Migration to Canada reaching 50-year highs, especially among non-permanent residents: StatCan


Bu Yazıyı Paylaş

veya linki kopyala

In 2023, Canada’s population of non-permanent residents (NPRs) grew by more than half a million people, part of the steepest single-year rise in at least five decades of available data.

In a report last week, Statistics Canada (StatCan) counted a total of 2.5 million NPRs as of this October, up from 1.7 million the same time last year. The 2023 growth shatters previous year-to-year records in the available data, tripling the increase of nearly 170,000 between the summers of 2018 and 2019.

NPR totals have grown by just over 80 per cent since the fourth quarter of 2021, the data shows.

In an emailed statement, StatCan told CTVNews.ca that 2023’s NPR growth could be attributed in part to the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions and increases to work and study permits processed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

This year also saw StatCan update its methodology for estimating NPR population data; a change that the agency clarified had, in 2021/22, a roughly five per cent impact on the estimated growth in NPR totals (196,000, compared with an estimate of 205,000 under the older protocol).

“This is our usual practice, especially after a census, as updating our methods enables us to remain relevant,” StatCan said in the statement issued Wednesday. “The impact of these adjustments on the total size of the Canadian population is minimal.”

Jeffrey Reitz, a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Toronto, says the embrace of increasing migration by the federal government has, for years, been a reflection of economic interests.

“When the Liberal government came in, in 2016, they appointed a committee to evaluate various ways of improvement for the growth of the Canadian economy. Members of this committee were mostly businessmen, but also academic economists, and they all recommended a dramatic increase in immigration numbers,” he said in an interview with CTVNews.ca.

“The government’s done, pretty much, what business leaders have requested.”

A June report from the National Bank of Canada describes NPRs as “increasingly pivotal” to the country’s “ongoing population boom;” one that data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows has put Canada at the top of the G7 for population growth, averaging roughly 1.2 per cent annually since 2014.

This past quarter, 96 per cent of Canada’s domestic population growth came from permanent or non-permanent immigration, according to StatCan.

“Few (if any) major advanced countries can match what’s going on in Canada,” the National Bank report read. “Permanent immigrants have long been an important flow. But at the margin, (NPRs) are now front and centre.”


A StatCan review of 2021 census data published this summer found that compared to the rest of the Canadian population, including permanent immigrants, the average NPR was significantly younger, more educated and more likely to participate in the labour force.

Among NPRs, top countries of origin include India (28.5 per cent), China (10.5 per cent), France (5.1 per cent) and the Philippines (3.6 per cent).

In recent years, some of the fastest growth among NPR populations has been in work-permit holders, with 1.6 million counted nationwide this quarter, up from roughly 830,000 in late 2021.

As of the most recent data, the majority of Canada’s 2.5 million NPRs hold work permits, with close to one million permitted to study in the country. These totals include asylum claimants, a majority of whom also hold either a work or study permit, or both.

The growth comes amid what IRCC describes as record-breaking numbers for new permits, including more than 1.5 million for workers and one million for students processed, finalized or extended this year.

“The reality is that Canada needs more people. … This summer, there were close to one million job vacancies in our economy. It’s essential to advance policies that address labour shortages,” said then-immigration minister Sean Fraser in a speech in late 2022.

“We’re going to continue to create opportunities for more people to come to Canada to contribute to our economic well-being and to have our system become more compassionate at the same time.”

But as Reitz points out, sudden increases to Canada’s NPR population are likely to cause problems of their own — both for Canada’s existing population and for newcomers.

“In the past, when the number of international students was 100,000 or so, a reasonable percentage of those folks could qualify for permanent-resident status. But if you then bring in 800,000 or 900,000, … you’re not going to be able to transition an equivalent proportion,” he explained.

“The students who are coming, who are thinking that they’re going to qualify for permanent status, are likely to be very, very disappointed.”

Prospects aren’t much better in the working world, Reitz says. Historically, immigration initiatives like the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) have sought to fill specific gaps in Canada’s labour market, but with industry-level needs changing faster than the immigration process brings people into the country to meet them, complications have arisen.

“Around 2013-2014 … what was being reported was instances in which employers were bringing in immigrants to actually replace Canadians, at lower wages,” Reitz recalled. “This was contrary to the express purpose of the (TFWP), to bring in workers where Canadians were not available.”

What can result is a growing proportion of underpaid Canadian and foreign workers alike, with the latter fearing deportation if they don’t appease the businesses vital to their presence in the country. It’s a vulnerability to abuse that underlies a variety of the challenges facing those in the system.

A study published this year by researchers at StatCan, Brock and Western universities found that between 2010 and 2017, the introduction of low-wage TFWP workers correlated with lowered earnings for the lower-skilled, least-paid Canadian employees of a firm, but higher earnings for the higher-skilled, highest-paid Canadians.

“A major challenge of administering a (TFWP) is that foreign workers facing poor employment options in their home country have incentives to accept jobs to work in Canada for lower wage rates than a typical Canadian would accept,” the study reads.

“This can lead to worse outcomes for Canadians in the labour market if firms internalize this knowledge when making hiring decisions and select TFWs over Canadians.”


Amid public criticism abroad, federal officials have signalled possible reductions to NPR growth in the near future.

In a report published this September, United Nations Special Rapporteur Tomoya Obokata described low-wage and agricultural streams of the TFWP as constituting a “breeding ground for contemporary forms of slavery,” adding that he was “perturbed by reports that the share of workers entering Canada through this programme is sharply on the rise.”

Two months later, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced a new three-year plan designed to chart “a responsible course for sustainable and stable population growth.”

The plan included a freeze on permanent-resident targets at 500,000 annually in 2025 and 2026, and actions in the new year to “recalibrate the number of temporary resident admissions” to ensure the program runs sustainably.

In addition, Miller announced earlier this month plans to double the minimum financial requirement for international students in 2024, to roughly $20,000 in savings from $10,000, on top of the ability to cover their first-year’s tuition and travel expenses.

“We are revising the cost-of-living threshold so that international students understand the true cost of living here,” Miller said in a December release.

“These long-overdue changes will protect international students from financially vulnerable situations and exploitation.” 

Migration to Canada reaching 50-year highs, especially among non-permanent residents: StatCan

E-posta adresiniz yayınlanmayacak. Gerekli alanlar * ile işaretlenmişlerdir

Giriş Yap

Saina News ayrıcalıklarından yararlanmak için hemen giriş yapın veya hesap oluşturun, üstelik tamamen ücretsiz!

Follow Us