July 24, 2024 5:48 AM

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Canada Confronts Immigration Challenges Amid Economic Strain

Canada is grappling with a major immigration challenge in 2024, marked by high housing prices, declining per capita income, and a brain drain to the United States. These issues stem from years of restrictive immigration policies under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Housing prices in Canada have surged, making homeownership increasingly difficult. Per capita income has decreased, compounding economic pressures. The restrictive immigration policies have created barriers for new immigrants.

A major factor in Canada’s population growth is the influx of foreign nationals on student visas. Many of these students, even those from unaccredited institutions, are eligible for a Canadian Green Card after three years and can apply for citizenship in the fourth year if they meet the requirements for permanent residency.

Canada’s population, currently at 42 million, grew nearly twice the rate of other G7 nations between 2016 and 2021, primarily driven by immigration. Although the COVID-19 pandemic slowed growth in 2020, it rebounded in 2021. 

Statistics Canada projects that by 2041, the population will reach 47.7 million, with 25 million being immigrants or their Canadian-born children. By 2068, the population could range from 44.9 million to 74.0 million. However, speedy population growth has exacerbated the housing affordability crisis.

In the third quarter of 2023, Canada’s population grew by over 430,000, the highest quarterly growth since 1957. Migrant workers and students on student visas drove this surge. 

Both native-born Canadians and immigrants are relocating to the US due to rising housing costs and declining per capita income. In 2022, a record 12,634 people moved to the US, a 70 percent increase from 2012.

Since 2020, Canada has seen the largest annual decline in GDP per capita among 50 industrialized economies, falling by 0.4 percent. The average salary in Canada is 38 percent less than in the US, but there is a higher employment rate.

Canada’s 2024 immigration crisis underscores the need to balance population growth, economic stability, and housing affordability. 

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