VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 10, 2015) - Despite recent policy initiatives to improve the economic prospects of immigrants, Canadian taxpayers still bear a heavy fiscal burden to support newcomers, finds a report released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank.

"Immigrants who arrived in Canada since 1985 have been less successful economically than those who arrived before that time," said Herbert Grubel, Fraser Institute senior fellow, professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University and co-author of Immigration and the Welfare State Revisited.

The study calculates that the difference between the tax payments of immigrants who arrived since 1985 and the value of government services they consume was about $5,329 per immigrant in 2014, representing a total cost to Canadian taxpayers of between $27 billion to $35 billion annually.

"Although the federal government took a number of positive steps to improve the selection of immigrants so that newcomers are better equipped to support their families in Canada, Canada's welfare-state policies, progressive income taxes, and universal social programs, mean that new Canadians still impose a fiscal burden on taxpayers," said Patrick Grady, study co-author and economic consultant.

The study points out many positive recent federal policy initiatives - implemented in an effort to improve the economic prospects of newcomers - including an improved selection criteria in the Federal Skilled Worker program and the introduction of the Canada Experience Class, which gives preference to immigrants who have already demonstrated their labour-market skills in Canada.

But Grubel and Grady argue that further reforms are still needed.

They propose a greater reliance on private sector and labour market conditions in selecting immigrants. Specifically, they recommend economic class immigrants be invited to Canada only if they possess a job offer from an employer paying at least the median wage prevailing in the province in which they will be employed.

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

Contact Information:

Herbert Grubel
Senior Fellow, Fraser Institute

Patrick Grady

Aanand Radia
Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
(416) 363-6575 Ext. 238