Immigration is a two-way street to opportunity.
Canada has always been an ideal destination for immigrants who yearn for the opportunity to build a brighter future for themselves and their families. And while that opportunity remains real and achievable, so does the need for more immigrants to pursue it.
After Canada experienced lower immigration during the pandemic, the federal government recently announced a return to increased immigration levels. Canada is now preparing to welcome upwards of 1.5 million newcomers over the next three years.1 The commitment is a sensible response to the need for more skilled workers to fill jobs that are in the process of being vacated by an aging, retiring population.
Like many other countries in the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), Canada’s population is growing older demographically. One in four Canadians will be over 65 years of age by 2035.2
In 1966, there were 7.7 working-age Canadians (aged 15-64) for every Canadian senior. The ratio has continuously dropped and currently stands at 3.4. Statistics Canada projects 3.0 working-age people for each senior by 2027 and a ratio of 2.3 by 2068.3
The value of immigration
The strategy to increase Canadian immigration levels is an exciting opportunity for advisors to expand their business. People immigrate to Canada for a wide variety of reasons, but chief among them is the desire to pursue a better life through more professional and educational opportunities.
Of particular interest is the fact that about 60 per cent of the total new admissions will fall within the “economic class.” These are people who are well educated and can be expected to integrate easily into the Canadian labour market. As professionals, they will begin to earn income and build wealth and may want to explore investments in public and private assets, purchase insurance and establish legal oversight of their estates.
To do this, they will require advice, especially since Canadian financial systems and laws could be very different from what they have been accustomed to. Advisors must realize that regardless of where immigrants originate, they are going to need guidance to help them navigate the Canadian financial landscape and understand how it can benefit them the most.
In 2021, more than 8.3 million people, or 23 per cent of the population, was, at one time, a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada. This was the largest proportion of Canadians since Confederation, topping the previous record of 22.3 per cent in 1921 – and is the highest among G7 countries.4
Support through understanding
Immigration has been the key to Canada’s ability to grow and prosper and is essential to strengthening the economy that will enable the population to expand through the 21st century and beyond. Without it, the challenge of replenishing the shortfall of skilled labourers and professionals left by a wave of retiring and elderly people will be insurmountable.
This reality is well understood across the country and is one of the reasons that 85 per cent of Canadians now strongly or somewhat agree that immigration has a positive impact on the economy, the highest level this response has been in almost 30 years. And today, Canadians are reportedly twice as supportive of welcoming immigrants than was the case fifty years ago.5
Governments are taking action. In Ontario, for example, Premier Doug Ford announced funding to help immigrants and refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine to settle in the province. While also humanitarian, this support seeks to actively attract new workers who can help keep the economy strong as the number of people leaving the workforce ticks upward.
In 2022, Canadians’ median age was 41 years, compared to the median age of 27 in 1950. Nearly 65 per cent of immigrants who have arrived in Canada since 2016 are in the core working age of 25 to 54. In addition, children younger than 15, who will eventually join the workforce, represented 17 per cent of these recent immigrants.6
Invest in new clients
Advisors who want to expand their book of business with newcomers may want to think about tailoring their approach to these prospective new clients. Consider starting with learning more about the person’s origins and community as a means of showing interest and respect, and to build trust. Doing some research to become more familiar with individual circumstances could involve attending events held by cultural associations and small business centres, as well as developing leads with existing clients who can generate effective referrals within immigrant communities. Well-targeted social media outreach and local advertising could also create inroads with potential clients.
The benefits of immigration run along a two-way street, attained by mutual effort. Both you – as a representative of the financial industry, and in a way, the country – and newcomer clients have much to gain. Helping immigrants integrate and discover what’s available to help make their future life in Canada prosperous and enjoyable can turn into future client relationships, with no telling where they might lead.
As a side note, even long-time Canadian residents can also be newcomers and thus offer additional opportunities to connect with new clients. The pandemic boosted interprovincial migration as people took advantage of the remote-working opportunities and changing labour trends that have resulted in a variety of sectors. As a result of the different rules governing personal finance across different regions of the country, some of them may need to establish a relationship with a new advisor.
Regardless of where you are situated in Canada, there are bound to be newcomers that require the same type of services they left behind in their former home. And again, being visible in the community through any number of tactics can be a fruitful exercise in gaining new business.
The Canadian economy is already facing critical labour shortages and business uncertainty that is expected to worsen as more people enter retirement or decide to work less. The simple realization is that Canada needs immigrants to contribute to the rich cultural and economic fabric of our society and help the country thrive. Advisors have an opportunity to be effective participants in this effort.