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Feds stick by immigration plan, rethink international student flows

August 17, 2023

By Vancouver is Awesome |

The alarm bells are becoming bull horns: Canada’s housing supply isn’t keeping up with the rapid rate of population growth.

Academics, commercial banks and policy thinkers have all been warning the federal government that the pace of population growth, facilitated by immigration, is making the housing crisis worse.

“The primary cause for (the) housing affordability challenge in Canada is our inability to build more housing that is in line with the increase in population,” said Murtaza Haider, a professor of data science and real estate management at Toronto Metropolitan University.

A TD report released in late July also warned that “continuing with a high-growth immigration strategy could widen the housing shortfall by about a half-million units within just two years.”

But the Liberals are doubling down on their commitment to bring more people into the country, arguing that Canada needs high immigration to support the economy and build the homes it desperately needs.

“Looking at the (immigration) levels that we have recently approved as a cabinet (and) as a government, we can’t afford currently to reduce those numbers,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

That’s because Canada’s aging population risks straining public finances, he said, as health-care needs rise and the tax base shrinks.

A report by Statistics Canada published in April 2022 finds the country’s working population has never been older, with more than one in five people close to retirement.

At the same time, Canada’s fertility rate hit a record low of 1.4 children per woman in 2020.

The TD report, co-authored by the commercial bank’s chief economist Beata Caranci, notes that economists are the ones who have been warning of the economic consequences of Canada’s aging population.

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