A new Statistics Canada study finds that Canada’s population grew by 76,000 in the first three months of 2020, with 82% of the growth coming from immigration. Canada’s population now stands at just under 38 million people.
Canada experienced its smallest first quarter population increase since 2015 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus arrived to Canada in January and subsequently had a major impact on travel to the country. Since March 18th, Canada has had travel restrictions in place to help reduce the spread of the virus. The impacts of COVID-19 are likely to have contributed to the fact that fewer Canadians returned to the country, and fewer temporary residents arrived, compared with the same time in 2019.
Immigration numbers were stronger in the first three months of 2020 compared with 2019. Nearly 70,000 immigrants arrived to Canada at the beginning of this year compared with nearly 66,000 in the first quarter of 2019.
Canada’s early 2020 immigration numbers likely would have been even stronger if not for the pandemic, as immigration levels began to fall in March.
Temporary resident arrivals was nearly 80% weaker than in 2019, mostly due to a decline in new international students coming to Canada.
The Statistics Canada study expects that COVID-19 will have an even bigger impact on Canada’s permanent and temporary resident levels between April and the end of June of 2020. Given how dependent Canada is on immigration to fuel its population growth, we can expect weaker population growth to be reported in Statistics Canada’s next quarterly study.
Nonetheless, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continues to say that their 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan has not changed due to the coronavirus. This means that once the pandemic is over, we can expect immigration to serve the strong role it played prior to the pandemic in supporting the country’s population, labour force, and economic growth.
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