Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Lisa Lalande is the chief executive officer of the Century Initiative; Tom Milroy is the vice-chair and treasurer of the Century Initiative’s board of directors.

Canada is at a crossroads. Our population is aging, and we are having fewer children. Our work force is shrinking, while the need for skilled labour is growing. COVID-19 has only made these challenges worse. According to the most recent reporting from Statistics Canada, the country’s population growth rate is at its lowest in more than 100 years.

An aging population and shrinking work force is a challenge to Canada’s long-term prosperity. It means fewer tax dollars to support the programs and services – from health care and schools, to roads, public transit and social services – we treasure as Canadians. That decline will, over time, diminish our quality of life, our standard of living, and the cultural fabric of the country. So, while our immediate collective focus is, and must be, the social and economic recovery from the pandemic, we cannot lose sight of the need to think longer term about the kind of country we want to leave future generations of Canadians. Simply put, we have a choice: We can manage our growth or manage our decline.

Story continues below advertisement

Since 2016, when a diverse group of Canadians from the business, academic, and charitable sectors first recognized the country’s population challenge and chose to act by creating the Century Initiative, we have advocated for policies to grow Canada’s population to 100 million by 2100. Growing to 100 million people would reduce the burden on government revenues to fund health care, old age security and other services. It would also mean more skilled workers to meet our labour market needs, and could contribute to more innovation, and fuel entrepreneurship.

However, if we want a more prosperous Canada, for more Canadians, we need to both plan for it and manage our efforts to achieve it.

That means ensuring the benefits of growth are shared among all Canadians. It means working with the provinces and territories, with municipalities across the country, and with Indigenous communities, where the population is younger on average than the rest of Canada’s population and is growing at a faster rate. And it requires a commitment to environmental sustainability. We can only manage these needs, though, if we measure our progress.

That is why Century Initiative created The National Scorecard on Canada’s Growth and Prosperity. The Scorecard is a new tool to help Canada’s policy and decision makers track our progress toward the goal of 100 million people by 2100. It is unique because it takes a holistic view of population growth, using data from the OECD, Statistics Canada, and other sources, to track a range of factors that, together, contribute to achieving that goal in a smart, sustainable manner.

From indicators on immigration numbers and child well-being, to our performance on fighting climate change, productivity, social progress, youth educational success, and employment, the Scorecard sets targets based on how Canada should perform compared with similar countries or against goals we have established as a country. And, it determines if we are leading, on track, in need of closer attention, or falling behind.

For instance, it assesses Canada’s performance on child care, because we recognize that there is a relationship between the quality and availability of child care and improved child well-being, labour-force participation for parents, particularly mothers, and could support a family’s decision to have more children. We track Canada’s progress on rolling out digital infrastructure because, as the pandemic has taught us, accessible, reliable internet service is critical to conducting business, accessing medical services, and connecting with family and friends.

While there is much work to do if we want to reach 100 million people, and enjoy the benefits that go with it, we are making some important progress. For instance, we remain among the top countries in the world when it comes to our reputation, which means we can attract people to Canada. But we also need to do more to attract immigrants with the skills for the jobs of today, and tomorrow.

Story continues below advertisement

We are leaders when it comes to high-school performance in reading, math and science, and in the proportion of our population with postsecondary education. But we need to increase investments from public and private sources for employee training programs once people enter the work force, and we need to ensure that the federal government moves forward with commitments to develop a national child care program.

These are just a few examples to illustrate the complex range of factors that influence population growth and, in turn, contribute to Canada’s prosperity. Tracking them provides us with a roadmap that we can use to help prioritize the decisions we need to make, together, to grow our population and leave a more prosperous, equitable, diverse and resilient Canada for future generations.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies