This is the first time in the country’s history that its population has grown by more than one million people in a 12-month period, according to a press release from Statistics Canada published Wednesday.
The total population reached 39,566,248 million on January 1 – 2.7% higher than a year prior, with immigration accounting for 95.9% of that growth, according to the country’s statistics agency.
While other developed nations grapple with slowing population growth, Canada has the fastest growing population of any G7 nation, and a 2.7% growth rate ranks in the top 20 globally.
If the country’s population were to continue growing at the same rate, it would double in around 26 years, said Statistics Canada.
The number of immigrants arriving in Canada reached a record 437,180 in 2022, and increased immigration “is related to efforts by the Government of Canada to ease labour shortages in key sectors of the economy,” said Statistics Canada.
“High job vacancies and labour shortages are occurring in a context where population aging has accelerated in Canada and the unemployment rate remains near record low,” added the agency.
In late 2022 the Canadian government announced that it wants to bring in 1.5 million immigrants by 2025, to bolster the gap in its economy created by an aging population.
Canada ranks highest on Gallup’s Migrant Acceptance Index, and Gallup data released December 7 last year found that Canadians are consistently among the most likely in the world to see their communities as good places for migrants to live.
However Statistics Canada raises some potential future challenges should the 2022 trend continue.
“A rise in the number of permanent and temporary immigrants could also represent additional challenges for some regions of the country related to housing, infrastructure and transportation, and service delivery to the population,” said the agency.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meanwhile is facing pressure from political opponents over migration levels, due to a sharp increase of people crossing into Canada from the US.
In January, Canadian authorities encountered nearly 5,000 asylum seekers crossing unlawfully, according to government data.