Blog Post

What Does the Future Hold for Immigration in Our Cities?

By: Marco Campana
November 12, 2020

In this webinar with the Canadian Urban Institute participants discussed the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the future of immigration in Canadian cities.

Featuring Queenie Choo, CEO, S.U.C.C.E.S.S.; Lisa Lalande, CEO, Century Initiative; Yasir Naqvi, CEO, Institute for Canadian Citizenship; and Ratna Omidvar, Independent Senator for Ontario

Key Takeaways

A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation.

1. We’re a growing society of old people

With an aging population and declining worker to retiree ratio, communities across Canada will continue to face challenges to grow our economy and maintain the services we expect our governments to provide without a diverse talent pool from coast to coast. We need to double down on immigration in order to fuel economic growth and shared prosperity.

2. Fear is fueling misinformation

COVID-19 anxieties are exacerbating racism, discrimination, and the spread of misinformation. Immigrants and newcomers seem to be bearing the brunt of this across the country. Canadians must not lose sight of the national values that distinguish us as a global leader: compassion, diversity, and inclusion

3. Canadian cities have a role to play

Cities have a role to play in this conversation. Policy solutions discussed by the panelists ranged from municipal nominee programs, improving the recognition of foreign credentials, and extending the right to vote in municipal elections.

4. Essential workers, essential pay and essential conditions

Many essential-worker positions are filled by immigrants. Throughout COVID-19, these workers have proved to be the backbone of our cities. It may be time to revive municipal living wage conversations and provide essential wages for essential workers.

5. Population + Growth = Prosperity

There is a link between population, growth and prosperity when it comes to Canada’s long-term future. Greater immigration means people in our workforce, and a wider tax base to pay for essential services that everyone relies on.

Additional Reading & Resources

Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada, Ratna Omidvar and Diana Wagner, Between the Lines

Advanis/Tell City Hall – COVID 19: New Canadians

Immigrant demographics Vancouver, B.C. 2018, New to BC, the Library Link for Newcomers

Census Profile, 2016 Vancouver, BC, Statistics Canada

You Clap For Me Now: The Coronavirus Poem on Racism and Immigration in Britain, The Guardian

Prosperity Without Growth, Tim Jackson

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think LIke a 21st-Century Economist, Kate Raworth, Chelsea Green Publishing

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