The need for new immigrants remains "too great" to amend quotas, according to the federal immigration minister
The government of Canada is set to continue with its immigration targets despite the current housing crisis in the country, as reported by BNN Bloomberg.
“I don’t see a world in which we lower it, the need is too great.” said Marc Miller, immigration minister.
Miller said the government needs to keep or raise its yearly immigration target for permanent residents to around half a million. This is because of the decreasing number of working-age people in relation to the number of retirees as it poses risks to public service funding.
“Canada needs to address that in a smart way, and that means attracting a younger segment of the population to make sure that people can retire with same expectations and benefits that their parents had. That’s the stark reality of it,” Miller added.
In the previous year, the total arrivals of foreign students, temporary workers, and refugees amounted to one million. Critics say that population upswing caused a strain to major urban centres and intensified the country’s housing shortage.
In a recent survey by Abacus Data, 61% of surveyed Canadians said they believed the immigration target was too high. Sixty-three percent (63%) said that the number of new immigrants would have a negative impact to the housing market.
“From many people’s perspective, the growth that Canada experienced hasn’t been matched with an increase in infrastructure. It’s putting a strain on public opinion toward immigration more broadly. We’d be foolish to assume that Canada’s immune to the same forces that have affected other countries,” said David Coletto, Abacus Data’s chief executive officer.
Stefane Marion, National Bank Financial’s chief economist, urged the government to revise the immigration target to leave room for housing construction efforts to catch up with the growing demand. He said that homebuilders cannot keep up as immigration caused an imbalance in the housing market.
Miller disagreed with the idea of putting the blame on immigration efforts.
“We have to get away from this notion that immigrants are the major cause of housing pressures and the increase in home prices,” he said.
“We tend not to think in longer historical arcs or in generational terms, but if people want dental care, health care and affordable housing that they expect, the best way to do that is to get that skilled labour in this country.”