As the Canadian economy shows increasingly positive signs, the contribution of immigrants is playing a major role in its growth

CIC News
Published: September 24, 2009

Despite the global economic recession, the Canadian economy has proven to be quite resilient. Throughout September, there have been many signs that not only showed that the economic situation in Canada is improving, but that its economy was less affected by the global downturn than most economies around the world. Canada remains an ideal place to do business with its stable banking system and the ease of starting a business in the country, and as the economy moves out of the recession, immigrants are the key to its success.

At the end of last month, the Bank of Canada declared that the recession in Canada was effectively over. Statistics Canada (StatsCan) had reported that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew in June, for the first time in 11 months.

StatsCan recently announced that in August, the private sector created more than 27,000 jobs, an unexpected growth in the job market. Canada’s major banks are reporting profits in the third quarter of 2009, another sign that the economy is recovering. In addition, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), the federal housing agency, said that the housing market is expected to rebound over the last few months of 2009.

Analysts are saying that all of the above are positive signs, showing not only that Canada is recovering from the economic downturn, but that its economy is also expected to grow.
"The upturn in June GDP, the swift snapback in housing amid rebounding consumer confidence, and a stabilizing U.S. economy all suggest that Canada’s recession is indeed ending," said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, a leading financial services provider.

Newcomers to Canada have been driving the housing market. Over the last eight years, immigrants to Canada were responsible for more than half of housing sales in the Greater Toronto Area. A report released in July by Scotiabank, a major Canadian financial institution, found that newcomers are making a faster transition from renting homes to owning homes than they did in the past.

“Given Canada’s aging population and low fertility rates, longer term household formation and housing needs will be largely determined by immigration,” Adrienne Warren, the author of the report, said.

In addition, immigrants' skills and experience are becoming increasingly valuable to the Canadian economy.

"Immigrants bring skills, including language and cultural abilities, knowledge and networks that can help us to reach out to emerging economic giants such as China and India, as well as emerging markets at home – particularly at a time when the U.S. economy remains weak and we need to be looking to expand our trade and cultural relationships even more," said Gordon Nixon and Dominic D'Alessandro of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.

As a result, many employers in Canada are taking steps to ensure the successful integration of immigrants into the Canadian labour market, such as providing mentorship programs, language instruction services, network opportunities and other such initiatives.

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