Canada welcomes record number of newcomers. Now what?
As Canada welcomes more immigrants, the need for infrastructure to support the growth in housing markets, schools and health care systems is critical.
Canada announced recently it had reached a significant milestone: welcoming over 30,000 Afghan refugees to the country since 2021, putting it on track to resettle at least 40,000 by the end of 2023.
Newcomers are critical in shaping the nation’s economy, particularly given the ongoing challenges around an aging population and persistent post COVID-19 labour shortages.
In 2022, Canada welcomed 437,180 immigrants — the highest on record, according to Statistics Canada. Further, the government announced a plan to welcome 1.5 million more by 2025.
Despite the need and the numbers, we continue to hear stories of highly skilled and foreign-trained newcomers facing challenges in transitioning to life in Canada.
While some may see newcomers as a burden on our system, the numbers prove that to be the opposite. Data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows that refugees join Canada’s middle-class within five years of their arrival and, over time, pay more in income taxes on average than they receive in public benefits and services.
When it comes to home ownership, 65 per cent of refugee families who have been in Canada for 10 years or more live in homes they own, compared to 70 per cent of Canadian born citizens.
As Canada welcomes more people from around the world, the need for infrastructure to support the growth in our housing markets, schools, and health care systems, is critical. The appropriate funding and management of this growth needs to be considered by all levels of government, and support from various organizations, like Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services, is paramount.
By 2036, up to 30 per cent of the country’s population will be immigrants. The government and its partners should continue to aid newcomers and advocate for the funding and investments that enable Canada’s newest citizens to truly thrive in their new home.