Kwaku Kusi-Appiah
Meiz Majdoub

Canada Rush: Implications of recent immigration from West Africa

by Meiz Mohammed Majdoub & Kwaku Kusi-Appiah,

Sunday 30 June 2024


“Canada is a country where diversity, inclusion, and the protection of rights are fundamental principles, and where the standard of living is among the highest in the world.”

Rt. Hon. Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada (1968-1979 and 1980-1984).

“I’ll make sure we have housing and health care so that when people come here, they have a roof overhead and care when they need it…I’ll make sure that it’s easier for employers to fill genuine job vacancies they cannot fill.”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre, Canada’s Opposition Leader (2024).

“We cannot pat ourselves on the back if we do not do anything to make the integration process a smooth one. Afterall, it is immigrants who built this country.”

M.M. Majdoub, (2024).



​Post-COVID19 migration data from Statistics Canada indicate that there has been a surge in immigration, especially from West Africa to Canada (Statistics Canada, 2024). This surge can be attributed to a combination of economic, educational, and security factors. Indeed, despite the harsh weather conditions, Canada is a popular destination for immigrants all over the world since the establishment of Canada in 1867 (Knowles, 2016; Ninette, & Trebilcock, 1998). In this short article, we analyze the recent mad rush to Canada from West Africa, and we explore some of its implications (both positive and negative) for Canada and the world. We argue that the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), as well as other levels of governments must step up their efforts at assisting in the well-being, social adaptation, and eventual integration of new arrivals into the Canadian system. In addition, the federal government and other jurisdictions must ensure that Canada has the skills needed to meet key goals such as supporting sustainability initiatives to transition to a green (net-zero) and digital economy, so that labour force gaps in critical sectors (e.g. health, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), trades, transportation and agriculture) are not a barrier to the success and expansion of Canadian businesses (Hou et al., 2023; Statistics Canada, 2015, 2013). 

Push and Pull:

Canada’s recent population surge can be partly attributed to immigrants from non-traditional sources such as West Africa (Kerr, 2024; Hou, et al., 2023). Canada provides numerous opportunities, including our excellent healthcare and education systems, political stability, low crime rates, and a clean environment, which are pull factors. Another attraction is the fact that Canada is known for its multiculturalism and inclusive society – – it is a society where everyone is welcome to practice their cultures and share in other cultures as well. Canada is a country that values diversity and has policies that promote the integration and acceptance of immigrants from various cultural backgrounds (Hou, et al., 2023; Statistics Canada, 2015, and 2013). Most importantly, Canada is considered one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and a strong social safety net, making it an attractive destination for those seeking a secure environment for themselves and their families (Bridges Not Borders, 2020; Oudshoorn et al., 2019; Belanger & Edmonston, 2018).

Economic instability and limited job opportunities in West Africa are significant push factors. Countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal face challenges, such as high unemployment rates and economic volatility, prompting many individuals to seek better prospects abroad. Moreover, the pursuit of higher education is a critical factor that pushes many students to choose Canadian universities and other tertiary institutions scattered all over Canada (Africa Centre for Strategic Studies, 2022).


The influx of immigrants into Canada can bring many benefits, both for Canada and for the sending country. In the same vein, it can also bring some dire consequences which may not auger well for the experiment that is Canada. In the past, immigrants were given tracts of land to develop, as well as other perks that defies logic. Today, newly arrived immigrants, especially from the Caribbean and Africa, are only tolerated at best, at worst, they are pushed so far to the margins that even when they complain, they are seen as whiners and ungrateful beings who have been rescued from a hopeless situation [i.e. Africa and the Caribbean] (Knowles, 2016).

The Canadian government is responsible for ensuring that the people they let into the country are integrated into the system so that they can contribute to the continued prosperity of Canada. Some priority areas that need attention are as follows:

First, with more people moving into the country, the demand for housing will rise, leading to shortages and increased housing prices, making it harder for everyone to find affordable places to live.

Secondly, an increase in population can put pressure on public services like healthcare, education, and public transportation, potentially leading to longer wait times and reduced quality of service.

Thirdly, and most importantly, more people might mean more competition for jobs, which can make it harder for both newcomers and existing residents to find employment.

Fourthly, integrating many immigrants into the community can be challenging. It requires efforts to ensure that newcomers feel welcome and can adapt to their new environment, which can take time and resources.

In addition, a sudden increase in population can strain the city’s infrastructure, including roads, public transportation, and utilities, potentially leading to congestion and overuse.


While immigrants contribute immensely to the Canadian economy, as well as the economies of the sending country, supporting a growing population in the receiving country (i.e., Canada) requires significant investment in housing, infrastructure, public services, and social programs. In addition, rapid demographic changes can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and tensions within the communities, as people adapt to new cultural dynamics and lifestyles.

While these challenges are significant, Canadian governments, all levels, must work tirelessly toward solutions that leverage the benefits of immigration while addressing existential issues such as housing and employment to create a balanced and thriving community.

Works Cited:

Africa Center for Strategic Studies. (2022). African Migration Trends to Watch in 2022. Infographic.

Belanger, A., & Edmonston, B. (2018). Implications of World Peak Population for Canada. Canadian Studies in Population 45, no. 1-2: 1-10.

Bridges Not Borders. (2020). Asylum Seekers are Caring for Us During the Pandemic. Let’s Make Their Status Secure, Info Hemmingford, June 2020.

Hou, F., Schimmele, C. & Stick, M. (2023). Changing Demographics of racialized people of Canada. Statistics Canada.

Kerr, D. (2024). Canada’s population growth is exploding: here is why.

Knowles, V. (2016). Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015. 

Ninette, K. & Trebilcock, M. (1998). The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy.

Oudshoorn, A., Benbow, S., & Meyer, M. (2019). Resettlement of Syrian Refugees in Canada. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 12.

Statistics Canada. (2013). Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada: National Household Survey, 2011. Cat. No. 99-010-X2011001. Ottawa: Ministry of Industry.

Statistics Canada. (2015). Population Projections for Canada (2013 to 2063), Provinces and Territories (2013 to 2038). National Population Projections Team (Bohnert, N., Chagnon, J., & Dion, P., Ottawa: Ministry of Industry.

Meiz Majdoub, B.Comm, is a financial professional with over 30 years of experience and is accredited with a CLU, CH.F.C. He is also a member of the Conference for Advance Underwriters (CALU). and the Estate Planning Council Of Ottawa. He  has helped individuals, organizations and corporations attain their goals in the areas of Financial & Estate Planning, Insurance, Living Benefits and Employee/ Group Benefits. He can be reached at: 613-749-4007, or [email protected]

Dr. Kwaku Kusi-Appiah,a demographer and environmentalist is an adjunct professor at Ottawa’s Carleton University. His research seeks to provide a clearer understanding of non-market strategies that determine access to community resources, and how the resulting inequities shape livelihoods in marginalized spaces of Canada and the developing world. Kwaku Kusi-Appiah was president of the Ghana Association of Ottawa (1995-2003) and senior advisor on Diversity to the Mayor of Ottawa (2004- 2006) where he led many multi-disciplinary teams to solve complex diversity issues in a timely & sensitive manner. In September 2018, Kusi-Appiah was appointed by the Lt. Governor of Ontario as a public member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario College of Social Work and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).