Immigration Updates - Canada

Low Quebec Birthrate, Aging Population Spur Calls for Increased Immigration

MONTREAL — An ever-declining birthrate in Quebec as well as an aging population are putting the spotlight on the province's immigration levels against the backdrop of issues such as the economy, identity, culture and language.

   The province's statistics bureau said the 2015 rate was 1.6 children per woman, down one per cent from 2014 and marking the sixth consecutive year it had edged lower.

   While that figure may not appear abnormally low, the province also has a rapidly aging population and a growing shortage of skilled workers.

   Quebec estimates 1.1 million people will retire between 2013 and 2022 and a recent document published for the Immigration Department said "this situation underscores the need to reassert immigration's role and its contribution to Quebec."

   Immigrants, however, are not spread out evenly across the province, and Statistics Canada estimates visible minority groups will represent 31 per cent of Montreal's population by 2031 — but no more than five per cent everywhere else in Quebec.

   Universite de Montreal demographer Marc Termote said he's "very, very worried'' about the growing cultural and linguistic divisions between Montreal and other cities.

   "What's happening is a profound break between Montreal and the rest of Quebec,'' he said.

   For example, he explained, there are more immigrants in one of Montreal's suburbs, Brossard, than in all of Quebec City, the capital and second-largest city in the province.

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