The Influence of Immigration on Canada's Population over the Past Two Decades

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With regard to population, Canada is a medium-sized country, the population of which was 35 million in 2012. The country's population demonstrates the tendency of the steady growth largely due to the continuous flow of immigrants. In 2011, immigration accounted for 68% of Canada's population growth (Bone, 2013).

Influence on Population Size

As seen in Table 1, immigration is the primary factor of population growth in Canada. It accounts for 300,000 people annually (Bone, 2013, p. 123). The data also demonstrates Canada's declining rate of natural growth, which provides the rationale for high level of immigration.

Population increase in Canada from 1993 to 2011 (Bone, 2013, p.137)

Year \ Natural Increase \ Immigration \ Total \ % Immigrants

1993-4 \ 181,758 \ 227,860 \ 409,618 \ 56

2000-1 \ 95,955 \ 255,999 \ 351,954 \ 73

2007-8 \ 126,883 \ 249,603 \ 376,486 \ 66

2010-11 \ 133,452 \ 280,681 \ 414,133 \ 68

Changes in Ethnic Composition and Cultural diversity

The areas of Canadian society, where immigration has the most influence, are ethnic composition and cultural diversity that now more strongly than ever highlight changes in the society. These changes over the past two decades have indicated that the leading ethnic group of Canadians still remains and have increased from 1996 by 1,3% up to 32% in 2006, while the shares of English and French people have reduced (Bone, 2013; Statistics Canada, n.d.). At the same time, the proportions of other ethnic groups is rising at different rates. For instance, the share of South Asians has grown up to 4% and Chinese - to 3,9% (Statistics Canada, n.d.).The largest rates of growth since 2001 belongs to Latin Americans, South Asians, and Filipinos (Statistics Canada, n.d.). The visible minorities in largest cities constituted 16,2% of population in 2006 compared with 11,2% in 1996 (Statistics Canada, n.d). This process affects fertility rates, and a clear example is a phenomenon of large Muslim families. In addition, the Chinese language became the third most commonly spoken language after English and French.



The Influence on Population Distribution

Immigration also affects population distribution in Canada. Its population is mostly concentrated in two demographic regions - southern Ontario and southern Quebec, which form a demographic core with 62% of total country's population (Bone, 2013). During the past decades, the demographic core created job opportunities for newcomers based on the economic gains. Since the financial crisis, Western Canada had started attracting a growing number of immigrants by its business opportunities.

Dominant Demographic Positions

The most popular destination for immigrants is Toronto, while a smaller number choose Montreal and Vancouver (Bone, 2013; Statistics Canada, n.d.). The share of immigrants in Toronto accounts for 46% of the city's population, and visible minorities have increased from 26% in 1991 to 37% of Toronto's population in 2001 (Bone, 2013). While the first waves of immigrants came to the city from Europe, most recent newcomers are from the following countries - 14% from China and Hong Kong, 10% from India, and 6% from Italy and the Philippines (Bone, 2013).


Canada is an urban country, because a major part of its population lives in urban areas. Its urban population increased from 77% in 1991 to 82% in 2011 (Bone, 2013). The greatest increase has taken place in census metropolitan areas (CMAs). During the last decade, a rate of growth in 33 CMAs was 15% compared to 11% for Canada as a whole (Bone, 2013; Statistics Canada, n.d.). One of the most important sources of the urban growth is the arrival of immigrants from overseas, as in the example of Toronto.

The Importance of the James Bay Project to Quebec, the Canadian Heartland, and Canada

The James Bay Project Overview

The James Bay Project is a massive hydroelectric project in northern Quebec that began in 1972. It includes several completed projects and some hydro-projects under development designed to harness power from the rivers flowing from Quebec into James Bay. The Canadian Shield in Quebec provides potential for hydroelectric developments based on sufficient precipitation as the vast water resources, topography, and access to the market. The project allows producing and distribution of electrical power at a very low cost through dams, reservoirs, generating stations, and transmission lines. Its geographical advantage is proximity to energy-short New England. The project involves three separate river basins with about 20 rivers and covers 20% of Quebec territory.

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Project's Importance for Canada

The project strengthens energy supply security of the country. Besides, energy surplus services as a lever for the national economic development (Gouvernement du Quebec, 2006).

Project's Importance for the Heartland

The Heartland is a strong industrial region divided into the East Axis Manufacturing Area (Quebec), and the West Axis Manufacturing Area that includes the Golden Horseshoe area from Toronto to Hamilton (GEOG 202.3). These areas have strong energy demand due to their industrial bases. The project maintains and supports the development of power-consuming industries. Thus, the project is an essential component that has an effect on the Heartland's future and the relationship between Quebec and other parts of the country.

Project's Importance for Quebec

The project allowed Quebec's government to pursue two goals-economic and political. Fulfilling its economic objective stimulated the economic growth through state intervention. From the political point of view, it increased "Quebec's public and private ownership of its economy within the francophone business community" (Bone, 2013, p. 241). With Quebec's surplus of hydroelectric energy, export is a key economic factor that provides an opportunity for building megaprojects in the northern Quebec. Besides, the vast electrical power generated by the James Bay Project allows Quebec's government to establish energy-consuming industries in the province. They are offered special electricity rates and are allowed to export surplus power to the energy-hungry utilities in New England.

In addition, the project supports a hub position of Quebec. Although it is ranked second after Ontario among the six regions in terms of economic output, it is still dependent on exports to the rest of Canada, the United States, and global markets. In other words, it helps protect consumers and Quebec's industrial structure (Gouvernement du Quebec, 2006).

The project also enhanced local and regional communities' involvement. Construction with the support of series of agreements over hydroelectric development in the James Bay region has changed for better the lives of the local aboriginal people. They moved to new settlements and are now more involved in the industrial society than ever before.

The Important Role of Ontario's Location in Canada

Ontario's Overview

Ontario has a leading location among the cities in Canada and North America, because it is the heartland of Canada's manufacturing. It also plays a dominant role in the financial industry and serves as the cultural center for the English-speaking Canada. The crucial components of Ontario's economy are manufacturing and forestry. The major market for Ontario's products remains the United States, while advantages that have driven Ontario's economy are now vanished.

Location Advantages

Ontario covers over 1 million It occupies a central location within Canada and has proximity to the industrial heartland of the U.S. This location has greatly facilitated Ontario's economic development. The province is divided into two sub-regions with different economies. Southern Ontario is an agricultural-industrial core, while northern Ontario is a resource hinterland.

Low-cost transportation

Central location and available transportation routes provide an opportunity for the development of Ontario's industrial base. Transportation routes, which facilitate low-cost transportation, are the key factors of the economic development, for example, the Welland Canal or an ocean shipping route.

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The geographic advantage of manufacturing in southern Ontario is its proximity to America's manufacturing belt. Such geography has facilitated locating of the branch plants of American industries in the region, especially the automobile industry. Eventually, it has led to the establishment of a common market between Canada and the U.S. for production and marketing. Until 2008, annual production of cars and trucks had reached around 2.5 million, most of which were exported to the US market, and at this level, Canada's vehicle production was 14% of North America's vehicle output (Bone, 2013). Moreover, Ontario was developing as a large domestic market because of decreasing transportation costs.


The geographical location of Ontario allows the province to engage in trade, both domestically and internationally. The main trade partner of Ontario is the United States, which receives 80% of its exports. The importance of this market to the province's businesses is critical. For example, automobile trade accounts for 30% of Canada's trade with the US.

Manufacturing jobs

The availability of a skilled labor force, which is essential for producing quality products, allowed Ontario to create nearly 50% of all manufacturing jobs in Canada (Bone, 2013). For example, the automotive industry, which still remains the pillar of manufacturing in Ontario, provides jobs for about 150,000 people. These highly skilled workers produce high-quality products that account for 12% of Canada's GDP (Bone, 2013).

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