Canada received more than 320,000 immigrants in the last 12 months, the most it has received since 1971, when the current way of keeping records began.
When older data is taken into account, Canada has not welcomed as many newcomers in a single 12-month period since the 1910s, according to Statistics Canada.
Figures for the 12 months ending on June 30, 2016, show 320,932 new immigrants landed here compared with 240,844 in the previous year which represented a 15-year low (July 1 2014 to June 30 2015).
That represents an increase of more than 30 per cent, while the previous modern-day record for a 12-month period came in 2009/2010, when 270,581 immigrants were admitted.
Source: Statistics Canada
The numbers were boosted by the welcoming of more than 30,000 Syrian refugees during the time period, but even if that number is subtracted from the total, it would still be a new record.
“The country had not received such a large number of immigrants in a single annual period since the early 1910s during the settlement of Western Canada,” a Statistics Canada statement said.
Data is available going back as far as 1852, but it is not directly comparable because it was measured in a different way pre-1971. Immigration was high between 1910 and 1914 because of a government drive to populate western Canada.
Canada’s population also jumped significantly to 36,286,425 as a result of the increased immigration, with the rise of 437,815 the biggest in real numbers since 1988/1989. This represents a per capital immigration rate of .88% of our population, consistent with the range of previous Liberal governments.
The Statistics Canada report also confirms what demographers have long been predicting. Senior citizens continue to outnumber children across the country. As of July 1, 2016, people 65 and older made up 16.5 per cent of the Canadian population, accelerating from the previous year (16.1%) and surpassing the 16.1 per cent who were 14 and younger. This gap is expected to widen steadily in the coming years.
Projections indicate that by July 1, 2024, seniors will account for 20 per cent of the Canadian population, compared with 16.3 per cent who will be children 14 and younger.
Canada’s net labour market growth is predominantly dependent on immigration. At 60.8%, it is also our primary source of population growth. It appears almost certain that by 2030 Canada will be entirely reliant on immigration for both.
Immigration remains essential in most OECD countries, but especially in Canada, in part to offset demographic developments, including low fertility rates, an aging population, a growing elderly dependency ratio, a shrinking labour force and high out migration rates.
Immigration Minister John McCallum is currently pursuing support within the federal government for further increases to immigration levels, over the next three years.
McCallum believes plugging the gap caused by Canada’s aging population and lack of high-skilled technology workers is crucial to the country’s continued economic growth.
McCallum`s Immigration Plan
- The Liberals made family reunification a key element of their campaign for election, and McCallum is looking at ways to speed up the whole process of bringing in immediate family members.
- There are also plans to make it easier for international students to stay in Canada after they graduate. McCallum feels these young, Canadian qualified, Canadian experienced individuals are the perfect candidates to become new permanent residents.
- McCallum also plans to address the technology talent shortage in Canada by making it easier to bring in new immigrants with the right qualifications.
- Limitations on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are set to be relaxed, with a report into the current state of the program expected to be released in September.
- McCallum has already given Atlantic Canada the freedom to bring in 2,000 more immigrants under Provincial Nominee Programs in 2017. These numbers could rise in 2018 and 2019 if the increase is seen as a success.
The target for 2016 is up to 305,000 immigrants, itself a modern-era record. The government appears well on target to reach this number.
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