Discussion Paper no. 03-03


Immigration has a substantial influence on the size and growth of the population and the labour force, and also considerable influence on the socio-cultural composition, as seen through ethnicity, language and visible minority status. Given the uneven distribution of immigrants over regions, and their subsequent re-migration patterns, immigration accentuates the growth of the largest cities. Immigration enhances the educational profile of the population, but controlling for age, immigrants now have lower proportions in the labour force, lower average income and higher proportions with low income status. Replacement migration can be defined in various ways. An immigration of about 225,000 would prevent population decline in the foreseeable future, and with slightly higher participation would prevent decline of the labour force. It is impossible to use immigration to prevent an increase in the population aged 65 and over as a ratio to the population aged 20-64. Immigration can somewhat be seen as replacing the socioeconomic distribution of the population, though to a lesser extent over time as the Canadianborn have various advantages. But immigration cannot be seen to be replacing the existing geographic distribution of the population, nor its socio-cultural composition.