Immigrants Cost $23b a Year: Fraser Institute Report

Kathryn Blaze Carlson, National Post (Canada), May 17, 2011

Immigrants to Canada cost the federal government as much as $23-billion annually and “impose a huge fiscal burden on Canadian taxpayers,” according to a think-tank report released Tuesday that was immediately criticized as telling only part of the story.

The Fraser Institute report (download the PDF here or see it below) says newcomers pay about half as much in income taxes as other Canadians but absorb nearly the same value of government services, costing taxpayers roughly $6,051 per immigrant and amounting to a total annual cost of somewhere between $16.3-billion and $23.6-billion.

“It’s in the interest of Canada to examine what causes this and to fix it,” said Herbert Grubel, co-author of the report Immigration and the Canadian Welfare State. “We need a better selection process … We’re not here, as a country, to do charity for the rest of the world.”

The report acknowledges there are “popular propositions” about the benefits of immigration: Young immigrants pay taxes that support social services for Canada’s aging population; immigrants fill the low-paying jobs that others do not seem to want; Canadians are ennobled by allowing people to share in the country’s economic riches; immigration enriches the cultural life of Canadians, and future generations end up repaying their parents’ debt by earning an average or above-average living in the long run.

Mr. Grubel and economic consultant Patrick Grady argue, however, that these benefits either do not hold up to close scrutiny or that they are simply not worth the economic cost.

The 62-page report used a 2006 Census database to estimate the average incomes and taxes paid by immigrants who arrived in Canada over the period from 1987 to 2004. It found that immigrants paid an average of $10,340 in income tax and other taxes, compared with the $16,501 paid by all Canadians. While newcomers each received $110 less than the rest of Canadians, the “net fiscal transfer per immigrant” still amounted to $6,051 annually. The study examined the incomes of adults exclusively, and assumed the average immigrant pays taxes and receives benefits for 45 years.

“I’m sure the data behind the numbers is sound, but I think it only tells half the story,” said Rudyard Griffiths, co-founder of the Dominion Institute and author of Who We Are: A Citizen’s Manifesto. “The fact is that we’re doing immigration on the cheap … We don’t spend enough money on language services, and we don’t do enough skills accreditation and training.”

He said he is sympathetic to the argument that family reunification is likely burdensome on the tax purse, but said it’s just a “drop in the bucket” given that those visas account for only 11,000 of the 250,000 or so newcomers expected this year.

“The trickier issue is that of the quarter of a million, only about 60,000 are skilled or professional workers,” he said. “Everyone else is dependents.”

Mr. Grubel, himself an immigrant who first migrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1956 “with nothing,” maintains that he is not anti-immigration but rather that he believes immigrants should “pay their way in the welfare state.”

He and Mr. Grady argue that the selection process should be revamped to focus on admitting skilled workers who have job offers with Canadian employers. Recent newcomers should also have to post a bond to cover payments for health-care and social services before their parents and grandparents are admitted as landed immigrants.

Douglas Cannon, a prominent B.C.-based immigration lawyer, said he understands the benefit of the cost calculation, but said it is impossible to attach a price-tag to the benefits of welcoming newcomers.

“Immigration is, in the end, about people and their futures, their dreams, their hopes–how can you put a dollar amount on that?” he said. “It’s about continuing to make Canada a place of opportunity.”

This was not Mr. Grubel’s foray into calculating the cost of Canada’s immigration policies. In 2005, the Fraser Institute released his study that pegged the 2002 cost at $18-billion, but he said this latest report is more “scientifically rigorous and less liable to attack.”

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  • Matt

    Good research, although I would be surprised if anything actually comes of it, as concerns Canada’s bureaucratic and politically-correct immigration system. I would be interested to know the cost of the qualitative aspects of immigration to Canada, which would include such things as Professor Putnam of Harvard University noted in his study showing that immigration decreased trust. What about people who feel they have to leave neighborhoods to escape immigration? Did they lose a lot of money in the process, and is their potential lack of friendships (lack of trust again) contributing to decreased physical and mental health and thus making demands on the health system? That’s a sampling of what else I would really like to see investigated and reported on.

  • highduke

    I read an article today in the Toronto Star about Don Cherry representing a resurgence of the old pre-Trudeau Canadian identity: brotherly ties with America, a strong military, the combat side of hockey & disdain for multiculturalism. I’ve written off Canadians & Brits many times on AmRen but I hope I’m wrong every time.

  • Anonymous

    “Immigration is, in the end, about people and their futures, their dreams, their hopes—how can you put a dollar amount on that?” he said. “It’s about continuing to make Canada a place of opportunity.”

    So says an immigration lawyer, who isn’t exactly an impartial observer, as he makes big bucks off Ottawa’s recklessness. If there’s anybody who SHOULD be able to put a dollar amount on immigration, it’s an immigration lawyer. Just check his income-tax return.

    But what’s even more annoying than this lawyer’s self-serving bias, is his insistance that a small-population country like Canada taking in what are for its size HUGE immigration numbers — 90% of which are from the Third World — is such a fantastically wonderful thing that Canadians should stop talking dollar-amounts and simply WELCOME ANYBODY AND EVERYBODY ALL THE TIME.

    If I were one of these desperate, Canada-bound Third Worlders myself, perhaps I could agree with this lawyer’s happy-talk about hopes and futures and dreams and opportunity. But I am not one of these immigrants. I’m one of the Canadian-born whites who must welcome them and must always be nice to them — and must also shell out $23B per year to them, apparently — under penalty of law.

    So, Mr. Immigration Lawyer, let me tell you about MY hopes and MY dreams for MY future: it’s that I can get my country back before people like you succeed in turning it into the northernmost outpost of the Camp of the Saints. Do MY aspirations for the country I was born in count for anything? Or am I just a big bad “racist” for even raising the suggestion?

  • Anonymous

    “Immigration is, in the end, about people and their futures, their dreams, their hopes—how can you put a dollar amount on that?”

    Standard obfuscation – appeal to the softer, effeminate emotions instead of the higher masculine intellect.

    The higher intellect says that hard-working Canadian taxpayers are subsidizing immigration, so that the established wealthy class can make undue profits investing in ‘growth’.

    No self-respecting man should be able to play the emotional pro-immigration argument with a straight face.

  • Canadian Boer

    In Canada the state religion is the cult of multiculturalism, where immigrants are paid not to become Canadians. Instead of assimilation into Canadian culture, they force Canadians to accept their culture. Furthermore, due to the policy of ‘family reunification’ immigrants bring their elderly and other dependants to live off the welfare state, with the full encouragement of the politically correct liberal elite. These policies, combined with the mass immigration of people from radically different ethnocultural backgrounds, result in the national suicide of our country.

  • white advocate – Canada

    This is not a small sum of money. It is roughly half of the national deficit that everyone is worrying so much about. So you have to love the irony of the liberal indifference to this economic study. For liberals, Canada is going to be the world’s first postmodern nation. We are going to transcend the blood and soil concept of the nation and replace it with a nation based on enlightenment values like progress, science, democracy, justice, equality, and freedom. So when the science of economics is used to criticize immigration policy what do liberals do? They ignore it!

  • Anonymous

    “We need a better selection process … We’re not here, as a country, to do charity for the rest of the world.”

    I agree completely. However, that is EXACTLY what the leftists want. To turn the west into a giant “soup kitchen” where native taxpayers are forced to feed, clothe and house a flood of 3rd world invaders.

  • Anonymous

    Ironically this will all backfire on French-Canada, which is responsible for it by supporting Trudeau, who opened the floodgates to the third world. Quebec had 74 of 262 seats in the house of commons when Trudeau came to power. It now has 75 of 308 and 30 more seats are being created, all outside of Quebec. This growth is caused by population increase, which is caused by immigration. Quebec used Trudeau and immigration to destroy English Canada. But it ultimately has destroyed itself. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face…..

  • Kenelm Digby

    We have to lay to rest once and for all the oft-repeated falsehood that third world immigration ‘economically benefits’ the receiving country.

    Analysis after analysis demolishes the glib lefty falsehood, but unfortunately, we still read the falsehood repeated day after day – it has become ingrained in public opinion.

    It is our task to attack it wherever and whenever possible.

  • Steven Meurrens

    While the premise of conducting a study on the fiscal costs of immigration is interesting, this particular study is incomplete. It ignores some of the direct contributions that immigrants make to the Government of Canada, and glosses over numerous benefits.

    I discuss this in more detail on my blog here:

    http://goo.gl/nAhDG

  • Anonymous

    In response to Canadian Boer, multiculturalism is preferable to assimilation.

    I would rather immigrants kept their turbans and flowing robes, their languages and creeds, and their music and culture.

    The alternative is them ‘going native’, adopting our clothing, styles, language, names, and Western identity. From there they only have to make the final step -intermarriage with a white.

    Let multiculturalism flourish if it keeps them out of our race.

  • Anonymous

    >

    “It’s in the interest of Canada to examine what causes this and to fix it,” said Herbert Grubel, co-author of the report Immigration and the Canadian Welfare State. “We need a better selection process … We’re not here, as a country, to do charity for the rest of the world.”

    >

    I thought you just did? Immigration causes it. Especially immigration from parts of the world which are so superficial to us that we have no reason to invest in their future as our own because _we do not want to breed with them_.

    Period.

    EVERY great innovation of the last 500 years has come from the West.

    Innovation is what lets you send the First World into the Third.

    The West has lost it’s racial pride in itself. We should be nearing the end of raising up our own people to a level where ALL are wealthy _because_ they are white and we give them the benefits we instead extend to immigrants.

    Did we do this, it is highly likely that, in a low stress environment, whites would breed to replacement levels, not least because feminism and a soured economy would not be taking women from the household who didn’t want to go.

    Only the Elites depend on those immigrants for mass junk consumerism which treats _depletion_ of resources as ‘growth’ profits.

    And they give us nothing.

    >>

    “I’m sure the data behind the numbers is sound, but I think it only tells half the story,” said Rudyard Griffiths, co-founder of the Dominion Institute and author of Who We Are: A Citizen’s Manifesto. “The fact is that we’re doing immigration on the cheap … We don’t spend enough money on language services, and we don’t do enough skills accreditation and training.”

    >>

    No. We live in a world which is about to go post-petroleum based economics. That means that, like the English who had to choose between cutting down the last of their old growth forests to use as timber for ships and trade or power for the industrial revolution, we now face a choice. Oil can be made from genetically engineered bacteria in sufficient quantities that, with rigourous recycling, we can sustain a material oil culture. We _cannot_ sustain a material+power+propulsion one.

    And having smaller numbers is the key to survival, not just as a race but as a society, as distributionist economics collapses.

    >>

    Mr. Grubel, himself an immigrant who first migrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1956 “with nothing,” maintains that he is not anti-immigration but rather that he believes immigrants should “pay their way in the welfare state.”

    >>

    And so he loses all credibility because he lacks the stones to say instead:

    “NO! I was a _valuable_ addition and my kids can reproduce with yours to make valuable grandchildren! Today’s immigrants are not the same _quality_ of people and they should not be allowed in simply because we are abhorrent of the kinds of societies they have created for themselves in their **own homelands**.”

    >>

    He and Mr. Grady argue that the selection process should be revamped to focus on admitting skilled workers who have job offers with Canadian employers. Recent newcomers should also have to post a bond to cover payments for health-care and social services before their parents and grandparents are admitted as landed immigrants.

    >>

    Rubbish. Close the borders to all but those qualified engineers and scientists and artists who _must_ move from Western country to Western country, making up for the traitorous shortfalls in our technical classes brought on by the likes of Alan Greenspan and a generation of teaching ‘self esteem’ instead of math.

    Give our people the incentive to replace themselves as a population.

    And if there is anything left over, _export_ the First World to the Third.

    >>

    Douglas Cannon, a prominent B.C.-based immigration lawyer, said he understands the benefit of the cost calculation, but said it is impossible to attach a price-tag to the benefits of welcoming newcomers.

    >>

    This man should not even be a part of the dialogue. He has long since proven his intentional desire to replace his own people without any cause as these people are NOT ENDANGERED in their own homelands.

    Whatever personal qualities (creaming the limited resources of 3rd world nations is a crime against humanity for those left behind) they might bring to the table is NOT enough to innovate the technologies we need to pull out of our present nose dive.

    And so we are left supporting a welfare class instead of dramatically shifting investment towards the highest technology solutions in genetics and robotics to save _us first_.

    So that we can /then/ save the planet. Again. If we choose.

    >>

    This was not Mr. Grubel’s foray into calculating the cost of Canada’s immigration policies. In 2005, the Fraser Institute released his study that pegged the 2002 cost at $18-billion, but he said this latest report is more “scientifically rigorous and less liable to attack.”

    >>

    Which is his self consciousness talking. I bet the original study included many recommendations and ‘biased views’ that were unpalatable to the Elite’s intended vision of our world.

    And so this is a watered down second chance that folds him safely back into the flock of statistic taking sheeple.

    There is no hope for this planet, let alone white culture, until we have our homelands (even small ones) secure and our agenda set back on the course of We For Us.

    And let the weeping world be until they get their out of control birth rates and fantastically backward IQs under control.

  • Anonymous

    #10 Steven Muerrens

    I noticed you provide a link to your immigration law website in which you contradict the findings of the Fraser report. In particular, you raise two exceptions.

    First, you say the report fails to consider that international students pay double the tuition of domestic students. Okay, so domestic students are subsidized by Canadian taxpayers and international students aren’t. So what? Why should the Fraser report consider something that has no net effect on the cost of immigration? Particularly when international students aren’t even immigrants.

    Second, you say the report fails to consider the investor program in which immigrants loan $250,000 – $800,000 to the Government of Canada. Really? And just how many immigrants are in a position to loan Canada a quarter of a million dollars??? It can’t be many or they wouldn’t be costing Canada an average of $6,051 per year.

  • Anonymous

    Immigration in Canada has been a total disaster since the 1960’s. It will all end very badly, I’m afraid.

  • patthemick

    I get just sosick of hearing immigrants do the jobs that we wont. We wont do those jobs for the money offered and if employers had to hire natives the wages would go up and thus workers on higher paid jobs would see an equal improvement in their wages as a rising tide lifts all ships.

  • Anonymous

    If all these immigrants are so useful then why can’t they build a fuctioning societies in their own countries?

  • Anonymous

    But immigration was supposed to enrich us, not cost us money.

    I want to know how to get that money back, one way or the other.  I’m sick of my country being ripped off and having its money sucked out to third world crapholes.