The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals Canada immigration spiked nearly 40 per cent in the first two months of the year compared to the same period of 2022.
In January and February, Canada welcomed 100,430 new permanent residents compared to 72,815 during the first two months of 2022, itself a record year for immigration to Canada.
That level of immigration – if it were to continue throughout the rest of 2023 – would result in 602,580 new permanent residents to Canada this year, far in excess of Ottawa’s target of 465,000 new permanent residents for the year.
In its 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, Ottawa has planned for 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and another 500,000 in 2025.
Month to month, immigration to Canada slipped by 2.6 per cent in February, dropping to 49,550 new permanent residents for the month compared to 50,885 newcomers the previous month, a record-setting January.
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So far this year, the smallest provinces in Canada are showing the biggest percentage growth in immigration.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, immigration is up 307.7 per cent for the first two months of this year compared to the same period last year. Elsewhere in Atlantic Canada, Prince Edward Island has seen immigration spike 116.8 per cent, New Brunswick 79.4 per cent, and Nova Scotia has welcomed 41.4 per cent more newcomers so far this year compared to the first two months of 2022.
Immigration growth is also robust in Manitoba, which welcomed 89.1 per cent more new permanent residents so far this year compared to January and February last year. But Saskatchewan has beat that with a spike of 93.2 per cent in new permanent residents over the same periods.
In the big economic engines of Canada, the growth in immigration was lower in percentage terms. Alberta saw an uptick of 50.3 per cent in new permanent residents in January and February this year compared to the same months last year.
Bigger Provinces Showing Smaller Percentage Increases In Immigration
British Columbia’s immigration growth for the comparable time frames was 27.7 per cent. And Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, recorded immigration growth of 22.7 per cent for the start of this year compared to the first two months last year.
Ontario’s relatively small percentage growth in immigration so far this year is undoubtedly due to the strong year it had for immigration in 2022.
Ontario was the most popular destination for new permanent residents last year and welcomed 184,725 new permanent residents that year. That was 42.3 per cent of the total number of new permanent residents to Canada in 2022.
Economic programs, including the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), Agri-Food Immigration Pilot (AFIP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Caregiver programs, Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), Federal Skilled Trades (FST) and Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) programs, the Start-Up Visa (SUV) and Self-Employed Persons (SEP) programs, and the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway accounted for roughly half of all new permanent residents coming to Ontario last year.
Those programs helped 93,795 new permanent residents arrive in Ontario in 2022. Another 46,610 new permanent residents arrived in Ontario through family sponsorships and 39,765 came through Canada’s refugee programs.
Next door, the francophone province of Quebec is showing a similar trend. Last year, it welcomed the second-highest number of immigrants with 68,685 new permanent residents arriving in La Belle Province.
Coming off that strong performance in 2022, Quebec immigration has grown by 41.5 per cent so far this year compared to the first two months of last year.
Among the three Canadian territories, the Yukon showed the biggest percentage growth in immigration in the first two months of this year compared to the same period in 2022 with the number of new permanent residents spiking 161.9 per cent.