TORONTO, October 6, 2016 – Canada needs to increase its population by the end of this century to maintain its international standing and grow its economy to protect important social services that contribute to a high quality of life for all Canadians. That’s the recommendation of the Century Initiative, a new group launched today that includes a cross-section of engaged Canadians in all parts of the country representing business, financial, academic and social sectors.
“Simply put, Canada isn’t growing its population fast enough to ensure that we continue to have an economy that is large enough to drive employment, innovation and investment,” said Thomas Milroy, Managing Director, Generation Capital Limited and a founding member of the Century Initiative. “We want to make sure that the Canada we leave to our children and grandchildren is as great as it can be, and that means getting a lot bigger between now and 2100 – and doing so in a way that respects and maintains the things we all love about this country.”
According to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada, commissioned by the Century Initiative and available at (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=8282), increased immigration will provide an important source of labour and will help Canada generate stronger long-term economic growth. An aging population will also put a major strain on health care and Canada’s retirement income support systems. The report finds that higher immigration levels can help soften these effects.
Milroy notes that Canada’s population is aging rapidly at the same time that Canadians are having fewer children, with seniors expected to outnumber children under the age of 14 for the first time next year. In less than two decades, a quarter of Canadians will be over 65, and the ratio of workers to retirees could fall to just two-to-one from the current four-to-one.
“Without enough people in the workforce, we won’t be able to afford many of the services that Canadians have come to expect, such as top-notch education and universal healthcare,” said Milroy. “But we can’t just grow larger without making sure that growth is done in a smart way that contributes to our collective prosperity.”
The Century Initiative is focused on five critical pillars that Canada needs to grow and succeed:
Officially launching tomorrow at an event as part of the Canada 150 Series at the Canadian Club in Toronto, the Century Initiative is inviting all Canadians to join the debate about the best way to achieve the goal of a population of 100 million people by the end of this century.