media interest Friday in the U.S., where the Post played it on the front page and the New York Times devoted a full inside page to coverage of the discovery, as well as Haaland’s announcement.

Sturm demurred when asked whether she expects broad change in U.S. attitudes toward Indigenous Peoples on a scale comparable to last year’s social upheaval in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

“I suspect that many Americans will struggle with the hard truth about the founding of this country — some by choosing to ignore it, others with guilt and anger,” she said.

“But because we are talking about the senseless death of children, there is a good chance that a significant number of Americans would be moved enough to insist on action.”

If such discoveries are what it takes to finally end public complacency about the plight of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, so be it, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested Friday.

The federal government intends to help with “the healing and the fixing of the generations of trauma that Canadians have all too often turned an eye from, all too often shrugged away from,” Trudeau said.

“And if it took discovering these graves for Canadians to wake up to how much we need to continue to do, then that perhaps gives us a starting point to continue to do even more.”‘

Indigenous leaders in Canada have been pressing Trudeau to secure an apology, on Canadian soil, from Pope Francis himself for the role the Catholic Church played in operating residential schools.

Those demands — which Trudeau repeated again Friday — have so far gone unheeded. But they may carry more weight if, in the fullness of time, Biden is in a position to join the call.

“I think Trudeau and Biden together is a stronger force than either of them alone. I do believe that,” Iron Eyes said.

“We need those calls to come from within the Christian community, because those ‘ideals’ upon which these countries were founded were very much informed by Christian and Western theology and world views.”

Source: Canada’s tragic residential-school reckoning could be grim harbinger for U.S.

Long Slide Looms for World Population, With Sweeping Ramifications

One of the more significant articles I have seen recently, highlighting the need for countries and societies to adapt to declining populations. While traditional immigrant receiving countries like Canada, Australia and the USA can blunt the decline somewhat, they will also feel the effects on an aging population.

Just as in climate change where adaptation and reduction strategies are both needed, relying only on immigration, as Canada largely does, to mitigate (slow down) the decline, will not address successfully the longer-term trends.

Politicians, policy makers and stakeholders need to devote more attention to other policy responses beyond simply increased immigration. After all, declining populations in most of our source countries may make Canada relatively less attractive in economic terms:

All over the world, countries are confronting population stagnation and a fertility bust, a dizzying reversal unmatched in recorded history that will make first-birthday parties a rarer sight than funerals, and empty homes a common eyesore.

Maternity wards are already shutting down in Italy. Ghost cities are appearing in northeastern China. Universities in South Korea can’t find enough students, and in Germany, hundreds of thousands of properties have been razed, with the land turned into parks.

Like an avalanche, the demographic forces — pushing toward more deaths than births — seem to be expanding and accelerating. Though some countries continue to see their populations grow, especially in Africa, fertility rates are falling nearly everywhere else. Demographers now predict that by the latter half of the century or possibly earlier, the global population will enter a sustained decline for the first time.

A planet with fewer people could ease pressure on resources, slow the destructive impact of climate change and reduce household burdens for women. But the census announcements this month from China and the United States, which showed the slowest rates of population growth in decades for both countries, also point to hard-to-fathom adjustments.

The strain of longer lives and low fertility, leading to fewer workers and more retirees, threatens to upend how societies are organized — around the notion that a surplus of young people will drive economies and help pay for the old. It may also require a reconceptualization of family and nation. Imagine entire regions where everyone is 70 or older. Imagine governments laying out huge bonuses for immigrants and mothers with lots of children. Imagine a gig economy filled with grandparents and Super Bowl ads promoting procreation.

“A paradigm shift is necessary,” said Frank Swiaczny, a German demographer who was the chief of population trends and analysis for the United Nations until last year. “Countries need to learn to live with and adapt to decline.”

The ramifications and responses have already begun to appear, especially in East Asia and Europe. From Hungary to China, from Sweden to Japan, governments are struggling to balance the demands of a swelling older cohort with the needs of young people whose most intimate decisions about childbearing are being shaped by factors both positive (more work opportunities for women) and negative (persistent gender inequality and high living costs).

The 20th century presented a very different challenge. The global population saw its greatest increase in known history, from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6 billion in 2000, as life spans lengthened and infant mortality declined. In some countries — representing about a third of the world’s people — those growth dynamics are still in play. By the end of the century, Nigeria could surpass China in population; across sub-Saharan Africa, families are still having four or five children.

But nearly everywhere else, the era of high fertility is ending. As women have gained more access to education and contraception, and as the anxieties associated with having children continue to intensify, more parents are delaying pregnancy and fewer babies are being born. Even in countries long associated with rapid growth, such as India and Mexico, birthrates are falling toward, or are already below, the replacement rate of 2.1 children per family.

The change may take decades, but once it starts, decline (just like growth) spirals exponentially. With fewer births, fewer girls grow up to have children, and if they have smaller families than their parents did — which is happening in dozens of countries — the drop starts to look like a rock thrown off a cliff.

“It becomes a cyclical mechanism,” said Stuart Gietel Basten, an expert on Asian demographics and a professor of social science and public policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “It’s demographic momentum.”

Some countries, like the United States, Australia and Canada, where birthrates hover between 1.5 and 2, have blunted the impact with immigrants. But in Eastern Europe, migration out of the region has compounded depopulation, and in large parts of Asia, the “demographic time bomb” that first became a subject of debate a few decades ago has finally gone off.

South Korea’s fertility rate dropped to a record low of 0.92 in 2019 — less than one child per woman, the lowest rate in the developed world. Every month for the past 59 months, the total number of babies born in the country has dropped to a record depth.

That declining birthrate, coupled with a rapid industrialization that has pushed people from rural towns to big cities, has created what can feel like a two-tiered society. While major metropolises like Seoul continue to grow, putting intense pressure on infrastructure and housing, in regional towns it’s easy to find schools shut and abandoned, their playgrounds overgrown with weeds, because there are not enough children.

Expectant mothers in many areas can no longer find obstetricians or postnatal care centers. Universities below the elite level, especially outside Seoul, find it increasingly hard to fill their ranks — the number of 18-year-olds in South Korea has fallen from about 900,000 in 1992 to 500,000 today. To attract students, some schools have offered scholarships and even iPhones.

To goose the birthrate, the government has handed out baby bonuses. It increased child allowances and medical subsidies for fertility treatments and pregnancy. Health officials have showered newborns with gifts of beef, baby clothes and toys. The government is also building kindergartens and day care centers by the hundreds. In Seoul, every bus and subway car has pink seats reserved for pregnant women.

But this month, Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki admitted that the government — which has spent more than $178 billion over the past 15 years encouraging women to have more babies — was not making enough progress. In many families, the shift feels cultural and permanent.

“My grandparents had six children, and my parents five, because their generations believed in having multiple children,” said Kim Mi-kyung, 38, a stay-at-home parent. “I have only one child. To my and younger generations, all things considered, it just doesn’t pay to have many children.”

Thousands of miles away, in Italy, the sentiment is similar, with a different backdrop.

In Capracotta, a small town in southern Italy, a sign in red letters on an 18th-century stone building looking on to the Apennine Mountains reads “Home of School Kindergarten” — but today, the building is a nursing home.

Residents eat their evening broth on waxed tablecloths in the old theater room.

“There were so many families, so many children,” said Concetta D’Andrea, 93, who was a student and a teacher at the school and is now a resident of the nursing home. “Now there is no one.”

The population in Capracotta has dramatically aged and contracted — from about 5,000 people to 800. The town’s carpentry shops have shut down. The organizers of a soccer tournament struggled to form even one team.

About a half-hour away, in the town of Agnone, the maternity ward closed a decade ago because it had fewer than 500 births a year, the national minimum to stay open. This year, six babies were born in Agnone.

“Once you could hear the babies in the nursery cry, and it was like music,” said Enrica Sciullo, a nurse who used to help with births there and now mostly takes care of older patients. “Now there is silence and a feeling of emptiness.”

In a speech last Friday during a conference on Italy’s birthrate crisis, Pope Francis said the “demographic winter” was still “cold and dark.”

More people in more countries may soon be searching for their own metaphors. Birth projections often shift based on how governments and families respond, but according to projections by an international team of scientists published last year in The Lancet, 183 countries and territories — out of 195 — will have fertility rates below replacement level by 2100.

Their model shows an especially sharp decline for China, with its population expected to fall from 1.41 billion now to about 730 million in 2100. If that happens, the population pyramid would essentially flip. Instead of a base of young workers supporting a narrower band of retirees, China would have as many 85-year-olds as 18-year-olds.

China’s rust belt, in the northeast, saw its population drop by 1.2 percent in the past decade, according to census figures released on Tuesday. In 2016, Heilongjiang Province became the first in the country to have its pension system run out of money. In Hegang, a “ghost city” in the province that has lost almost 10 percent of its population since 2010, homes cost so little that people compare them to cabbage.

Many countries are beginning to accept the need to adapt, not just resist. South Korea is pushing for universities to merge. In Japan, where adult diapers now outsell ones for babies, municipalities have been consolidated as towns age and shrink. In Sweden, some cities have shifted resources from schools to elder care. And almost everywhere, older people are being asked to keep working. Germany, which previously raised its retirement age to 67, is now considering a bump to 69.

Going further than many other nations, Germany has also worked through a program of urban contraction: Demolitions have removed around 330,000 units from the housing stock since 2002.

And if the goal is revival, a few green shoots can be found. After expanding access to affordable child care and paid parental leave, Germany’s fertility rate recently increased to 1.54, up from 1.3 in 2006. Leipzig, which once was shrinking, is now growing again after reducing its housing stock and making itself more attractive with its smaller scale.

“Growth is a challenge, as is decline,” said Mr. Swiaczny, who is now a senior research fellow at the Federal Institute for Population Research in Germany.

Demographers warn against seeing population decline as simply a cause for alarm. Many women are having fewer children because that’s what they want. Smaller populations could lead to higher wages, more equal societies, lower carbon emissions and a higher quality of life for the smaller numbers of children who are born.

But, said Professor Gietel Basten, quoting Casanova: “There is no such thing as destiny. We ourselves shape our lives.”

The challenges ahead are still a cul-de-sac — no country with a serious slowdown in population growth has managed to increase its fertility rate much beyond the minor uptick that Germany accomplished. There is little sign of wage growth in shrinking countries, and there is no guarantee that a smaller population means less stress on the environment.

Many demographers argue that the current moment may look to future historians like a period of transition or gestation, when humans either did or did not figure out how to make the world more hospitable — enough for people to build the families that they want.

Surveys in many countries show that young people would like to be having more children, but face too many obstacles.

Anna Parolini tells a common story. She left her small hometown in northern Italy to find better job opportunities. Now 37, she lives with her boyfriend in Milan and has put her desire to have children on hold.

She is afraid her salary of less than 2,000 euros a month would not be enough for a family, and her parents still live where she grew up.

“I don’t have anyone here who could help me,” she said. “Thinking of having a child now would make me gasp.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/22/world/global-population-shrinking.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

For more conventional thinking, see the Foreign Affairs article by , which is similar to the arguments of the Century Initiative, Irving Studin and others. Only at the end does the author acknowledge that “quality” (e.g., human capital, skills etc) matter as much if not more than numbers):

The United States’ global preeminence owes a great deal to demographics. After the collapse and fragmenting of the Soviet Union, the United States became the world’s third most populous country, behind the giants China and India. By comparison to other developed countries, the United States maintained unusually high levels of fertility and immigration—a phenomenon I termed “American demographic exceptionalism” in these pages in 2019. Since the end of the Cold War, the overall American population and its number of working-age people (between the ages of 20 and 64) have grown more rapidly than those of other developed countries—and faster, too, than those of rivals China and Russia. Growing working-age populations boost national productivity in economies run by governments that can successfully develop and tap human resources. For modern welfare states, the slower aging of the population forestalls some of the fiscal burdens built into current arrangements.  

To the extent that crude demographic trends matter in world affairs, they have been running to the United States’ advantage for some time. But big changes are underway. The initial returns from the U.S. 2020 census and the reports about last year’s birth totals offered sobering news: with the slowdown of population growth and steady declines in national fertility, the United States now seems to be charting a less optimistic demographic path, one leading to a grayer and less populous future.   

The United States may be losing its advantage and becoming less exceptional as Americans choose to have fewer children. To the degree that lower birthrates signal diminished popular confidence about the future, the drop-off in fertility warrants attention and perhaps concern. Slower population growth could also have troublesome longer-term implications for Washington’s pay-as-you-go entitlements for senior citizens and other social welfare programs. But a look under the hood of the latest population data and projections suggests that there is no immediate reason to be alarmed about the country’s prospective international standing. The United States will remain in a strong demographic position with respect to its competitors for decades to come.

DECELERATION AND DECLINE

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 “headline” numbers formally ratify something demographers already knew: the United States’ population growth has been decelerating steadily since 1990—and is now at the slowest recorded tempo in the country’s history, apart from the Great Depression era. Between 2010 and 2020, the U.S. population grew by an estimated 7.4 percent. That is a distinctly slower rate of growth than that of the previous decade, when the United States’ population grew by just under ten percent.

Interestingly—some would say surprisingly—immigration does not seem to have much to do with this slowdown: indirect indications suggest net immigration amounted to about a million people a year over the 2010s, roughly the same level as in the previous decade. Rather, changes in birth and death trends explain the shift. “Natural increase”—the total number of births minus deaths—averaged 1.7 million annually for the decade between 2000 and 2009 but just 1.2 million between 2010 and 2019. In 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it fell below 900,000, the lowest annual sum on record since at least 1933, when the United States’ nationwide birth and death registration system was completed.

The falloff in U.S. natural increase in the 2010s was partly due to an increase in annual deaths—an entirely predictable result of the aging of the overall population. But the slump in births played a greater role. Birth totals in 2019 were down by over half a million from their all-time high of 4.3 million in 2007, just before the Great Recession.

Total fertility rates—a measure of births per woman per lifetime—tell the American childbearing story on a more human scale. For the two decades leading up to the Great Recession, the United States’ total fertility rate averaged just over two births per woman. Between 2007 and 2019, however, the U.S. rate dropped from over 2.1 (just above the level for long-term population replacement) to 1.7, below replacement level. That was the lowest rate ever recorded for the United States—until now. The provisional birth figures for 2020 indicate another four percent drop, to about 3.6 million,  implying a 2020 national total fertility rate of around 1.64—more than 20 percent below replacement level.

The available data document a substantial and remarkably widespread fertility reduction since the Great Recession. Demographers are wary of supplying definitive reasons for such changes. Economic concerns may play a part, with some blamingthe high costs of child-rearing for their reluctance to have more children or any children at all. Younger generations may also have different priorities and cultural attitudes from those of their predecessors; the rising cohort of millennials, who make up most of today’s population of childbearing ages, is decidedly less religious and also less sanguine about the future.

AN ENDURING ADVANTAGE

But the demographic future remains relatively bright for the United States. The 2020 census results seem far from harbingers of doom, especially when placed in a broader context. Take, for instance, some of the low-end projections of future U.S. population growth. The UN Population Division’s “low variant” models are instructive: these assign the United States a total fertility rate below 1.4 for the second half of the 2020s—a nationwide average lower, in other words, than that of any single U.S. state in 2019—and an even lower rate during the 2030s and 2040s. Even with this strikingly low fertility rate, the projected U.S. population would still rise for the next generation, peaking in 2047 at just under 350 million people, where it would roughly remain through 2050. The number of working-age people would likewise rise modestly during the next quarter century in this scenario—to a projected 2050 level about five percent higher than the corresponding total for 2020.

As that exercise demonstrates, the 2020 census results should not cause a “depopulationist” panic. Even with extreme and unrelenting sub-replacement fertility levels, the United States’ total population and working-age population are on course to keep growing. Continuing migration and the “population momentum” built into the United States’ current demographic structure (as rising cohorts move into age groups currently occupied by comparatively smaller cohorts) would push the overall U.S. population and working-age population to higher totals for at least another generation.

As a result, the United States will likely retain a demographic edge over other great powers. China, Japan, Russia, and the countries of the European Union have all had sub-replacement fertility rates for much longer than the United States. Their current fertility levels are all lower than that of the United States. And their populations are all older than the U.S. population today. (China has the most youthful population of those other powers, but its median age has already exceeded that of the United States.)

The United States’ most recent year of achieving replacement-level fertility was 2008. By contrast, Japan and the EU fell into sub-replacement fertility in the 1970s, China and Russia in the early 1990s. Although the United States’ surfeit of births over deaths has been steadily dwindling for over a decade, deaths have outnumbered births in the EU since about 2012, and Eurostat projects the combined population of the 27 EU member states will begin shrinking around 2025. Japan has had a surplus of deaths over births since 2007 and a continuously shrinking population since 2011. Russia has seen nearly 14 million more deaths than births since the fall of the Soviet Union.

As for China (as I noted in Foreign Affairs back in 2019 and again this year), the working-age population is already in decline; depopulation is set to commence within the coming decade—perhaps much sooner—and the country is on a path toward extremely rapid population aging, with all that implies for economic performance and domestic social need. The particulars of China’s future demographic course will become clearer when the details of China’s 2020 census are divulged—but Beijing’s unexplained month-long delay in announcing even summary findings from the count suggests official displeasure with those results. Among other unpleasant demographic surprises, the Chinese Communist Party has seen births plunge since the suspension of the regime’s harsh one-child policy in 2015. China’s still imperfect vital registration system tallied almost 18 million births in 2016, but the 2020 census reports only 12 million births in 2020. That extremely low reading may reflect the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic (a crisis the regime insists it has always had well under control)—but as demographers learn more, they may find that China’s demographic slide is progressing even more rapidly than they thought.

Of all the presumptive great powers, only India stands to see greater and more rapid total population and working-age population growth than the United States over the coming generation and to remain a more youthful society than the United States. As is well known, in just a few years India will displace China as the world’s most populous country and will surpass China in working-age population shortly after that. But India is now entering sub-replacement fertility, too: UN estimates suggest India’s under 20 population is already declining, and India’s working-age population could peak before 2050.

QUALITY, NOT JUST QUANTITY

The dip in fertility in the United States does suggest that clear-cut U.S. demographic exceptionalism may be over, at least for the time being. The United States will likely surrender its place as the third most populous country in the world to Nigeria at some point before 2050. But it will remain a fairly young and vital society, at least with respect to other developed countries and to competitors such as China and Russia.

Nevertheless, U.S. strategists and policymakers should not take too much comfort in this fact. Raw population numbers won’t on their own strengthen the United States in its competition with others. The United States must also maintain its edge over competitors in developing human capital—a lead that has been dwindling for decades. Revitalizing health, education, and other facets of the country’s human resource base is an urgent task in its own right—and will pay geopolitical dividends.

Source: https://link.foreignaffairs.com/click/23941018.88243/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZm9yZWlnbmFmZmFpcnMuY29tL2FydGljbGVzL3VuaXRlZC1zdGF0ZXMvMjAyMS0wNS0yNC9hbWVyaWNhLWhhc250LWxvc3QtaXRzLWRlbW9ncmFwaGljLWFkdmFudGFnZT91dG1fbWVkaXVtPW5ld3NsZXR0ZXJzJnV0bV9zb3VyY2U9ZmF0b2RheSZ1dG1fY2FtcGFpZ249QW1lcmljYSUyMEhhc24lRTIlODAlOTl0JTIwTG9zdCUyMEl0cyUyMERlbW9ncmFwaGljJTIwQWR2YW50YWdlJnV0bV9jb250ZW50PTIwMjEwNTI0/5e19405c52ba1e34bd567ea3Cc9732586

Quebec/Canada: Les deux solitudes [in immigration]

Paths continue to diverge with longer-term demographic impact, but with the usual caricature of Canadian immigration and multiculturalism policies “n’ayant peu à se soucier des questions d’intégration et de langue,” ignoring the various integration supports including language training:

Le gouvernement fédéral a ouvert une voie rapide pour accorder à 90 000 travailleurs temporaires et étudiants étrangers en sol canadien leur résidence permanente et devenir ainsi des immigrants reçus.

Le but de l’opération, c’est de permettre à Ottawa de s’approcher de son ambitieux objectif d’accueillir 401 000 immigrants en 2021, et ce, en dépit de la pandémie. En raison des restrictions touchant les voyages, l’arrivée de l’étranger des candidats a été grandement perturbée, tout comme leur recrutement. L’idée est donc de les remplacer par des travailleurs et des étudiants étrangers déjà au pays. À compter du 6 mai, Immigration, Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada (IRCC) amorcera le traitement des dossiers qu’elle recevra afin d’accorder le statut de résident permanent à 20 000 travailleurs de la santé, à 30 000 travailleurs dans des services dits essentiels et à 40 000 étudiants étrangers diplômés d’un établissement postsecondaire canadien.

Le ministre fédéral de l’Immigration, des Réfugiés et de la Citoyenneté, Marco Mendicino, a invité le Québec à imiter Ottawa. Or, la ministre de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), Nadine Girault, n’a pas emboîté le pas.

En dévoilant son programme, le ministre Mendicino a souligné l’impulsion économique que cet apport rapide de résidents permanents permettra. C’est de la bouillie pour les chats : ces travailleurs occupent déjà des emplois et contribuent ainsi déjà à l’activité économique. En revanche, pour les intéressés, c’est un cadeau du ciel.

Depuis l’accord Canada-Québec de 1991 en matière d’immigration, le gouvernement du Québec sélectionne environ 60 % de ses immigrants, principalement dans la catégorie des travailleurs qualifiés, ou de l’immigration économique, en leur délivrant un certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ), et établit les seuils annuels d’immigrants admis, c’est-à-dire ceux à qui le gouvernement fédéral accordera, dans une année donnée, un statut de résident permanent.

Les deux systèmes, celui administré par le fédéral et celui du Québec, fonctionnent en parallèle, du moins en partie. IRCC se charge de l’immigration sous toutes ses formes pour l’ensemble des provinces, sauf pour le Québec. Ottawa s’occupe au Québec de la réunification familiale et de la plupart des réfugiés ainsi que des permis de travail délivrés aux travailleurs et aux étudiants étrangers.

L’an dernier, Ottawa prévoyait accorder le statut de résident permanent à 341 000 personnes, statut qui n’a été donné, en raison de la pandémie, qu’à 184 000 candidats. Il entend faire du rattrapage en fixant son objectif à 401 000 cette année, à 411 000 en 2022 et à 421 000 en 2023.

À l’heure actuelle, on estime qu’il reste 25 000 dossiers en attente d’une résidence permanente au Québec ; pour la plupart, il s’agit de détenteurs d’un CSQ qui sont déjà au pays. Malgré ces dossiers qui traînent depuis des années, le gouvernement fédéral n’a pas admis suffisamment de résidents permanents en 2020 au Québec pour que le gouvernement caquiste respecte le seuil d’immigration qu’il s’était fixé, soit entre 43 000 et 44 500. Il en manque plus de 12 000.

Des délais inexcusables de 27 mois, selon les données d’IRCC, et de 13 mois, selon le MIFI, se sont creusés pour obtenir un statut de résident permanent au Québec. Dans le reste du Canada, ce délai serait de six mois. Un tel écart est injustifiable.

Ottawa soutient que la faute revient au gouvernement caquiste, qui a abaissé les seuils d’immigration. Cette explication ne tient pas pour l’an dernier, et possiblement pour l’année en cours, alors que Québec a demandé à Ottawa d’accélérer la cadence. Ottawa voudrait embarrasser le gouvernement caquiste qu’il ne procéderait pas autrement. Il est vrai que le gouvernement caquiste paraît mal avec son approche plus restrictive, notamment son Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ), dont les critères ont été resserrés, alors qu’Ottawa, de son côté, se montre bon prince.

Le gouvernement Legault devrait exiger d’Ottawa qu’il accorde leur résidence permanente à tous les détenteurs d’un CSQ présents au Québec. Il faut en finir avec ces dossiers qui entravent le recrutement des immigrants et nuit à l’atteinte des objectifs gouvernementaux.

En matière d’immigration, le Canada et le Québec suivent deux voies différentes. D’un côté, le gouvernement caquiste — et c’était vrai aussi, avec plus de mollesse, des gouvernements Charest et Couillard — s’efforce de préserver le caractère français du Québec en mettant l’accent sur la francisation des immigrants, leur intégration et la régionalisation de l’immigration, tout en tentant de remédier aux pénuries de main-d’œuvre. De l’autre, le gouvernement Trudeau poursuit une politique des plus agressives, n’ayant peu à se soucier des questions d’intégration et de langue, le Canada dépassant désormais largement l’Australie à titre de champion mondial de l’immigration. Voilà deux solitudes, même en immigration.

Source: https://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/editoriaux/598926/immigration-les-deux-solitudes?utm_source=infolettre-2021-04-16&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=infolettre-quotidienne

U.S. research shows race, age of jurors affects verdicts but Canada lacks data

Of note:

The race and age of jurors has a noticeable effect on trial verdicts, American studies indicate, but Canada has no data allowing similar research here.

Experts in Canada said it’s imperative to gather such demographic information to better understand systemic biases in the criminal justice system.

One 2012 study in Florida found all-white juries convicted Blacks at a rate 16 percentage points higher than whites. The gap disappeared when the jury pool included at least one Black member, the research found.

“The impact of the racial composition of the jury pool — and seated jury — is a factor that merits much more attention and analysis in order to ensure the fairness of the criminal justice system,” the study concludes.

Another U.S. study, in 2014, showed older jurors were significantly more likely to convict than younger ones:

“If a male defendant, completely by chance, faces a jury pool that has an average age above 50, he is about 13 percentage points more likely to be convicted than if he faces a jury pool with an average age less than 50.”

“These findings imply that many cases are decided differently for reasons that are completely independent of the true nature of the evidence,” it says.

Shamena Anwar, co-author of the papers, said in an interview this week that juries can be highly unrepresentative of their communities as a result of the selection process.

The research, which shows age of jurors and race play a substantial role in verdicts and convictions, indicates demographics “definitely” matter, Anwar said.

As a result, collecting the data was important in understanding that role, said Anwar, an economist who studies criminal justice and racial disparities at the non-profit Rand Corporation.

“If you don’t collect it — you don’t have access to the problem,” Anwar said. “This work shows you that (jury demographics) can have a big impact on (trial) outcomes.”

However, a survey by The Canadian Press found provinces and territories collect almost no demographic data of jurors, despite concerns about systemic bias and government promises to address it.

The absence of information makes it all but impossible to discern whether juries reflect the makeup of the community, experts said.

Colton Fehr, an assistant criminology professor at Simon Fraser University, said bias can infiltrate a trial in many ways, but the lack of data makes it difficult to track and study.

“I’d rather know just how bad it is, so that we can try to fix it, as opposed to just not know where things are going wrong,” Fehr said.

Source: U.S. research shows race, age of jurors affects verdicts but Canada lacks data

How Canada is fighting the war on talent

Good analysis:

Some might look at Noubar Afeyan’s career as a frustrating example of a talented Canadian scientist who got away. The chairman and co-founder of Boston-based Moderna, one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine makers, was born in Lebanon, immigrated to Canada with his family in the 1970s and did his undergraduate studies at McGill University.

Then we lost him. Mr. Afeyan left to get his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, eventually becoming a star scientist and entrepreneur. He has founded several successful U.S. biotech startups and registered more than 100 patents.

The good news is that Canada’s technology landscape has dramatically changed in the past three-plus decades.

Yes, like Mr. Afeyan, many Canadians are still drawn south by the reputations of U.S. colleges and tech giants. But the evidence suggests Canada has largely reversed its brain drain. This country’s fast-growing technology sector is more than holding its own in the global race for talent, even after the deep economic shock of the pandemic, according to an analysis of employment data contained in a new report for the Innovation Economy Council.

Despite the terrible toll of the pandemic, Canada has become more competitive because there are more opportunities here than ever for people to learn, to build companies and to thrive. And that’s making the market for technology jobs remarkably resilient.

Indeed, there are nearly 100,000 more jobs now in so-called STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math – in this country than there were before the pandemic. There is still a gaping hole in Canada’s job market, but not for these people. For the most part, Canadian startups and technology companies absorbed the shock, moved to remote work and in some cases have expanded aggressively.

The resilience of tech employment in these uncertain times is a testament to the Canadian sector’s core strengths – an immigration system that welcomes talented foreigners, a growing crop of promising homegrown STEM graduates and a thriving ecosystem of companies.

It’s a tale of two economies, of course. While there was a net gain of 98,500 STEM jobs, Canada had 431,000 fewer non-STEM jobs in October than it had in February, in sectors such as retail, tourism and airlines.

And there is a cautionary note about the STEM jobs. The number of job postings for these workers is down roughly 50 per cent since February, according to an analysis of data from the Labour Market Information Council. This suggests that companies are still hiring, but perhaps not as enthusiastically as they were before the pandemic.

Another consequence of COVID-19 is that it has accelerated the shift to distributed work forces in the tech industry – teams of employees scattered across different cities and countries. Companies have learned that it’s no longer essential to bring people to them. They can just as easily go where the talent is.

Tech giants – including Google, Facebook and Amazon – have set up large Canadian research and development operations in recent years. A growing number of foreign startups are doing the same. They are moving here to tap our plentiful and affordable supply of programmers, engineers, artificial-intelligence experts and scientists.

Talent flows both ways. Thousands of Canadians continue to pursue careers and education in the U.S. despite four years of anti-immigration rhetoric by outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump. Mr. Trump threatened to tighten H-1B visas, but it turns out Canadian STEM workers are still successfully applying for them – more Canadians were issued H-1Bs in 2019 than in 2018.

Still, that exodus is significantly smaller than the inflow of foreign students, workers and entrepreneurs. Most of our departing STEM workers go to the United States – IEC research shows that more than 10,000 Canadians went south in 2019 with H-1B visas and green cards. But Canada gained nearly 23,000 global STEM workers through permanent residency and temporary foreign worker visas that year.

These newcomers are more likely than Canadians born here to work and study in STEM disciplines. It’s proof that Canada is a place where talented foreigners want to live, work and start companies.

There is also some evidence that the combination of U.S. political strife and China’s democracy crackdown in Hong Kong may be drawing Canadian expats home. As many as 300,000 of the roughly three million Canadian passport holders living outside the country may have returned home since COVID-19 hit, many for good.

But without opportunity, none of that would happen.

Today, it’s tempting to imagine a different a different life story for Moderna’s Noubar Afeyan. Instead of leaving, he stays in Montreal and goes on to found a biotech company that develops a Canadian-made COVID-19 vaccine that the rest of the world desperately wants. His company is worth more than $60-billion and employs thousands of Canadian scientists.

The resilience of Canada’s STEM work force through the pandemic suggests this kind of homegrown-hero story is not so far-fetched.

Canadians will always leave to find their way in the world. This week’s sale of highly touted Montreal startup Element AI to a California software company marked an unfortunate loss of both intellectual property and talent. Canada isn’t the world’s biggest pond and we’ll never retain all of our companies and people. But we’ve shown that we can win the war for talent.

The Trump presidency peddled its anti-immigration messaging, eroding the false narrative that the best and brightest were always welcome in America. Canada countered with policies and public-relations efforts aimed at attracting talent, such as the highly successful Global Talent Stream program and Communitech’s “We Want You” campaign. It has worked.

But the talent war isn’t over. The key is to continue to create – and promote – opportunities and incentives for the best and brightest here in Canada. If we’ve learned anything from the past few years, it’s that narratives matter. And Canada has a good story to tell.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-how-canada-is-fighting-the-war-on-talent/

Outcomes of STEM immigrants in Canada and the U.S.

Good overview of this study, showing that overall STEM immigrants do worse in Canada than the USA, with Statistics Canada providing possible explanations:

Immigrants make up a large share of university-educated workers in STEM fields in both Canada and the U.S., and a recent study looked into which country sees better outcomes for immigrants in these sectors.

The Statistics Canada study looked at the economic outcomes of immigrants age 25 to 64 who had at least a bachelor’s degree in a STEM— science, technology, engineering, mathematics—field. In Canada, the data is from 2016, while U.S. data is from 2015 to 2017.

In general, U.S. immigrants saw better outcomes.

In both countries, immigrants with at least a bachelor’s degree were twice as likely as the native-born population to have studied in a STEM field. They were also three times as likely to have studied engineering, computer science, and math.

In terms of occupational outcomes, more than half of STEM-educated immigrant workers in both countries held non-STEM jobs. The study said this was, generally, not a big issue because STEM skills are valued in many other occupations. However, it becomes an issue when STEM-educated immigrants in Canada end up  working at jobs that do not require a university education. In Canada, only 20 per cent of STEM educated immigrants working outside of the field are actually working a job that requires a university degree. In the U.S., it is 48 per cent.

Among all STEM-educated workers, immigrants earned 25 per cent less than their Canadian-born counterparts. There was no earnings gap between immigrants and U.S.-born workers.

Even within the Canadian STEM field, immigrants who found work earned 17 per cent less than Canadian-born individuals. In the U.S., immigrants earned about 4 per cent more than their native-born counterparts.

STEM-educated immigrants who did not find a job in the field earned about 34 per cent less than Canadians with the same education. The wage gap was narrower in the States, with immigrants earning about 7 per cent less.

Why are outcomes better in the U.S.?

Statistics Canada offers five possible explanations, though little research has been done on this question.

U.S. is first choice for many high-skilled immigrants

It may be that the skills of STEM-educated immigrants entering the U.S. are higher on overage than those entering Canada.

The study referenced a paper that examined the wage gap between immigrants and native-born workers in Australia, Canada and the U.S. It found significant earning gaps in Australia and Canada compared to the U.S. The authors said the tendency for highly-skilled immigrants to choose the U.S. over other countries was a primary factor in their better relative earnings outcomes in the U.S.

More STEM-educated immigrants in Canada

A higher percentage of Canada’s STEM-educated workforce are immigrants compared to the U.S. The number of STEM-educated immigrants who entered Canada rose significantly in the 1990s in response to the high-tech boom, and has remained at high levels since. Canada does not face a general shortage of STEM workers, the study says.

When there’s an abundance of workers, employers may tend to hire STEM graduates from universities that they are familiar with, and who have experience from countries with similar economies to Canada.

Different immigrant selection processes

In order to immigrate to the U.S. as a skilled worker, immigrants typically already have a job offer when they arrive, or they are international students who can be interviewed by prospective employers in the country. Immigrants who entered the U.S. contingent on job offers were more likely to get skilled jobs. Those who entered on a student, trainee, or temporary work visa, had a significant advantage over the native-born population in wages, patenting and publishing. Much of this advantage was due to their comparatively higher levels of education.

Canada’s points-based immigration system, which has been in use since the 1960s, selects economic immigrants based on their human capital. These days, the Express Entry system ranks candidates based on factors like education, work experience, age, and language ability. The highest-scoring candidates get invited to apply for permanent immigration. Though candidates can get extra points for having a job offer, in some cases, it is not required in order to immigrate to Canada.

Canadian employers play a larger role in immigrant selection in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) federal immigration program, as well as many Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), than compared to the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

The study found that STEM-educated immigrants that immigrate through the CEC do relatively well compared to others, and those who go through the PNP typically have the poorest outcomes. One major difference is that the CEC requires immigrants to have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada, whereas the PNP is more varied, and includes pathways for low-skilled and medium-skilled workers to become permanent residents.

Differences in country of education

Country of education is one of the most important determinants of immigrant earnings, along with language and race or visible minority status, the study says.

Country of education may differ significantly among STEM-educated immigrants in Canada and the U.S. STEM immigrants educated in non-Western countries do not do as well, economically, as others. The study suggest this is for a number of reasons, for example, the quality of education may be lower, or perceived to be lower. In the absence of a shortage of STEM workers, employers may prefer to hire those educated in Western counties. Also, some credentials are not recognized by professional associations in the host country, either for valid or invalid reasons, and this may prevent immigrants from developing countries from getting STEM jobs. Language or cultural issues may also prevent immigrants from being able to use their STEM education. Discrimination may also be a factor.

Other factors unrelated to immigration policy

Factors unrelated to immigration policies may also contribute to better outcomes of STEM-educated immigrants in the U.S., for example, the U.S. industrial structure may result in a higher demand for STEM-educated workers in comparison to other countries.

Source: Outcomes of STEM immigrants in Canada and the U.S.

Covid-19 Immigration Effects: Key slides August 2020

Key immigration and related program trends using IRCC operational data, August data where available:

Summary:

  • August immigration numbers continued to drop for permanent residents compared to July with a slight increase in temporary workers
  • PRs: Admissions continued to decline from 13,650 in July to 11,315 in August, driven by the decline in Economic. August Year-over-year decline: Economic 70.8%, Family 48.6%, Refugees 60% 
    • Applications: Increase from  10,380 in May to  11,957 in June. June year-over-year decrease 77.2%
    • Provincial Nominee Program: Decrease from 3,050 in July to 1,969 in August. August year-over-year decrease: 77.7%
    • TR to PRs transition: Further decrease from 2,950 in July to 1,705 in August (some double counting). August year-over-year decrease of 86.9% (i.e., those already in Canada)
  • Temporary Residents:
    • TRs/IMP: Slight increase from 11,475 in July to 12,565 in August. August Year-over-year decline: Agreements 38.4%, Canadian Interests 49.8%
    • TRs/TFWP: Slight decline from 8,060 in July compared to 7,390 in August. August year-over-year decline: Caregivers 53.4%, Other LMIA 25.2%. Agriculture had a significant increase of 73.8%, perhaps reflecting a later start this year
      • Web “Get a work permit”:  From 69,931 in August to 65,397 in September (outside Canada). September Year-over-year decline: 64.5%
    • Students: Sharp increase from 13,455 in July to 40,130 in August (peak month). However, August year-over-year decrease: 64.5%
      • Applications:  Stable from 3,352 in May to 3,286 in June. June Year-over-year decrease: 91.6%
      • Web “Get a study permit”:  From 67,292 in August to 59,474 in September (outside Canada). September Year-over-year increase: 12.5%
  • Asylum Claimants: Increase from 885 in July to 1,030 in August (about 75% inland). August year-over-year decrease: 83.7%
  • Settlement Services:  Decline from 112,380 in April to 101,415 in May. Year-over-year decrease 9.8 percent
    • Web “Find immigrant services hear you”:  From 13,216 in August to 6,007 in September (outside Canada). September Year-over-year decrease: 57.6%
  • Citizenship: Increase from virtually none in May (53) to 1,656 in June. June Year-over-year decrease: 92.0%.(2019 monthly average was about 20,000)
    • Web “Apply for citizenship”:  From 39,479 in August to 41,263 in September (outside Canada). September 2020-2018 increase: 39.3% 
  • Visitor Visas: Complete shutdown. China authorizations declined faster and sharper

Canada No. 1 for Migrants, U.S. in Sixth Place

Given the contrast in media coverage and political discourse in both countries, would have expected a larger gap:

Canada and the U.S. remained among the most-accepting countries in the world for migrants in 2019. In fact, with a score of 8.46 (out of a possible 9.0) on Gallup’s second administration of its Migrant Acceptance Index, Canada, for the first time, led the rest of the world. The U.S. ranked sixth, with a score of 7.95.

Most-Accepting Countries for Migrants
Migrant Acceptance Index
Canada 8.46
Iceland 8.41
New Zealand 8.32
Australia 8.28
Sierra Leone 8.14
United States 7.95
Burkina Faso* 7.93
Sweden 7.92
Chad* 7.91
Ireland* 7.88
Rwanda 7.88
*Country not on the list in 2016-2017
GALLUP WORLD POLL, 2019

The index is based on three questions that Gallup asked in 140 countries in 2016 and 2017 and updated again in 145 countries in 2019. The questions ask whether people think migrants living in their country, becoming their neighbors and marrying into their families are good things or bad things.

The index is a sum of the points across the three questions, with a maximum possible score of 9.0 (all three are good things) and a minimum possible score of zero (all three are bad things). The higher the score, the more accepting the population is of migrants.

Both Canada and the U.S., which have long histories as receiving countries for migrants, made the most-accepting list in 2017 as well. Migration policies in each country have taken different paths since then, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opening Canada’s doors even wider, as President Donald Trump has tried to shut doors in the U.S. However, the acceptance of migrants among residents in each country has remained resolute and relatively unchanged from where they stood three years ago.

In Canada, residents almost universally saw migrants living in their country (94%) and being in their neighborhoods (95%) as good things, while more than nine in 10 (91%) said a migrant marrying into their family would be a good thing. Most Americans said the same, although not nearly to the same degree as Canadians. Nine in 10 (90%) said a migrant living in their neighborhood would be a good thing, and similar percentages said migrants living in their country (87%) and marrying into their families (85%) would be good things.

Migrant Acceptance Continues to Follow Political Fault Lines

As in 2017, migrant acceptance in both countries continues to be polarized. In the U.S., those who approved of Trump’s job performance scored a 7.10 out of a possible 9.0 on the Migrant Acceptance Index, while those who disapproved scored an 8.59 on the index. In Canada, those who approved of Trudeau’s job performance scored an 8.73, while the score was 8.21 among those who disapproved.

The same relationships persist, although not to the same degree, looking at approval of the country’s leadership in general.

Political Divides on Migration in Canada, U.S.
Migrant Acceptance Index
Americans
Approve of Trump 7.10
Disapprove of Trump 8.59
Approve of country’s leadership 7.10
Disapprove of country’s leadership 8.49
Canadians
Approve of Trudeau 8.73
Disapprove of Trudeau 8.21
Approve of country’s leadership 8.59
Disapprove of country’s leadership 8.31
GALLUP WORLD POLL, 2019

In the U.S., interestingly, there are differences in migrant acceptance among those who personally identified most with their city and country where they live (8.16) compared with those who identified most with their race or religion (7.69). In Canada, there were no differences in migrant acceptance based on how people identified themselves.

Most Educated in Each Country Are Most Accepting

For the most part, as it did in 2017, people’s acceptance of migrants follow the same patterns in both Canada and the U.S.: Acceptance is higher among those with the most education and among those living in urban areas.

Interestingly, the patterns by age in the two countries are different. In the U.S., acceptance was highest among the youngest Americans and then declined with age. Among Americans between the ages of 15 and 29, the index score was 8.34; it measured nearly a full point lower among those aged 65 and older (7.37). In Canada, there were no real statistical differences by age group.

Migrant Acceptance by Age in the U.S., Canada
Migrant Acceptance Index
Americans
15-29 8.34
30-44 8.11
45-54 8.04
55-64 7.79
65+ 7.37
Canadians
15-29* 8.32
30-44 8.54
45-54 8.53
55-64 8.41
65+ 8.51
*Difference not significant because of smaller sample sizes
GALLUP WORLD POLL, 2019

Bottom Line

Both Canada and the U.S. have long histories as receiving countries, but over the past several years, policies in each country have moved in opposite directions. Until the pandemic forced Canada to slow immigration to a trickle, the country was poised to admit more than 1 million permanent residents between 2019 and 2021, with targets increasing every year. In the U.S., the Trump administration is estimated to have cut legal immigration by almost half since taking office.

However, it appears that these changes in policies haven’t drastically changed most people’s acceptance of migrants. Residents in each country, and particularly in Canada, are accepting of the migrants who will continue to play a huge role in shaping their country’s future.

Source: https://news.gallup.com/poll/320669/canada-migrants-sixth-place.aspx

And for a broader take:

Global tolerance of migrants declined between 2016 and 2019, Gallup’s Migrant Acceptance Indexrevealed on Wednesday.

The survey showed that several of the least tolerant countries were from the EU. Member states met Wednesday to discuss a new joint migration policy.

The report gave countries scores based on the attitudes of respondents to the idea of migrants living in their country, moving into their neighborhood and marrying into their family. The average score globally fell from 5.34 in 2016 to 5.21 in 2019. Nne was the highest possible result.

The largest drop in tolerant attitudes towards migrants was seen in South America, where several countries have experienced a large influx of refugees from Venezuela. In Colombia, which bore the brunt of the exodus, the percentage of respondents with a positive view of migrants living in the country plummeted from 61% to 29%.

Belgium and Switzerland had some of the largest decreases in tolerant attitudes. Belgium, home to the European Parliament, saw its score fall by 1.33.

EU member states Hungary, Croatia, Latvia and Slovakia were among the top ten least accepting countries according to the poll, with a further four Balkan countries making it onto the list.

Another country which has played a significant role in the EU’s immigration policy was also revealed to have largely negative attitudes towards immigration. Turkey, which became home to some 4 million refugees as part of a deal with the European bloc, was the 10th least accepting country for migrants according to the data collected by Gallup.

However, one eastern European country with a traditionally low tolerance of immigration saw an increase in positive and tolerant attitudes. A share of 42% of Polish respondents said that they considered migrants living in the country as something good, up from 29% three years prior.

Which countries are most tolerant of immigration?

Canada topped the list for the countries most accepting of immigration — 94% of respondents had positive views of immigrants living in their country, followed by Iceland and New Zealand. Within the EU, only Sweden and Ireland made it into the top 10.

Despite a series of anti-immigration policies by President Donald Trump’s administration in the US, the country came in sixth place for its generally pro-immigration attitudes. When asked about immigrants moving into their neighborhood, 90% of US respondents said this was a good thing.

Among those who supported Trump, the average score was 7.1 out of nine. The biggest difference was between the younger and older generations with 16- to 29-year-olds scoring 8.34 and those older than 65 scoring around one point less, at 7.37.

Glavin: Don’t show up at Black Lives Matter rallies in clothes made by slaves

While much of Glavin’s commentary is appropriate, he overstates IMO the contrast between the USA and Canada, given that all the big companies he lists as being complicit, have a large American retail presence with comparable sourcing issues. Not too mention Disney’s Mulan shot in Xinjiang.

So while American laws may be better, is the reality?

It’s positively uplifting, you could say, that owing to the protests and riots and presidential election-year shouting about systemic racism and police violence in the United States, quite a few Canadians seem to have developed an acutely attentive awareness of the history of Black slavery in America and its enduring legacy. Perhaps not so heartwarming is that the throngs of earnest protesters turning out for all those Black Lives Matter rallies across Canada are wearing clothes made by slaves.

That Canadians of even the most advanced progressive sophistication give every appearance of being completely oblivious to this ugly irony is even less uplifting. An entire summer of American-style protests about the wickedness of racism and capitalism has come and gone without any obvious notice that Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Adidas, Esprit, Calvin Klein, Nike, UNIQLO, H&M, Lacoste and quite a few other globe-spanning corporations are demonstrably implicated in slavery, child labour, and forced-labour production in prisons and detention centres and sweatshops from Dhaka to Urumqi.

In July, the International Confederation of Trade Unions joined with 180 human rights and Uyghur advocacy organizations to launch an ambitious campaign to bring all this to light and to bring forced Uyghur labour to an end. It’s hard to say whether the campaign has gained much traction. Perhaps they should pull down some statues.

At least the U.S. Congress has been doing its bit. The bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would build on existing U.S. prohibitions on the import of slave-made goods, and the proposed Slave-Free Business Certification Act is an even tougher law, promising penalties of up to $500 million.

Canadians, however – for all our boasts about being unstained by the original American sin of slavery – have long been global laggards in the cause of slavery’s abolition. Unlike the United States, Britain, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Norway and so on, Canada has no specific legislation aimed at banning the import of goods produced by forced labour. World Vision Canada reckons that forced labour or child labour is implicated in $34 billion in products imported into Canada annually.

It is doubly embarrassing – maybe this is why it’s been the subject of nearly no public notice at all – that it’s taking the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the deal that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement, to drag Canada into the world’s anti-slavery camp. Effective July 1, USMCA requires Canada to amend the Customs tariff laws to impose prohibitions on the importation of goods produced wholly or in part by forced labour.The USMCA’s forced-labour provisions should be expected to put wind in the sails of an effort by Liberal MP John McKay and Quebec Sen. Julie Miville-Dechêne that has been marooned in a procedural tidepool of committee hearings and on-again, off-again consultations for two years. Their proposed law, the Modern Slavery Act, would force corporations to show that their supply chains are free of forced labour, on pain of fines of up to $250,000.

Because the Americans were already in compliance with the UMSCA’s forced-labour provisions, on July 1 they hit the ground running. U.S. law already allows for the seizure of goods and criminal charges for violators, and just this week, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency was preparing to block imports of cotton from Xinjiang, where almost all of China’s cotton fields are located. One in five garments worldwide contains cotton from Xinjiang.

The U.S. import bans are expected to also include tomato products and human hair, and computer parts from Hefei Bitland Information Technology. Products from the Lop County Industrial Park and Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center are headed for banned list, following the July 1 seizure of several tons of hair extensions shipped to the U.S. believed to have been “harvested” from Uyghur women by the Lop County Meixin Hair Products Company. The U.S. State Department has also warned Walmart, Amazon and the Apple corporation that they face severe legal risks over their supply chains associated with Xinjiang.

According to the Walk Free Foundation’s 2018 Global Slavery Index, Canada is vulnerable to slave-labour contamination in supply chains involving nearly $10 billion worth of laptop computers and mobile phones annually imported from China and Malaysia, and $6 billion worth of apparel imports. Several other supply chains are suspect, including gold from Peru and sugarcane from Brazil.

While Canada has been noticeably absent in the global struggle against slavery, there is one Canadian bright spot, involving a particularly grotesque Canadian embarrassment.

The bright spot: Last March, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that three Eritrean refugees could sue the Vancouver-based mining company Nevsun Resources for engaging in slavery and committing crimes against humanity at the notorious Bisha gold, copper and zinc mine in Eritrea, co-owned by Nevsun and the Eritrean dictatorship. The three plaintiffs in the case say they were conscripted into the military and forced to work at the mine for 11, 14 and 17 years respectively, and that they were tortured and made to put in 12-hour days, sometimes seven days a week.

The embarrassment: Four years ago, when a UN commission of inquiry confirmed reports of abuse at the mine so grotesque as to amount to crimes against humanity, it turned out that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board owned 1.5 million shares of Bevsun Resources. In 2018, Nevsun’s shareholders agreed to sell the company for $1.86 billion to China’s Zijin Mining Group.

Perhaps Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should take a knee.

Source: Glavin: Don’t show up at Black Lives Matter rallies in clothes made by slaves