In a groundbreaking development, Statistics Canada has just released a major report that dramatically revises its method for counting Canada’s non-permanent residents (NPRs). This report unveils startling statistics, indicating that NPRs now account for a staggering 2,198,679 people in Canada, marking a difference of over one million from the Census 2021 figures.
Undercounted NPR Population Acknowledged: The significance of this report lies in Statistics Canada’s acknowledgment of its prior undercounting of the country’s NPR population. This revised methodology has profound implications for various facets of Canadian public policy, including immigration, economic and labor market planning, and housing. Notably, the latest data reveals a remarkable 46% year-over-year increase in NPRs in Canada, the highest growth rate recorded since records began being kept in 1971/72.
Population Growth Soars: On July 1, 2023, Canada’s total population was estimated at 40,097,761, marking a substantial increase of 1,158,705 people, which equates to a 2.9% growth rate from July 1, 2022. This growth pushed Canada past the milestone of 40 million, achieved in June 2023, solidifying its position as the leader in population growth among G7 nations and ranking among the top 20 countries globally. The latest numbers represent the highest population growth rate recorded for 12 months since 1957, standing at an impressive 3.3%.
International Migration Drives Growth: Statistics Canada’s estimations indicate that nearly 98% of the growth in the Canadian population from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, was attributed to net international migration, while 2% resulted from the difference between births and deaths. This substantial international migration growth was largely fueled by nearly 470,000 new permanent resident arrivals and an increase of almost 700,000 NPRs in Canada.
Work and Study Permits Surge: Of particular note is the remarkable surge in the number of NPRs holding work permits, with an estimated count exceeding 1.4 million people in July 2023, signifying a 64% increase compared to the nearly 870,000 people in July 2022. This growth, according to Statistics Canada, can be predominantly attributed to the influx of Ukrainians following the invasion of their country by Russia.
Fertility Rates Plummet: Conversely, fertility rates in Canada hit record-low levels in 2022, dropping to 1.33 children per woman from 1.44 in 2021. A recent report by Statistics Canada also highlighted a decline of 20,000 babies born between 2018 and 2022. To provide the most accurate numbers, Statistics Canada constantly revises its demographic estimates, now incorporating family members living with temporary permit holders in Canada. Moreover, the methodology has been adjusted to better account for individuals still in Canada after their temporary permits expire while awaiting Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) extension reviews.
Undercounting NPRs – A Broader Issue: This Statistics Canada update follows recent reports by CIBC Economics and the C.D. Howe Institute, which both discovered significant undercounting of NPRs, including students, temporary foreign workers, and temporary residents, in the annual census and quarterly population growth estimates. CIBC’s estimations suggest that there could be as many as one million NPRs unaccounted for in Canada’s population figures. Data from the 2021 census indicated just under 925,000 NPRs, while quarterly estimates suggested 1.17 million, hinting at a likely higher number due to undercounting.
Canada’s Immigration Plans Await Announcement: Under Canadian law, the federal government is mandated to announce its immigration plan by November 1st during non-election years. Consequently, Canada’s new permanent residence targets will be unveiled by early November. Under the current Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, Canada aims to welcome 500,000 new permanent residents annually by 2025. Federal immigration minister Marc Miller anticipates that Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026 targets may either align with the current plan or be revised upward.
The revised NPR statistics are poised to reshape the contours of Canadian demographics and have far-reaching implications on various sectors, prompting stakeholders to closely monitor forthcoming policy developments.