Canada wants 1.5m immigrants by 2025

Canada is betting big on immigration to fill the gap in its economy left by aging Baby Boomers leaving the workforce – but not everyone is on board with bringing in so many people from abroad. Earlier this month, the federal government announced an aggressive plan to take in 500,000 immigrants a year by 2025, with almost 1.5 million new immigrants coming to the country over the next three years.

This plan would see Canada welcome about eight-times the number of permanent residents each year – per population – than the UK, and four-times more than its southern neighbor, the United States. But a recent poll shows that there is also anxiety about welcoming in so many newcomers.

Canada bets big

For many years, Canada has tried to attract permanent residents – landed immigrants who have the right to stay in the country indefinitely but who are not citizens – to keep the population and the economy growing. Last year, the country took in 405,000 permanent residents – the most in its entire history. The reasons are in, some ways, about simple math. Like many western nations, Canada has an aging population with a lower birth rate. What that means is that if the country wants to grow, instead of shrink, it will have to bring in immigrants.

Immigration already accounts for practically all of the country’s labour force growth, and by 2032, it is expected to account for all of the country’s population growth too, according to a government news release. Earlier this month, the government announced that by 2025, they hope to bring in 500,000 new immigrants a year, up about 25% from 2021 numbers.

The Canadian approach

Another way that Canada is unique in the western world is its emphasis on economic immigration – about half of Canada’s permanent residents are welcomed because of their skills, not under family reunification. By 2025, the government hopes to make that 60%.

This is partly because of how the Canadian system was designed, said Mr Cameron. In the 1960s, Canada shifted from a system of quotas, where different countries were assigned different targets, to a points-based system that gave preference to highly-skilled immigrants who would more easily contribute to Canada’s economy.

Globally, this is unique, although Australia and New Zealand have similar systems in place.

Can Canada meet its targets?

Not only does Canada take in more economic-class immigrants than other major nations, the country is also one of the top for refugee resettlement, accepting 20,428 refugees in 2021. But while the country has set ambitious targets for the future, history has shown it does not always meet its own expectations. In 2021, Canada had a target of resettling about 59,000 refugees – almost three times as many as the country took in.

In an interview with the CBC, immigration minister Sean Fraser said the gap was largely due to Covid-related border closures both in Canada and around the globe. By 2023, Canada aims to help resettle 76,000 refugees.

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *