How immigration helped Canada set a new population growth record in 2022

According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada, the country’s total population is estimated to be 39.5 million (as of January 1, 2023). This means that, for the first time, Canada’s population has increased by more than one million in a single year.

It comes as Canada experiences a record-high population growth of 1,050,110 people between January 1, 2022 and January 1, 2023.

At +2.7%, in 2022 Canada will record its highest population growth rate in 65 years (+3.3% in 1957). If Canada’s current population growth rate remains constant, Statistics Canada estimates that the country’s population will double in approximately 26 years.

While Canada’s growth rate in 1957 was largely the result of the post-war baby boom and refugee immigration caused by the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, almost all of Canada’s population growth the previous year was the product of international migration (95.9%).

Understanding Canada’s record-high population growth through 2022

Canada’s population growth in 2022 is due to temporary immigration, as the country sees a “net increase” of approximately 607,782 “non-permanent residents”.

Canada’s 600,000+ increase in temporary residents for 2022 is another record one-year high for the country. According to reported data, this increase in temporary residents was spread across the country, with all provinces and territories in Canada seeing increases in the number of work permits, study permits and asylum claimants.

In 2022, Canada also set a new record for the number of immigrants welcomed in a single year (over 437,000).

Both these single-year records for total immigration and for non-permanent residents are the product of a conscious effort by the Government of Canada to use immigration as a means to address the nationwide labor shortage. As Canada seeks to cope with high job vacancies and a near-record-low unemployment rate, the government is seeking to combat the challenges created for the national labor market as a result of this country’s aging natural population and low birth rate. Welcoming level immigration.

Indeed, Canada’s record-setting year for population growth comes as a direct result of higher-than-immigration targets and a record-breaking year with respect to the processing of immigration applications.

Comment: Canada’s latest Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025 indicates that the government expects immigration to increase further over the next three years, with a total annual immigration target of as high as 500,000 in 2025.

Breaking down how immigration will contribute to Canada’s 2022 population boom

Immigration factors in population growth across Canada by bringing three general groups of international populations into this country. These groups include permanent residents, international students and foreign skilled workers.

permanent resident

In 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data indicates that Canada will welcome more than 437,000 new permanent residents (PRs) from more than 190 countries. Immigration levels for 2022-2024 (431,000+) exceed the target set in the plan, representing an increase of almost eight percent from 2021.

According to statistics, in 2022 more than half of all PRs (58%) came to Canada through economic immigration programs. Meanwhile, 22.2% of PRs who arrived in Canada last year were family-category immigrants and 17.2% of all Canadian permanent residents were admitted as refugees or protected persons.

The following table outlines the distribution of Canadian PRs across Canada in 2022 by province/territory.

Province / Territory 2022 PR % of all PR % change from 2021
Newfoundland and Labrador 3,490 0.7% +0.2%
Prince Edward Island 2,665 0.6% ,
Nova Scotia 12,650 2.8% +0.6%
new Brunswick 10,205 2.3% +1%
Quebec 68,685 15.7% +3.4%
Ontario 184,725 42.2% -6.7%
Manitoba 21,645 4.9% +0.8%
Saskatchewan 21,635 4.9% +2.2%
alberta 49,460 11.3% +1.4%
British Columbia 61,215 14% -3.1%
Yukon 455 0.1% ,
Northwest Territories 235 0.0% -0.1%
nunavut 45 0.0% ,
province not specified 20 0.0% -0.1%
canada total 437,120 100% ,

international students

Last year, 551,405 new international students arrived in Canada from 184 countries.

The following 10 countries will produce the largest number of new international students coming to Canada in 2022:

  1. India (226,450)
  2. People’s Republic of China (52,165)
  3. Philippines (23,380)
  4. France (16,725)
  5. Nigeria (16,195)
  6. Iran (13,525)
  7. Republic of Korea (11,535)
  8. Japan (10,955)
  9. Mexico (10,405)
  10. Brazil (10,405)

Ontario (411,000 students) led Canada last year with regard to chosen province of study among international students. British Columbia was second on the list (164,000) and the top three was rounded out by Quebec (93,000).

The remaining seven Canadian provinces are ranked on this list as follows.

4. Alberta (43,000)

5. Manitoba (22,000)

6. Nova Scotia (20,850)

7. Saskatchewan (13,135)

8. New Brunswick (11,140)

9. Newfoundland and Labrador (6,175)

10. Prince Edward Island (4,485)

foreign skilled labor

A record-high 608,420 work permits take effect across Canada in 2022. This figure means that almost 200,000 more work permits took effect last year than in 2021 (414,000).

Breaking that figure down, it is clear that the majority of work permit holders (77%, 472,070 permit holders) who came to Canada in 2022 did so through the International Mobility Program (IMP). The remaining 136,350 permits were issued through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

Of all IMP work permits implemented last year, the highest percentage (36%) of permits were held by medical residents and fellows, and post-graduate employment applicants. The majority of TFWP work permits (51%), on the other hand, were held by agricultural workers in 2022.

Comment: Click here to see the full breakdown of work permits by TFWP/IMP stream in 2022

Q4 2022 Population Growth in Canada

Statistics Canada also notes that Q4 2022 marked Canada’s highest population growth rate (+0.7%) in any fourth quarter since 1956 (+0.7%).

Canada added 83,152 immigrants to the national population in the final three months of 2022, at a time when Canada also welcomed “the largest projected net new non-permanent residents (+196,262) of any fourth quarter”. [there exists] comparable data.

In line with general trends in 2022, the population growth in the fourth quarter of the previous year was almost entirely (97.7%) due to international migration.

Comment: Q4 is denoted by the period between October 1 and December 31, 2022

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