If the doors to immigration were closed, the conference board estimates economic growth would slow from a trend rate of 1.9% to an average of 1.3%

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Mario ToneguzziImmigrants play an important role in the Canadian economy and a report released on Tuesday by the Conference Board of Canada says the country’s labour force and economic growth would shrink significantly if the doors to immigration were closed.

The board estimates that economic growth would slow from a trend rate of 1.9 per cent to an average of 1.3 per cent annually.

“While it is unlikely that Canada would stop immigration completely, building this scenario helps us better understand the contributions of newcomers to Canada’s economy,” said Kareem El-Assal, senior research associate of Immigration at the Conference Board of Canada, in a statement. “If it stopped immigration, Canada would experience a shrinking labour force, weak economic growth and greater challenges funding social services such as health care.”

The report, Canada 2040: No Immigration vs. More Immigration, shows that in a no-immigration world, Canada’s population would age more rapidly. By 2040, 26.9 per cent of the population would be 65 and over, compared with 22.4 per cent if Canada gradually increases its immigration levels. Meanwhile the ratio of workers to retirees would drop from 3.6 to 2.0.

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.


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