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How immigrants create jobs

October 5, 2016

The article Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant by Adam Davidson appeared in the New York Times Magazine in March, 2015.

The article does a wonderful job of examining the economics of immigration – clearly and plainly explaining its benefits and debunking the belief many people hold that immigrants steal jobs from “us”.

In it, Davidson states “the economic benefits of immigration may be the most settled fact in economics.” Yet, it is a constantly debated topic – not just South of the border, but in Canada.

Immigrants increase the size of the overall population and this increases the size of the economy. It might seem counterintuitive, but immigration doesn’t just increase the supply of the labour force, it increases the demand for labour as well. Immigrants rent apartments, buy food, buy clothes, need furniture, and have to get to work. All of this means there are more jobs providing housing, selling food, clothing, and furniture, and operating roads, subways, and trains. We know from Statistics Canada that immigrants start more companies than people who were born in Canada. Immigrants create jobs. More jobs create more opportunities for everyone.

This article, and the data presented make it clear: the job-stealing immigrant is a myth and perpetuating that myth does us all a disservice.

Sometimes our fears get the better of us. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, some still feel that immigrants are to blame when someone born in Canada – perhaps our son or daughter – can’t get a job.

We need immigrants. It may be time to publicly acknowledge that in Canada too immigrants don’t steal jobs, they create them. Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge and thank newcomers for the robustness of the Canadian economy.