Canada Witnesses Record Population

Canada Witnesses Record Population Surge Amidst Immigration Boom

Canada’s population has experienced an unprecedented surge, reaching an estimated 40,528,396 on October 1st, 2023, as per Statistics Canada. This remarkable figure, inclusive of citizens and residents, reflects a substantial increase of 430,635 people, marking a notable growth rate of 1.1% since July 1st, 2023. This surge represents the highest population growth in any quarter since the second quarter of 1957, a pivotal period during Canada’s post-war era.

Historical Context: Echoes of the Past

Comparing the recent surge to historical data, the last time Canada witnessed such substantial growth was in the second quarter of 1957, with a growth rate of 1.2%. At that time, Canada’s population stood at a modest 16.7 million, fueled by post-war baby boom births and an influx of refugees following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

The population growth recorded in the first nine months of 2023 is the largest ever recorded, totaling an impressive 1,030,378 people. This includes the remarkable growth observed in 2022, emphasizing the current momentum in Canada’s demographic landscape.

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Driving Force: International Migration Takes the Lead

In the third quarter of 2023, a significant portion (96%) of the population growth was attributed to international migration. The remaining 4% was a result of a natural increase, representing the difference between births and deaths. The involvement of natural increase in population growth is expected to drop due to factors such as Canada’s aging population, declining fertility levels, and the influx of immigrants to the country.

In the third quarter of 2023, Canada invited 107,972 immigrants, contributing to the impressive growth figures. From January to September 2023, immigration reached 79.8% (371,299) of IRCC’s annual target of 465,000 immigrants.

A noteworthy aspect of the surge is the substantial increase in non-permanent residents, with a historic net increase of 312,758 in the third quarter alone. This surge is primarily attributed to a rise in work and study permit holders, with a smaller uptick in refugee claimants.

Provincial Dynamics: Growth Across the Board

With the exception of the Northwest Territories, all provinces and territories in Canada experienced population growth. Notably, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, and Ontario witnessed population growth rates exceeding the national average during the third quarter of 2023, with rates of 1.3%, 1.2%, and 1.2%, respectively.

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Interprovincial migration patterns revealed Alberta as the sole province experiencing net gains, marked by an increase of 17,094 in the third quarter of 2023. This trend, with gains exceeding 10,000 for five consecutive quarters, is reminiscent of patterns not seen since 1971. Alberta’s gains are primarily attributed to interprovincial exchanges with Ontario and British Columbia. In contrast, British Columbia faced its first five consecutive quarters of interprovincial migration losses since 2013.

Ontario, despite ongoing net losses in interprovincial migration since the first quarter of 2020, displayed a smaller net loss in the third quarter of 2023 (-5,952). The Atlantic provinces, in contrast to growth observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, experienced slight or negative net interprovincial migration, largely due to a decrease in migrants moving from Ontario to the Atlantic provinces.

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Looking Ahead: Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026

On November 1st, Canada released its Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026, outlining the anticipated admission of new permanent residents over the next three years. In 2024, Canada aims to admit 485,000 new immigrants, increasing to 500,000 in each of 2025 and 2026.

The economic class, including Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), will be a significant focus, with targets set to rise. The Express Entry target is set at 110,700 permanent resident admissions in 2024, rising to 117,500 immigrants in each of 2025 and 2026. The PNP target will be 110,000 immigrants in 2024, increasing to 120,000 in 2025, and another 120,000 in 2026.

This comprehensive plan reflects Canada’s commitment to sustaining its population growth momentum, driven primarily by a strategic approach to immigration.

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