Against the backdrop of declining working-age populations around the world, Canada’s innovative immigration policy sets a course that is the envy of others.
DEMOGRAPHIC DESTINY AND ITS ECONOMIC EFFECTS
As far as planning for the future goes, Canada has done a remarkably thoughtful job of responding to our below-replacement fertility rate, our aging Baby Boomers, and the combined negative impact this could have on the ability of our economy to grow. How so? Quite simply by increasing our immigration targets to an unprecedented 350,000 people annually by 2021. This is not a panacea, make no mistake, but it is a proactive measure that will ensure Canada’s economic competitiveness for years to come. While the labour situation will remain challenging here in Canada, it is far from dire, with the UN projecting a 16% increase in our 25-64 population over the next 50 years. Similarly, the US is projected to see its prime working-age population grow by 12% over the same period. Unfortunately, the situation is dire for others. Due to extremely low fertility rates and relatively low migration rates to the
continent as a whole, Europe’s working- age population began declining in 2016, and by 2069 is projected to be 24% smaller than it is today. Similarly, Japan—with virtually no immigration to speak of—began experiencing a working-age decline in 2004; it is set to see a further 40% decline in the next half-century. Perhaps most concerning of all for the world economy is that China is due to experience a 31% decline in its working-age population over the next 50 years, beginning in 2024 (you can largely thank the one-child policy for that). When it comes down to it, there are only two ways to grow an economy: by adding workers or making themmore productive. While the first option is being leveraged here in Canada, it is off the table for many developed countries that also happen to have some of the largest economies in the world; regardless, we all must continue to work to find ways to make our workforces more productive.
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