VANCOUVER, BC-Recent mass immigration has negatively
affected Canadian living standards and is challenging the
country's existing national identity, culture, and social
fabric, concludes a new book released today by the Fraser
Institute, Canada's leading economic think tank.
Based on a series of papers presented to a 2008 Montreal
conference on immigration,
The Effects of Mass Immigration on Canadian Living Standards
recommends significant changes to Canadian immigration policy
including changes to the selection process that would limit the
number of immigrants.
"Since 1990, Canada's annual rate of immigration has been
the highest in the world, resulting in a population increase of
3.9 million people between 1990 and 2006. This mass immigration
has had profound effects on Canada's economic, demographic,
social, and political conditions, affecting the well-being of
all Canadians including past immigrants," said Herbert Grubel,
Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-editor of the book.
"Unfortunately, most Canadians are insufficiently aware of
these effects partly because a code of political correctness
tends to identify any examination of immigration policies with
racism and partly because Canada's electoral system rewards
politicians who are in favor of the current high intake."
The book provides the Canadian public with analytically
sound and well-documented empirical information about the
significant positive and negative effects mass immigration has
had on the country.
The book is organized into five sections that offer an
in-depth analysis on:
- The economic and social effects that the immigration
policies have on the residents of Canada, United States and
- The economic effects of mass immigration in Canada.
- An analysis of the demographic effects of immigration and
the help that immigration is alleged to bring in making up
the projected shortfall in funding Canada's social
- The social challenges brought on by mass immigration,
such as threats to national identity, culture, unity, and
- An analysis of the political and other obstacles that
prevent changes to existing immigration policies in Canada
In a chapter about recent immigration and Canadian living
standards, Grubel stresses that official statistics show that
recent immigrants on average earn substantially lower incomes
than native-born Canadians, so that the system provides them
with subsidies through taxes paid by high-income earners.
Grubel estimates that immigrants who arrived in the 12 years
before 2002 imposed a fiscal burden of $18.5 billion on all
Canadians in the year 2002 alone.
On the demographics front, contributing authors Marcel
Merette, Robin Bannerjee, and William Robson examine the
feasibility of financing government social programs through
increased immigration. They show that it currently requires
five taxpayers to cover the costs of government benefits
provided to each recipient, and calculate that in order to
maintain that ratio, the number of immigrants would have to
rise so much above present levels that Canada's economy and
society could not deal with them successfully.
"One estimate is that by the year 2050, Canada's population
would have to be 165.4 million to meet this objective and that
the intake of immigrants that year alone would be 7 million.
The basic reasons for this outcome are that immigrants age at
the same pace as everyone else and, like other Canadians, are
eligible to receive social benefits in retirement," Grubel
Contributing author Stephen Gallagher discusses the
implications of increasing numbers of recent immigrants who
have retained their loyalties and attachment to their native
countries, many to the extent that they live in their native
countries while they are citizens of Canada and enjoy all the
privileges that come with that status including a Canadian
passport and protection while abroad.
The extent of this phenomenon became clear during the
hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, when
thousands of Canadian passport holders living in Lebanon
demanded that the Canadian government evacuate them on the
basis of their rights as Canadian citizens.
Gallagher suggests that immigrants with Canadian passports
living abroad have turned Canada into a "global suburb," a home
away from home to which one returns only when conditions abroad
Salim Mansur focuses on how mass immigration and the policy
of multiculturalism are undermining Canadian culture and
identity. His chapter addresses what he sees as a wide-spread
self-loathing among Western societies, and he foresees
continuing conflicts between Canadian society and large numbers
of immigrants from different cultures.
"The efforts by the citizens of Herouxville to protect their
culture are indicative of a growing conflict and efforts to
resist the undermining of Quebec and Canadian culture," Grubel
The book concludes that Canada needs a better process for
selecting immigrants, since the costs and problems of
immigration are the direct consequence of the present system
used to select immigrants. Ideally, the new selection process
would bring the range of immigrants' incomes closer to the
average incomes of other Canadians. Under these conditions, the
taxes paid by the immigrants with high incomes are sufficient
to pay for the public benefits absorbed by those with lower
incomes, just as is the case with other Canadians. The fiscal
costs to other Canadians, which arise under the present system,
"Immigration is without a doubt, one of the most important
political issues facing Canada. In order to make the necessary
changes to immigration policy to ensure the well-being of all
Canadians, politicians need to begin having a reasoned
discussion of the issue without fear of offending specific
voting blocs," Grubel said.