Second-gen Canadians need a settle down agency

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Pradip Rodrigues

A couple of weeks ago Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced it would take in 40,000 more immigrants in 2021 than it plans to accept this year. The news was more or less greeted with a shrug by most Canadians who’ve lost count of the number of international students awaiting PR status, (approximately 1 million) refugee and asylum seekers in the thousands and the rest of the other categories.

The target for new arrivals in Canada will rise to 350,000, which is nearly one per cent of the country’s population. This isn’t counting the tens of thousands of international students coming to Canada each year, a majority who plan to be permanent residents.

We’ve all been told that importing ever increasing number of immigrants is of national importance because natural increase to population growth has waned as the Canadian population is ageing and fertility rates are in decline. Today, natural increase accounts for less than one-third of Canada’s population growth and has ceased to be the major player in the equation.

Meanwhile, migratory increase plays an increasing role in Canada’s population growth. Migratory increase currently accounts for about two-thirds of Canada’s population growth and that proportion will continue to increase because a large number of new immigrants find it culturally and religiously imperative to procreate regardless of their economic circumstances.
Statistics Canada projects that immigration will not only continue to be a key driver of population growth in the coming years and warn that without it, Canada’s population growth could be close to zero in 20 years, as the domestic population is projected to remain below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman.

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Our immigration minister like others before him continue to says economic immigration is badly needed in areas across the country that are short on workers and long on older residents.
Meanwhile immigration advocates and economic groups are not satisfied with the new immigration levels and are calling for even bigger increases to Canada’s immigration numbers. The government’s own economic advisory council suggested admitting 450,000 people in a report in 2016.

We keep hearing about Canadians choosing not to have children or cannot have children due to fertility or age issues but we don’t hear politicians talk about incentivizing Canadians to have children. Why? Because it is far simpler to ‘import’ immigrants who will dutifully produce future Canadians.

Settlement services receive millions of dollars to help and assist newcomers in need but what Canadians with tenure need is perhaps Settle Down Services. Many thousands of young Canadians are not having children because they find it hard or impossible to settle down and they need help and guidance.

Let’s try to understand why Canadians who should be having babies aren’t even thinking about it. First of all, if they go on to university, they are saddled with thousands of dollars in student debt, then these are professional students that are barely job-ready by 27 or even 30. By the time many of them get real jobs with benefits, they are in their early to mid-thirties, by which time finding the right partner could prove to be challenging.

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But even harder could be finding a decent house big enough to raise a family that is also close to his or her place of work. Many Canadians with tenure unlike many new immigrants aren’t open to living in joint families which means they have to get a single-family dwelling. With the cost of such homes beyond the reach of most young people, it is increasingly the immigrant and his extended family pooling in resources and snapping up large houses to house their large extended families or renters.

Businesses in places like Toronto are already worried about potential young professionals who will move out of the city because they can’t afford decent accommodation. Living in a tiny rental apartment and paying $2000 for it may be charming and cool when single, but it supresses any dream of having children.

While there is a general trend among millennials to endlessly travel the world and consume vast quantities of smashed avocado on toast, there exists a silent segment of millennials who are receptive to having children but cannot afford a home. So we come to the issue of housing affordability.

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The problem facing western democracies is that feminism has inadvertently given a higher status to women who work outside the home and those who choose to be homemakers feel stigmatized. If housing wasn’t so expensive, perhaps thousands of women or men could opt out of the workplace or choose to work part-time for ten years or so. This would allow them to raise children. The jobs they quit could help some other women who are looking to re-enter the workplace. I am willing to bet that if such a large chunk of one’s paycheck on housing cost, it would have been possible for one partner to work while the other raised children. Here is where a Settle Down agency could really make a difference, by helping moms and dads who’ve walked away from good jobs to in order to raise a family to find a pathway back into the workforce at a later stage.

If perhaps we ever had that kind of help for second generation Canadians, you would find more domestically produced children and many happy grandparents who would have something to look forward to in their retirement. And in 2021 we may not need to import 40,000 more immigrants. -CINEWS

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