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Thursday, January 20, 2011

FIVE IMMIGRATION MYTHS EXPOSED

MYTH #1:
High levels of immigration are required to ensure Canada's prosperity.
The facts:
A country's prosperity does not depend on a growing population or workforce. This is particularly true in the case of Canada since we are a trading nation and do not require an increasingly large domestic market to achieve economies of scale. Our prosperity depends rather on sound economic policies that stimulate productivity, make good use of capital investment and maximize the potential of the existing workforce.

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MYTH #2:
With an aging population and lower fertility rates, Canada needs high levels of immigration to provide the workers and tax base required to support social services for retirees.
The facts:
While it is true Canadians are living longer and having fewer babies, research shows that immigration has almost no impact on offsetting the costs of an aging population. Immigrants themselves grow old and draw on social support services while on average they have families as small as those of other Canadians.
For immigrants to make a net contribution to the support of social services, they would have to pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits. In recent years this has not been the case as newcomers have usually earned substantially less than native-born Canadians and have drawn significantly more in social services than they have paid in taxes.
The only ways to deal with the effects of an aging population involve increases in productivity and raising the age of retirement to accord with improvements in the population's health and longevity.

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MYTH #3:
Canada is sparsely populated and can support a much larger population.
The facts:
Despite Canada's large surface area, much of it is not suited for human habitation. It would require a large input of food and energy for any significant number of people to live there and this would have both economic and environmental costs.
A large majority of recent immigrants have chosen to live in large cities, most notably Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, because of the wider range of social services, the higher quality of life, economic opportunities and the presence of relatives and immigrant communities in these locations.

This does not result in net benefits for most of the residents of these large cities and increases pressure on educational and health care facilities as well as adds to housing costs, commute times and environmental problems.

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MYTH #4:
Canada needs large numbers of immigrants because it will face massive shortages of skilled labour in the coming decades.
The facts:
There will be no such shortages if more Canadians acquire the needed skills, which can be accomplished if wages, government policies and other conditions encourage them to do so and the jobs are not filled by immigrants. With a few exceptions-such as the present and temporaryshortage of medical workers-Canada has both the human resources and educational infrastructure to meet our skilled labour needs.

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MYTH #5:
We need immigrants to do the jobs Canadians won't do.
The facts:

Sufficiently high wages will induce Canadians to fill all jobs needed in the economy. The increased use of capital and new technologies induced byhigher wages will raise workers' productivity enough so that employers can afford to pay the higher wages. The filling of these jobs by immigrants prevents such pay increases, which in turn causes more Canadians to live in poverty than would otherwise have been the case.
 
Dan Murray
Immigration Watch Canada

 

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