The official Statistics Canada agency published last week that 23% of the country’s population (about 8.3 million people) is an immigrant, according to data from the 2021 census. This is the highest proportion in its history.
Everything indicates, in addition, that the percentage will continue to increase after the announcement made on Tuesday by the Government of Justin Trudeau: to open the doors to some 500,000 new arrivals in 2025. “Canada needs more people. We are a nation built on the basis of immigration,”said Sean Fraser, minister responsible for said portfolio, in Toronto.
The previous mark was exactly a century ago: 22.3% in 1921. The federal agency in charge of collecting official data said that Canada is currently the member of the G-7 with the highest percentage of these people. As the Canadian population continues to age and fertility is below replacement level, immigration is currently the main driver of population growth.
Increase in the work force
Immigrants accounted for 79.9% of the increase in the labor force between 2016 and 2021; considerable support for a country with needs in a long list of industries and services. “Immigration is not only good policy for our economy, it is essential. We have a million job offers right now,” said Minister Fraser.
The Statistics Canada report indicates that 56.3% of immigrants currently living in the country were admitted through programs of an economic nature (Ottawa wants to exceed 60% in 2025). Since 1967, Canada has had a system in this area that assigns points according to profiles and skills. The other arrivals must meet various conditions under the categories of family reunification or refuge. The Greater Toronto Area has the highest proportion of immigrants: 46.6% of its population. The Vancouver area ranks second with 41.8%.
A shift in origin
The census showed more than 450 mother tongues among immigrants. However, 92.7% of these people said they felt able to hold a conversation in English or French, the official languages of Canada. One aspect that has changed considerably over the decades is the place of birth. If in 1921, the year of the previous mark, immigrants came mainly from Italy, Scotland and the Ukraine, currently more than 18% come from India. Asia represents the continent of origin for 62% of the total (mainly Indians, Filipinos and Chinese), while Africa contributes 15.6% and Europe 10.1%.
A survey published in late October by Environics Analytics found that seven out of ten Canadians approve of the arrival of more than 400,000 immigrants per year; the highest showing of support in the last 45 years of polling on the issue. Minister Fraser indicated that some 430,000 people will be accepted in 2022 and that the next goals are 465,000 in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. Before Fraser’s announcement Tuesday, Statistics Canada experts calculated that immigrants could represent between 29.1% and 34% of the country’s population in 2041. Everything indicates that the percentage will increase after the new objectives set by Ottawa.