OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s population increased by more than 1 million people for the first time in history in 2022, due almost entirely to an increase in immigrants and temporary residents. Statistics Canada said Wednesday.
The statistics agency said the total population grew by a record 1.05 million people to 39.57 million in the twelve months to January 1, 2023, and about 96% of the increase was due to international migration.
The increase, which has helped Canada retain its position as the fastest-growing G-7 nation, translates into a population growth rate of 2.7%, the agency said, a rate that would double the population in about 26 years.
Canada relies on immigration to drive its economy and support an aging population, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has sharply increased immigration since taking office in 2015.
Ottawa also runs special schemes to temporarily take in people affected by crises such as the Ukraine war, instability in Afghanistan or the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
In 2022, Canada welcomed 437,180 immigrants and the number of non-permanent residents increased by a net rate of 607,782 people. Both numbers are the highest levels on record, Statscan said, and reflect “higher immigration targets and a record year in processing immigration applications.”
The agency counts permanent and non-permanent residents as well as net newborns in calculating population numbers.
Canada has been seeing an upward trend in total employment since September, and the statistics agency previously reported that non-permanent residents are a notable contributor to this gain.
Immigration accounts for nearly 100% of Canada’s workforce growth, and by 2036 immigrants are expected to be around 30% of Canada’s population, up from 20.7% in 2011, according to Immigration Canada.
Under a three-year plan announced in November, Trudeau’s government wants to continue increasing annual immigration targets, with the goal of granting permanent residency to 465,000 people in 2023 and increasing that target to 500,000 people by 2025.
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa). Edited by Aurora Ellis
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