One of the major objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) is to support Canada’s economy and competitiveness. Canada’s immigration program does this by attracting new immigrants, helping them integrate into the labour market and ensuring that success is attainable for all newcomers. Current demographic trends indicate that these newcomers will play an increasingly important part in the labour market. This is underscored by the twin demographic challenges on the horizon: the first being the retirement of a large number of baby boomers and second, a limited number of new workers who are coming from domestic sources. The central questions addressed in this paper, then, are how will the Canadian labour market evolve over the coming decade and what will be the role of the immigration program in this challenging environment?
This paper concludes that Canadian immigration programs alone cannot address the major challenges faced by the Canadian labour market. However, that being said, immigration can prove to be an invaluable tool for dealing with shortages in specific occupations and regions through the admission of permanent residents from different classes and foreign nationals with temporary work permits.