Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser recently announced an immigration plan that has long-term consequences for the nation’s population growth and environmental degradation.
According to Progressives for Immigration Reform, Fraser’s goal is, by 2025, to add 1.45 million permanent resident immigrants to address critical labor shortage. Allegedly 1 million Canadian jobs are unfilled. The Minister’s new plan projects a flood of new arrivals that will see 465,000 foreign nationals in 2023, rising to 500,000 in 2025. By comparison, 405,000 permanent residents were admitted last year.
“Make no mistake. This is a massive increase in economic migration to Canada.”Sean Fraser, Immigration Minister, Canada
According to the organization, Fraser’s vision to admit a record-breaking number of immigrants is inspired by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s sentiments. Following his 2019 election wherein he campaigned on more immigration, he followed up with welcoming messages to refugees. Defending his massive immigration increase, Fraser repeated familiar refrains about an aging Canadian population and a low birth rate. Without immigration, Fraser foresees a Canada that won’t have the financial resources to fund schools, hospitals and other services.
The organization says Canada’s long-standing commitment to higher immigration levels has created an unprecedented population surge. In 2021, Canada’s population rose to 37 million people, up 5.2 percent from 2016, driven mostly by immigration, according to official government data. Downtowns and distant suburbs of large cities have experienced the largest growth rates.
Progressives for Immigration Reform says Canada added 1.8 million people between 2016 and 2021, with nearly 80 percent of those new residents arriving from across the globe. Research from Statistics Canada (StatsCan) published in its Census 2021 release gives Canada the dubious distinction of being the fastest-growing G7 country. Almost 90 percent of new immigrants settled in urban centers, Statscan said.
During the five-year time period studied, Toronto’s population increased 16.1%, Montreal’s 24.2%, and Vancouver’s 7.4%, according to the organization. The report concluded that Canada continues to urbanize as large city centers benefit most from new arrivals to the country. But not all Canadians would use “benefit” as a descriptor for rapid, uncontrolled population growth.
Canada is undergoing a severe housing crisis that has driven home prices out of the range for many buyers, according to the organization. Simply put, more people mean that more homes and more roads that lead to them must be built. And new home development creates urban sprawl.
Mike Moffatt, executive director of the Smart Prosperity Institute, outlined the crisis that exploding population has wrought for environmentalists. “What [land] isn’t being used for housing is either being used for nature, like the Greenbelt, or for farmlands, – and we’re already losing 175 acres a day in Ontario of farmland to development.”
The organization says Ontario environmentalists like Moffatt are fighting to save its glorious Greenbelt from ever-greater development and sprawl. Today, plans to run a highway through a portion of the belt are advancing.
Like most environmentalists in Ontario, Moffatt fears that at any time the government could decide to develop “little pieces” of the Greenbelt, according to the organization. Sooner or later, Moffatt fears, those little pieces could add up to great big chunks.
The organization says the new immigrant total will far exceed 1.45 million. New immigrants will grow their existing families and petition certain family members. Princeton University scholars estimated that each migrant will petition three relatives living abroad. Within a generation, the 1.45 million new Canadians could swell to more than 3 million.