Proposed Change to Immigration is Based on Misconception

Concerns regarding labor shortages are leading to the consideration of changes to the national immigration policy. If the most recent budget passes, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will have the ability to determine who and how many people interested in coming to Canada will be given access.

At the heart of the issue, is the perceived need for more people to fill jobs that Canadians cannot. The Canadian economy is thought to be suffering from labor shortages with the increase in job opportunities. The argument that there is a labor shortage is not entirely accurate.

Recently, (April 4, 2008), Statistics Canada announced that the unemployment rate increased slightly in March due to a "surge" in people entering the work force to fill the growing number of jobs. Indeed, Canada’s participation rate (the percent of people 15 years of age and older working or seeking work) has increased to an all time high of 68%. In British Columbia the participation rate rose to 64%, also an all time high, while Alberta’s rose to nearly 75%. Ontario has a participation rate of 64% as well, while eastern Canada’s is even lower. In Ontario the gain of 23,000 part-time jobs was offset by the loss of 25,000 full-time jobs.

The employment rate for Aboriginal people living off-reserve in the western provinces continued to rise and was estimated to be 61.2% up by 1.1% over the previous year. The increased job opportunities are allowing more Canadians the opportunity for steady employment although many of the newer jobs in Canada are part-time.

Migration to Canada has changed considerably since the 1970’s. Migration to rural Canada declined especially after crown land was no longer readily available. Fewer people are coming from Europe, and over the last decade and a half, more people are coming from Asia and are moving to the high density areas.

The improving economic conditions in Asia are reducing the number of people interested in moving to Canada, and as well, more people are returning home (emigrants). The proposed changes to the current system with the potential sudden changes in who might get in may also reduce people’s interest in moving to Canada.

Instead of the increased job opportunities providing incentive to Canadians to pay for their own training and fill these positions, people from other nations, who already have the training, will be given the jobs, we are told. Therefore, there will be less training done here and less incentive for Canadians to seek these jobs. The immigration policies implemented in 2002 have done a good job in helping protect the domestic labor market, thereby encouraging more people to participate, while also helping reunite families.

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