In October, the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration raised this year’s target for permanent residents. As Canadian birth rates decline and the economy grows, this upward trend has reached levels not seen in decades.
Canada increased its target for 2007—defined in ranges rather than set figures—to between 240 000 and 265 000, up from 225 000 to 250 000 this year. After several years of increases, the target has reached a level not seen since the early 1970’s. Mr. Solberg said that the increase would bring in the needed human capital to fill “extraordinary labour market requirements”.
The category seeing the greatest increase is skilled workers, who accounted for half of the total new arrivals last year. This group, along with other economic class workers, will account for nearly the entire expansion expected in 2007. The number of parents and grandparents targeted has been frozen at between 18 000 and 19 000 as immigration is prioritized to meet pressing labour demands.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada also announced in its report to parliament that Canada is on pace to achieve the high end of this year’s target range. These targets have been exceeded however in the past, as the 2005 range was exceeded by over 15 000.
Taking a look at recent trends in the makeup of this inflow, the largest proportion of Canadian immigrants in 2005 came from China, followed by India, the Philippines, Pakistan and the United States. Slightly over half of those who arrived in 2005 were native English speakers, while the proportion of immigrants who spoke French as their native language declined to just fewer than 5% in 2005. Ontario remained the most popular destination for settlement, attracting over half of new permanent residents.