Canada should triple its population if it wants to fix its economy.
That’s the approach two prominent members of the Trudeau government’s influential council of economic advisers are proposing, with a goal to see Canada hit 100 million inhabitants by the year 2100.
The most obvious way to reach that target, of course, is through immigration. The council called for a 50 per cent increase in annual permanent immigration – from 300,000 people a year currently to 450,000 people a year by 2021.
Those who support the initiative say increasing Canada’s population is the most effective way to boost economic growth as Baby Boomers enter retirement and no longer participate in the workforce.
“It would obviously change the country considerably. It’s a different path … But I don’t think it’s crazy,” said council member and McKinsey & Co managing director Dominic Barton about the 100-million goal.
Canada is currently on target to reach a population of 53 million by 2100 without policy changes that would greatly increase immigration.
Five years ago, Barton and a group of friends hanging out at his cottage in Muskoka created Century Initiative to “responsibly and thoughtfully grow the population of Canada to 100 million by 2100.” Ways to achieve that goal have now been presented to Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Ottawa will decide on November 1 just how many newcomers will be admitted into Canada annually moving forward.
The next challenge will be getting Canadians on board with the plan. Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains says the government is dealing with pushback from the public over its immigration policy.