It’s been described as a wedge issue in the looming Ontario provincial election. The Liberal Party’s recent immigrant tax credit, one of the new items on the party’s election platform, would offer a $10,000 tax credit to employers who hire highly-educated recent immigrants—Canadians who’ve been Canadian for fewer than five years. Only around 1,200 Ontarians would qualify, the Liberal government has said—and, accordingly, the program budget is set at $12 million, a rather modest number.
As this chart over at the Globe and Mail shows, while educated immigrants tend to do slightly better than uneducated ones, the disparity between educated Canadian-borns and educated immigrants is the greatest. Canadian-borns with university degrees are over four times more likely to be employed than immigrants with the same education.
Despite this, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak has called the Liberal program unfair to Canadian-born citizens, and the Toronto Sun has lambasted it on their cover at least a couple times (that I’ve seen).
But, ideology aside, this highly publicized issue is a matter of chump change. As in, it’s 0.0097% of the $124.1 billion planned Ontario budget. To give you an idea of just how meager that is, I made this chart. I apologize for all the scrolling, but it helps raise an important question: if in fact it is one, should this really be a wedge issue?