Immigration fuels Canada’s largest population growth of over 1 million

Canada’s population grew by over a million people for the first time ever last year, the government has said.

The country’s population increased from 38,516,138 to 39,566,248 people, Statistics Canada said.

It also marked Canada’s highest annual population growth rate – 2.7% – since 1957.

The increase was in part fuelled by government efforts to recruit migrants to the country to ease labour shortages, Statistics Canada said.

The country also depends on migration to support an ageing population.

But Statistics Canada said the surge in the number of permanent and temporary immigrants could “also represent additional challenges for some regions of the country related to housing, infrastructure and transportation, and service delivery to the population”.

International migration accounted for nearly 96% of the population growth, according to the news release.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made efforts to attract more immigrants to the country since gaining power in 2015. Last year, the government announced a plan to welcome half a million immigrants a year by 2025.

The Canadian government has also been accepting people affected by conflicts like the Ukraine war, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the 2023 earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

On Wednesday, it announced an extension – until July – of a programme that offers to temporarily resettle Ukrainians and their family members.

So far, more than 600,000 applications have been approved of the nearly-one-million that have been received – and more than 130,000 people have arrived in Canada under the initiative.

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