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The Real Numbers: Understanding the Economic Impact of Immigration in Canada

Are you curious about the true economic impact of immigration in Canada? With all the political and media noise surrounding this topic, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with conflicting opinions and misinformation. That’s why we’re here to break down the real numbers for you. In this blog post, we’ll explore how immigration affects key economic indicators like GDP, job growth, wages, and taxes in Canada. So buckle up and get ready for some eye-opening insights!

Introduction to Immigration and Economic Growth in Canada

It is no secret that immigration has been a hot-button issue in recent years. The economic impact of immigration has been a particularly contentious topic, with some arguing that immigrants are a drain on resources and others asserting that they are essential for economic growth. So, what does the data say?

In order to get a clear understanding of the economic impact of immigration, it is important to first consider the role of immigrants in Canada’s economy. According to Statistics Canada, immigrants make up a significant portion of the Canadian workforce: as of 2023, nearly one in five workers (19%) was an immigrant. Immigrants are also more likely than non-immigrants to start their own businesses: in 2022, 12% of all self-employed individuals in Canada were immigrants.

The data shows that immigrants are not only active participants in the Canadian economy, but they are also net contributors. A study by the Fraser Institute found that between 2000 and 2014, immigrants to Canada contributed an average of $35 billion more annually to government coffers than they consumed in services. This positive fiscal contribution is due in part to the fact that immigrants tend to be younger and better educated than the native-born population, and thus have higher labour market participation rates and incomes.

So what does this all mean for economic growth? A number of studies have shown that immigration has a positive impact on GDP growth.

 Economic Impact

The Facts: Examining Immigration’s Impact on Canadian GDP and Employment

Over the past few years, immigration has become a hot button issue in Canada. Politicians and the general public have been debating the merits of increasing or decreasing the number of immigrants coming to our country. In the midst of this debate, it’s important to look at the hard data to see what impact immigration really has on our economy.

There are two main ways that immigration affects Canada’s GDP: through labour force growth and through productivity gains. Let’s take a look at each one in turn.

  • Labour force growth: One of the most obvious ways that immigration boosts GDP is by increasing the size of the labour force. More workers means more output and higher economic growth. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, immigrants accounted for all of Canada’s population growth between 2007 and 2017.
  • Productivity gains: Immigration also leads to productivity gains as new arrivals bring with them new skills and ideas. This influx of human capital helps to drive innovation and economic growth. A study by TD Economics found that immigrants are almost twice as likely as native-born Canadians to start a business. And businesses started by immigrants are more likely to be high-growth firms, creating even more jobs and economic activity.

In sum, immigration is a key driver of economic growth in Canada. It helps to grow our labour force and increase productivity, leading to higher GDP and more jobs for all Canadians .

Myths and Misconceptions about Immigration and the Economy

There are many myths and misconceptions about immigration and its impact on the economy. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Immigrants take jobs away from Canadians: In reality, immigrants create jobs for Canadians. They start businesses, they buy goods and services, and they pay taxes.
  • Immigrants are a burden on taxpayers: In reality, immigrants contribute more in taxes than they receive in government services and benefits.
  • Immigration is bad for the economy: In reality, immigration is good for the economy. It helps to grow the labour force, it boosts productivity, and it increases innovation.
  • Immigrants take away Canadian jobs: In reality, immigrants create new jobs by starting businesses and hiring Canadians.
  •  Immigrants are a drain on the economy: In reality, immigrants contribute to the economy by contributing taxes, spending money in their communities, and creating jobs.

 Economic Impact

The Role of Immigrants in Developing Canada’s Labour Market and Workforce

There is no denying that immigrants have played – and continue to play – a significant role in developing Canada’s labour market and workforce. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, “immigrants accounted for about two-thirds of Canada’s population growth between 1990 and 2008.”

During this time period, the number of immigrants coming to Canada each year rose from an average of about 130,000 in the early 1990s to over 250,000 by the end of the decade. This increase was driven largely by changes to Canadian immigration policy that made it easier for skilled workers and professionals to come to Canada.

The influx of highly skilled immigrants has helped offset some of the negative effects of an aging workforce and has contributed to Canada’s economic growth. A study by RBC Economics found that “each additional immigrant with a university degree creates 1.5 jobs for Canadian-born workers.”

In addition, another study estimates that “the annual economic contribution of recent immigrants (those who have arrived in Canada since 1990) is $17 billion.”

Clearly, immigrants play a vital role in developing Canada’s labour market and workforce. Without them, our economy would not be as strong or as prosperous as it is today.

How Government Policy Impacted the Economic Benefits of Immigration

In 2015, the Canadian government released a report detailing the economic benefits of immigration. The report found that immigrants to Canada contributed an estimated $34 billion to the economy in 2014. This accounted for about 2% of Canada’s GDP.

The report also found that immigrants are more likely than native-born Canadians to start their own businesses. Immigrants are also more likely to have higher levels of educational attainment and to work in skilled occupations.

The economic benefits of immigration are clear. However, it is important to note that government policy can impact the extent to which these benefits are realized. For example, if the government imposes restrictions on certain types of immigrants, this can reduce the overall economic contribution of immigration.

What Can We Expect for the Future?

There is no one answer to this question. The economic impact of immigration in Canada is complex and depends on a number of factors, including the size and composition of the immigrant population, the overall economic conditions in Canada, and the specific policies and programs that are in place.

That said, there are a few general trends that we can expect to see in the future. First, the overall size of the immigrant population is likely to continue to grow. This is due to both continued high levels of international migration and Canada’s relatively high rate of natural increase (the difference between births and deaths).

Second, the composition of the immigrant population is also changing and will continue to do so. In particular, there has been an increase in the proportion of immigrants coming from Asia (particularly China and India) in recent years. This trend is expected to continue as economic conditions in these countries improve and more people have the means and motivation to migrate.

It is worth noting that Canada has been through periods of high and low immigration before, and our economy has adjusted accordingly. So whatever changes we see in the future, it is important to remember that Canada has a long history of successfully integrating immigrants into our society and economy.

 Economic Impact


In conclusion, immigration is a critical part of Canada’s economic growth and has been for many years. The evidence shows that immigrants contribute to the economy in many ways, from their labour force participation rates to their consumer spending patterns. By understanding the real numbers, we can gain a better appreciation and understanding of the importance of immigration in our economy today and into the future. It is clear that immigration plays an essential role in helping ensure Canada remains competitive on a global scale.
Immigration has been a boon to Canada in terms of economic growth, job creation, and productivity. Immigrants have helped fill critical gaps in the labour market, while at the same time creating new jobs and opportunities for businesses. They have contributed to the country’s GDP through their productive activities and consumer spending. Moreover, immigrants help diversify our culture and enrich our society in many other ways, from providing valuable perspectives to helping us build bridges between different communities.

In order to ensure that immigration remains a positive force in our economy, it is important for policy makers to continue investing in programs that support immigrant integration into Canadian society. This includes providing increased access to language training and educational resources; supporting diversity initiatives; encouraging diversity in hiring practices; and lending financial support to start-ups founded by immigrants. By doing so, we can ensure that Canada continues to benefit economically and socially from immigration for years to come.


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