The Government of Canada has commissioned a number of studies on the immigration issue. Three of these were landmark studies which involved very large numbers of researchers. Anyone who is trying to understand the immigration issue in Canada should read these three major pieces of research. Immigration Watch Canada provides highlights of all three. We also provide a detailed summary of all three.
The first of these was done in 1976 by The Science Council of Canada. This group consisted of Canada’s most eminent scientists. It tried to determine how big a population Canada should have if it wanted to live at a comfortable standard of living. It reached these conclusions:
1. Canada had to discard inaccurate mythology about itself. One inaccurate belief was that it had unlimited resources. The Science Council stated that Canada’s resources were limited and that it should make plans to conserve the resources it had, particularly its very limited amount of agricultural land. It should not allow this resource to be converted to other uses.
2. The second inaccurate belief it had to discard was that its large geographical area would enable it to have a virtually open-door immigration policy and to take unlimited numbers of people. The Science Council stated that Canada should limit its immigration intake and stabilize its population. When it wrote its report, Canada had a population of around 24 million. Assuming trends of the time would continue, the Science Council saw that Canada would have a population of 29 million in the year 2000. Starting in the year 2000, the Science Council advocated that Canada stabilize its population within half a generation. That would mean that about this time, the year 2011, Canada would have stabilized its population. In other words, it would not be making announcements, as our federal government made recently, that Canada’s immigration intake for 2010 was about 285,000, the highest intake Canada had had in 50 years.
3. The Science Council stated that the world’s population was increasing but that the number of the world’s food exporters was not. Canada should use its agricultural resources to become one of the world’s major food exporters. Doing this would greatly assist Canada’s balance of payments and significantly benefit Canada economically.
(For a summary of this extremely important report, see the Immigration Watch Canada Weekly Bulletin titled “Science Council Of Canada : Canada Should Restrict Immigration, Conserve Its Resources And Stabilize Its Population”. Just click below.)
I. The second of these three was called “Charting Canada’s Future”. Commissioned by Health and Welfare Canada and conducted between 1986 and 1989, it involved 200 scholars in a wide range of disciplines from all across Canada. Among its major findings were the following:
(1) Despite low fertility, Canada had no need to fear a decline in its population for many years. Even with immigration levels at 130,000 (half of those of the present), Canada’s population would continue to increase for about 20 years.
(2) The issue of Canada’s aging population cannot be solved by immigration. Immigration has only a short-term effect on Canada’s age structure. Increases in immigration to as high as 600,000 per year have, in the long term, no impact on the age structure. Even changing the age structure of immigrants from 23% below age 15 in 1988 to 30% below 18 and then 50% below 15 has little long-term impact on Canada’s overall age structure.
(3) A significant increase in Canada’s birth rate to 3.1, not immigration, would change Canada’s long-term trend toward an older society.
(4) Annual immigration of 200,000 would reduce the dependency ratio (the number of people each member of the labour force supports) to 2.12 in 2031. However, increasing the female labour force participation rate and increasing the 45+ male participation rate would reduce the dependency ratio to 1.9. (In other words, using Canada’s own citizens is a statistically and morally superior method of dealing with the aging population issue).
(5) “The questions most often raised about dependency and the aging society concern possible strains on government finance. An IMF study concludes that “Canada would not see a large increase in these expenditures and its position relative to other developed countries would remain excellent.” (P.53)
See highlights of that report at http://www.immigrationwatchcanada.org/background/research/immigration/charting-canadas-future-highlights/
II. The third of these studies, “New Faces In The Crowd”, was commissioned by the federal government and conducted by The Economic Council of Canada (ECC) in 1990-1991. Among its findings were the following:
(1) The benefits of immigration to Canadian citizens are very small: around a 1% gain in per capita disposable income between 1990 and 2015.
(2) Like the “Charting Canada’s Future” study, the ECC did their study because of border pressures from refugee seekers; possible burdensome costs of health and other services for an aging and decreasing population; the prospect of using immigration to maintain the country’s population growth.
(3) After examining a large body of historical data, the ECC discovered that immigration has not been necessary for the country’s population growth nor for its prosperity. There is no sustained correlation between immigration and economic growth.
(4) For much of Canada’s history, natural increase, not immigration, has driven the growth of Canada’s population.
(5) No significant increases in efficiency are derived from immigration.
(6) Workers lose as a result of competition from immigrants.
(7) There is no real evidence of spillover effects on the Canadian economy.
(8) Canada’s refugee system is being overburdened. Since the 1980’s, there has been a very rapid increase in the number of refugees arriving on Canadian soil and claiming refugee status. Despite several “ministerial reviews” (amnesties), the situation is not getting any better. The ECC found that projected costs, which do not even include the cost of the refugee-determination process, are “far beyond the value of any gains in scale economies or savings in tax and dependency costs that might accrue to Canadians from these claimants”.