Editor's note: Coming to Canada

Okey Chigbo, Editor of CPA Magazine, introduces the features in the special June/July 2016 issue on immigration.

Modern Canada was created by waves of immigrants and, if some theories of origin are to be believed, even the Aboriginal Peoples may have come from somewhere else. So why is immigration such a contentious issue in Canada? You would think that if everyone is from, or has ancestors from, outside North America there shouldn’t be such a fuss over immigration. But there is, and to look at some of the knotty questions around it, we have produced this immigration issue.

The first question we ask is whether immigration is good for Canada today. In "Boon or Bust?" writer Susan Smith says, "Of course, there are costs associated with processing and supporting immigrants, and the net benefit for a country such as Canada is hard to quantify. But one forecasting model does indicate that an increase in immigration would benefit the country as a whole economically. The study ... concluded that taking in an extra one million immigrants over a 10-year period would increase Canada’s real GDP by 2.3%." Smith adds that this increase would result in a "modest increase in GDP per capita for people already living in the country." The rest of the story provides support for the view that immigrants are beneficial to Canada.

While we allow many immigrants in, Canada is reputed to have the worst record of the developed countries for matching immigrant qualifications to jobs. Are there good reasons why newcomers cannot use the qualifications from their home countries to climb the success ladder? In "Dr. Cab Driver," writer Peter Carter looks at the issues.

Carter informs us that Canada seems to have always needed a specific type of immigrant. A 19th century federal immigration minister once described the ideal immigrant as a peasant "in a sheep-skin coat, born on the soil, whose forefathers have been farmers for ten generations, with a stout wife and a half-dozen children."

That kind of focus on specific need is what Carter describes as "tightly disciplined, blending the skills and temperaments of newcomers with what government planners saw as the needs of the economy." Carter’s well-written story might make you rethink some of your comfortable views on the issue.

What compels someone to leave everything he or she knows to pursue a life halfway across the world? Writer Rosalind Stefanac asked that question of four immigrant accounting professionals and, as you would expect, getting into the profession was by no means a walk in the park. In "The Big Leap," she recounts their experiences in brief profiles.