This article explores the link between economics and immigration policy. The lesson plan seeks to educate students about Canada’s current immigration policy and explain how it affects our nation’s economy.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Economics, immigration

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the risks and opportunities associated with Canada’s immigration policy?
  • How has the changing digital economy affected immigration?
  • What hurdles might immigrants face? How can they adapt to the Canadian work environment?
  • Who are asylum seekers? What hurdles do asylum seekers face in terms of successfully integrating into Canada’s advanced labour market?
  • What is the benefit of having a diverse labour market? How does immigration contribute to having a diverse labour market?

New Terminology:

Asylum seekers.

  • According to the UN Refugee Agency, an asylum-seeker is someone whose request for sanctuary has yet to be processed. Every year, around one million people seek asylum.
  • A person becomes an asylum seeker by making a formal application for the right to remain in another country and keeps that status until the application has been concluded. An asylum seeker becomes a refugee or a migrant after his/her application is approved.

Materials Needed:

A copy of the article.

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

A nation’s immigration policy has a significant impact on the health of its economy, in the short and long term.

Canada has a relatively friendly immigration policy. According to Statistics Canada, Canada welcomes approximately 235,000 new immigrants per year. As of January 29, 2017, Canada had welcomed 40,081 Syrian refugees, following the outbreak civil war in Syria, to 350 communities in Canada. Notably, 14,274 Syrian refugees were privately sponsored, which suggests that Canadians are generally compassionate towards immigrants.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) considers numerous factors before accepting a given immigrant.

For asylum seekers, the CIC assesses the risks the applicants face. That is, the following factors are considered:

  • If the individual is outside his or her home country.
  • If the individual’s country is currently undergoing a civil war.
  • If the individual is being denied basic human rights on an ongoing basis
  • If the individual cannot return to his/her country due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, sexual orientation, etc.

For skilled workers, the CIC assesses the ability of applicants to contribute to the Canadian economy by assessing applicant’s skills, education, language proficiency (in English or French), work experience, age, quality of job offers, etc.

Given the rapid changes occurring in today’s digital economy. It is imperative that the CIC continue to update its immigration policy to capture the best labour and foreign capital and maintain a dynamic labour market in Canada.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Ask your students to explain the connection between economics and immigration policy.
  • In this article, Senator Ratna Omidvar states that “Canadian policy-makers need to remind themselves that immigrants are as diverse as the rest of the population. Some will be sought after, and others will be less skilled yet just as capable of finding jobs.”
  • Ask your students to explain the difference between these two sets of individuals. Ask your them to explain why it is important for a given economy to have both sets of individuals in its labour force.
  • Ask your students to state the high-demand skills in the labour market today.
    • Ask them to compare these skills with those that were in demand five or 10 years ago. Has there been any evolution?
  • In today’s economy, employers seek fully-rounded individuals. As a result, in addition to technical skills, employers hire individuals with people skills, entrepreneurship skills and other enabling competencies.
    • Ask your students to explain why immigrants may struggle to find jobs due to an employer’s desire for fully-rounded individuals.
    • Ask your students to state some ways newcomers to Canada can adapt to employer’s demands.
    • Ask your students to assess how employers could become more inclusive, and state the risks employers expose themselves to by seeking “fully-rounded individuals.”

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Ask your students to explain the benefit of having a diverse labour market. Ask your students to explain how immigration contributes to having a diverse labour market.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • After completing this lesson plan, students should have a better understanding as to how Canada’s immigration policies affect the strength of its labour force and its economy.

Confirming Activity:

  • Ask your students to state steps Citizenship and Immigration Canada could take to make Canada more appealing to highly-skilled immigrants.