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Policy brief, Migration & borders, Public policy, Ontario 360, Munk School

ON360 Transition Briefings 2022 – New Thinking For Newcomers: How Ontario Can Do Right By Its Growing Immigrant Population

After a COVID pause, Canada’s immigration levels are back on target at over 400,000 newcomers each year. What should Ontario be doing, in terms of settlement policies and programs, to ensure their successful arrival?

The role of immigration in Canada is expanding. The year 2020 saw a relatively modest inflow of 185,000 immigrants, its small size largely due to Covid-19. In 2021 came a turnaround, with the federal government’s goal of 401,000 immigrants met. Even higher targets have been set for the coming three years: 431,645 (2022); 447,055 (2023); and 451,000 (2024). This projected influx will equal well over one percent of Canada’s entire population annually. If achieved, each figure would represent an all-time high.

Driving these targets is a stark demographic fact. Canada’s fertility rate is low enough that, without a significant addition of newcomers, our dependency ratio—the sum of young people and the elderly relative to the working-age population between 20 to 64 years—will rise to unsustainable levels.