In 2023, Canada experienced its most rapid population expansion in 66 years.

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Canada’s population soared to a record high of 40.77 million in 2023, according to Statistics Canada, marking the fastest growth rate in 66 years. The surge was primarily fueled by temporary immigration, with the country adding 1.27 million people, representing a 3.2% increase from the previous year.

The significance of this population growth is multifaceted. On one hand, it underscores Canada’s attractiveness as a destination for immigrants seeking new opportunities. However, it has also contributed to pressing challenges, such as a housing shortage that has driven up prices and strained affordability, leading to a decline in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval ratings.

Moreover, the rapid population expansion has impacted economic indicators, including gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and productivity levels. Economists and the Bank of Canada have noted the implications of this growth trend on Canada’s economic performance.

Statistics Canada highlighted that a significant portion (97.6%) of Canada’s population growth in 2023 stemmed from international migration, encompassing both permanent and temporary immigration. This marks the second consecutive year in which temporary immigration has been a key driver of population growth, reflecting a broader trend of sustained net increases in non-permanent residents over the past three years.

Canada’s heavy reliance on immigration as a means to bolster its labor force and spur economic growth is evident, with nearly a quarter of its population comprised of non-native born Canadian residents, as reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2021. This places Canada at the forefront among G7 nations in terms of immigrant population proportion.

However, in response to mounting pressure, particularly regarding housing affordability and economic stability, Trudeau’s Liberal government has implemented measures to regulate the influx of international students and non-permanent residents into the country.

As of January 1, 2024, Statistics Canada data revealed that approximately 2,661,784 non-permanent residents were residing in Canada, including permit holders, their family members, and asylum claimants. This underscores the diverse composition of Canada’s population and the ongoing challenges and opportunities associated with managing immigration flows in a dynamic socio-economic landscape.

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