The government’s proposal to increase immigration levels is misguided. The “Population Institute Canada (PIC) believes that economic and demographic arguments for growing Canada’s population are on shaky ground, while the negative environmental consequences of its rapid growth are very much in evidence, and growing. We contend that there are no good reasons to grow Canada’s population and many compelling environmental reasons to stabilize and reduce it.
It is true that Canada’s growing population over the past few decades has resulted in a bigger economy. There has, however, been no growth in per capita wealth. The real earnings of the average Canadian worker have not changed, while those of the poorest Canadian workers have fallen.
Already, large numbers of young people, many with significant debt loads, face a very challenging job market, one which Finance Minister Bill Morneau has called a “job churn.” Many job seekers, especially young and new Canadians, have few prospects of secure employment and must work multiple contract or part-time positions. They can only dream of better wages, a steady schedule and paid sick days. How, PIC asks, will adding hundreds of thousands of additional job seekers improve the prospects of these Canadians, when increasing automation, the loss of factory jobs to developing economies, and outsourcing are already putting significant pressures on Canada’s workforce?
Our finite planet cannot support a continuously growing human population and expanding economies. Canada, too, is finite. And yet as a direct result of government policy, our population is growing as rapidly as the global average of 1.12% annually. The policy to keep expanding our economy by growing our population through immigration is no more sustainable than any other Ponzi scheme. Nor is the government’s planned immigration policy supported by a majority of Canadians – an Angus Reid poll conducted in 2017 found that 57% of Canadians thought that Canada should accept fewer immigrants and refugees (see page 15 of document).
Before increasing immigration levels, PIC believes it incumbent on government to assess the impact of current levels of immigration and the impact that higher levels would have, not only on the economy and the revenue and costs for the government, but also on the environment, climate change, farmland, property prices, public infrastructure, and the livability of our cities, among other parameters.
PIC urges Canadians to contact their Member of Parliament and advocate for Canada to stabilize its population, while directing foreign aid to those developing countries which seek to control their own population growth through ethical policies and effective family planning programs.