Welcoming and accepting successive waves of immigration has been one of Canada’s global advantages. Historically Canadians have recognized that immigration helps us innovate, grows our economy, keeps our public services solvent, develops cultural connections and business relationships with communities all over the world, and contributes to meeting our labour and skills needs – something that requires urgent attention right now.
Whatever their other points of disagreement, Canadians have welcomed immigrants and acknowledged the contributions they make to our economy and our social fabric.
While not yet at the stage it may be at in some other countries, that consensus may be fraying and at risk of coming apart. In the interest of our economic future we need to act now. Immigration is crucial to our development as a society, an economy and a nation. We need more immigration and more supports for immigrants. We must continue to be the best country in the world in welcoming immigrants.
At the same time, we need to have an honest conversation about ensuring the benefits of immigration cascade to Canadians already living here – and mitigating any possible negative impacts of a growing population. Those discussions must be civil and focused on finding solutions.
At Century Initiative, we speak a lot about ‘growing well’. This means that not only do we need a growing population, but we need the policies, the public institutions and the physical infrastructure that will allow us to achieve sustainable population growth AND a prosperous country for all of us – old and new.
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