Source: Cohen.Canada

Canada’s population has seen its most rapid growth in over six decades, with new data from Statistics Canada revealing an unprecedented surge largely driven by temporary immigration. 

As of January 1, 2024, the nation’s population reached a staggering 40,769,890, marking a 3.2% increase from the previous year, the highest annual growth reported since 1957. Canada’s real-time population clock shows that the country’s population has now broken 41 million, just months after breaking the 40 million threshold.

Population growth in the fourth quarter of 2023 was the highest seen in the fourth quarter since 1956. Canada’s population increased by 241,494 people between October 1 and December 31, 2023.

“In 2023, the vast majority (97.6%) of Canada’s population growth came from international migration (both permanent and temporary immigration), and the remaining portion (2.4%) came from natural increase,” reads Statistics Canada’s report published Wednesday. 

The influx of 471,771 permanent immigrants in 2023 aligns with the targets set by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, yet it is the temporary immigration that has primarily fueled the population increase. A record 804,901 non-permanent residents, including temporary workers and international students, were added to Canada’s demographic tally.

According to a recent report by True North’s Candice Malcolm, the number of illegal migrants has exploded tenfold since Stephen Harper was Prime Minister. She said that the total number of newcomers in Canada is approximately 2.2 million people annually.

Amidst this rapid growth, interprovincial migration has also seen notable shifts, with Alberta recording a significant net gain, the largest seen since comparable data became available in 1972. 

Ontario saw the flipside of things, losing 36,197 people to other provinces. This followed a loss of 38,816 people the year prior. The only time a province lost more than 35,000 people to interprovincial migration was Quebec in 1977 and 1978, losing 38,498 and 36,955 people, respectively.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller previously admitted that the current level of temporary foreign workers and international students resulted in a system that was “out of control.”

He recently announced a new target to be introduced in September, bringing temporary residents from 6.2 to 5% of the total population within three years.

Senior economist at BMO, Robert Kavcic, said this reduction could bring Canada’s population growth from over 3% to closer to 1%.

“The 400,000-500,000 range is just about the sweet spot for net immigration that provides needed long-run labour supply, while also being absorbable,” he said.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has repeatedly highlighted the growth of Canada’s economy based on its growth in GDP.

A professor of economics at Waterloo University, Mikal Skuterud, highlighted the difference between GDP and GDP per capita growth in the country, in a post to X.

“Canada’s GDP grew by 1.1% between the 4th quarter of 2022 and 2023, while its population grew by 3.2%. That means GDP per capita is now falling at 2% annually (roughly the difference). Zero economic growth in more than 6 years,” he wrote.

As pointed out by Malcolm, after evaluating this stark difference, the economy may be technically growing, but only due to mass immigration. Canadians are much poorer under this system, on average.