Max Boot: Canada’s Future — and ‘Own Haircut’

We are entering a period of unprecedented change in Canada as a result of the country’s youngest ever Prime Minister and the decisions she has made since taking office in November. This will be a challenging time for Canada as Canada’s population nears its highest numbers since Confederation 70 years ago. Canada’s youth population is expected to grow dramatically over the next few decades, representing some of the largest sources of population growth over the next 20 years.

But in coming decades, Canada is also expected to grow and thrive. The full potential of a modernizing Canada will be made possible by Canada’s talented, caring, and multicultural work force.

Canada’s population is aging, and 40 percent of Canadians over 65 are women. As women continue to have their highest rates of childbearing and aging, Canada’s fertility rate will further decline. This trend, coupled with a relatively small immigrant population, will mean that the number of new Canadians who reach adulthood will shrink. However, it is Canada’s own youth that will build the future of this country.

Canada has over five million youth in this country. That number is expected to continue to grow and represent more than half of the total population by 2031. Canada’s youth are in high demand in Canada’s growing job market, and they are filling entry-level positions across Canada, with 95 percent of jobs requiring a university education.

Canada’s youth are aging faster than in other countries. The combination of an aging Canadian population and a relatively young Canadian population is contributing to a growing group of unemployed youth, particularly in rural and remote communities.

Whether it’s in Alberta or Ontario, or in British Columbia, young Canadians are moving to get a job. In Alberta, 97 percent of the new workers coming to the province’s booming oil and gas sector are Canadians aged 20 to 34, and youth unemployment is less than 5 percent.

Because many young Canadians want to live in Canada’s largest cities, they are fleeing other countries and driving a two-tiered housing market. Since 1995, Montreal experienced a net migration to Ontario, a 12.5 percent rise, whereas the number of people moving from Ontario to other provinces declined 13 percent. The number of jobless people living in Ontario grew 46 percent between 2012 and 2017, one of the steepest increases among the provinces. This migration trend has been fuelling a growing housing market in Canada’s major cities, adding tremendous pressure on rental rates and higher prices for homes.

A growing number of immigrant Canadians are also part of this trend. According to the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance, in 2017, 33 percent of immigrants who were living in poverty in Canada before arriving in Canada were living there before they arrived in Canada. They are vital members of our country’s work force, contributing thousands of dollars to Canada’s GDP each year.

Canada’s most recent census is a tremendous source of pride for many Canadians, particularly of an ethnically diverse demographic. First Nations, Inuit, and Metis in Canada are now calling Canada home. This demographic is the fastest growing segment of Canada’s population, and their increasing influence is transforming the country. As Canada ages, they will provide a vital workforce and diversity in the country’s future demographics.

Canada is, and will continue to be, a nation of many nations. Canada is home to over 500 different ethnic groups, presenting a glimpse into the diversity that defines our own country. This diversity is not being ignored by Canadians; we have Canada’s First Nations and Inuit ministries, as well as the Special Counsellor for Multiculturalism, who work to ensure that all Canadians feel included in the process of life and growth in Canada.

The National Post of Canada, the country’s oldest-running news organization, has begun hosting regular citizenship classes in each province and territory, opening Canada’s doors to everyone interested in Canadian citizenship.

Each class is facilitated by a special topic representative of Canada’s diverse society. Though every year brings with it unique challenges and opportunities, Canadians have voted Canada one of the most generous and proud countries in the world.

Canada is unique. And it continues to amaze me what we can accomplish together. Together, Canada is strengthening Canada’s amazing work force, and becoming Canada’s friends and allies around the world.

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