Canada’s population growth is rising again after grinding to a halt last year (2020).
Statistics Canada says the country’s population rose by 0.2%, or 82,366 people, in the first three months of this year to 38.1 million. That’s the fastest quarterly population growth since the pandemic hit in March 2020 and reflects a rebound in immigration.
Quarterly growth averaged just under 0.3% in the decade before the pandemic.
The numbers suggest that Canada is finding its ways to allow workers and students to enter the country despite travel restrictions. Immigration into Canada has been a key driver of economic growth, having an impact on everything from the housing market to banking services.
The federal government in Ottawa has prioritized immigration despite the economic downturn, seeing it as necessary to counter the impact of aging demographics on the labor force.
This year (2021), the government is targeting 401,000 permanent residents to make up for missing its 2020 goal, hoping to put more non-Canadians already living in the country on the path to citizenship.
In 2020, population growth fell to its slowest since World War I as the country halted nearly all travel to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Canada’s natural population increase, or births minus deaths, remained historically low in the first quarter, with a gain of only 6,379. That’s the smallest amount in records dating back to 1946 and reflects aging demographics and low fertility rates across the country.