Even though the Trudeau government has made no secret of dialling up immigration to historic highs, the latest Statistics Canada figures on population growth are still jaw-dropping. In just three months (from July 1 to Oct. 1), Canada added an extra 430,635 people – only four per cent of which could be attributed to births. For just the first nine months of 2023, Statistics Canada noted that the country had seen a higher level of population growth than “any other full-year period since Confederation in 1867.”
Naturally, you can’t add this many people all at once without it having knock-on effects. And there is good evidence that the immigration surge is a prime contributor to the skyrocketing cost of Canadian housing. It’s also cancelling out almost all of Canada’s post-pandemic job growth. In November, the country added 25,000 jobs, but unemployment went up anyway because so many new immigrants had joined the work force. “Growth in the population continued to outpace employment growth,” wrote the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey.
Canada has always been a high immigration country, and immigration is basically the only thing stopping us from entering a prolonged, Japan-style period of demographic decline. But what’s happening now is unlike anything Canada has ever seen. Below, some figures on just how unprecedentedly high immigration has climbed.
If those three months of newcomers founded a new city, it would be Canada’s 11th largest
Say that you carved out an uninhabited piece of northern Saskatchewan and between July 1 and Oct. 1 you directed every single newcomer to move there and found a new city. By Oct. 2, that would be Canada’s 11th largest metro area; larger than Victoria, Halifax, Windsor or Saskatoon.