How Hamilton will change with Canada’s ambitious immigration plans

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Published November 4, 2022 at 5:17 pm

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Canada is as much of an immigrant nation as it has been at any time since Confederation, which will entail Hamilton’s newcomers from abroad alone adding 1 per cent to the local population.

This week, Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council (HIPC) released an analysis, derived from the 2021 Canadian census, that shows Hamilton could be welcoming even more newcomers than it has recent years. Twenty-six per cent of residents of the city immigrated to Canada. Immigrants who arrived in the last five years studied comprise 3.6% of Hamilton’s population, which is higher than it was during the 2016 census.

That came while the federal government was scaling up immigration targets, which reached 405,000 in 2021. The feds’ stated focus on attracting skilled workers in sectors such as health care, skilled trades, manufacturing and technology is being scaled up further from 2023 till ’25.

“Hamilton received 1.5% of immigrants who landed in Canada between 2016 and 2021, HIPC Program Officer Mohammad Araf states. “With the new immigration level targets, we could expect to see 7,000 to 7,500 immigrant admissions in Hamilton each year until 2025.”

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser recently detailed the nation’s goals for gaining permanent residents. Canada plans to attract 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025.

Regarding Hamilton, HIPC says economic-class newcomers account for most of the growth in immigrant admissions from 2016 to ’21. That group accounts for 39 per cent of admissions. Refugees made up 35 per cent, which was also up from ’16. Family-sponsored newcomers decreased.

The number of non-permanent residents in the city makes up 2.3 per cent of the population, which is twice as much as it was five years ago. One in four Hamilton residents who are immigrants were once international students, refugee claimants or temporary foreign workers.

As projected decades ago, Canada’s economy will face challenges as the Baby Boomer generation (1946-64 births) and Generation X (1965-80), who began life at a time of higher birth rates, age out of the workforce. Thirty years ago, Canada’s economy assumed about a 6:1 worker-to-retiree ratio, which helped keep CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) flush with funds. That ratio could fall into the range of 3:1 or 2:1.

The federal plan calls for the proportion of economic class immigrants to grow while that of refugees and humanitarian class admissions will decline slightly. It also includes language around attracting newcomers to different regions of the country, including small towns and rural communities.

Officially, people born from 1981 to ’96 (currently 26 to 41 years old) are part of the Millennial generational cohort. Some people with late 1970s to early ’80s use the term Xennial to reflect how they are on the cusp of the divide.

(Graphic: HIPC.)

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