The proportion of new Canadians calling Saskatchewan home has more than tripled over the past decade.
According to a new Statistics Canada study, 2.7 per cent of the country’s 280,682 immigrants planned to settle in Saskatchewan in 2010, a rise of 0.8 per cent of 227,429 immigrants in 2000.
While Saskatchewan welcomed 7,615 immigrants in 2010, compared to 1,891 in 2000, the proportion of immigrants settling in Toronto — which once attracted almost half of newcomers — declined. The proportion of immigrants settling in Toronto dropped to 33 per cent in 2010 from 48 per cent in 2000.
The increasing numbers of immigrants going to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba is attributed to the growth of provincial immigrant nominee programs in the west during this time.
The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nomination Program, which was expanded throughout the 2000s, was a significant driver for immigration, said David McGrane, a political studies professor at the University of Saskatchewan and board member for the Saskatoon Open Door Society, which assists immigrants and refugees in the city.
Naveed Anway, who immigrated to Canada from Pakistan in 1992 and also serves on the Saskatoon Open Door Society board, said he doesn’t expect the upward trend of immigrants to continue. He said recent changes to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program that make it harder for workers to bring family members to the province make Saskatchewan a less attractive place to come to now than it was 10 years ago.
Rising numbers of immigrants have contributed to Saskatchewan reaching an all-time population high of 1,132,640 on January 1. Premier Brad Wall said that the growing population reflects the strength of the province and its economy.