Canada’s Immigration System Is a Model for Other Countries

In the last half-century, Canada has built a reputation as a country that welcomes immigrants and values multiculturalism. Foreign-born individuals represent almost a quarter of the Canadian population, the highest proportion in over 150 years and one of the highest among industrialized Western countries.

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Immigrants have helped the country counteract demographic aging and boost economic growth, although some Canadians have expressed concern about the increasing pressure on housing and social services.

Canada became an even more attractive destination for immigrants in the last decade after policies enacted under U.S. President Donald Trump severely restricted access to the United States. Although President Joe Biden has largely reversed those policies, his administration has worked with the Canadian government to limit the number of refugees and asylum seekers crossing the northern U.S. border into Canada.

Immigrants have helped counteract the demographic aging Of Canada

Meanwhile, Canada is experiencing a prolonged labor shortage, exacerbated by the lack of skilled workers. Its immigration system also faces other challenges, such as the increase in asylum applications.

Like in the United States, immigration has significantly shaped Canadian society and culture. After gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1867, Canada used immigration to help develop vast expanses of land. Government-sponsored information campaigns and recruiters encouraged immigrants of the time to settle in rural and frontier areas.

But not all immigrants were welcome. Policies in the 19th and early 20th centuries prevented or discouraged immigration from certain groups, including people of non-European and non-Christian origin, as well as the poor, the sick, and the disabled. Immigration to Canada changed during the postwar period when refugees and others fleeing Europe arrived, as economic growth demanded a larger workforce.

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