TORONTO — A slowdown of immigration to Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to derail a major source of economic and labour force growth, according to a report from the Royal Bank of Canada.
The shortfall jeopardizes the ability of the country to find employees needed in sectors such as health and elder care as the baby boom generation moves into retirement over the next few years, the report says.
It calls on the federal government to find new ways to encourage more immigrants to move to Canada.
“Canada does rely on having large numbers of people coming to the country to fuel growth and, if we see these large declines, one concern could be that people may decide maybe they don’t want to come to Canada anymore,” said report author Andrew Agopsowicz, a senior economist for RBC who studies labour trends.
“I think it’s really important for Canada to ensure the process is clear and that we still put out this attitude that we are open and we want people from the rest of the world to come to our country.”
Canada added 34,000 permanent residents in the second quarter, down 67 per cent from the same period last year, the RBC study said.
Meanwhile, new permanent residency applications to Canada were down 80 per cent and just over 10,000 new study permits were processed, down from 107,000 a year earlier.
Despite a recent recovery in the pace of immigration, the bank expects to see only 70 per cent of the originally targeted 341,000 new permanent residents at the end of the year, a decline of about 100,000 people.
The shortfall is particularly bad news for elder care as labour shortages have gotten worse in the wake of the pandemic’s deadly sweep through the country’s nursing homes, said Dr. Samir Sinha, director of health policy research at the National Institute on Ageing at Ryerson University and director of geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital.
“We’ve been having a huge struggle finding workers and retaining workers in this sector for years … and we were only keeping it afloat by often recruiting immigrants who are willing to take on these jobs that we as Canadians didn’t want to do,” he said.
“The fact it’s low paid and not valued also speaks to one of the reasons it’s been incredibly hard retaining (staff).”
Sinha said higher wages are needed not only to recruit Canadian-born workers but also to keep ambitious immigrants on the job longer.
Canada’s ability to attract immigrants with meaningful work as the economy struggles to rebound from the pandemic may be difficult.
A Statistics Canada report published Thursday finds that recent immigrants were harder hit by pandemic-related job losses, with 17 per cent becoming unemployed from March to April compared with 13.5 per cent of workers who are Canadian-born or immigrants who have been in Canada more than 10 years.
The percentage was higher, almost 20 per cent, for recent female immigrants.
The difference is significant, said Statistics Canada analyst Feng Hou, adding it is attributed mostly to recent immigrants having less work experience and earning lower wages.
“From past experience, when immigrants come during hard times, they tend to have a hard time finding jobs,” he said, adding there’s no data as yet to tell if that will happen in the current environment.
Travel restrictions that began in March and continue today make it difficult for people to physically come to Canada, Agopsowicz said.
At the same time, the lockdowns in the early days of the pandemic slowed processing of applications in Canada and prevented potential immigrants from accessing programs to ease application in their home countries.
An unknown is whether the COVID-19 virus, which hits senior citizens hardest, will have a dampening affect on the desire of foreigners to come to Canada and leave behind their vulnerable elderly relatives, Agopsowicz said.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty, I think, when people arrive already during normal times, so I think people are starting to work through what that means,” he said.
“This may be somewhat of a lost year (but) is this going to be easy to recover from next year in terms of bringing increased numbers back?”
Only about 20 per cent of new permanent residents are former students or temporary workers, he pointed out, suggesting Ottawa could do more to try to convince those people to permanently reside in Canada to bolster numbers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 20, 2020.
The Canadian Press
Most Canadians say economy needs fundamental changes: report of COVID-19 priorities – News 1130
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — More than six months into the pandemic, many Canadians say the economy isn’t working the way it should, according to a survey.
A Better Canada: Values and Priorities after COVID-19 report found 44 per cent of Canadians think the way the economy works needs to be changed, and many people want more climate action.
The report from the Environics Institute and Vancity surveyed 3,008 Canadians online between Aug. 17 and 24.
“There is a big appetite among the public for change,” Andrew Parkin, with Environics Institute, says. “They want to see the economy work better, they want to address inequality between rich and poor, they would like to see progress on making essential medicines free through the public health care system.”
He says about one in 20 people believe everything is fine the way it is.
“One of the things I found interesting is that even among those who are the highest income earners, fewer than one in 10 think the economy is fine the way it is.”
And when it comes to the environment, there is a lot of support for investing in clean energy technologies.
“They want to kickstart the economy by investing in green technologies or new businesses that can promote both the environment and growth at the same time,” Parkin says.
Even if it slows down economic development, the survey found three in four Canadians want the environment to be protected in the country. Eighty-four per cent also say it’s important for corporations to have policies and programs in place to protect the environment.
According to the report, almost all parents agree Canada should be a country where affordable and high-quality daycare for young children is available to all who need it.
Read the full report:
GUEST OPINION: Trails can stimulate the economy in Atlantic Canada – TheChronicleHerald.ca
here are many things that this pandemic will have taught us, however for many it has reinforced the value of trails and greenspaces.
As a trail professional of nearly 20 years I’ve always valued trails and greenspaces, however in this fast-paced world with ever-changing technologies, many people began to take the great outdoors for granted.
With limited activities to do during the pandemic and many people stuck in the house most of the day, the opportunity to get outside and breathe some fresh air is now becoming something that is vital for their well-being.
These days I’m inundated by Facebook posts, tweets or Instagram posts of people relishing in the outdoors and thankful to have access to trails and greenspaces. As we begin to become accustomed to a new normal, it’s time for us as a society to start thinking about getting back to some of the more simple things in life and how these things can act as both a social and economic catalyst for communities. Many of these things don’t need to be complicated, but can have a tremendous impact as we begin to come back from the ramifications of COVID-19.
One of these opportunities is to foster the development of a trail economy. Many countries have capitalized on the trail economy; however Canada and Atlantic Canada have not come close to realizing the potential it has in developing a strong economy based on greenway trails. The trail economy is the idea of generating both indirect and direct revenue through the development and promotion of trails as a product.
This however is not a “build it and they will come” scenario; it requires significant engagement between trail managers working hand in hand with outfitters, business owners and community leaders to ensure that there is a strong integration between all stakeholders. What it doesn’t require, however, is significant investment of funds to get these relationships developed.
Prince Edward Island is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the trail economy and is in a unique position as an established tourist destination. The Island is well known for their hospitality and many people consider P.E.I. as a premier vacation destination.
The Confederation Trail provides tourists and residents alike with a 450-km trail that spans the province and provides access to many of the most scenic coastal regions on the Island. A feature that the Confederation Trail has over many of its counterparts is the relative short distance between communities thus allowing trail tourists with good access to food and beverage, accommodation and other critical amenities to ensure that they have a memorable experience.
It’s now time for these communities and the provincial government to take advantage of this feature and ensure that they are properly equipped to take on the task of welcoming these tourists to their beautiful towns and villages. The development of programs such as Trail Towns, where the business community and other key stakeholders work together to assess their attributes and work together to fill in their service gaps in the next key step of the development of the Confederation Trail as a tourism product.
Trails and greenspaces connect us to the land, the people and histories of our communities. With many people staying close to home this year and perhaps in the years to come, let’s take this time to get better connected, learn more about the region, create a stronger and healthier population and a more vibrant economic outlook for Atlantic Canada.
Jane Murphy-McCulloch is a principal at Terminus Consulting and was national director of Trail with the Trans Canada Trail, developing 10,000km of land and water trail along with road cycling infrastructure to ensure the successful connection to the national trail system in 2017.
UPDATE – Canadians Say Economy Needs to Change – GlobeNewswire
UNCEDED TERRITORIES OF MUSQUEAM, SQUAMISH AND TSLEIL-WAUTUTH NATIONS and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Sept. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Most Canadians think the economy is not working the way it should and many say its needs to be changed to better address climate change and the problem of inequality, according to new research released today by Environics Institute and Vancity.
A Better Canada: Values and Priorities after COVID-19 is a comprehensive study of public opinion on Canadians’ expectations from governments, from corporations and from each other. The survey of more than 3000 Canadians was conducted at the end of August 2020, roughly five months after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
Key findings of the report include:
- A plurality (44%) of Canadians think the way that our economy works needs to be changed ‘fundamentally’. Only five per cent think that the way our economy works is fine the way it is.
- Three in four (73%) agreeing that the government should reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.
- One in three Canadians (32%) say they’ve experienced more depression, anxiety or panic attacks as a result of COVID-19, and almost three in ten say they’ve had difficulty sleeping.
- One in four Canadians (23%) say that they owe a lot more (10%) or a little (13%) more than they can afford in terms of their credit cards and loans (excluding mortgages).
- Almost two in three (64%) Canadians say they think of taxes as mostly a positive thing because they’re how we pay for the important things that make our quality of life good, such as health care, education and roads – down 11 points since the question was last asked in 2011.
- Four in five Canadians (82%) favour the idea that corporations have to be responsible to their employees and communities, and that this is as important as profits.
- Four in five (81%) – including 93 per cent of parents with young children – agree that Canada should be a country where affordable and high-quality daycare for young children is available to all parents who need it.
- Four in five (82%) Canadians also agree that Canada should be a country with a social safety net that helps everyone facing difficult economic circumstances.
- 69 per cent of Canadians agree that people who are addicted to drugs should be provided with treatment by the public health care system and not treated like criminals.
- Canadians remain supportive of the country’s universal, publicly-funded health care system, with almost nine in ten (87%) agreeing – including 57 per cent who strongly agree – that Canada should be a country with a public health system that covers everyone, that is fully supported through taxes
- A majority of Canadians think that investing more in clean energy technologies and environmentally friendly businesses can make it possible to combine a faster economic recovery with action on climate change.
- Albertans are more likely to mention both the environment and the need to diversify the economy as reasons why fundamental change to the economy is needed.
Quote from Christine Bergeron, Interim President and CEO, Vancity:
“Rising inequality was a pre-existing condition of the Canadian economy before the pandemic hit but the problem has been laid bare by COVID-19. Our research shows that Canadians want change, and they want action on climate and inequality. We’re at a clutch moment in our history as our governments consider how best to recover from the impact of the COVID crisis. We have the opportunity to build the kind of society Canadians want, one that is greener and more just.”
Quote from Michael Adams, founder and president, Environics Institute for Survey Research:
“This survey finds that Canadians are feeling anxious but also resilient and want to see policies that would better protect those who have borne the brunt of the pandemic’s impact. And rather than fiscal retrenchment, citizens continue to want public spending that promotes social and environmental justice.”
A Better Canada: Values and Priorities after COVID-19 can be found online here.
Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 543,000 member-owners and their communities, with offices and 60 branches located in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay, within the unceded territories of the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw people. With $28.2 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.
Tweet us @vancity and connect with us on facebook.com/vancity.
The Environics Institute for Survey Research was established by Michael Adams in 2006 to promote relevant and original public opinion and social research on important issues of public policy and social change. It is through such research that organizations and individuals can better understand Canada today, how it has been changing, and where it may be heading.
Tweet us at @Environics_Inst and visit us online at www.environicsinstitute.org.
For more information:
Media Relations | Vancity
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