49% of Canadians think immigration targets are too high!

With an aging population and low birth rate immigration accounts for almost 100% of Canada’s labour force growth. Roughly 75% of Canada’s population growth comes from immigration, mostly in the economic category. 

We are now setting new records for immigration this year with a plan to accept 500,000 in each of the next 3-5 years. Almost 10,000 per week. It is the government’s belief that this move is necessary to sustain and grow Canada’s economy generating billions of dollars in additional GDP with the associated tax growth necessary just to pay for it all.

Of that half million new residents only 90,000 will be in the high skill professionals and trades category that Canada is short of. Immigrants currently account for 36% of all Canadian physicians and 41% of engineers. 31% of all business owners with paid staff are also immigrants.  There is no question about the added value these individuals bring to Canada.

However, Canada still has a growing skilled labour shortage across the country. We have may immigrants who are accredited accountants, engineers, doctors and other highly skilled individuals in their birth countries but their credentials are not recognized here. We need a plan to fast track these credentials which may simply means some additional training to adjust for minor changes in Canadian practices. Instead, they are taking jobs outside their expertise to support their families.

More challenging will be the 90,000 new residents who will have refugee or humanitarian status. In addition 105,000 are in the "spouses, children, parents and grandparents" category who will immediately start using our education, and health care services.  

This will not be without cost. Immigration Canada will be hiring 1,250 new employees this year simply to help tackle the backlogs and increased processing time with an additional $50 million added to their budget.

There will also be significant costs in additional housing, food supply, and social integration. It is not clear from Immigration Canada how many of these 500,000 new persons can adequately speak sufficient English to be self-reliant and employable. It is not clear how much additional government assistance will be necessary on top of health care and education.

Given that Montreal can limit and restrict immigration numbers due to Quebec’s unique status in confederation (which the Maverick Party supports for our western provinces). This leaves Toronto as a major entry point, dealing with over 200,000 new residents in just the past year.  Toronto is already strained for affordable housing and high cost of living. Not to mention Toronto is the third most traffic congested city in North America and seventh out of more than 1,000 cities worldwide.

CMHC states that they expect 2.3 million new homes to be built in Canada by 2030 out of the 5.8 million needed to reach affordability. At present job vacancies in the construction industry are at an all-time high with 81,500 construction job vacancies just in the first quarter of 2022.

One commonly stated concern questions if, in our haste to open the borders, we are taking sufficient time and diligence to carefully vet applications to identify potential criminals or social agitators. The government needs to be open and transparent about the process to calm this fear, even though statistically Canadian criminals are more often born in Canada rather than here by immigration. In fact, it has been our high immigration rate that is actually lowering Canada’s per capita crime rate as  cities with the highest immigration are increasing population without increasing the incidence of crime.

Canada is caught in a tricky situation with a high need for immigration to offset retiring baby boomers but lacking the overall infrastructure capacity to accommodate this new sudden growth.  A careful perusal of the Immigration Canada website does not reveal a well thought out plan as to how Canada will systematically integrate this large number of people in a safe, efficient and effective process. It does not offer transparency on where immigration is coming from or where they will go once clearing customs. It is unclear how or where interim housing will exist.  There does not appear to be a clear path from arriving in Canada as an immigrant to then obtaining citizenship down the road.

There is also the criticism that this is a long-term strategy to increase the number of citizens who support the Liberal party as government. Every year over 100,000 new immigrants become Canadian citizens with the right to vote. Many were sustained through Liberal created government programs and feel obligated to that party.

What is clear is that Canada deserves more than just a wish and hope program to handle this massive influx of residents. We need to ensure our immigration numbers match our capacity to properly welcome and integrate them. We need a real plan that deals with the existing challenges and shortages of affordable housing, inflation, transportation, education, and health care that Canadians currently face every day. To reach that point we must have MPs that do not just blindly follow party ideology. We must have MPs that listen to their constituents and have their backs. We need MPs who are solution focused and willing to be open and transparent about the current process. 

As Western Canadians we ask for a logical plan be put in place that will provide a better Canada for all Canadians moving forward.  Those whom fail to plan, plan to fail.

Colin Krieger 

Maverick Party Leader 

Your Public Servant.