Monday, July 29, 2013

Welcome and Bienvenue

Canada is a country built on the hopes and dreams of those born elsewhere. Before it was called “immigration” people came to this vast, unfamiliar territory to start something new for themselves and their families. They wanted to see what this place - even before it was a nation - had to offer. Because of it’s beginnings, Canadian identity is wrapped up in the idea of conquering the unknown. In a contemporary context, this means that every day Canada becomes a new home for people from all over the world. Canada offers them a new start, new opportunities, and new chances to learn and grow. They bring their knowledge and traditions and contribute them to make Canada the incredibly diverse nation it is. 
This growth is beneficial to our economy when it translates into more tax-paying Canadians. As Canadians we enjoy universal healthcare, social services that ensure no Canadian has to do without, and education that is brought closer to reach for all Canadians due to subsidization. When Canadians, recent or not, contribute though their taxes to support our economy we are able to grow and improve. A study by Fraser Institute shows that immigrant Canadians may not contribute as much, on average, than their native-born compatriots. The unemployment rate for newly-landed Canadians has also increased over time. This indicates that we may still have a way to go when it comes to ensuring that immigrants to Canada are maximizing their skills and opportunities upon arrival. 
Our current government supports continual immigration and there are certainly benefits to an aggressive immigration policy.  Though we are a developed nation, we still have vast untapped natural resources such as lumber, oil, fresh water, and agriculture. Canadian cities, however, are far-between and located close to the U.S. border. The need for labour to access our natural resources is great and the opportunity to find gainful employment is alluring to newcomers to the country. Another reason behind the support for immigration centres around Canada’s low birth rate and aging population.  

There seem to be varying points of view on the issue of immigration in Canada. On one hand, it is important to breathe new life into our country. Since we are very sparsely populated, we have an enormous amount of potential. Our urban centres, such as Toronto, are highly diverse. Immigrants can find neighbourhoods where they may be able to speak their native languages and enjoy familiar culture. They may not, however, be contributing as best they can to the Canadian economy. In densely populated cities such as Toronto, jobs and affordable housing can be hard to come by. In places like Alberta and Saskatchewan, on the other hand, space remains vast and the need for labour high. Though I am far from being an expert on immigration, I feel that it is crucial to our development as a nation. We are still very new, relatively speaking. We are still defining what it means to be “Canadian” and I feel that bringing in the best people the world has to offer will help. For me, this means looking for those who are skilled and educated, ready to work, and eager to make Canada their home. It also means a fusion of world cultures with our own Canadian identity so that we remain distinct on the world stage. 


This post was inspired by the Immigration Lawyer Network

No comments:

Post a Comment