Canada fact of the day

by on July 1, 2017 at 2:54 am in Education, Law | Permalink

Canada’s foreign-born population is more educated than that of any other country on earth. Immigrants to Canada work harder, create more businesses and typically use fewer welfare dollars than do their native-born compatriots.

Here is the full NYT piece by Jonathan Tepperman.  It remains interesting, of course, that Canada has produced so few noteworthy international business brands.  Could it be that Canada gets the labor right but America rules when it comes to the capital?

1 dearieme July 1, 2017 at 3:32 am

I suppose you’re making an argument against mass, unselective immigration. I’m sure that in some eyes that makes you a Nazi.

2 Ray Lopez July 1, 2017 at 3:35 am

But Canada has some of the most unrestricted immigration policies in the world, from what I’ve heard, undercutting your argument.

3 Just Another MR Commentor July 1, 2017 at 3:53 am

No it has very selective Immigration. Although I have heard they bring in a lot of highly educated people but the Canadian economy (which is still heavily natural resource and old fashioned manufacturing based) isn’t actually able to employ them properly.

4 Art Deco July 1, 2017 at 8:07 am

Manufacturing accounts for 10.6% of Canada’s value added, v. 12.3% of ours. What’s different is that extractive industries, construction, and utilities account for about 18% of Canada’s value added, vs. about 8% of ours. Presumably the difference is in the relative dimensions of mining, quarrying, petroleum &c.

5 dearieme July 1, 2017 at 5:01 am

“from what I’ve heard”: you need to cultivate a higher calibre of friend.

6 Ray Lopez July 1, 2017 at 11:01 am
7 chris purnell July 1, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Was ‘Dearieme’ offering an argument? As soon as ‘Nazi’ is invoked I assume that whoever says it has run out of arguments.

8 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 10:55 pm

It is very selective in terms of requiring language abilities in either French or English and other factors such as having previously had access to higher levels of education. But, religious and/or ethnic discrimination are not permitted to prevent access to labour, at least from the visa (etc.) perspective.

In terms of manual labour, there is a fairly large amount of access to foreign labour under temporary permits which require them to go home but also enable them to come back (which prevents them from staying illegally).

9 Jan July 1, 2017 at 5:37 am

Immigration pretty much built America, and still does. But here’s a deal. You guys take all the Syrians and we’ll take the people from Latin America and Asia. We’ll split the Africans.

10 Li Zhi July 1, 2017 at 7:43 am

So, I skimmed both Tepperman’s piece and the MPI report. I’ll be damned if I saw ANYTHING justifying TC’s claim about the educational level of “foreign-born”. Perhaps I missed it…They’re either both talking out of the wrong orifice, or I am. I find it unsurprising that TC confuses “advanced degree” with “useful degree”, he is after living in the academic bubble. (Although I’m sure those with PhD’s in post-industrial feminist deconstructionism have been founts of job and wealth creation.)

11 Li Zhi July 1, 2017 at 7:44 am

after = after all

12 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 10:58 pm

You forgot to mention 17th century lesbian poetry as a potential area of specialized study before presenting your data- and fact-free argumentation.

Following the horrors of gender mainstreaming, it is now possible to easily determine things like the fact that the 2008 economic crisis was relatively harder on men than women.

13 Art Deco July 1, 2017 at 7:44 am

Immigration pretty much built America, and still does

See the work of Angus Maddison. Per capita product grew at a rate of 1.9% per year on average from 1877 to 1924, 1.9% per year on average from 1924 to 1965, and 1.9% per year on average from 1965 to 2010. Lots of vectors are at work there, of course, but it’s perverse to say that immigration is crucial to prosperity (see Japan, please, or the work of George Borjas on the present-tense benefits to the extant population of immigration streams). We ‘built’ just fine prior to 1840 and between 1924 and 1965. Were policy such that we had immigration streams equivalent to those in that era, the gross figure for entries (legal, illegal, and refugee) would amount to about 400,000 per year given our population stock at this time.

This isn’t about the public interest. It’s about the particular interests of various disreputable parties. Tech companies want to import engineers and programmers, Democratic Party hacks work their vote farm, and people like the moderator want more Nepalese restaurants in Fairfax City and less attention to the interests of the sort of people who keep the HVAC system running on the GMU campus.

14 Jan July 1, 2017 at 7:52 am

I disagree, but lol’d at the last sentence.

15 prior_test3 July 1, 2017 at 7:55 am

‘ We ‘built’ just fine prior to 1840’

Well, the increase in the number of slaves had something to do with that, but as property, they didn’t count in any debates about immigration.

‘How did the U.S. slave population increase nearly fourfold between 1810 and 1860, given the demise of the trans-Atlantic trade? They enjoyed an exceptional rate of natural increase. Unlike elsewhere in the New World, the South did not require constant infusions of immigrant slaves to keep its slave population intact. In fact, by 1825, 36 percent of the slaves in the Western hemisphere lived in the U.S. This was partly due to higher birth rates, which were in turn due to a more equal ratio of female to male slaves in the U.S. relative to other parts of the Americas. Lower mortality rates also figured prominently. Climate was one cause; crops were another. U.S. slaves planted and harvested first tobacco and then, after Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in 1793, cotton. This work was relatively less grueling than the tasks on the sugar plantations of the West Indies and in the mines and fields of South America. Southern slaves worked in industry, did domestic work, and grew a variety of other food crops as well, mostly under less abusive conditions than their counterparts elsewhere. For example, the South grew half to three-quarters of the corn crop harvested between 1840 and 1860.’

16 Art Deco July 1, 2017 at 8:01 am

Well, the increase in the number of slaves had something to do with that, but as property, they didn’t count in any debates about immigration.

The relative size of the slave population was declining throughout the antebellum era (from about 20% to 13% of the total).

I gather the meaning of the term ‘per capita’ eludes you.

17 prior_test3 July 1, 2017 at 8:11 am

Not in the Southern states – you really should read the links.

In 1790, the percentage was 33.95, in 1810 it was 33.25, and in 1860, 32.27.

Admittedly, the slave numbers in the free states did not increase, while their population did, but seriously, it would seem more than a bit strange to compare the population dynamics of what became the Confederacy with those states that opposed slavery. And the South was not notably poorer in 1840 than 1810, a period in which the slave population increased from 1.1 million to 2.48 million according to Census figures. Most of which was not immigration, though property is not part of immigration figures anyways.

18 prior_test3 July 1, 2017 at 8:13 am

Let’s change ‘compare’ to ‘conflate,’ and see how that goes – ‘…it would seem more than a bit strange to conflate the population dynamics of what became the Confederacy with those states that opposed slavery.’

19 Ray Lopez July 1, 2017 at 11:11 am

@prior_test3 – fair point about the slaves, but in fact slaves were not that productive, just barely enough to keep the peculiar institution going and to power the plantations, which for the US south as a whole, did not really help the region (look at the US Civil War; the South had no power). Immigrants like coolies, micks, dagos, and spics built this proud, united mixing bowl we call the US of A.

20 prior_test3 July 1, 2017 at 11:24 am

‘but in fact slaves were not that productive, just barely enough to keep the peculiar institution going and to power the plantations’

Eli Whitney would likely beg to differ – ‘The modern mechanical cotton gin was created by American inventor Eli Whitney in 1793 and patented in 1794. Whitney’s gin used a combination of a wire screen and small wire hooks to pull the cotton through, while brushes continuously removed the loose cotton lint to prevent jams. It revolutionized the cotton industry in the United States, but also led to the growth of slavery in the American South as the demand for cotton workers rapidly increased.’

This is pretty much Art Deco’s 1810 to 1840 time span, by the way.

21 Art Deco July 1, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Admittedly, the slave numbers in the free states did not increase, while their population did,

Every other component of the native population increased as well, and at a similar pace. Your point is trivial.

22 JonFraz July 3, 2017 at 1:01 pm

It’s also the case that after the War of 1812 a large amount of very fertile, arable land was opened to cultivation in the South (OK, also in the North) and cotton cultivation took off like a rocket, leading to “King Cotton”.
An increase in habitable land pretty much always leads to population increases, and slavery it would seem does not prevent that,

23 Ray Lopez July 1, 2017 at 11:06 am

@Art Deco – +1 for the cite to Angus Maddison, who did heroic work to parse out data from the 19th century (only the late 19th century has reliable data btw, but it does support the notion that money is neutral, certainly long term, as the gold standard and no central bank was not a deterrent to high growth then, and anything above 1% real GDP/yr is high growth BTW but I digress), however, pace Japan, and look at them the last twenty years (stagnate), no country can do without immigration. The immigrants build late 19th century America (labor poor, resource rich) and ask the Middle East Gulf states how they would get work done without immigrants such as Filipinos.

24 Anonymous July 3, 2017 at 3:38 am

Re Japanese, what about the twenty years previous to the last twenty, and the twenty years before that, and the Meiji/Taisho era? It’s incorrect to focus only on the period which supports your thesis. China has no (non-Chinese) immigration to speak of, and in the recent fifty years it had swung from the sheer lunacy of Cultural Revolution to building automobile parts plants in USA, the ultimate humiliation. Neither North nor South Korea has much immigration, despite some noise to the contrary about SK — look up the data in Wikipedia. Immigration as such has very little influence on growth compared to purely indigenous factors.

25 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:03 pm

It’s easy to understand that working poor who compete with undocumented labourers (who take risks to improve their lives by seeking economic opportunities) will have certain types of complaints.

But when the quarter million a year price tag for a talented software engineer may prevent American firms from upholding their competitive edge, access to similar talent for a mere six figures is hardly something for the others to cry about.

26 Lothrop Stoddard July 1, 2017 at 12:56 pm

“Immigration pretty much built America”

As opposed to all those other countries, where they people are descended from those who sprouted out of the earth.

27 Jan July 1, 2017 at 1:27 pm

Absolutely not. As a share of US innovators, business leaders, and laborers, immigrants in the US have played an extremely outsized role. Compare it to almost any other country and you’ll see what I mean.

28 M July 1, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Hmmm…. I would expect as a share of innovators, business leaders and laborers, to say, Britain, migrants might actually play a more of an “outsize role”. There’s less of it, and they may have been a bit more “elite”.

If you mean in absolute terms then probably more in the US, but this is not an argument for migrants to the US being particularly more impressive on per cap basis than migrants to other nations.

29 White Fools July 2, 2017 at 9:25 am

Especially those 2000 Nazi immigrants under operation paperclip who took us to the moon and played outsized role in aviation, electronics, communications and material sciences. We need more like those, and less tacos and kabobs.

30 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:08 pm

Didn’t those Nazis mostly just continue with their physical and psychological mutilation of vulnerable individuals in the development of mind control-related stuff?

The US built the first nuclear bomb sans Nazi servitude, and (no matter what diversity of other nefarious activities many of them presumably got up to later) it was largely to prevent Stalin’s access to that grey matter that they were brought over.

31 White Fools July 2, 2017 at 9:21 am

Cowen is a Jew. So he will never make an argument against mass immigration. I have never met a Jew who is not a militant agitator for mass immigration to European Majority countries.

As for Canada and their lack of noteworthy international brands, the reason is that Canada does not have a strong national identity because it has been a multi-national state for almost 50 years. Multinational states with the exception of United States (which was 90% White and almost 100% English speaking until 1960) do not have a good track record of strong brands.

Brand identity is built on the foundation of racial identity. Why are their so many strong Japanese and Korean brands? Because of their racial identity, coherence and what it means to be part of a larger racial family.

Same story for German, Italian, English, Scottish, French brands (until mass immigration of last 40 years turned them into multi-national states).

European brands will gradually die out as mass non-White immigration ravages Europe. At the same time we might see a rise of global brands from Israel, a bi-national state that advances the interests of its Jewish majority and is becoming more and more Jewish.

While Jewish fertility rate has increased from 1.8 births/women to 3.1 births/woman over last 50 years, the non-Jewish fertility rate has decreased from 8 births/woman to 3.3 births/woman. This will enable Israel to produce global brands with strong Jewish identity.

32 The Anti-Gnostic July 2, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Tyler Cowen is Scots-Irish.

33 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:13 pm

Switzerland is a country with one-third the population of Canada, but four official languages and globally recognized brands in luxury fashion (watches in particular) and banking.

Tribalist forms of identification are not required to build global brands.

34 Horhe July 6, 2017 at 3:08 pm

What about family reunification? A desirable immigrant may be the starting point for chain migration for less desirable immigrants, especially from a lifetime fiscal perspective.

35 July 1, 2017 at 3:42 am

Effects of brain drain on source countries to CA, IQ or degree holders. The effects on India or China are much smaller than I thought. Quite significant for UK.


Rank IQDrainDex DegDrainDex MAGIQ IQLynn FracGrad FracHi ENIGMA Country

1 28.46 18.78 136.41 90 0.014 0.819 122.752 ALB

2 4.18 3.45 116.5 96 0.117 0.569 113.89 SVN

3 3.08 2.87 102.125 95 0.152 0.29 110.442 PRT

4 3.07 2.63 116.732 100 0.286 0.709 108.473 GBR (UK)

5 3.01 2.4 98.967 79 0.106 0.533 97.721 LKA

11 1.68 1.13 123.52 83 0.065 0.882 105.712 DZA (Algeria)

12 1.63 1.29 124.61 99 0.151 0.75 114.489 DEU (Germany)

27 0.85 0.64 133.199 100 0.036 0.66 127.029 CHN

29 0.73 0.6 129.167 106 0.278 0.83 114.84 KOR

33 0.55 0.4 111.662 82 0.056 0.652 105.786 IND

39 0.26 0.22 116.143 98 0.308 0.76 105.539 USA

36 Just Another MR Commentor July 1, 2017 at 3:53 am

Your posts are are awful, this is effectively spam.

37 Edm July 1, 2017 at 4:23 am

I think you mean incomprehensible.

38 prior_test3 July 1, 2017 at 6:16 am

Well, in the past, links to the source material were included.

39 July 2, 2017 at 9:35 pm

It is for time-stampping interim statistical results. It is a sort of the blockchain process.

For example I showed that the most dominant factor in the last election was educational attainment, more dominant than gini coeff, median income, household income, unemployment rate, etc, nine days before any comparable reports appeared elsewhere.

Yesterday there was a article on manufacturing employment and election. I did that early this year for all 6 employment categories for the red, blue and swing states as well as the Appalachian region which showed mixed responses except in Appalachian all 6 employment categories had positive tractions to the issue.

What have you quantitatively shown anything before time?

40 Anonymous July 3, 2017 at 3:41 am

> For example I showed that the most dominant factor in the last election was educational attainment
Did you check marital status?

41 Massimo Heitor July 1, 2017 at 3:57 am

Canada has a every selective immigration system that denies entry to many low skill needy immigrants. Trump has specifically suggested that usa adopt a Canadian style system and was met with howls of outrage. Accordingly to Wikipedia, There are equally number of spanish language speakers as italian or german speakers which highlights a very different pool of immigrants.

42 Art Deco July 1, 2017 at 7:49 am

We shouldn’t use a Canadian system. You import the immigrant and his descendants, who may be anywhere on the social scale. Also, see the experience of interwar Poland and Hungary. It’s much better to breed and train your own bourgeoisie than import one from abroad.

Test for English proficiency and limit applications from problem countries to married couples with children and older married couples. Limit annual entries to 400,000 less an estimate of successful unlawful entry. Take care of refugees in situ.

43 Massimo Heitor July 1, 2017 at 11:39 am

If it was my choice, I would adopt your policy. I’d love to hear about how you can build political momentum for those kinds of ideas.

Given the choice between Canada and recent US immigration policy, I would emphatically pick the Canadian policy. They favor large levels of Chinese and European immigration which doesn’t seem so bad.

44 Art Deco July 1, 2017 at 1:42 pm

The Mexican immigrants would not be much of a problem if they entered lawfully, were part of a stream of manageable dimensions, spoke English on entry (or were diligent in learning it), were reliably deported consequent to criminal convictions, and were not used as raw material by the social work industry or Democratic Party vote farmers. Employment-to-population ratios among Hispanics are not depressed. Crime rates among hispanics are elevated, but the most intense locus of that would be the Puerto Rican and Central American strands, not Mexicans.

45 JonFraz July 3, 2017 at 1:03 pm

We pretty much have hit zero growth in net immigration from Mexico.

46 Horhe July 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Art, you are on a roll!

Zero growth in net immigration after spending the past few decades going from 3% to 18% of the population in the US? Scant comfort for an American.

47 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:18 pm

Petri dishes are good for experiments.

War zones are not an effective place to protect civilians.

48 Steve Sailer July 1, 2017 at 4:33 am

Here’s my 2001 article on whether I’m good enough to be allowed to immigrate to Canada: “Canada Doesn’t Want Me.”

I guess I should have put a Spoiler Alert in there somewhere.

49 Thiago Ribeiro July 1, 2017 at 5:55 am

“college grads 15; advanced degree holders 16”. Only one point difference?

50 Just Another MR Commentor July 1, 2017 at 5:58 am

I think that makes sense.

51 Kris July 1, 2017 at 8:49 am

Not in today’s job market it doesn’t.

52 JonFraz July 3, 2017 at 1:05 pm

Advanced degrees are no great guarantor of employment. Yes, an MD or RN may be, but there are plenty of underemployed and unemployed PhDs and MAs out there.

53 Horhe July 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Look at what speaking French fluently will get you in terms of points, because of the Quebecois separate immigration system. It is the equivalent of a PhD.

54 Anon July 1, 2017 at 11:25 am

“Canada Doesn’t Want Me.”

Don’t blame Canada.

55 buddyglass July 1, 2017 at 11:34 am

I got 82 points using their immigration calculator. That includes 10 points for having a hypothetical job offer for a skilled position from a Canadian employer.

56 Al July 1, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Interesting rating system!

Education is not highly weighted at all, a bachelors degree gives you 80% of the education score.
Age plays a very large role, it highly weights those in their 20s and early 30s.
Fluency in either english or french only gives a moderate number of points, no where near as many as age.
Finally, having a job in Canada trumps all of the above factors. That plus job experience is a dominating factor.

In the end this scoring system is nothing like how the media portrays it. This system asks for young people with bachelors, who have a job. That’s it. It doesn’t ask for PhDs, it doesn’t ask for the wealthy, it doesn’t require languages.


57 Steve Sailer July 1, 2017 at 11:16 pm

Keep in mind that this was Canada’s system as of 2001. I don’t know what changes have been made since then.

58 JonFraz July 3, 2017 at 1:06 pm

The Canadians also weight their system toward anyone with a big chunk of money they can and will invest in the country.

59 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:20 pm

That program recently ended (or will soon end…). It turned out that they were not making productive investments, but instead just parking money in unproductive real estate.

60 So Much For Subtlety July 1, 2017 at 4:57 am

Immigrants to Canada work harder, create more businesses and typically use fewer welfare dollars than do their native-born compatriots.

The standard dishonesty – immigrants tend to be of working age. Native-born people tend to have a good chance of being a child or an old aged pensioner. The big costs come with educating the young, and wiping away the drool of the old. So naturally the working aged cohort is working more than the non-working.

61 Jan July 1, 2017 at 6:10 am

If those stats are in fact driven by age selection, then that’s not a fair comparison. Regardless, they would in the face of the common anti-immigration argument that these people are an overall burden. If Canada is mainly letting in working-age people with few kids or aged parents, then I’d imagine you think that’s the right approach.

What are your thoughts about how well children of immigrants do in Canada? I haven’t seen data, but do you think they are not more likely to work harder, create more businesses and use fewer welfare dollars than native borns?

62 M July 1, 2017 at 5:40 pm

I don’t know about those variables but PISA scores for children of migrants to Canada are very slightly higher than Canadians, but not by very much.

Incomes and poverty rates are likely very variable; first generation migrants to Canada from Western Europe and the United States – who are substantial in number, mostly working age and counted as migrants – do very well on those variables, while first generation from Pakistan, India, etc. generally do much worse – Their kids are likely fairly similar in profile.

Note for both you and Arthur, migration to Canada is not just a South Asia + China story, even though those get the press; as it is pretty selective it favors the developed West and developed Japan / Korea, as well as Asian elites. (’s strange comments in part attempt to express this, I believe)

63 Art Deco July 1, 2017 at 7:58 am

The big costs come with educating the young, and wiping away the drool of the old.

Long-term care expenses account for about 1.4% of gross output.

64 rayward July 1, 2017 at 6:57 am

Maybe America has the immigration policy it wants, one that attracts mainly a less educated, less skilled, lower paid labor pool, rather than one that attracts mainly a highly educated, highly skilled, highly paid labor pool. Inequality, like good food, doesn’t just happen on its own, people choose to make inequality and good food happen. The immigrants who wash the dishes in restaurants, clean the rooms in hotels and offices and homes, maintain yards and landscaping, and do the hardest and lowest paid work in building houses are the backbone of a system that thrives on inequality.

65 Kris July 1, 2017 at 8:52 am

Yet America remains the top choice for high-skilled immigrants. If US immigration policy were revised ed in favor of skill and job prospects rather than “family reunification”, I’d bet the quality of immigrants to Canada and other countries would decline.

66 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:27 pm

Do you think top global talent wants to move their life somewhere that their family is not allowed to move to?

67 BJ dubbS July 1, 2017 at 7:06 am

Canada doesn’t have many big brands because it’s easier for Starbucks to expand into Canada than for SecondCup to expand into the US, for obvious reasons. But Canada does have some successful brands, like Lululemon, Tim Hortons, Canada Goose, Molsons, Blackberry. Two other reasons are that a) Canadian economy is dominated by natural resources and b) most talented Canadians move to the US.

68 Art Deco July 1, 2017 at 7:51 am

But Canada does have some successful brands, like … Tim Hortons,

One of the mysteries of marketing.

69 Jan July 1, 2017 at 7:59 am

Agree, a lot of them in Michigan now and I wonder….why? It’s like the Blackberry of donut shops.

70 carlospln July 1, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Yeah, also Blackberry & Northern Telecom


71 JonFraz July 3, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Michigan has large population centers within a very short drive of Canada. A lot of Michiganders are likely to have traveled in Canada and are familiar with Tim Hortons, hence it’s easy for the chain to break into the market in Michigan.

72 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:32 pm

Blackberry made secure phones (and is now orienting towards IT security services embedded into less tangible goods).

Tim Horton’s makes coffee that is palatable for the mass market.

Apples and oranges would not do it justice.

73 mgregoire July 1, 2017 at 8:30 am

The central challenge in developing world-leading Canadian companies is the ease with which ambitious Canadians can move to the US, where the risk and rewards are much higher. Elon Musk, for instance, started university in Canada, and would have been successful had he remained there, but his chance of becoming a billionaire in California was much greater. Some believe this phenomenon has resulted in a general culture of mediocrity… Even clever economics PhDs often end up in the States.

A great country to be middle-class though, which is course more relevant for most people than their chance of becoming wealthy. But all Canadians would benefit if we had more billionaires.

74 BJ dubbS July 1, 2017 at 8:34 am

I went to Canadian high school and most of the talented people were a) not originally from Canada and b) eventually left for somewhere else, you are correct. I wouldn’t say it’s so great for middle class, housing prices in Toronto and Vancouver are out of control.

75 derek July 1, 2017 at 11:29 am

50% marginal taxes start depending on the province somewhere above $60k. It doesn’t take long for someone smart to decide to leave. The drivers of the Canadian economy have voted in rabid socialists, which will make it worse. The Canadian Brand is Government.

76 Al July 1, 2017 at 2:08 pm

This is why I left. The marginal tax rates were hard to stomach.

I didn’t even model in the more dynamic economy of the US. Had I known how the US rewards those who work, I wouldn’t have wasted my 1st few years out of college in Canada.

77 Jan July 1, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Of of my coworkers is a Canadian long living in the US, though not because of taxes or politics. He recently went and got Canadian passports for his US-born kids, because he has serious concerns about the potential for things to go to shit here. (And yes, they’re white, so it’s not about that.)

78 TMC July 1, 2017 at 3:05 pm

“they’re white, so it’s not about that” Maybe BECAUSE they’re white.

79 Al July 1, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Based upon this thread I wanted to see if things had changed. So I went to two websites:

I took a hypothetical, somewhat successful, professional making 150k/year.

In Washington state the professional will take home: 108,536
In Quebec the professional will take home: 85,956

That’s almost a 30% difference. Further, the sales taxes in Quebec are considerably higher. Add on that that the dynamic economy of the US (in that compensation is considerably higher in the US) and the difference is staggering.

For giggles I plunked in 350k, which is a good wage, but hardly exceptional, for someone working in software in Washington and here are the numbers:

Quebec: 166,673
Washington: 240,121

Closing in on a 50% difference. Of course such a salary is almost unheard of in Quebec, but it somewhat common in Washington.

The difference is almost laughable. If an engineering or CS student graduates in the top 25% of their class the choice is clear.

80 JonFraz July 3, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Re: In Washington state the professional will take home: 108,536 In Quebec the professional will take home: 85,956
That’s almost a 30% difference. Further, the sales taxes in Quebec are considerably higher. Add on that that the dynamic economy of the US (in that compensation is considerably higher in the US) and the difference is staggering.

You’re leaving out the return on some of those taxes, AKA the healthcare system, which is cheaper (both overall and at point of payment) and in the fact that the Canadian worker has no premiums being extracted from his pay check.

81 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:39 pm

The cost of doing business is lower in Canada when you calculate (taxes+health care) as a single figure.

It turns out that the trillion dollar a year premium in exchange for worse average results in health outcomes isn’t that good of a deal.

Also, please inform of where 50% marginal rates apply at 60k. This sounds very inaccurate.

82 Michael Smitka July 1, 2017 at 9:01 am

How about a simple statistical argument? A bigger country will on average have more players in any particular segment. That lends itself to testing: in a given period, what is the Canadian share of US+Canada GDP or population, and what then might be the share of firms originating in Canada vs firms in the US? There could be two subsets: the share of Canadian firms in the US and US firms in Canada in a given NAICS code. But note that despite the ease of trade there’s a clear “border effect” so I would expect that home-grown firms dominate on both sides of the border.

My own work is in autos. Automotive News just published their latest “top 100” supplier list. Magna is #3 globally, #4 in Europe, and #1 in NAFTA. Martinrea, Linamar, Multimatic and ABC Group show up. I also know several smaller Canadian firms that were big players in narrow segments but were acquired by global suppliers headquartered outside Canada. This is despite Canada having no “domestic” assemblers of any size, and the few that did arise disappeared by 1930 or (McLaughlin) became part of one of the Detroit Three. That is despite the fact that since 1965, under the Auto Pact, there have been few or no trade barriers on the parts side of the industry.

83 BJ dubbS July 1, 2017 at 9:36 am

The New England economy is smaller than Canada’s and yet the list of New England brands is much longer than Canada’s. It’s just easier and more likely for a US regional brand to expand the US and then the world than it is to expand a Canadian brand to the US and then the world. There is a lot more execution risk going from Ontario to Chicago than from Seattle to Chicago.

84 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:43 pm

This is actually quite relevant.

Many Canadian players are huge in business-to-business stuff, but not consumer brands.

85 Slocum July 1, 2017 at 9:49 am

“The central challenge in developing world-leading Canadian companies is the ease with which ambitious Canadians can move to the US, where the risk and rewards are much higher.”

But why wouldn’t this apply to individual U.S. states even more strongly (after all, it’s even easier to move from Ohio to California than Ontario to California)? How does Ontario compare in ‘world-leading companies’ to nearby U.S. states with comparable populations (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois)?

86 Mark Thorson July 1, 2017 at 3:55 pm

And Crown Royal. I don’t often drink whiskey, but when I do it’s Crown Royal Special Reserve. It’s well worth the higher price over regular Crown Royal.

87 Anonymous July 1, 2017 at 9:03 am

A points system is very reasonable, as is one that prioritizes economic growth. This should actually be a no drama choice for America. But you know, America can’t do immigration without drama.

88 Anon_senpei July 1, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Unfortunately, there are political interests that have a stake in creating immigration drama. The Democratic Party gets the votes and the Republican (and Democrat) parties’ business interests get the cheap labor.

89 msgkings July 1, 2017 at 7:01 pm

+1 to both of you

90 JonFraz July 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Plus the faux populists get an issue ready-made for demagoguery

91 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:49 pm

How often do non-citizen illegal immigrants vote?

Let me imagine something and call it true now …

92 Chip July 1, 2017 at 9:42 am

Canada gets a great number of amazing immigrants from Asia. But the story is mixed.

“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.”

Since this report, the new Canadian government has shifted immigrant approval from skills to family connections.

93 Christian Hansen July 1, 2017 at 10:15 am

Family connections is the beginning of the end.

94 Chip July 1, 2017 at 1:55 pm

It’s interesting how robustly the Canadian government and the media trumpet the benefits of immigration when Statistics Canada provides very transparent data to the contrary.

Example: “While low-income rates among the Canadian-born fell through the 1990s, they rose among immigrants. As a result, rising immigrant low-income rates accounted for virtually all of the increase in the national low-income rate during that period (Picot and Hou 2003). Immigration had an effect on family-income inequality as well. One study found that as much as one-half of the small rise in inequality during the early 1990s was associated with the immigrant population (Moore and Pacey 2003). ”

This trend abated into the 2000s as the Harper government tightened entry requirements. Those requirements have been abandoned by Trudeau. For 2016, the third-biggest source of immigrants to Canada was Syria, and that will persist this year. A government report earlier this year showed just 1 in 10 Syrians has found a job.

95 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:56 pm

“A government report earlier this year showed just 1 in 10 Syrians has found a job.”

Refugees are not generally allowed to look for work until quite some number of steps has been satisfied. This is a major reason that they receive a special level of benefits after their entry, and also explains your 1 in 10 number.

Surprise! People who are legally allowed to stay but not legally allowed to work do not have a very high employment rate.

Maybe get back to us in 5 years after they’ve been legally allowed to work for an extended period.

96 Tom T. July 1, 2017 at 11:34 am

There’s an important policy lesson here about choosing the correct country to be next to.

97 asdf July 1, 2017 at 2:07 pm

One of the biggest issues with high-skill immigrants is that they vote for parties that inevitably want to bring in low-skill immigrants. So Canada imports smart Asians, who vote in leftist parties, who then bring in dumb Syrians.

Politically Asians behave differently in Asia then in the west. None of them would support immigration to their own countries, but they know who butters their bread in the west.

98 Art Deco July 1, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Politically Asians behave differently in Asia then in the west. None of them would support immigration to their own countries, but they know who butters their bread in the west.

You cannot substantiate the argument that orientals vote Democratic for economic reasons.

99 msgkings July 1, 2017 at 7:03 pm


Priceless! Art Deco, you are delightful.

100 Chip July 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm

In the recent BC election, ethnic Chinese supported the center-right party over the socialists 55-33 whereas the general population was about 40-40.

101 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:58 pm

You’re making things up about things that you know nothing about.

Maybe you should stick to explaining your resentment towards those whose increased opportunities have made life more challenging for you.

102 Edgar July 1, 2017 at 8:01 pm

Although I must confess to not having clicked through to the Mexican billionaire’ s blog, “Canadian immigrants work harder…” sounds like just the sort of declaration that gives sociology its well-deserved reputation.

103 Edgar July 1, 2017 at 8:20 pm

Interestingly,, comments are closed on the Saturday links. I wonder if #1 has anything to do with that. Again another less than reputable source, but just the sort of vapid confirmation bias to give wannabe sociologist Tyler his jollies. The fabulous US intellectual elite love nothing more than slagging the ungrateful working class that lacks the sense to bow down before it

104 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Indeed, Western countries should bar foreign talent because one day some of them will use a public service.

Maybe you can recommend a free news outlet that can afford good investigative reporting on such questions? Or maybe some dedicated academic works?

105 dwb July 2, 2017 at 11:29 am

“Canada has produced so few noteworthy international business brands”

You cannot really build an international brand based on a population of 35 million. The USA is 10x the market and much more diverse. Canada would only the the 2nd largest state. Test marketing a product in Toronto won’t tell you a thing about how it will perform in Texas, or New York.

Plus, the US dual-sovereign system provides a framework for companies to build legal infrastructure to meet both state and federal requirements (like sales tax and food labeling). If you can sell to California and Texas, and in all 50 states, you can easily adapt it to Australia, Canada, UK, (not the other way around). Going from the USA to Canada is like adding one more state, going from Canada (or Australia or UK) to the US is like adding a 50 other countries. Of course, selling in Europe makes it very easy to market in the USA for the same reason.

The fact is, Canada does have some “international brands” – Can I count Celine Dion, Neil Young, and Ryan Reynolds? IMAX? I would say brands like these are more like American brands, with Canadian roots.

106 jorgensen July 2, 2017 at 12:20 pm

We had a global brand: Blackberry. The American judicial system contributed significantly to its destruction.

Nortel was a global brand. Ski-Doo is a global brand.

107 Dots July 2, 2017 at 2:38 pm

I see bombardier trains in brasil

Canadian miners r well known in Latin America

I would favor a more demanding system than Canada’s, with more discrimination between religions and undergrad disciplines

108 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 10:48 pm

Blackberry and its secure phones were a global brand until US courts demonstrated an apparent interest to shut them down. (Or, alternatively, it was a good ruling to extract $300 million over a patent that amounted to “send text from one device to another, somehow, some way …”, despite nearly every single mobile phone on the market doing precisely that.)

Selling out to US firms (for example as did many firms which are now part of Microsoft and others) is a sure return. And it is relevant that the geographically and culturally natural expansion market for a Canadian firm is the US, where expectations of equal market access are far from assured and the option to cash in is ever present.

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