University of Leicester
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Canadian immigration and public policy : past, present and future directions

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:36 authored by Constantine E. A. Passaris
This research endeavour attempts a critical appraisal of the scope and substance of Canada's immigration policy and program. In a preparatory effort I review the contribution of major economists towards the development of a comprehensive theory of international migration. I conclude that the economic parameters of immigration theory have been a sadly neglected dimension within the historical evolution of mainstream economic theory.;In the absence of a conceptual framework for immigration within mainstream economic theory countries of immigration have resorted to short term immigration policies in the reactive mold that are essentially an immediate crises management of demographic factors and labour market requirements. My research analyses the concepts of carrying capacity, optimum population size, absorptive capacity and defines the economic parameters of immigration process through the selective use of Buchanan's theory of clubs.;A historical review of Canada's immigration program highlights the paramount role that short term economic considerations have played in influencing the direction and thrust of Canada's immigration policy and legislation. Canadian immigration policy has two principal adjudicative tools at its disposal. These include federal statutes such as Immigration Acts or cabinet directives commonly referred to as immigration regulations which take the form of Orders-in-Council.;Over the broad spectrum of Canada's economic history this country's immigration policy has had three major objectives. First, immigration was considered an effective means for expanding Canada's population at a faster rate than would be feasible through sole reliance on the natural increase process. Second, immigration was relied upon to supplement and complement the numerical and/or qualitative dimension of the domestic labour force. Third, immigration was perceived as an effective tool that would facilitate, sustain and enhance the process of economic growth and development.;Canada's demographic profile characterized by the end of the baby-boom the decline in fertility rates, the ageing trend in the population and prospects for an absolute decline in the Canadian population shortly after the turn of the century necessitate an enhanced role for immigration to Canada. My research suggests the need for a longer term and more proactive immigration policy. Finally, Canada's recent inflows of multicultural immigration and global demographic trends suggest that future immigration to Canada will be predominantly multicultural and multiracial in composition.


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University of Leicester

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  • Doctoral

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  • PhD



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