Immigration Canada

Less than a year after topping the 40 million mark, Canada’s population passed 41 million in the first quarter, Statistics Canada says.

The population grew by 242,673 people in the first three months of 2024 to an estimated 41,012,563 at the end of Q1. It was less than a year ago, in mid-June 2023 that Canada’s population passed 40 million.

The national statistical agency reported that 99.3% of the first quarter growth came from immigration (including both permanent and temporary migrants).

The flow of permanent immigrants was in line with federal government targets for the year, StatsCan noted — while most of the temporary immigration occurred before caps on the number of permits was announced.

Policymakers are seeking to curb temporary immigration amid concerns about the ability of the economy and infrastructure to absorb the prevailing levels of new arrivals, despite the positive impact of immigration on output growth, and cushioning the effects of an aging population.

Temporary immigrants outnumbered permanent immigrants in the first quarter, as the population added 131,810 non-permanent residents, compared with 121,758 permanent immigrants.

The Maritime provinces in particular saw an influx of permanent immigrants, which StatsCan said was driven primarily by the “growing need for skilled workers.”

And the ongoing influx of temporary immigrants pushed the total number of non-permanent residents living in Canada to a record high of 2.79 million in the first quarter. Of the total, 2.43 million held either work or study permits, while the rest were asylum claimants and related groups, StatsCan noted.

Overall, the population grew by 0.6% in the first quarter. Excluding temporary immigrants, the population would have risen by 0.3%.

And, while temporary immigration drove overall population growth in the first quarter, the trend showed signs of slowing, StatsCan noted.

“The net increase in the first quarter of 2024 was one of the lowest quarterly net increases since higher levels of temporary migration began in the second quarter of 2022. It is also lower than the record highs seen in the second and third quarters of 2023,” it said.