Canada’s Population Hits 40 Million, Fueled By Immigration

Canada’s Population Hits 40 Million, Fueled By Immigration
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Canada’s population has surged past 40 million, fueled by immigration, the latest Statistics Canada figures reveal.

“This is an exciting milestone for Canada,” said Anil Arora, Statistics Canada’s chief statistician. 

“It is a strong signal that Canada remains a dynamic and welcoming country, full of potential. As we head into Canada Day, this is certainly cause for celebration!”

Canada is bucking the trend of population decline in the G7 with the fastest population growth, 2.7 per cent, among those countries. 

That’s also the fastest population growth in Canada since 1957 when immigration and the arrival of the Baby Boomers caused the country’s population to surge ahead by 3.3 per cent.

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“As we reach 40 million Canadians, the future of our population depends on the decisions we make today,” notes Statistics Canada on its website.

“If current immigration levels stay in place, Canada’s population could hit the 50-million mark by 2043. That’s just 20 years from now. For comparison, it took 26 years to go from 30 to 40 million.

The Statistical and demographic services agency estimates that by 2041 two in five Canadians could be born abroad, which would be a record high.

Canada is bullish on immigration.

In its 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, Ottawa has set its immigration target for 2023 at 465,000 new permanent residents. The country is to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and another 500,000 in 2025. That’s a total of 1.45 million immigrants to Canada over the coming three years.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has kicked off a national fact-finding tour to discover what Canadians think about the country’s immigration policies.

That initiative is being dubbed An Immigration System for Canada’s Future.

“Immigration is critical to Canada’s long-term success and we need to ensure our policies and programs are aligned with the needs of our communities,” said Fraser.

“That’s why the government of Canada is launching this large-scale engagement initiative, which will provide an opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders and Canadians to share their ideas and perspectives on how we can build a stronger, more adaptive immigration system for Canada’s future.”

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Through this engagement initiative, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has held in-person dialogue sessions across the country, thematic workshops and conducted a survey for the public and its clients.

Those who wanted to contribute to the future of Canada’s immigration system could respond to an online survey, available starting in March, in addition to the dialogue sessions and thematic workshops with stakeholders.

Last year, IRCC data reveals Canada welcomed 437,120 new permanent residents.

Immigration accounts for almost all of Canada’s labour force growth, with more than 75 per cent of Canada’s population growth coming from immigration, mostly in the economic category.

Those rising levels of immigration are seen by many as vital to ensuring Canada can resolve its serious labour shortages and help employers fill positions left empty for a lack of suitable candidates.

Pros And Cons Of Canada’s Current Immigration Levels Debated By Politicians

But as inflation climbed halfway through last year others expressed concern Canada’s immigration levels were so high as to be fueling immigration and taxing the country’s social safety net and infrastructure.

Among the most outspoken of those calling for lower immigration levels was People’s Party of Canada (PPC) Leader Maxime Bernier – who ran for a seat in the House of Commons in a by-election in Manitoba this week – who said Ottawa’s ambitious immigration targets for the next few years just aren’t sustainable.

“It’s mass immigration,” said the leader of the fledgling right-wing party in a Rebel News report. “Yes, we must have sustainable immigration but we believe we must have lower immigration than that number.”

In the last federal election, the PPC got 4.9 per cent of the popular vote and failed to elect a single candidate to the House of Commons. The party regularly polls at less than five per cent of popular support.

But worries over Canada’s immigration levels and how the country can provide an adequate level of settlement services to all the newcomers persist.

In the francophone province of Quebec, provincial Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette has told Ottawa the province will not be accepting significantly more immigrants in the coming years.

“It is up to Quebec to set its own targets for permanent immigration,” she tweeted in French. “The upper limit for Quebec is now 50,000 (new permanent residents) due to our capacity to welcome, provide French-language services and integrate them.”

Canada is, arguably, a nation of immigrants. In 2021, more than 8.3 million people, or 23 per cent of the population, were, or had ever been, landed immigrants or permanent residents in Canada.

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