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Reversing the brain drain may be more enduring than any change to immigration levels caused by the pandemic, he said.
There is also the possibility that it could take longer than a year to develop a vaccine for the pandemic. If new waves of the virus occur in the future, some of the roughly 3.5 million Canadians living abroad will return to the country, which would also offset the pause in immigration, Tal said.
Still, he noted the lack of new immigrants and non-permanent residents would create immediate consequences for the rental housing market, since there would be reduced demand in their absence, and also less demand for goods and services in general.
When the situation will resolve remains opaque, but it is already causing concern among economists.
“In the long run, we need to find strategies to have that not occur,” Agopsowicz said, “because this is such a key component of our growth strategy in Canada.”
With files from Kevin Carmichael