Population projections indicate immigration is critical to Canada's future prosperity.
Without a steady level of immigration, Canada's population growth
could eventually dip below
zero. Immigrants are an important source of skilled labour and entrepreneurship, and contribute
to Canada's cultural diversity. For this reason, provinces are anxious to attract and retain
immigrants. For similar reasons, it is important to keep emigration levels in check.
Immigration levels spike and dive in response to both federal immigration policies (particularly
intake targets) and economic conditions. The West's share of Canada's new immigrants is lower
than its share of Canada's population (26.9 percent of new immigrants in 2000 compared to
30 percent of the
The importance of immigration to population growth varies dramatically among the four
western provinces, ranging between 72.1 percent of population growth in British Columbia to
17 percent in
Saskatchewan in 2000. What is clear from data and population projections is that
immigration's importance to population growth is increasing, and will continue to
Excerpts reprinted from Robert Roach and Loleen Berdahl, State of the West: Western Canadian Demographic and Economic Trends(Calgary: Canada West Foundation: 2001), with permission from the Canada West Foundation.