Stalling immigration may add to Canada’s COVID-19 economic woes By Reuters


© Reuters. The phased reopening from the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) restrictions in Toronto


By Fergal Smith and Steve Scherer

TORONTO/OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s immigration minister expects the stream of individuals coming to reside and work within the nation to be a driver of economic progress following the coronavirus disaster, however economists say there may be fewer jobs ready for them.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal authorities has relied on immigration progress to increase the Canadian financial system since coming to energy in 2015, setting a goal of 1% of the nation’s inhabitants of practically 38 million.

But Canada’s borders have been closed since March and may be sluggish to reopen for worry of igniting a second wave of COVID-19, the respiratory sickness brought on by the novel coronavirus. That may worsen what’s already anticipated to be a steep economic stoop within the nation this yr.

The authorities has issued 35,000 permits for short-term overseas employees, together with 26,000 to assist with planting and seeding, to assure meals safety amid the border closure, Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino instructed Reuters.

But the federal authorities’s aim to welcome 341,000 new everlasting residents this yr will probably be exhausting to meet due to the pandemic. In 2019, the goal was to herald 330,000.

Immigration “is an economic driver … That will continue to be the case after we’re on the other side of the pandemic,” Mendicino mentioned.

New residents have boosted the Canadian financial system in recent times by including to the labor power and spending cash on items and providers. Canada’s client spending rose by 1.8% in 2019, which was a tempo that hardly exceeded its inhabitants progress.

But economists say it may take a while for the extent of economic exercise to attain pre-crisis ranges.

“Immigration will remain relatively low compared to 2019’s record year, because high unemployment will reduce the incentive for immigrants to come,” mentioned Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics.

Canada misplaced a record-breaking 2 million jobs in April whereas its unemployment charge surged to a near-record 13%.

Canada’s inhabitants progress due to individuals coming to reside within the nation has slumped following 4 of the previous 5 recessions, Brown mentioned.

Fewer jobs may crimp client spending, however it may additionally harm the housing market, which has been rising in recent times to assist the demand from new residents.

“Housing, whether it be Real Estate services, or residential construction, has become a very large part of the Canadian economy, particularly in Ontario and British Columbia,” mentioned Royce Mendes, a senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets.

If you’re taking immigration “out of the equation, that softens the outlook for housing, no doubt,” Mendes mentioned.

Last week, the chief government officer of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation mentioned the nationwide housing company is forecasting a decline in common home costs of as a lot as 18% within the coming 12 months.

“With the reduced pace of immigration, the hit to the oil sector, the Canadian economy might very likely be recovering at a slower speed than some of its other G7 counterparts,” Mendes mentioned.

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