Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's efforts to leverage immigration as a means of addressing labor shortages exacerbated by an aging population saw Canada's population grow at its fastest rate in 65 years in 2022. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo
March 23 (UPI) -- Canada's population posted a record rise last year as the government's strategy to address labor shortages and an aging population through immigration stepped up a gear, according to the country's main statistical agency.
The nation's population grew to 39,566,248 up 1.05 million from the previous year, marking the first time in Canada's history that the population has grown by more than 1 million in a 12-month period, Statistics Canada said in a news release.
The agency said the increase of 2.7% also means Canada has the highest growth among G7 countries -- France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States -- and that its population would double by 2048 were it to continue at that rate.
Immigration accounted for 95.5% of the increase with a record 437,180 immigrants settling in Canada together with a sharp rise in temporary migrants. The number of non-permanent residents jumped to 607,782, overtaking permanent migration for the first time. Both numbers are the highest levels on record.
"The increase in international migration is related to efforts by the government to ease labor shortages in key sectors of the economy. High job vacancies and labor shortages are occurring in a context where population aging has accelerated and the unemployment rate remains near a record low," Statistics Canada said.
However, it warned that the record rise in permanent and temporary immigrants could present additional challenges for some regions in coping with the additional demand on housing, infrastructure and transport, and delivery of services to the population.
All provinces and territories saw a year-over-year increase in the net estimated number of non-permanent residents in 2022, with work and study permits, in addition to the number of asylum claimants, up across the country.
The increase was due to a combination of international migration to help fulfill employment needs across the country and a program to allow Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion in late February 2022 to come to Canada.
Canada Border Services Agency data shows 191,000 Ukrainians and permanent residents of Ukrainian origin entered Canada by air or land between Jan. 1, 2022 and March 19, 2023.