Canada’s population hits 41M months after breaking 40M threshold

Nine months after reaching a population of 40 million, Canada has cracked a new threshold.

As of Wednesday morning, it’s estimated 41 million people now call the country home, according to Statistics Canada’s live population tracker.

The speed at which Canada’s population is growing was also reflected in new data released Wednesday by the federal agency: between Jan. 1 2023 and Jan. 1 2024, Canada added 1,271,872 inhabitants, a 3.2 per cent growth rate — the highest since 1957.

Most of Canada’s 3.2 per cent population growth rate stemmed from temporary immigration. Without it, Canada’s population growth would have been 1.2 per cent, Statistics Canada said.

From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, Canada’s population increased by 241,494 people (0.6 per cent), the highest rate of growth in a fourth quarter since 1956.

Usha George, a professor at the Toronto Metropolitan Centre for Immigration and Settlement at Toronto Metropolitan University, told Global News in June a booming population can benefit the economy.

“It is not the bodies we are bringing in; these are bodies that fill in the empty spaces in the labour market,” she said.

“They bring a very-high level of skills.”

However, Ottawa has recently sought to ease the flow of temporary immigration in a bid to ease cost-of-living woes.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller said on March 21 Ottawa would set targets for temporary residents allowed into Canada to ensure “sustainable” growth in the number of temporary residents entering the nation.

The next day, BMO economist Robert Kavcic in a note to clients the new limits will have a positive impact on Canada’s rental market and overall housing crisis.

“We’ve been firm in our argument that Canada has had an excess demand problem in housing, and this is maybe the clearest example,” Kavcic said.

“Non-permanent resident inflows, on net, have swelled to about 800K in the latest year, with few checks and balances in place, putting tremendous stress on housing supply and infrastructure.”

Alberta gains, Ontario loses: A look at Canadian migration in 2023

If Alberta is truly calling, then it appears more Canadians are choosing to answer.

Putting the pun on the provincial government’s attraction campaign aside, Canada’s wild rose country saw the largest net gain in interprovincial migration in 2023, Statistics Canada said in Wednesday’s report.

The agency said 55,107 Canadians moved to Alberta last year, which was the largest gain in interprovincial migration nationally since comparable data become available in 1972.

“Alberta has been recording gains in population from interprovincial migration since 2022, a reverse of the trend seen from 2016 to 2021, when more people left the province than arrived from other parts of Canada,” Statistics Canada said.

“Approximately 333,000 Canadians moved from one province or territory to another in 2023, the second-highest number recorded since the 1990s and the third straight year that interprovincial migration topped 300,000.”

Meanwhile, British Columbia had 8,624 more residents move out than in in 2023, meaning net interprovincial migration was negative for the first time since 2012, Statistics Canada said.

In general, the largest migration flows for British Columbia and Alberta are with each other, and most of the net loss from British Columbia in 2023 was to Alberta, it added.

It also seems that good things may no longer be growing in Ontario; Canada’s most populous province lost 36,197 people to other regions in 2023, the biggest regional loss in 2023, Statistics Canada said.

That followed a loss of 38,816 people in 2022; the only other times a province has lost more than 35,000 people due to migration to other parts of Canada occurred in Quebec in 1977 and 1978.

Alberta aside, net interprovincial migration was also up in Nova Scotia (+6,169 people), New Brunswick (+4,790) and Prince Edward Island (+818), although all three Maritime provinces gained fewer interprovincial migrants in 2023 than in the two previous years, Statistics Canada said.


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