Cape Breton Voices | Immigration
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Immigration

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Regina Leader-Post | Craig Baird | June 15, 2017.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal"][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]The population of Saskatchewan continues to grow with each passing year according to new figures released by the provincial government. Over the past year, 16,047 people moved to the province, representing a growth rate of 1.4 per cent. While inter-provincial immigration to Saskatchewan is actually in the negative, international immigration is filling the void and helping to increase the province’s population. Over the past year, 16,047 people moved to the province, representing a growth rate of 1.4 per cent. Very little of this growth comes from births in the province, according to Ken Rasmussen, a Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy professor at the University of Regina. “Our birth rates aren’t up particularly high,” Rasmussen said. “It is not natural population growth or replacement. It is immigration growth. It is the same across Canada.” Since 2007, Saskatchewan’s population has grown by 164,000 people, reaching 1,161,365 in the first quarter of 2017, thanks in large part to the economic climate of the province. “(Saskatchewan) is a more affordable location, with cheaper housing prices and our economy is more diversified than other economies,” said Rasmussen. “Some of it is people coming back to Saskatchewan, where opportunities are more robust than in a place like Alberta.” Saskatchewan’s population growth is currently the third-highest in the country, behind only Ontario and Manitoba. “People will move to where there are other opportunities across the country, particularly with immigrants who don’t have deep roots here,” Rasmussen said. “There is no guarantee this will stay as an ongoing feature for Saskatchewan.” According to Doug Elliott, statistician and publisher of Sask Trends Monitor, immigration from other provinces in the first quarter of 2017 was 1,395 in the negative, while international immigration brought 3,560 people into the province. “That is why we are growing,” said Elliott. “We are still immigrating and bringing people from other countries.” The growth rate may look good but Jason Childs, associate professor of economics at the University of Regina, says it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. “You have to be careful with growth rates because we have a lower base,” Childs said. “Comparing growth rates is sketchy at times. A town of 100 people grows by 10 per cent, that is 10 people moving in. We always have to be cautious about growth rates.” While the growth trend continues, the current figure is lower than was seen in previous years. Growth from 2007 to 2008 passed 18,000 in a year, while 22,154 people moved to the province between 2011 and 2012. From 2013 to 2014, growth was just over 19,000 people. “We are going to slow down as the economy slows down,” Childs said. “As the economy picks up again, we could return to higher numbers.” “Fundamentally, our population is driven by the economy,” Elliott said. “If the economy improves, the figures will continue to improve. If we are not creating more jobs, this will start to slow … my expectation is that it will slow a bit.” A slowing of growth, according to Childs, is not a bad thing. “The way Saskatoon and Regina have been growing over the past few years, a pause for breath is not bad,” he said. “We have to make sure we are ahead on infrastructure and we have to make sure we have water treatment and water for all these people.”

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]CBC News | Philip Drost | June 15, 2017.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal"][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Alex LeBlanc of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council calls for municipal nominee program

Municipalities need more power to make decisions about immigration, the head of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council told a Commons committee on Wednesday. "Where immigration is controlled at a federal level, integration happens at a local level," Alex LeBlanc, the executive director of the council, said in a presentation to the standing committee on citizenship and immigration. "Really, it's our cities, it's our communities that are the brokers for inclusion." He proposed a municipal nominee program, similar to the provincial nominee program, which allows skilled workers and business people chosen from around the world to get into a faster track toward settling into a province that needs them in the workforce.

Calls for pilot municipal project

"Give cities the responsibility of selecting people, in partnership with employers, and then give cities a greater role in the integration and retention process," said LeBlanc, who was asked to speak to the committee about immigration to Atlantic Canada. Using the provincial program, New Brunswick has brought in 625 immigrants a year to answer certain workforce needs, "and this program has dramatically increased the traffic to New Brunswick," LeBlanc said. But LeBlanc wants a municipal program to complement the provincial one, and he recommended running a pilot project in New Brunswick. "We could use the same structure that we have in place now with the provincial nominee program, but perhaps receive an additional allocation from the federal government which is earmarked to pilot a municipal approach," he said. "Then it will be up to the cities to allocate any kind of resource staff time to do some of this work."

Municipalities interested

[caption id="attachment_15711" align="alignright" width="300"]Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Simard supports a pilot program to get municipalities more involved in bringing immigrants to their communities. (CBC)[/caption] LeBlanc said if nothing is done, the population problem in New Brunswick won't go away.
"We represent 6.6 per cent per cent of the population in the country, and yet 3.1 per cent of immigrants that are coming to Canada are coming to our region," said LeBlanc. He's already talked to people in municipalities across New Brunswick and been able to gather interest. Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Simard agreed with the idea to increase the role of the municipalities.

Local input would help

"If a pilot project would be set up in the province or in Atlantic Canada, I'm pretty sure it would be welcome by most of municipalities who are already looking to the immigration file to get their demographics in a better way," Simard said. He said that if the pilot program worked in conjunction with the current provincial nominee program, it would be a benefit to communities. "It's just a matter of adding more input on a local level in order to fit the profiles of the prospective immigrants in a better way," said Simard.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]CBC News | Kevin Yarr | May 4, 2017.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal"][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]The P.E.I. economy recorded its biggest growth since 2004 last year, and the third highest growth amongst the provinces. The economy grew 2.4 per cent in 2016, compared to a national rate of 1.3 per cent. In a news release, the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce described the economic growth as a team effort. [caption id="attachment_15714" align="alignright" width="300"]The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by the Island's recent economic growth, says Pam Williams. (Laura Meader/CBC) The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by the Island's recent economic growth, says Pam Williams. (Laura Meader/CBC)[/caption] "This growth is a testament to the astute business leaders and entrepreneurs in the province, the positive effects of immigration, and the alignment of efforts by the business community and governments at all levels," said president Pam Williams. The provincial GDP, worth $4.8 billion in 2016, remains largely service based. About three quarters of the value of the economy is from service industries, a proportion that has fluctuated but remained largely unchanged over the last decade. Sectors that saw notable increases in 2016 included
  • Construction: +9.3 per cent.
  • Manufacturing: +3.7 per cent
  • Retail: +3.2 per cent
  • Accommodation and food services: +4.2 per cent.
Agriculture and fisheries was one of the few significant sectors to see a decline, down 1.8 per cent.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Chronicle Herald | May 26, 2017.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal"][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]The latest census numbers released by Statistics Canada did not provide a rosy picture of what lies ahead in Nova Scotia and the rest of Atlantic Canada. It showed that between 2011 and 2016 the Atlantic provinces experienced the largest drop in the country in the proportion of people aged 15-64. While the percentage of people aged 65 and older was 12.3 per cent in Alberta, it was almost 20 per cent in Atlantic Canada. If anyone wasn’t attuned the fact already, these numbers tell us how important it is to attract more immgrants to this region and to retain them. Immigrants arrived at record pace in 2016, due in large part to an influx of Syrian refugees. The challenge is to make strong immigration a regular occurrence in the region, and not an exception or only related to an humanitarian crisis, as important as it is for us to provide refuge in such cases. Statstics Canada said if current trends continue, “this difference between the provinces with the highest and lowest proportions of seniors could reach almost 15 percentage points by 2031.” Population growth is essential to sustaining a labour force, providing markets for business, supporting public services and maintaining a viable tax base. Population growth has a major impact on whether people are able sell homes, properties and businesses and on the prices they can get for them. Shortages of labour and a glut of properties on the market, with too few buyers to take them off, are not the conditions of a prosperous future. To offset an aging population and declining birth rates, this province and region need to embrace immigration. The province’s population is expected to decline over the next two decades. Welcoming more immigrants is an integral part of future economic growth. More than 3,418 immigrants touched down in Nova Scotia in the first six months of last year, an improvement over the 3,403 of 2015, which was itself a record year. So we are making progress. But the census brings home how far we have to go. We need immigration to provide stronger and more consistent economic performance. Like retaining young people born here, immigration is an investment in future growth and in new ideas and energy that diversify and strengthen social and economic fabric. Immigration and youth retention reinforce each other, each creating a stronger economic base that helps the other to make a life here. We should do all we can to help both achieve that.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]New Dawn's Goal? 2,000 Newcomers Per Year | Mary Campbell | November 15, 2017.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal"][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_15734" align="alignright" width="266"]Erika Shea, vice president of development for New Dawn Enterprises Erika Shea[/caption] Erika Shea, vice president of development for New Dawn Enterprises, says the community development organization plays two roles when it comes to immigration in Cape Breton. The first is as the home of the Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration, which employs one of three settlement services counselors on the island, is funded by the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, opened on 1 April 2016 and grew out of the Rural-Urban Immigration Pilot for Cape Breton (which the Spectatordiscussed with CBRM Councilor Amanda McDougall, who had worked on it, in the first installment of this series.) Shea, who spoke to me at New Dawn’s Townsend Street offices last week, said the Rural-Urban project “identified the need for more settlement services face-to-face on the ground in Cape Breton” and, as a result, the island now has three settlement counselors — one at New Dawn;  a second employed through the Halifax-based YREACH program at the YMCA in Sydney and a third employed through YREACH in Port Hawkesbury. The role of such counselors is to help immigrants to Cape Breton “get to know the community and get oriented,” said Shea:
Once newcomers arrive in the community, as long as they have their PR [permanent residency] or they’ve made application for their PR…or if they’re an applicant in the new Atlantic Immigration Pilot, then our settlement counselor can help them with housing, transportation, enrolling their kids in school, getting healthcare, a health card, driver’s license, grocery store…
Of course, immigrants to Cape Breton don’t all settle near settlement services counselors. I asked Shea what services were available to newcomers located in some of the island’s more far-flung communities:
Our settlement counselor and the settlement counselor in Port Hawkesbury both have a lot of discretion and budget so that they’re able to travel across the island and that’s been a role that we’ve really picked up with the Syrian families, in particular, who have kind of settled all over the place. Our settlement counselor will travel to Mabou, Port Hood, Chéticamp, periodically, to check in with them and provide the resources that they’re looking for based on the stage of settlement that they’re at at that time.
As you may remember from the first installment in this series, the need for more face-to-face services for immigrants was one of the chief concerns of Councilor McDougall. Another, though, was that the services on offer through the YMCA and the Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration are not available to the hundreds of foreign students studying a Cape Breton University (CBU), many of whom, she said, had expressed interest in staying here. McDougall laid the blame at the feet of the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, which she said does not see foreign students as potential immigrants. It’s a concern New Dawn shares, says Shea:
[W]e would absolutely see [foreign students] as potential immigrants but it doesn’t fit the nice, neat boxes of the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration. [Students] don’t have their permanent residency permits because they are students who are studying in the country. Now, if those students make it through their education, they graduate and they decide that they are going to give this a try, life in Cape Breton, and they get their post-graduate work permit…at that point, our settlement counselor can then start working with them. But…it seems a little bit absurd that we would not be able to intervene and to begin the connection process the second that their plane lands at the airport. If we are desperate for people and they are here and they are prospective future residents…we should be connecting them with employers, identifying those businesses that are projecting a real succession problem in the next two to five years and, through their studies or through part-time employment, begin making those connections and helping those relationships to flourish.
 

CB Nominee Program

Shea characterizes the second role played by New Dawn in Cape Breton immigration as “a broader organizational mission and vision based on interest in depopulation and immigration.”
As a community development organization whose vision is a self-reliant people in a vibrant community, it becomes increasingly impossible for us, at…both an emotional and an intellectual level, not to be dealing with depopulation and immigration. So, we’ve assembled a small, internal team and have held a number of small, intentional community conversations about what is going on with depopulation and with the way in which the Nova Scotia government is administering immigration for the province.
As a result of these deliberations, New Dawn has spent the last year working to generate interest in a regional nominee program. It’s an idea the Spectator began exploring last week with McDougall, who made a pitch for it to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in October. Shea says New Dawn has been pitching it to local councils. The evening before we spoke, they’d been in Port Hawkesbury where she said the idea met a warm reception:
[W]e thought that we would really have to go out and sell…this nominee program and it was going to be quite an uphill journey…and it’s been such the opposite. When we started talking about our depopulation challenges and when we talk about our position — that we think that we need more authority to be able to attract the types and numbers of immigrants that we need — …it resonates immediately in a way that you know they’ve been thinking the same thing for a long, long time.
No discussion of Cape Breton population is complete without scary graphics, so here are a few from New Dawn’s regional nominee program pitch:

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Cape Breton Spectator | Mary Campbell | November 1, 2017.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal"][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_15683" align="alignright" width="225"]CBRM District 8 Councilor Amanda McDougall CBRM District 8 Councilor Amanda McDougall[/caption] CBRM District 8 Councilor Amanda McDougall thinks Cape Breton needs its own Nominee Program for immigrants and on October 16th, she shared that opinion with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship & Immigration (CIMM). It was a return engagement for McDougall, who had been deprived of the opportunity to address the same committee in June by one of its members (who shall remain nameless but whose last name rhymes with “temple” and who didn’t actually attend the October 16th session.) CIMM has been holding meetings (nine to date) and hearing witnesses (55 as of October 19) and collecting briefs (10 in total) in response to M-39, a private member’s motion by Fundy Royal Liberal MP Alaina Lockhart. M-39, which passed unanimously in the House of Commons on 22 November 2016, mandated the committee to study immigration to Atlantic Canada, paying particular attention to:
  1. The challenges associated with an aging population and shrinking population base
  2. Retention of current residents and the challenges of retaining new immigrants
  3. Possible recommendations on how to increase immigration to the region
  4. Analysis of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot initiatives associated with the Atlantic Growth Strategy
  5. That the Committee report its findings to the House within one year of the adoption of this motion.
Our own Mayor Cecil Clarke wrote a letter to Lockhart, in support of her bill as did NS Premier Stephen McNeil. McDougall is identified on the CIMM agenda as a CBRM councilor, but she told me in an interview last week that the invitation to speak before the committee on the subject of immigration stemmed more from her involvement (from 2014 to 2016) with Cape Breton University’s (CBU) Rural-Urban Immigration Pilot for Cape Breton than from her current role. McDougall described the Rural-Urban Immigration Pilot as the brainchild of former CBU-President David Wheeler and Keith Brown of the Shannon School of Business. Conceived as a response to the Ivany Report, the Pilot Project took the fact that CBU was home to 1,200 international students as a starting point to exploring the barriers faced by people wishing to immigrate to Cape Breton:
What we did was interview the international student population just to get a better grasp on what they were feeling here, what are your barriers? What are your challenges when you’re thinking about becoming a permanent resident. Do you even want to be here? What are the problems that you are seeing in Cape Breton around racism? Around acceptance into communities?
The results of their work are contained in this May 2015 report and provided the basis for her recommendations to the committee on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot which, she acknowledged, had encountered problems since it was rolled out in July 2016 with the stated goal of attracting 2,000 skilled workers to Atlantic Canada:
It does stand to be a great program, I think it’s a great idea, [it just] might have been rolled out a little too early, without some public thought process of…how can we make sure this benefits…urban and rural [communities]? Because right now if you’re a…potential newcomer to Canada, specifically to Nova Scotia, and you go on the federal government’s website, it says, “Go to Halifax.” Even if you go to the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration website as well, there is really nothing directing people to other places, it’s very Halifax-centric and that was a lot of what I talked about when I was up in Ottawa.  

Face-to-Face

McDougall and her fellow witnesses at the October 16th session were each given seven minutes to present, after which committee members had a chance to ask them questions. You can listen to the entire October 16th session on ParlVu. (Technical note: I found it wouldn’t work for me in Chrome or Mozilla, but did work in Explorer and on my Android phone). If you only have seven minutes, I have helpfully cut everything out of the two-hour session except McDougall’s presentation and posted it below. Don’t say I never did anything for you. (Another technical note: this is an audio-only file despite all appearances to the contrary.)
[video mp4="http://cbvoices.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/McDougall_Committee_Presentation.mp4"][/video]
What McDougall discussed with the committee (and with me last week) was her conviction that one of the biggest problems facing would-be immigrants to Cape Breton is the lack of face-to-face support services, “We heard that from our Syrian families, we heard that from community groups, we heard that from international students.” It’s a problem she places squarely at the feet of Nova Scotia’s Office of Immigration, which had funded the Rural-Urban Immigration Pilot, and she’s pretty blunt about it: “I have a big beef with the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration.” At the time of the pilot project, she said:
I think the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration was receiving just under $6 million from the federal government to implement services and promotions and marketing for the whole province — $170,000 was coming to the island…So I would be honest about that, “That’s not adequate, you need a proper network here, you need an office here…People who are going through their permanent residency process cannot talk to anybody here.”
McDougall says that lack of in-person services extends to something as simple as seeing a doctor for a certificate of health, which people applying for permanent residency status must have. Said McDougall:
There’s no doctor that is allowed to write, “This person is of good health,” on the island. And so, that one doctor that is in Halifax, it can sometimes take up to five and six months just to get an appointment with him. And…when you’re going through the permanent residency process, it’s very time sensitive. If your Visa runs out, you’re done, you’ve got to go home.
I asked the NS Office of Immigration to comment on this but as of press time, a spokesperson was still working on it.  

Try this at home

Here’s a completely unscientific but oddly revealing experiment I did on the federal Citizenship and Immigration website to see what kind of support is out there for immigrants in Cape Breton. Under the banner, “Find free newcomer services near you” I typed in my postal code, checked a box next to “help with daily life,” as the service I was looking for and hit “Find.” Here are my results: This is the kind of answer a human would never give you — if I walked into an office in Sydney and asked for assistance with daily life (and there are days I would love to be able to do that), it is unlikely the person I was speaking with would offer me 761 answers, the first five of which involve my either leaving town, leaving the province or learning a second language. When I filtered the answers for organizations in Nova Scotia (because somehow, my postal code didn’t do that automatically), the 761 answers turned into five, none involving an organization in Cape Breton: I think we’re going to give this round to the humans.    

Audience participation

McDougall said the best part of her appearance was the response from the committee members, both during the session and following it:
It kind of made me really think that when people are in these committees they can drop their party colors and talk about the topic. It was great.
One interesting exchange was with Marwan Tabbara, the Liberal MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler. Tabbara asked McDougall about the barriers facing international students trying to enter the workforce in Cape Breton and the kind of financial aid they receive from the federal government. When McDougall said there was no federal financial aid, Tabbara asked what kind of financial aid was available from the province, to which McDougall again responded, “Nothing.” [video mp4="http://cbvoices.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Tabarra_Question.mp4"][/video] The answer must have surprised Tabbara, who had prefaced his question by noting that his riding is about an hour away from Toronto and has been “very successful” in attracting international students and workers. It gave McDougall an opportunity to explain that the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration doesn’t see international students as potential immigrants. It’s a subject she returned to in speaking with me last week:
We’re looking at international students like, “Oh, this is such a great opportunity, they want to stay here, their parents are pushing them to stay here, they want to bring their family here, bring their business here.” [But] according to the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, the programs that they fund, those services, they cannot be utilized by international students because international students are not potential permanent residents, they have an end-date on their visa.
To be clear: once an international student has applied for permanent residency, those services do become available to him or her, but McDougall’s point seems to be that there’s an in-between area where some assistance from the Office of Immigration might be all it takes to encourage a student to stay. Again, I asked the NS Office of Immigration about its provision of services to international students, but as of press time, I had not received a reply.  

Creative thinking

McDougall said one of her most interesting conversations was with Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire, a Conservative member of the standing committee who came up to talk to her following the session. Maguire told her about Manitoba’s approach to immigration which involves allowing communities to nominate immigrants — and making settlement services available throughout the province. In deciding what kind of immigrants to admit, says McDougall, Manitoba:
…listened to the particulars, it wasn’t just, “You can have 25,000 highly skilled individuals.” They listened to farmers, they listened to various sectors…You have to listen to the people on the ground. We do have a different type of labor market here, where a lot of it is seasonal, which disqualifies you from the Atlantic Immigration Pilot altogether, but could we not be more creative and say, “Okay, this person could work seasonally with Louisbourg Seafoods, for example, and then go into the tourism sector and do some work?…That’s my whole life. I’ve always held a few jobs and that’s not a bad thing.
This 2016 article from the Calgary Herald tells how two small Manitoba towns, Winkler and Morden, used the provincial program to “hand-pick immigrants well-suited for small town life and the needs of local businesses.” (Although I have to admit, the idea of having a municipal bureaucrat playing god in that way sends a slight chill up my spine but that’s a topic outside the scope of today’s article — although maybe not outside the scope of this series.) As far as McDougall is concerned, the Manitoba experiment holds promise and a version of it might work in Cape Breton, but the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration has to “be ready to fight for it, too.”

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Century Initiative | October 2, 2016.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal"][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Conference Board of Canada (CBOC) recently released a report, A Long-term View of Canada’s Demographics: Are Higher Immigration Levels an Appropriate Response to Canada’s Aging Population? The report explores how increasing immigration could offset the negative economic implications of Canada’s aging population. Canada will face significant challenges from an aging population and historically low fertility levels. These demographic factors will negatively impact the country’s economic growth through a shrinking labour force, a smaller domestic market, and inadequate capital investment. If the population continues along the current trajectory, Canada will be a small country, with only 53.5 million inhabitants in 2100. The Conference Board projects that if current trends continue, economic growth in Canada will slow to 1.6% by 2050 and average just 1.5% from 2050 to 2100. Weaker economic growth over the long term will limit the amount of revenue that governments in Canada collect, putting pressure on government finances at the same time that there is a sharply increased demand for both healthcare and Old Age Security (OAS) spending. What would happen if Canada’s population grew steadily? How would this impact our current trajectory? The CBOC report explores five population scenarios with different levels of immigration and natural increases in population. The report highlights how each could impact the size and age structure of the population in 2100. Each demographic scenario is presented alongside an examination of the impact on the Canadian economy and, in turn, governments’ fiscal resources to pay for public spending programs. The scenarios presented include: A Status Quo Scenario; a Medium Scenario; a Medium Scenario with Younger Immigrants; a High Scenario; and a 100 Million Scenario, in which the Canadian population reaches 100 million by 2100. The demographic challenges that lie ahead for Canada cannot be reversed, and funding the healthcare system in the 2030s and 40s (“peak age”) will be expensive, regardless of the future workforce. However, it is also evident that Canada’s population size can be increased considerably, and that higher immigration levels would have a positive impact on the Canadian economy. A larger population can help boost Canada’s labour force and generate stronger long-term economic growth, reducing the average cost per working Canadian for expensive social programs – such as healthcare – by increasing the ratio of workers to retirees. The 100 Million Scenario presented in the report provides the greatest positive impact on the demographic challenges that lie ahead for Canada. To get Canada’s population to 100 million by 2100, immigration levels would need to increase steadily but not dramatically. A multi-year plan to increase immigration to 1.3% of population (415,000 – 450,000 entrants per year over the next 5-10 years) is more than adequate. At various times in Canada’s history we have exceeded these levels with no harmful effects. The 100 Million Scenario leads to higher economic growth – estimated to become 2.3% per year by 2050 and 2.6% per year by 2100. This growth results in greater revenue for both provincial and federal governments and reduces shares of revenues required to fund OAS, healthcare, and other services. With 100 million people in 2100, the share of revenue spent on OAS at the federal level is less than 10%, which is a significant reduction from the 12% share under the Status Quo Scenario. In the 100 Million Scenario, the proportion of the population aged 65 and over never rises above 23.2% and eventually stabilizes at 21.3%. If this were to happen today, $4.84 billion in government spending would be freed up. Healthcare spending paints an even more dramatic picture. Under the 100 million scenario, provincial healthcare costs fall from 34.5 to 29.2% of provincial spending. Today, the value of that 5.3% is $21.2 billion dollars. The value of economic growth is even larger – the Conference Board projects 2.6% growth per year under the 100 million scenario, significantly greater than its status quo projection of 1.6% per year. A larger domestic market will substantially affect housing starts, retail sales, savings, and investment levels. The differences are stark. Canada’s future economy depends on how we address these demographic challenges. Immigration has been a key driver of Canada’s population growth in recent years and will continue to be the key component of Canada’s future population growth. In fact, based on current fertility levels and without increased immigration, Canada’s population will start to shrink in 2039. The CBOC report highlights how a larger population can help offset the future economic challenges of Canada’s aging population and can result in greater economic prosperity for future Canadians.