The Importance of Immigration in Canada after the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 24, 2020 by Susan Gao

One of Canada’s most common strategies of growing its economy is through immigration. Every year, Canada is met with an immense number of immigrants mostly from countries like India, China, and the Philippines who bring over valuable work skills and education backgrounds that benefit Canada’s economy. However, this year, COVID-19 has derailed Canada’s plan of receiving a significant number of newcomers. Now, there is an economic crisis in Canada with job shortages in every sector in the economy. The decline of immigration to Canada caused by COVID-19 marks historically high rates of unemployment, meaning Canada will need to rely on an increase in immigration after the pandemic ends so that immigrant labour can help recover the economy. An increase in immigration once the border restrictions loosen after the pandemic is essential as immigrants can help Canada pay the surging national debt.

So far, there has been a drastic decrease in both permanent residents and temporary foreign workers in Canada, a population that comprises a significant part of the working population in the country. This casualty is caused by border restrictions, travelling fears, and economic decline in the country, a series of consequences that unfolded after COVID-19 first began. Another reason that the employment rate has reached record lows in Canada is that many baby boomers were retiring this year while no incoming immigrants have been filling in their positions in the labour market. Furthermore, reasons unrelated to the labour market may also cause an economic decline in Canada during the pandemic, calling for the increase in immigration. With most schools in Canada moving to online classes, there may also be a decrease in enrolment into Canadian schools by international students, which poses an economic disadvantage since international students contribute to the high tuition revenue for Canadian universities.

In light of the economic crisis Canada is currently experiencing, it is vital that the Canadian government immediately constructs a feasible immigration plan to be enforced after the pandemic ends. Immigration will significantly improve Canada’s economy as it will help fill many available jobs in the labour market and encourage the creation of new jobs. In addition, immigrants also bring over savings with them that powers the economy and make the creation of new jobs possible. Many of these immigrants make investments in Canada, which also contributes to economic growth. Furthermore, immigration into Canada needs to amplify after the pandemic ends as Canada has a very low birth rate in this country that simply can not meet the high demand for jobs while lacking enough immigrants to take these jobs during COVID-19. This is where immigration is encouraged and becomes the main factor of population growth as well as economic growth in Canada. An increase in immigration into Canada can only occur when borders reopen and restrictions loosen after the pandemic. The government must decide on an immigration plan that still allows safe travels for incoming immigrants even after the borders reopen by implementing safety measures in airports like health screenings.

Canada has always depended on immigrants for economic growth and will need to continue to depend on them after the pandemic ends. An increase in immigration is essential as it will allow the recovery of the labour market and the improvement of Canada’s economy as a whole.

Susan Gao ('20) is an Editor at the Jag and is heading to Wellesley College to study sociology and anthropology.

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