On February 18, 2023, children look at an ice sculpture at Bloor-Yorkville Icefest in Toronto, Canada. Statistics Canada said on Wednesday that Canada's population increased by more than a million people for the first time in 2022 due to a surge in immigrants and temporary residents.
The total population increased by a record 1.05 million people to 39.57 million people in the twelve months to Jan 1, 2023, and about 96 percent of the increase was due to international migration, the statistics agency said.
The increase in population, which helped Canada retain its position as the fastest growing G 7 country, will result in a population growth rate of 2.7 percent and will lead to the population doubling in about 26 years, the agency said.
Canada depends on immigration to drive its economy and support an aging population, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has ramped up immigration since taking power in 2015.
Ottawa has also been running special schemes to temporarily take in people impacted by crises like the Ukraine war, the instability in Afghanistan or the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
In 2022 Canada welcomed 437,180 immigrants and the number of non-permanent residents increased by a net 607,782 people. Both figures are the highest levels on record and reflect higher immigration targets and a record-breaking year for processing immigration applications, according to Statscan.
The agency counts both permanent and non-permanent residents in addition to net new births in calculating population figures.
Since September, Canada has had an upward trend in total employment, and the statistics agency has previously stated that non-permanent residents are a significant contributor to that gain.
Immigration is estimated to be about 30 percent of Canada's labor force growth by the year 2036, up from 20.7 percent in 2011 according to Canada's immigration ministry.
The Trudeau government wants to give permanent residency to 465,000 people in 2023, and increase that goal to 500,000 by the year 2025, under a three-year plan announced in November.