‘Politically invisible’: temporary immigration soars in Quebec as official targets left unchanged

More on the Institut de Quebec report. Given that similar increases in temporary workers occurs in the rest of Canada, it may be time for the immigration levels plan to include temporary residents (IMP, TFWP and students) to provide a more comprehensive picture):

While Quebec’s official immigration targets have remained largely stable in recent years, the real number of newcomers in the province has surged due to an increasing reliance on temporary workers who often face more precarious conditions and long waits for permanent residency, a recent study has revealed.

The publication by the Institut du Québec found that while non-permanent residents represented nine per cent of international immigration to the province from 2012 to 2016, that number had climbed to 64 per cent by 2019.

Three experts who spoke with The Canadian Press said the growth in temporary immigration can help companies meet their needs in a tightening labour market, but the province needs to do more to adjust to the new reality in order to better serve both newcomers and its own goals.

Source: ‘Politically invisible’: temporary immigration soars in Quebec as official targets left unchanged

Quebec should ‘ideally’ aim for 100000 immigrants per year, says CPQ

Not surprising. Just as in English Canada, some of the biggest boosters of increased levels are from the business community, both large and small:

Quebec should aim to welcome 100,000 immigrants per year, according to the Conseil du patronat (CPQ).

The number is almost twice the threshold set by the Quebec government.

The CPQ made the request in a white paper on immigration made public Monday.

A little over a week ago, the Conseil du patronat, along with employer organizations, had instead suggested a threshold of 80,000 newcomers per year to alleviate labour shortages.

But in its white paper, the CPQ now believes that Quebec should ideally aim for 100,000 immigrants.

According to recent data, there are no less than 240,000 positions to be filled throughout Quebec. The economic community is pushing the Legault government to admit more immigrants.

Despite the government’s current efforts to fill jobs, nearly a quarter of the current vacancies cannot be filled, which represents 300,000 jobs over the next five years, the CPQ calculates.

Immigration is “both unavoidable and fully necessary,” the employers’ organization argues.

Source: Quebec should ‘ideally’ aim for 100000 immigrants per year, says CPQ

Quebec opposition party wants non-polarized debate on immigration

While it appears that the PQ is likely to suffer further setbacks in the election, will be interesting to see if immigration becomes an issue in the election or related issues like Bill 21.

That being said, the questions they ask also apply to Canada’s immigration policies, where the impacts and externalities are not being discussed enough:

With five months to go before the provincial elections, the debate on immigration has been revived.

The Parti Québécois (PQ) is opposed to employer groups’ demand to increase the current 50,000 immigrants per year to 80,000, or even 90,000.

The sovereigntist party is calling for a “serious” discussion based on “factual and scientific” data.

PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon was reacting to the Conseil du patronat and Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec’s (MEQ) calls for a considerable increase in the annual immigration threshold to fill the labour shortage.

In a Canadian Press interview on Sunday, the PQ leader argued that despite the constant increases in the number of immigrants admitted to Quebec over the past 30 years, the demand for workers has nevertheless not subsided. The so-called solution has not solved the problem, he said.

What’s more, the considerable increase claimed would only increase the demand for services such as family doctors, places in public daycares (CPEs) and housing, said immigration lawyer Stéphane Handfield, who is the PQ candidate in Masson in the October elections.

“Are we doing new immigrants a favour if we don’t take these issues into account in our reception and integration capacity?” said Handfield.

SCIENCE OVER IDEOLOGY

“We want a debate based on science and not on ideology or false premises,” said St-Pierre Plamondon.

He called for caution to avoid any slippage in this debate, which has had unfortunate precedents.

“The simple fact of asking questions about raising the immigration threshold leads to innuendo about the intolerance of those who ask the questions, it creates a climate that is not serene,” said St-Pierre Plamondon.

“Historically, there has been a lot of ideology and stigmatization” on the issue of immigration, and this ends up harming “the right of Quebec to take its own direction,” said the PQ leader.

St-Pierre Plamondon criticized the suggestion that as soon as Quebec does not align itself with the Canadian federal model of admitting more and more newcomers, it is accused of being racist, even though immigration is partly within its jurisdiction.

QUESTIONS TO ASK

The PQ leader has many questions.

For example, does welcoming more immigrants create more wealth? Does it really increase the gross domestic product per capita?

“We want to study the macro-economy objectively,” he said, demanding more answers.

Handfield also wants to know what the impact of increased immigration is on the linguistic dynamics? What is the impact on the housing crisis? Does it lower the average age of the workforce?

“I’ve never seen a study that says here’s why we need 30,000 or 40,000 immigrants, or here’s how we manage to justify that number,” said Handfield. “How much does it cost to integrate each immigrant? We always hear the same thing: 80,000 immigrants per year and all the problems will be solved.”

Currently, there are no less than 240,000 vacant positions to be filled in Quebec, according to data from the Institut du Québec.

Employers’ associations are calling for a catch-up in immigration to make up for the labour scarcity and the delay caused by the closing of borders during the pandemic.

Their consensus is 80,000 per year, but MEQ president Véronique Proulx said the organization would be willing to go to 90,000, almost double the current threshold of 50,000 per year.

The Legault government has not given its official answer.

St-Pierre Plamondon reiterates that he is committed to setting the acceptable threshold for his party by the election campaign.

Source: Quebec opposition party wants non-polarized debate on immigration

Daphne Bramham: Canada needs a long-term immigration plan

Unfortunately, it is being overly influenced by the Century Initiative, Business Council of Canada and others rather than more independent and critical analysis (hence my recommendation for a royal commission or equivalent Increasing immigration to boost population? Not so fast.).

Refugee crises, and responses, on the other hand are harder to predict and manage:

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Canada had already set the highest immigration targets in this country’s history, with the aim of increasing the population by one per cent a year, or by 1.3 million people within three years.

Those targets follow a record-setting 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021 — the highest rate since 1913 when there was an aggressive recruitment drive to “settle” the West.

Then, as now, the impetus isn’t humanitarian, it’s economic. With an aging population, Canada is depending on young, educated immigrants to ensure that we maintain our standard of living.

Immigration already accounts for almost all of the labour force growth and nearly three-quarters of our population growth.

The new targets favour the economic class — 60 per cent of newcomers are planned for that category, while 60,000 are in the refugee class.

Details about where they will go or how the provinces, municipalities and settlement service agencies will accommodate such levels of immigration against a backdrop of COVID and a national housing shortage have yet to be worked out.

Not that it matters now.Those targets were set aside with Canada’s open-ended promise last week that an unlimited number of Ukrainians are welcome for as long as they want in response to what is Europe’s largest migration since the Second World War.

As of Monday, two million Ukrainians were on the move, with estimates that as many as another two million may follow.

But that pales in comparison to the nearly seven million who have fled the long-running war in Syria. Canada fell short of its promise to settle 81,000 of them by the end of 2021, after initially bringing in 25,000 in little more than 100 days during 2016.

COVID is part of the reason, but there were also additional demands put on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in the fall after Ottawa promised safe haven to 40,000 Afghans.

Now, there are the Ukrainians.If the Canadian government has any idea whether 100 Ukrainians or 40,000 might be arriving, that information hasn’t been shared with provinces, territories, cities or settlement service agencies.

How, where and when Ukrainians might be arriving, nobody’s been told. Many might want to settle in the Prairies where there is already a large Ukrainian-Canadian population, but refugees often prefer Toronto and Vancouver.

And who’s coming? Daily images from reception centres in Poland suggest that most are likely to be women and children, along with the elderly and, in the coming days, we may see more of the infirm. There are also reports of unaccompanied minors arriving in Poland.

Of course, these are early days. But information is essential to ensuring immigrants and refugees get what they need when they arrive.Most critically, it is anybody’s guess right now whether there are enough (affordable) roofs to put over their heads.

The B.C. government is in the dark. It is “looking forward to hearing more details from our federal counterparts and how best B.C. can respond to support Ukrainian newcomers under these new measures,” said an emailed statement from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The province doesn’t have an immigration ministry.

“B.C.’s priority is to ensure that everyone who arrives in the province receives the supports and resources they need to live a dignified, healthy and safe life.”

Among settlement service providers, there is an appreciation for what Canada is promising, but also “an anxiousness” about what Chris Friesen described as “a free-for-all”.Friesen is chief operating officer for the Immigrant Services Society of B.C., one of Canada’s largest settlement organizations.

Canada’s immigration system was under siege before the Ukrainian crisis. There were 1.8 million applications stacked up at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as of October.

The backlog included 760,000 applications for spousal sponsorship, skilled worker and temporary-to-permanent-residency, and 550,000 for permanent residency.

It was exacerbated by “trade-offs” that needed to be made to Afghanistan resettlement objectives, according to an October memo obtained by immigration news website CIC News under access to information.

Canada promised last fall to resettle 40,000 Afghans who worked for the Canadian Armed Forces and international humanitarian organizations or as judges, journalists and senior officials in the former Western-backed government. So far, only 7,550 have arrived.To deal with Ukrainians, some Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff are now being relocated and operations are being adjusted in offices in Europe, Canada and around the world to process the applications.

The applicants will include Ukrainians looking to come temporarily for an unspecified period or permanently; Ukrainians currently visiting, studying or working on temporary permits who are now also eligible for unlimited work permits; and under a special family reunification program.

And, of course, it’s expected that with 1.4 million Ukrainian-Canadians, there will be widespread interest in applying under the existing private refugee sponsorship program.

But with the country’s economic future reliant on immigration, Canada needs more than short-term targets and crisis management.

It needs a long-term blueprint that meshes economic aspirations with compassionate and humanitarian aims, as well as the resources to make that happen.

Provinces, territories and municipalities need similar plans. By the time people arrive, it’s too late to start building homes, hospitals, schools, libraries and other infrastructure.

Professional organizations and accreditation bodies also need to be engaged. It’s unfair to everyone when labour shortages exist to continue bringing professionals and skilled tradespeople without providing timely and accessible pathways for their qualifications to be recognized.

Canada has done well so far, stumbling along. But now there is too much at stake for everyone — newcomers, Indigenous people and multigenerational citizens.

Canada needs a plan not only for the next three years, but for the next generation.

Source: Daphne Bramham: Canada needs a long-term immigration plan

The immigration numbers bidding war is pointless – there are limits to how many migrants Australia can accept

Similar questions can be asked regarding current Canadian immigration levels:

Since late last year, various business lobby groups, the NSW government, management consultant KPMG, the Business Council and now a number of economists have been throwing numbers around, talking up the need for higher levels of immigration.

I have written previously on the facile nature of the immigration debate in Australia, on the part of both the groups calling for “immigration to be cut wherever possible” and the groups calling for a bigger Australia.

The problem is the debate focuses on targets and numbers for permanent migration, often confusing this permanent migration program with what matters for population which is net migration. At the same time, too little attention is paid to how migration targets would be delivered, the risks involved, and how the risks would be managed.

So let’s start with basics.

What matters is net migration

The official migration program reflects the number of permanent resident visas issued in any one year, irrespective of whether the person is already in Australia (perhaps for a long time on a different sort of visa) or has been living overseas.

Over the past 15 years, more than half of these permanent resident visas have been issued to people who have already been living long-term in Australia.

Net migration as calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is a measure of long-term and permanent arrivals, including new people issued these visas, less departures of people who have been living long-term in Australia and intend to remain overseas for 12 out of the next 16 months.

It is blind to visa status or citizenship.


Net migration can fall sharply even when the migration program is large, as happened in 2014-15 when we had one of the largest permanent migration programs in Australia’s history, yet net migration fell to 180,000.

A sharp fall in net migration is usually associated with a weak labour market leading to large outflows of Australians, or Australians deciding not to return, as happened in 1975-76, 1982-83, 1991-92 and 2008-09.

On the other hand, even when the migration program is being cut, net migration can be forecast to rise. This is what happened in the 2019 budget, when Treasury forecast the highest sustained level of net migration in our history, after a year in which the migration program was cut from 190,000 to 160,000 per year.

How many migrants, and which ones?

Before discussing the various immigration targets that have recently been proposed, it’s useful to understand the government’s current forecasts and how it intends to deliver them – something surprisingly few do.

The 2021-22 program has been set at 160,000 per year. But Treasury’s 2021 Population Statement assumed to increase to 190,000 per year from 2023-24.


There is no official government commitment to this increase to 190,000 – and there probably won’t be ahead of the election. There has also been no indication of the composition of this larger program, or what might be needed to deliver it.

Planning documents say the 2021-22 migration program will be split evenly between the family stream and the skill stream. This is because the government is at last clearing the very large backlog of partner applications it (unlawfully in my view) allowed to build up.

If the planned 72,000 partner visas in 2021-22 are delivered, the government might only need to allocate around 50,000 places for partners in future years because it will have cleared much of the backlog it has allowed to build up, which will result in a future overall family stream of around 60,000.

This means that to deliver its total program of 160,000 from 2022-23, the government will need an extra 22,000 skilled migrants, and from 2023-24 when the total program increases to 190,000, an extra 52,000 skilled migrants.

The current skill stream planning level of 79,600 has four main components.

There is scope to boost the number of these visas by processing them faster. However, even with a very strong labour market, it is highly unlikely that demand would rise much above 35,000 per year, especially if a more robust minimum salary requirement and strong monitoring of compliance with employer obligations are re-introduced to minimise the risk of wage theft.

The passive investment subset of these visas, which provides visas to people who make a financial investment for a set period of time, is essentially a “buy a visa” scheme. It should be either abolished or modified to ensure active investment.

I resisted establishment of the passive investment component until I left the department of immigration in 2007. Long-term, removing it would cut the number of business innovation and investment visas to around 5,000 per year.

This visa is highly susceptible to cronyism and corruption and attracts few migrants who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for other more robust visa categories. It should either be abolished or pared back to a few hundred per year for highly exceptional candidates.

While the labour market is strong, there would be merit in increasing the allocation of places for these visas, as state governments are well placed to understand the needs of their jurisdictions. But it is unlikely they would be able to fill more than an additional 10,000 places per year, given the occupational targeting and employment criteria they have in place.

Once again, while the labour market is strong, there is scope to increase the size of this category, but there are also risks that would need to be managed.

As these migrants have no confirmed job and face a four year wait for access to social security, diluting criteria for this visa to increase the numbers would mean a rising portion would struggle to secure a skilled job.

Those with options may leave to another country where job prospects are stronger. Others would be forced to take whatever job they can, including at exploitative wages.

In my experience, increasing the size of this visa category to more than around 25,000 would involve substantial risks, especially if the labour market weakens once current stimulus measures are removed.

190,000 won’t be easy to deliver

In total, what I foresee gives us a skill stream of around 100,000. Together with a family stream of 60,000, that provides only enough to fill the existing program of 160,000 per year – not enough to increase it to the 190,000 proposed by Treasury or the 220,000 proposed by the Business Council of Australia.

Those proposing much higher levels of immigration need to demonstrate how they would be delivered and how the risks of what might be a weaker labour market would be managed.

And they need to acknowledge that the size of the migration program doesn’t determine net migration. That’s in large measure determined by the economy and how many Australians and migrants decide to leave, decide to stay overseas, or decide to return.

Source: The immigration numbers bidding war is pointless – there are limits to how many migrants Australia can accept

John Ivison: Liberals thwart badly needed skilled immigrants with mendacious political meddling

Header overly strong but substance important:

In a recent article in Foreign Policy, Parag Khanna of globalization experts FutureMap predicted that the Great Lockdown will be followed by the Great Migration, as the best and brightest move to exploit opportunities and fill labour shortages.

It would seem an inopportune time for the government of Canada to stop accepting applications from highly skilled workers from overseas. Yet that is exactly what the Liberals have done.

As my colleague Ryan Tumilty reported on Saturday, the high-skilled worker stream is backlogged, so despite nationwide labour shortages, the government is pausing new invitations because the department can’t process them.

The reason why Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is so backed up are entirely political.

For a variety of reasons, not least of which is that more immigration means more economic growth, the Liberals have committed to bringing in more than 400,000 permanent residents a year for the next three years.

Canada’s growth rate has been tepid in recent years, even with high levels of immigration. Absent the new arrivals, we’d be going backwards, as is clear from real GDP per capita data (in 2015, it was $51,158 per person; in 2020, it was $50,510, in constant 2012 dollars).

High levels of immigration are integral to the Liberal economic plan.

Yet those targets looked untenable during the pandemic, as international travel was suspended. Ottawa worked around the problem by granting permanent residency to thousands of temporary residents who were already employed or studying in Canada – the so-called Canada Experience Class.

The subsequent torrent of applications from students and temporary workers in Canada, coupled with the commitment to double the number of refugees coming from Afghanistan to 40,000, has resulted in bureaucratic resources becoming swamped. IRCC now has around 1.8 million applicants in a queue which is growing by about 20,000 every couple of months.

Part of the solution, according to an internal memo, is to cut the 110,500 skilled workers in the government’s target for next year by about half. The government says that there are still 76,000 skilled workers in the queue, so 2022 numbers won’t be affected. “The pause is temporary,” said a spokesperson for new immigration minister, Sean Fraser, who added that the government provided $85 million in new money to increase processing capacity.

But with around half of all businesses claiming to be experiencing labour shortages, the government has decided to meet its numerical targets, rather than focus where the needs are most pressing.

This is political meddling at its most mendacious. The government was able to boast about breaking the all-time immigration record in 2021, yet a quarter of those people were already here.

On refugees, no-one disagrees that Canada owes a duty of care to many people in Afghanistan but doubling the number of refugees from 20,000 to 40,000 will take two years to honour.

Andrew Griffith, a former director general at IRCC and author of a book on citizenship and immigration policy, said that the political choice to meet numerical targets, by allowing temporary residents to become permanent residents, meant that all other classes of immigrants became a lower priority. “It was a trade-off and, personally, I’m not convinced it was the right trade-off to make,” he said.

Griffith said the department would have warned the minister about the consequences of “bringing in the bodies” on the capacity constraints of other immigration streams. That advice appears to have been ignored.

The Liberals have so far stuck within the bounds that have traditionally governed Canada’s immigration policy, and which have ensured it has support in virtually all parties.

Immigration programs that are fair and economically-driven will continue to have widespread public support. People appreciate that we need new taxpayers to spread the burden of paying for an aging population.

In 2021, 58 percent of new immigrants were drawn from economic class programs; 26 percent from family class; and 16 percent from refugee and humanitarian class.

But the 2023 numbers may look quite different, if the number of high-skilled workers drops off dramatically and the number of refugees rises.

It has been a hallmark of this government that it has not been very effective at implementing policies, often because it is too focused on communications, and not enough on making things happen after they’ve been announced. This reflects a prime minister, who, in the words of one of his own senior members of staff, it “much more about: ‘what’s new?’”.

“He’s good at getting people super-excited, setting bold visions. But it creates real challenges in execution,” the staffer said.

This is a classic example. The “1 percent of population” immigration target probably got the inner circle “super-excited”, as, no doubt, did the 40,000 Afghan refugee promise.

But it may well be that there are consequences to those decisions which will see Canada miss out on tens of thousands of the globe’s most able engineers, heavy duty mechanics, plumbers, computer programmers, carpenters and database analysts.

Source: John Ivison: Liberals thwart badly needed skilled immigrants with mendacious political meddling

And, slightly different take, from Matthew Claxton:

What with COVID-19, and winter storms bearing down, and two days left until Christmas, it’s fair to say that few of us were paying attention to Canadian immigration policy on Dec. 23.

Which is a shame, because an announcement from the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship showed that we’ve had a quiet revolution in how Canada accepts new permanent residents.

The government announced that 2021 was a record year for the arrival of new permanent residents – in total, 401,000 people had “landed” as permanent residents. Permanent residency is a major step towards Canadian citizenship, and it’s a massive driver of our population growth.

But in that announcement was a confirmation of something that Immigration has mentioned a few times in passing during the pandemic.

More than half of the folks who officially “landed” as permanent residents were already here.

“As we continue to struggle with the pandemic, we made the most of the talent already within our borders,” the announcement said. “The majority of these new permanent residents were already in Canada on temporary status.”

Yep. We increased our population of permanent residents by moving a bunch of people from one column in a government ledger to the other!

A significant number of permanent residents have always come from the ranks of temporary residents. In 2019, 74,586 of the 341,180 new permanent residents were already here on temporary status. But that’s just 21 per cent of the total number of new permanent residents, not more than 50 per cent!

In 2020, massive disruptions in travel due to the pandemic caused immigration rates to plummet just as the federal Liberal pledge to ramp up immigration levels was supposed to be coming into effect.

In the first year of the pandemic Canada admitted just 184,500 new permanent residents barely more than half the number from the year before.

I don’t actually have any particular objection to this change as policy. Making it easier to transition from being a temporary resident to a permanent one seems only just and fair, to me. If you’re good enough to work here or go to school here, surely you’re good enough to stay.

But the federal government didn’t make this change because they wanted to change the mix of people coming to Canada and becoming permanent residents. It wasn’t based on the idea that allowing increasing temporary residents to become permanent would be good for them, or good for Canada’s economy or culture.

It was done to hit an arbitrary number. The government had pledged to bring in more than 400,000 new permanent residents. Never mind how many were already here, some of them for years.

It doesn’t speak well that the government would see people, most of whom are future Canadian citizens, as mere numbers, a target that needed to be hit to meet an arbitrary goal.

Source: Painful Truth: Liberals hit artificial milestone on immigration – Aldergrove Star

Quebec’s 2022 immigration plan is not enough to address labour shortages

The fallacy lies in repeating business arguments about immigration being the solution rather than being one element in addressing labour shortages. On the other hand, if the federal government and other provinces continue with expanded immigration levels, Quebec’s share of the population will continue to decline, leading to declining seats in Parliament in relative if not absolute terms.

And I suspect that immigration levels will not feature greatly in next year’s provincial election, given identity-related issues like Bills 21 and 96, along with federal-provincial relations and respective roles:

This morning, the province announced it would welcome up to 52,500 new permanent residents in 2022.

Unfortunately, the province continues to fall short of the targets it needs to support stronger economic growth.

Quebec currently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada. Its unemployment rate was 5.9 per cent in September compared with 7.1 per cent nationally. One of the reasons for its low unemployment rate is Quebec has one of Canada’s oldest populations. Over 20 per cent of Quebec’s population is aged 65-and-older, compared with 18.5 per cent nationally. Quebec also has a birth rate that is just as low as the national average, and one of the country’s lowest immigration rates per capita. When you put all this together, the province is facing significant labour shortages. According to Statistics Canada, Quebec is seeing among the highest increases in job vacancies in the country.

Labour shortages are problematic for several reasons. They make it difficult for employers to operate at full capacity, which makes it difficult for them to serve the needs of consumers. This, in turn, makes it difficult for employers to make investments, which hurts job creation and economic growth.

The topic of labour shortages has featured in Quebec media headlines throughout 2021 with stakeholders pointing to the need for higher immigration as part of the solution to better meet the province’s labour market needs.

For instance, the President of the Quebec Employers’ Council wrote an article in July providing ten solutions to tackle worker shortages, two of which pertained to increasing immigration levels and reforming the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). In September, Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters published a report that labour shortages cost the province $18 billion over the past two years, and it also called for more immigrants to help solve this problem.

To put Quebec’s immigration figures into context, the province was targeting the arrival of some 50,000 immigrants annually until it elected a new government in the fall of 2018. The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party successfully campaigned on a promise to reduce immigration by 20 per cent due to its believe more needed to be done to improve newcomer integration in the province. Under its first plan, CAQ set a target of welcoming a maximum of 41,800 immigrants in 2019.

Welcoming 50,000 new immigrants per year prior to 2019 was already low, so CAQ’s new policy created even greater pressure on the province’s economy. Even though Quebec has the authority to set its own immigration targets (an authority no other province or territory has), it continues to choose to welcome just 12 per cent of all newcomers to Canada, despite it being home to 23 per cent of Canada’s population. On a per capita basis, Quebec is now aiming for an immigration rate of 0.6 per cent. This pales in comparison to the immigration rate of 1 per cent that the Canadian government is pursuing under the Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023.

It is important to stress that higher levels of immigration will not solve all of Quebec’s labour market challenges. Analysts and commentators point out that a variety of solutions are needed such as more skills training and helping marginalized members of society access job opportunities. At the same time, immigration is a key part of the equation.

So, what is an optimal level of immigration for Quebec?

Given how significant the province’s demographic and labour force challenges are, a strong case can be made Quebec needs to set much higher levels.

A good benchmark would be setting Quebec’s immigrate rate at the same level as the targets currently being pursued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

This means that given its population of some 8.4 million people, it may be wise for Quebec to pursue an immigration target of 84,000 immigrants per year.

This figure may seem high but it would be in line with the national average and would allow Quebec’s immigration rate to catch up after lagging the rest of the country for many years. It would be difficult to increase immigration this dramatically in a short period of time, but the province could set a multi-year plan to gradually reach this figure within five years or so.

At the end of the day, however, CAQ was democratically elected and was given a mandate by voters to keep immigration in the province low. Nonetheless, CAQ also has a mandate to increase the prosperity of its province, and seeking higher newcomer levels without compromising integration is a key element of a prosperous Quebec.

Now that the province’s 2022 plan has been set, we can not expect Quebec’s immigration targets to be adjusted within the next year. But, by this time next year, Quebec voters will head to the ballot box to decide who will lead their next government. At that point, CAQ and opposition parties will have the chance to share their vision of the future for Quebec, including what each party feels is an appropriate level of immigration to support the province’s economy.

Source: Quebec’s 2022 immigration plan is not enough to address labour shortages

Former BC DM Wright: Rhetoric vs. Results: Shaping Policy to Benefit Canada’s Middle Class – Immigration excerpt questioning approach

Interesting and relevant paper on rebalancing policy priorities. Excerpt on immigration of note:

Some nuance on immigration policy, please (it’s GDP per capita, stupid!)

There is a growing push from opinion leaders and decision makers to

significantly raise the level of immigration.[19] The current federal government has raised the target for annual immigration levels and seems on a path to raise it further down the road.

Let me state upfront that I am in favour of maintaining immigration at significant levels. Over the past 60 years Canada has evolved into a wonderful multiethnic, multicultural nation. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have issues with tolerance and inequitable socioeconomic outcomes. But the general view of the

population is that immigration continues to be positive for Canada.[20] Furthermore, Canada has a moral obligation to do its share of ameliorating the suffering of the millions of refugees created from regional wars, civil wars, ethnic cleansing and failed states.

Given the emphasis in this paper on the essential need for tightness in the labour market, however, it is important to consider whether higher immigration levels will be helpful or harmful in re-establishing a rising standard of living.

The rationale for the need to increase immigration levels weaves together four elements:

  1. To offset the challenges of the aging baby-boomer bulge in the population pyramid;
  2. To keep GDP growing by increasing the labour supply and the demand for goodsand services;
  3. To realize greater economies of scale; and
  4. To supply employers with the workers they cannot find.

The first of these sounds reasonable on the face of it. But there is much less

there than one might suppose. The age structure of immigrants is not that different from the existing population in Canada. On average it is somewhat younger, but not dramatically so. This is because, in addition to prime working age adults and their children, the immigration mix also includes family class parents and grandparents. This has led at least one analyst to joke that the only way immigration could be a solution to the population pyramid problem is if Canada only accepted 15-year-old orphans as immigrants.

A recent analysis[21] shows that “changes in immigration levels have impacts on the margin only: no increase within the realm of practicality can prevent population aging. Other policies to ease the demographic transition, notably encouraging people to work longer are at least as powerful.” The authors calculate that Canada would need to raise immigration levels to 1.4 million a year to even out the population pyramid. In 2019, 341,000 — a record level — arrived in Canada.

The second is more than a little specious, hence the somewhat rude subtitle for this sub-section. Almost daily news items quote somebody of influence saying the only way to increase the rate of growth of GDP is to increase immigration. Some interests will benefit from increasing immigration levels — employers who would prefer a buyers’ labour market to a sellers’ labour market, the real estate industry, financial institutions that provide mortgages and people who already own their homes. But the critical metric is not GDP; it is GDP per capita and how it is distributed.

Source: https://ppforum.ca/publications/don-wright-middle-class/?output=pdf

Immigration Can Offset US Population Decline | Cato at Liberty Blog

Cato Institute’s reply to the CIS post highlighting the limits of immigration in addressing an aging population ( Immigration and the Aging Society ). Not convinced. And like all immigration debates, the question is one of balance and understanding the limits of immigration in addressing ongoing policy and demographic issues:

The U.S. population is growing slowly and the average age of Americans is increasing as a result. Although the United States is not as old as other countries and likely to age better, the future looks demographically grim. Some social scientists and commentators think that boosting immigration can help delay or reverse those trends. Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, makes a series of silly argumentsagainst the notion that immigration can slow the aging of the U.S. population. Camarota’s points below are in quotes and my responses follow.

In reality, a significant body of research shows that the impact of immigration on population aging is small. While immigration can certainly make our population larger, it does not make us dramatically younger.

Camarota might be correct that the current and historically low rate of immigration to the United States doesn’t much lower the average age of the population, but that does not mean that immigration could not lower the average age if it were expanded. He merely shows that current U.S. immigration policy, which is very restrictive and much closer to his ideal level than mine, cannot much affect the average age. We shouldn’t expect a restrictive immigration system that allows in, at least prior to the immigration restrictions adopted by President Trump and partly maintained by President Biden (so far), a number of immigrants roughly equal to 0.3 percent of the population annually to have a big effect on the average age of the population. In 2018, 32 OECD countries had higher immigration flows as a percent of their populations and only five had lower flows, relative to the United States. Camarota’s point does not rebut the argument that expanded immigration would lower the average age and expand U.S. population.

But demographers have known for a long time that, absent truly gargantuan and ever‐​increasing rates of immigration, it isn’t actually possible for immigrants to undo or dramatically slow the overall aging of society. As Oxford demographer David Coleman observes, ‘it is already well known that [immigration] can only prevent population ageing at unprecedented, unsustainable and increasing levels of inflow.’

Do demographers know that? I looked up the source of the quote by David Coleman, former British MP and member of the Galton Institute. Camarota clipped a portion of a longer quote that makes a slightly different point. Coleman’s full quote is: “Although immigration can prevent population decline, it is already well known that it can only prevent population ageing at unprecedented, unsustainable and increasing levels of inflow, which would generate rapid population growth and eventually displace the original population from its majority position [Camarota’s quote italicized].”

Coleman agrees that immigration can prevent population decline. He identifies two problems with more immigration: It would “generate rapid population growth and eventually displace the original population from its majority position.” Rapid population growth is one of the many goals of those of us who favor liberalized immigration, so I have no argument with Coleman there. We simply disagree as I believe that population growth is positive and he thinks it’s negative. When it comes to “displace the original population from its majority position,” Coleman means that immigrants and their descendants would eventually become the majority of the population in the United Kingdom at a high level of immigration.

There’s no good reason for Camarota to find that shocking as it has happened at least once in U.S. history. As sociologist Charles Hirschman pointed out, the population of the United States today would only be about 100 million if immigration had stopped in 1800. Since the current population is about 330 million, that means most Americans are immigrants or the descendants of post‐​1800 immigrants. That doesn’t mean that boosted immigration would be “unprecedented” or “unsustainable.” It sounds like a return to immigration normality for Americans.

There are four broad reasons why the demography doesn’t support the political credo. First, not all immigrants arrive young — in fact, a growing share are arriving at or near retirement age. Second, immigrants age just like everyone else, adding to the elderly population over time. Third, immigrant fertility rates tend to converge with those of the native born. Fourth, to the extent that immigrants do have higher fertility rates than the native born, their children add to the dependent population — those too young or old to work.

Camarota’s first point is a curious criticism of the current restrictive immigration system. If this is his concern, why not just increase legal immigration opportunities for younger immigrants? Camarota’s second point somewhat answers that criticism – because “immigrants age just like everyone else, adding to the elderly population over time.” After all, newborn babies age too and will one day retire, which is a particularly poor argument against having children or increasing immigration.

Camarota’s third point is that immigrants assimilate. While a surprising admission from Camarota given his research, immigrants and their children still increase the population, and it takes time for immigrant fertility to approach that of natives – which he admits in his next point. Camarota’s fourth point is that immigrants have higher fertility rates that produce children who are also dependents.

To sum up, Camarota thinks that our current immigration system doesn’t help reduce the ratio of dependents to workers, immigrants age like everybody else, immigrant fertility shrinks too rapidly, and immigrant fertility doesn’t shrink fast enough.

The Census Bureau also estimates that, in 2060, 59% of the population will be of working age. Again, this is based on the assumption that net migration will amount to an average of 1.1 million each year. Under a zero‐​immigration scenario, just under 57% of the population would be of working age. In other words, while immigration is projected to add 75 million people to the American population by 2060, it will only increase the working‐​age share of the population by about two percentage points. Even if annual net immigration were expanded by 50% above what the Census Bureau projects, so that it averaged about 1.65 million a year, it would still only increase the working‐​age share of the population by three percentage points.

In other words, Camarota writes that the U.S. can increase immigration by 50 percent and have a working‐​age share of the population in 2060 similar to what it would otherwise be in 2027 or, on the extreme other side, 2060 America will look like Japan will in 2032. The percentage point spread is small, but the social, economic, and fiscal impacts are larger than they appear. Japan’s looming population collapse is terrifying and a few percentage points difference caused by expanded legal immigration can delay it for decades or longer. Even better, expanding legal immigration is a lot cheaper than birth subsidies.

You can read the rest of Camarota’s piece as it merely expands upon his points, offers some politically correct suggestions for reforming entitlement programs, and adds more figures. Nowhere does Camarota contest the obvious counterargument that immigration’s currently small effects on America’s age distribution result from very restrictive immigration policies.

The U.S. fiscal imbalance is a serious problem created by a poorly designed entitlement system. Declining U.S. fertility exacerbated the problem of the fiscal imbalance in a way that a well‐​designed system would not face. In addition to that, a growing population is correlated with increasing prosperity over the long term. More people mean more ideas, workers, consumers, investors, as well as potential friends, neighbors, and family members.

The worldwide and American increase in economic output from expanded legal immigration would be large and much of it could be captured to resolve the fiscal imbalance – at least for a few more generations. According to some estimates, massively expanded immigration would place the United States in an unassailable economic position. Allowing Americans and immigrants to interact as they see fit would also be a more ethical policy. In short, there are many reasons to support expanding legal immigration, and reversing expected US population decline is one of them, despite what Neo‐​Malthusians say.

Source: Immigration Can Offset US Population Decline | Cato at Liberty Blog

Increased Immigration is Not A Simple Solution for US Population Woes

I do not normally agree with the Center for Immigration Studies, with its general anti-immigration work, but this analysis largely mirrors my own concerns regarding the arguments of Canadian advocates for increased immigration:

Conventional wisdom has developed that the United States desperately needs more immigration to address the supposed twin evils of population aging and slowing population growth. The 2020 Census showing the U.S. grew by “only” 22.7 million over the last decade has prompted a new round of calls to expand immigration.

In fact, immigration does not make the population substantially younger unless the level is truly enormous and ever-increasing. Moreover, there is no body of research showing that higher rates of population growth necessarily make a country richer on a per-person basis. Advocates of mass immigration also ignore the downsides of larger populations, as well as the more effective and less extreme alternatives that exist for dealing with an aging society.

Despite this reality, Jay Evensen of Salt Lake City’s Deseret News argues that the slowdown in population growth revealed by the Census “portends a population disaster.” Bloomberg News’ Noah Smith thinks lower population growth creates a “grim economic future.”

Many commentators argue for increasing immigration above the more than one million already allowed in each year to spur population growth and “rebuild the demographic pyramid,” as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush famously put it in 2013. But as the former director of Princeton’s graduate program in population studies, Thomas Espenshade, observed a number of years ago, “the effect of alternative immigration levels on population age structure is small, unless we are willing to entertain a volume of U.S. immigration of historic proportion.”

To illustrate, the Census Bureau’s “low-immigration” scenario produces a U.S. population of 376 million in 2060, compared to 447 million under its “high-immigration” scenario — a 71 million difference. Under its low-immigration scenario, 56 percent of the population will be working-age (18-64) in 2060, compared to 57 percent under its high-immigration scenario. Thus, the addition of 71 million people raises the working-age share by just one percentage point.

One reason the impact is so modest is that immigrants are not uniformly young when they arrive — many now come in their 50s and 60s — and they grow old over time just like everyone else. Moreover, immigrant fertility now only slightly exceeds native-born fertility, and their children add to the dependent population — those too young or too old to work. Of course, these children eventually grow up and become workers, but by then many of their immigrant parents will be at or near retirement age.

Given the inefficiency of immigration as a tool to address population aging, immigration advocate Justin Gest at George Mason University is forced to propose unprecedented levels of future immigration to accelerate population growth and slow population aging. In a piece for CNN and a report for the immigration advocacy group fwd.us, he argues for doubling immigration to the United States to make the country “younger, more productive, and richer.”

Gest’s own projections show that the current level of immigration will make the U.S. population 74 million larger in 2050 than if there was no immigration, while doubling immigration would add another 92 million people by 2050.

Gest emphasizes that making the population 166 million larger increases the aggregate size of the economy significantly. More workers, more consumers, and more government spending does make for a larger GDP. But a larger population means the larger GDP is spread out over more people, so each individual is not necessarily better off. If all that mattered was the overall size of the economy, Bangladesh would be considered a richer country than New Zealand. Of course, what really determines the standard of living in a country is its per capita GDP.

Gest claims that the 74 million additional people that the current level of immigration would add will raise per capita income by 4 percent in 2050, relative to no immigration. He further asserts that doubling immigration would, along with an additional 92 million people, increase average income by another 3 percent. The idea behind this calculation is that if there are more workers — or more specifically, if a larger share of the population is of working-age — the average income of the entire population will be higher.

What is so striking about these numbers is that even if everything Gest argues is true, adding a total of 166 million people to the country — more than the combined populations of France and Germany — in just three decades only modestly improves per capita economic growth. But even this small increase is an overestimate if the new immigrants crowd out some existing workers from the labor force. There is certainly evidence that this happens with teenagers and Black Americans.

In the real world, it is hard to find evidence that population growth actually increases per capita economic growth. For example, if population growth were such an economic boon, then countries like Canada and Australia, which have among the highest rates of immigration and resulting population growth in the developed world, would dramatically outpace a country like Japan, which has relatively little immigration and a declining population. And yet, between 2010 and 2019, Japan’s per capita GDP growth was slightly higher than Canada’s and Australia’s. Among all developed countries, the correlation between population growth and per capita economic growth was actually negative between 2010 and 2019.

One of the reasons population growth is not associated with economic growth is that increasing the supply of workers reduces incentives to improve productivity. Looking across countries, a 2017 study by Ronald Lee and Andrew Mason found that “low fertility is not a serious economic challenge.” Instead, they find that “The effect of low fertility on the number of workers and taxpayers has been offset by greater human capital investment, enhancing the productivity of workers.” There is simply no reason to assume that a larger population will necessarily be richer.

Putting aside economics, making the population 166 million larger or even 74 million larger than it would otherwise be has important environmental implications. While population is not the only factor that determines human impact on the environment, it does have a direct bearing on everything from preventing further habitat loss to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

One can debate the severity of climate change and how best to address it. But mathematically, if the total population is 166 million (50 percent) larger in 2050 than it would otherwise be, then each person would have to reduce their greenhouse gases admission by roughly one-third just to maintain the current level of emissions, to say nothing of lowering levels. As Joseph Chamie, the former director of the United Nations Population Division, pointed out in The Hill recently, stabilizing America’s population is necessary “to deal effectively with climate change and many other critical environmental concerns.”

In addition to the environment, making the population dramatically larger must also have profound implications for the quality of life. Most Americans aspire to live in areas with a fair amount of open space. A 2018 Gallup poll found, by a two-to-one margin, that Americans want to live in rural areas or suburbs. The rapid suburbanization of immigrants shows that they share this desire. Significantly increasing the nation’s population density is likely to make it more difficult for many Americans to live the way they want to.

There is also the issue of traffic. As a Brookings Institution analysis a number of years ago concluded, “The most obvious reason traffic congestion has increased everywhere is population growth.” Traffic congestion alone has been estimated to cost the American economy $120 billion annually. Both the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Department of Transportation have reported that the nation’s roads are in a state of disrepair and need significant upgrades. It is hard to imagine that adding tens of millions more people in just 30 years would not create even more congestion.

If we are concerned about population aging, there are far less radical ways to address it. Projections by Karen Zeigler and myself show that raising the retirement age by just one year increases the share of the population that is working-age (16-64) about as much as all of the immigration expected by the Census Bureau through 2050. Increasing it by three years improves it more than does doubling immigration. We also found that increasing the share of working-age people who have a job from the pre-Covid rate of 70 percent to 75 percent would do more to improve the overall share of the population who are actually workers in 2050 than would the current level of immigration.

Population boosters assume a larger population would be a boon to the economy, even though there is no clear evidence that this is the case. They also ignore the negative impact on the environment, congestion, traffic, and other qualify of life issues. There are more effective, less radical, and more environmentally sustainable ways to deal with the challenges associated with population aging than using an ever-increasing level of immigration to dramatically increase the population.

Dr. Steven Camarota is director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies.

Source: Increased Immigration is Not A Simple Solution for US Population Woes