CanadaEconomyFree MovementTrade

Canada’s Opportunity For CANZUK Free Movement Has Arrived

The Great White North ranks fifth in the world for global prosperity, 14th in the world for ease of doing business and 15th in the world for global economic competitiveness. It also has a culture and quality of life that can be found in few countries throughout the world, only sharing such attributes with highly developed nations such as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Canada is ranked fifth in the world for global prosperity  (photo: vanessaslaw)

Written by James Skinner

James is the founder & chief executive of CANZUK International in Vancouver, Canada


But through its tremendous potential and achievements, Canada has a lot more to give; economically, socially and politically.

What lies ahead for this great nation is a future of prosperity, economic growth and international mobility, and the opportunity available is both progressive and economically advantageous.

That opportunity is CANZUK freedom of movement.

A recent international survey found that over 75% of the Canadian public support freedom of movement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom; granting the ability for Canadian citizens to live, work and study in these Commonwealth nations without visas or work permits.

Support is growing rapidly for similar immigration protocols in these countries too, but if there is ever a time for Canada to begin negotiations for CANZUK freedom of movement, now is the time.

Here are the reasons why

Immigration Is The Key To Economic Growth

A recent report published by the Conference Board of Canada found that the Canadian population is ageing, which in turn, will have a severely negative effect on economic growth in the next fifteen years. In fact, its recommendations concluded that annual immigration intake would need to increase to 407,000 people by 2030 for Canada to continue economic prosperity.

A difficult predicament for any government, but where would this new influx of migration come from?

Well, the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation’s recent survey found that if freedom of movement was introduced within the CANZUK nations, Canada would be the most favoured destination among British citizens and the second most favoured among Australians.

If Canada is urgently looking for a solution to its immigration problem, what better place to look than within Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom?

Each of our citizens share a similar ancestry through the Commonwealth, share the same language, culture and even the same Head of State, and furthermore, citizens from these nations are eager to move and embrace Canadian life. There would be no issues of assimilation or cultural differences from new arrivals, and the economy could thrive by welcoming highly skilled citizens from highly developed nations.

If Canada is seeking the best option for immigration quotas, CANZUK free movement is it.

The Economy Will Thrive Under Free Movement

In a world of increasing globalization and free markets, Canada needs to acquire the best talent available for economic competition. Australian, New Zealand and British citizens have some of the most desired skills in the world, ranging from construction and forestry workers to doctors and architects.
And yet, Canada’s borders prevent these skills from entering and growing the economy.

Small and large businesses across the nation spend exorbitant amounts of time, effort and money on immigration paperwork, visas, permits, consultants and lawyers, and such a system costs the Canadian economy millions of dollars in revenue, investment and innovation potential each year.

Thousands of Canadians would also have a greater quality of life utilizing their unique skills and trades elsewhere in the world where they are in higher demand, but in a similar fashion to the Canadian immigration model, they are hindered from doing so because of arduous immigration controls in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

It never used to be this way. Before numerous Nationality Acts were enacted after 1973, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom openly embraced free movement with each other. Citizens and skilled workers were free to live and work in any of these Commonwealth countries and settle in a place they felt most suitable for their lifestyle, opportunities and potential.

With our campaign growing every day, we are getting closer and closer to reestablishing our pre-1973 rights of mobility, and once established, Canada’s productivity, investment and innovation can grow exponentially with greater access to skilled international labour, while providing Canadians the freedom and opportunity to utilize their unique skills in more appropriate locations.

Canada Will Become A Global Economic Leader

Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are four highly developed economies with tremendous economic potential.

So imagine how prosperous we would be combining our economies under free movement.

By operating under a shared customs union, a CANZUK formation would allow Canada to realise its full economic and diplomatic potential in the international community. At USD $6.5 trillion in combined GDP, a CANZUK union would form the fourth largest group in the world (behind the USA, the EU and China). Total global trade for these four countries would be around US $3.5 trillion, and combined military expenditure would be worth US $110 billion (ranking third in the world).

These are significant economic values by any global standard, and Canada would be part of the most politically progressive union in the world, becoming a global leader for innovation, trade, growth and diplomacy.

In essence, Canada could reach far beyond its potential acting within a CANZUK union compared to acting alone, and with close Commonwealth allies to share the benefits with, the idea of Canada’s new place in the world is very alluring indeed.

Free Trade Can Compliment Free Movement

The UK is already discussing trade deals with Australia and New Zealand for when it withdraws its membership from the European Union. As part of a trade deal between the UK and Australia, Julie Bishop (Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs) and Boris Johnson (UK Foreign & Commonwealth Secretary) have discussed the popular issue of visa liberalisation, as both Ministers have expressed support for free mobility zones between the two nations.

Where free trade is being discussed, free movement (or at the very least, visa liberalisation) is also being negotiated as an added diplomatic benefit.

This is also something Canada could gain from, as negotiating trade deals with the added benefit of British/Canadian/New Zealand/Australian mobility would create advantageous circumstances for free trade, and allow Canada to become part of the current visa negotiations between the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

As goods and services can cross borders freely without tariffs and duties, so too can labour from like-minded countries. Such an agreement already exists between Australia and New Zealand through the Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement (TTTA); an arrangement that has allowed businesses to thrive, simply because of the ease of access to labour and services between the two nations. If Canada can also join the TTTA (as our organisation campaigns for), the possibilities are endless for free trade negotiations between the CANZUK nations.

International Travel Would Be To Canada’s Advantage

Canada’s tourism industry is worth billions of dollars, and not surprisingly so. With spectacular scenery and beautiful destinations, Canada boasts some of the most breathtaking travel spots in the world.

But frequently overlooked is the rising costs of travel for Canadian citizens.

Canada is currently not part of any international medical arrangements (with exception to minor agreements with the United States). As such, travel insurance premiums for Canadians are often higher than those of different nationalities, thereby driving up costs for Canadian tourists.

However, with the introduction of free movement, there is no reason why the Canadian government could not join the already established Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) that exist between Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Under these agreements, citizens of Australia, New Zealand and the UK are covered for emergency medical treatment and essential medication in each other’s nations while travelling. The agreements do not cover standard prescription items, but have saved many citizens from each nation spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on emergency medical treatments and insurance premiums.

Not to mention, with two of the four CANZUK nations in the southern hemisphere, travelling would become more appealing for Canada’s growing population of “snow birds” (citizens who temporarily migrate to warmer climates, such as the USA and Mexico, during the cold winter months). Instead of being limited to north and central America, Canadian citizens would have the added benefit of travelling to Australia and New Zealand for the winter, while also spending no additional payments on travel insurance premiums (and of course, visa fees).

Likewise, during the Southern Hemispheric winters, Australian and New Zealand citizens can reciprocate travel to Canada, returning tourism revenues to the Canadian economy (unlike the USA and Mexico where tourism revenues from Canada only flow one way). Considering the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars also operate on par with each other, travel between these nations seems more commonsensical than ever.

Canada is a great nation, but I truly believe its full potential is yet to be realised.

By embracing freedom of movement with Australia, New Zealand and the UK, the Canadian economy can thrive from greater access to skills and greater cooperation under a CANZUK union. Free trade would be complimentary to free movement, providing economic growth for the Canadian economy while granting Canadian citizens the opportunities to travel, work and study in a destination of their choice, without the arduous tasks of visa and permit applications.

The stage is set, and 75% of the Canadian population are eager to get the ball rolling. All that is left to do is for Canada to reach out and embrace the benefits of free movement with Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

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