Canada's immigration levels hit record high, population growth returns to normal

Dec 17 2021, 7:45 pm

Newly released data this week by Statistics Canada shows immigration reached a record high for the third quarter of 2021.

The country saw 122,748 immigrants over the three-month period from July to September, making it the highest immigration levels for any quarter since 1946, and more than three times higher than the third quarter of 2020 when 40,116 immigrants were recorded.

But according to statisticians, the record for the past quarter was mainly the result of temporary residents already in Canada becoming permanent residents, and the easing of pandemic-related health safety border restrictions, allowing approved immigrants to come to Canada.

Additionally, during the same quarter, Canada also began to welcome Afghan refugees after the recent crisis in Afghanistan.

Elevated immigration has also helped send Canada’s population growth to pre-pandemic levels, with the nation’s population on October 1, 2021 estimated at 38,436,447 — an increase of 190,339 people or 0.5% from July 1, 2021.

The province of Nova Scotia has also passed the milestone of reaching and exceeding one million residents — roughly the same population as Ottawa, Canada’s fourth most populated city. Statisticians estimate Nova Scotia has now exceeded the one-million mark, assuming growth trends continued since October 1, 2021, when the province had 998,832 residents.

In October 2020, the federal government announced an immigration target of 1.2 million additional people over three years as a short-term pandemic economic recovery measure, and to ensure long-term economic health and growth, given falling birth rates. But this could challenge housing markets, especially in the key urban markets of the Vancouver and Toronto regions, where demand continues to push up prices for both ownership and rental housing.

Statistics Canada also indicated the number of regular employment insurance (EI) beneficiaries decreased in all provinces in October, with British Columbia leading the decrease — a drop of 78,000 EI beneficiaries or -51%. This is followed by Ontario (-47.3%; -196,000) and Alberta (-43.7%; -65,000).

On an urban regional basis, Metro Vancouver saw the largest monthly EI declines in the country, falling by 43,000 EI beneficiaries or -56.9%, followed by Abbotsford-Mission in the Fraser Valley of 4,000 or -55.1%.

Throughout much of the pandemic, metrics show Metro Vancouver and overall BC have been outperforming other jurisdictions of Canada in economic recovery.

Furthermore, with interprovincial migration, more people moved to BC than anywhere in Canada over the past year.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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