This year’s World Population Day comes after some quite momentous milestones were passed in the past 12 months. India has now surpassed China as the world’s most populous country and the global population passed 8 billion people.
In Canada, our population increased by a record 1 million people in a single year, with the vast majority coming from inward migration. Immigration is expected to become the dominant driver of Canada’s population growth for the foreseeable future, which is why the work of ISSofBC and other immigrant-serving organizations that supports newcomers is so important.
Predictions made by Statistics Canada paint a fascinating picture of Canada’s demographic future. Following current trends, in just 18 years, half of Canada’s population will be immigrants and their Canadian-born children and 1 in 4 Canadians will be born in either Asia or Africa.
With such shifts in Canada’s population dynamics, the need to provide suitable economic and social support for newcomers should become a key focus for everyone living in British Columbia.
Chris Friesen, ISSofBC Chief Operating Officer, who has over 30 years in the immigration sector, has called for greater planning and forecasting in the private sector as well as the provincial level to prepare for this growing number of immigrants and refugees:
“These are people [coming to Canada], these are future Canadians. They need housing, they may need to access our health care system. They’ll take transit and their children will attend public schools… We need a better holistic plan, and forecasting, so those [property] developers know, here’s what the projected population growth increase. We need to do more of that planning, future projection piece. That’s why I think the time has come for a [change] in B.C.’s immigration plan.”
At ISSofBC, we support 1000s of newcomers each month on their settlement, language learning and employment journeys while ensuring their feel safe and welcome in their communities and neighborhoods. This World Population Day is the perfect time to recognize the positive contribution newcomers make to British Columbia today, and will continue to make, far into the future.