Statistics Canada on September 30, 2019 released a report showing that Canada recorded its highest population increase ever in 2018-2019.
This growth is driven primarily by international immigration, reinforcing the important role by newcomers in sustaining the country’s economy and prosperity.
According to the report, Canada's population was estimated at 37,589,262 on July 1, 2019.
This level is up 531,497 compared with the number on July 1, 2018.
“Such an annual increase in the number of people living in the country is the highest ever observed,” stated the report titled ‘Canada's population estimates: Age and sex, July 1, 2019’.
The report noted that Canada's population growth is the highest among G7 countries.
“The country's annual population growth rate for 2018/2019 was 1.4%, the highest percentage growth rate since 1989/1990 (+1.5%),” according to the report.
Canada's population growth rate is “more than twice that of the United States and the United Kingdom (+0.6% each) and exceeds the growth in Germany (+0.3%) and in France (+0.2%)”.
“In the last year, Italy and Japan both recorded a population decline (-0.2% each),” the report pointed out.
According to Statistics Canada, permanent and temporary immigration are accelerating population growth.
“Canada's sustained population growth is driven mostly (82.2%) by the arrival of a large number of immigrants and non-permanent residents,” Statistics Canada reported. “The difference between births and deaths accounted for a small portion (17.8%) of the growth, a share that is decreasing year after year.”
The report noted that Canada admitted 313,580 immigrants in 2018/2019, “one of the highest levels in Canadian history”.
“In 2015/2016, Canada received 323,192 permanent immigrants, including nearly 30,000 Syrian refugees,” the federal agency recalled.
It also noted that the “number of non-permanent residents rose by 171,536 in 2018/2019, the largest increase in the country's history”.
“While also fuelled by rapid growth in asylum claimants, this gain was mainly led by an increase in the number of work and study permit holders,” according to the report. “Temporary immigration assists Canada in meeting its labour market needs.”
The report ties in with an earlier study for the Conference Board of Canada, a think tank based in Ottawa.
Titled ‘Can’t Go it Alone: Immigration Is Key to Canada’s Growth Strategy,' the paper was released in May 2019.
According to the report, the country’s retirement rate has gone up, and “by 2030, all 9.2 million of
Canada’s most prominent worker cohort—the baby boomers—will be of retirement age”.
“This reality, combined with a low fertility rate, is creating economic and fiscal pressure,” the document noted. “As such, to maintain its high living standards, Canada needs solutions to replenish those exiting the workforce.”
The study compared the results of four scenarios on the country’s labour force and economic growth between 2018 and 2040.
“Among our scenarios, the best path forward is for Canada to increase the labour force participation of women, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities while also gradually raising immigration levels,” the report noted.
According to the document, this would yield a “net labour force increase of 5.9 million workers,
resulting in a labour force growth rate of 1.1 per cent annually between 2018 and 2040, comparable to the 1.3 per cent annual growth rate Canada experienced between 2000 and 2017”.
“This scenario is important not only in terms of benefiting the Canadian economy, but also because it would promote inclusive economic growth, alleviate poverty, and strengthen social inclusion and cohesion,” the report to the Conference Board of Canada noted.
The document stated that if Canada “gradually raises its immigration rate to 1 per cent of its population by 2030—up from about 0.8 per cent today—newcomers would contribute some 5.3 million workers to the labour force and one-third of the economic growth rate between 2018 and 2040”.