A bigger Canada benefits us all

A look at why the country’s population needs to grow to 100 million by 2100
By Kate Subak
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/06/2017

Canada is facing significant economic headwinds because of its demographics. This may not seem too alarming, but it is. Baby boomers are retiring, the population is aging, and the fertility rate, at 1.6, according to Statistics Canada, is well below the 2.1 babies per adult couple required to replace the population. Because of these shifts, Canada faces a declining labour force, a large population of non-working dependants, and a weak demand for consumer goods and investment vehicles.

Why does this matter? Because if we do not act, our children will inherit a country that is financially worse off in a world where Canada is no longer a leading economy. If unchecked, Canada’s economy will languish, provinces will spend more than one-third of their budget on health care for an elderly population, and there will be a small — and shrinking — domestic market for food, furniture, housing, cars, cellphones and banking services.

Growing Canada’s population to 100 million by 2100 will reverse these trends. 100 million sounds big — after all, it is a tripling of Canada’s current population. However, we have 84 years to reach this number, and immigration levels would only need to increase three to five per cent per year, rising slowly from 0.85 per cent to 1.3 per cent of the population, according to the 2016 report from the Conference Board of Canada: A Long-Term View of Canada’s Changing Demographics: Are Higher Immigration Levels an Appropriate Response to Canada’s Aging Population? This translates to about 450,000 new permanent residents per year over the next 10 years, enabling the population to grow responsibly and incrementally.