Census data shows Vancouver Island’s population is aging and highlights the need to increase the number of skilled immigrants coming to the region.
By Matthew Gauk, Daily News (published on Canada.com)
Victoria — Statistics Canada data released Tuesday on the inescapable “silver tsunami” of seniors expected on Vancouver Island in the coming years is ample evidence of the need to boost the number of skilled immigrants coming to the region.
So says the executive director of the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society, Hilde Schlosar, pleased with the results of a B.C. government task force on immigration whose report released last week called for an immediate increase to immigration levels and efficient immigration procedures.
The Immigration Task Force produced their report identifying the need for immigrants to fill labour and skills gaps after conducting eight regional consultations in the province, including one in Nanaimo in January, and online feedback.
The task force’s meetings were closed to the public.
“With the retirement wave that is coming quite rapidly because of the baby boomers . . . we have zero population growth or minus and we are just not having enough children to be able to sustain our economy,” said Schlosar.
“People moving in and adopting this country as their home, living here, working here and contributing to the economy is crucial to us.”
The task force said Friday that its members heard loud and clear from employers that if more skilled immigrants aren’t immediately brought to B.C., “businesses may have to close or relocate, resulting in fewer jobs and opportunities for British Columbians.”