Why is Canada Accepting so Many Immigrants?

Canada requires increased immigration to offset labour shortages created by an aging population and low birth rate. Explore what’s happening with the Canadian labour market and why immigration might be the answer.


As of 2021, “people who were, or had ever been, a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada.”- grouped together for simplicity as “immigrants” represent 23% of this country’s total population, the highest proportion recorded since Confederation in 1867.


The highest among all G7 countries. Canada has also now topped its previous record set in 1921, when immigrants made up 22.3% of the country’s population.


According to population projections from statistics Canada, if current demographic trends continue, “immigrants could represent from 29.1% to 34.0% of Canada’s population by 2041.


Such projections are further reinforced by Canada’s annual immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025, which was released on November 1, 2022. According to current immigration targets, Canada is aiming to welcome 465,000 immigrants in 2023, 485,000 newcomers in 2024 and a milestone 500,000 new Canadian permanent residents in 2025.


Seeing all these significant numbers, you may wonder: why is Canada accepting so many new immigrants?

Let’s look deeper into this subject, starting with an understanding of current Canadian population trends.


To appreciate why immigration is becoming so prolific across Canada, two crucial factors- the aging of Canada’s natural population and the country’s low fertility rate- must be understood. These demographic trends are causing Canada’s labour market to shrink, negatively impacting the country’s economy in many ways.


Canadians are aging quickly

According to the 2021 census, from 2016 to 2021, the number of children under the age 15 grew at a pace six times slower than the number of people aged 65 and older. Moreover, the percentage of persons aged 65 and over in Canada has risen to 7 million, representing an increase of 18.3% between 2016 and 2021. This age group of Canadians now represents 19% of the total population. This reality along with Canada’s largest ever five year increase in persons aged 65 or older(+20%) came in the census reporting period immediately preceding the most current census(2011 to 2016), signals that Canada’s population is clearly aging rapidly.


Canadians are having fewer children

Adding to the concern surrounding downward trends in natural Canadian population growth is the reality that Canada’s fertility rate is below the population replacement level. The current population replacement level stands at 2.1 children per woman. Following a trend that has continued steadily since 2009. Canada’s fertility rate has steadily declined over time, reaching a record low of 1.4 children per woman in 2020.

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