Canada’s population grew at a rapid rate, during the first three months of 2021. The coronavirus arrived in Canada in January last year and subsequently had a major impact on travel to the country. Resultantly, the immigration levels have witnessed major uncertainties.
But according to a recent report by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the population has rebounded, in view of the recovery of pre-pandemic immigration levels and the return of international students. In the first quarter, Canada’s population has raised by 82,000- thanks to immigration.
The federal government’s push to encourage temporary residents in Canada to apply for permanent residence eventually gave a rise to the number of already living immigrants in the country.
The primary drivers of Canada’s population growth were international students and Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders. In 2020, the international student population fell by 60,000, whereas this year witnessed an increase of 44 per cent in the issuance of study permits. Talking about PGWPs, it has increased 160 percent to about 24,000.
Even with a strong start to the year, the pandemic still amounts to a lost year in terms of Canadian population growth. Year over year, the population grew just 0.4 per cent, when a rate of 2.1 per cent is required to sustain growth. The natural increase, that is the number of births minus the number of deaths, was the lowest level in recorded history at 6,400. This was partially a result of deaths due to coronavirus.
Economist Andrew Agopsowicz writes in the RBC report, “Even as COVID-19 subsides, the natural increase is likely to continue to decline into the future leaving immigration to make up the shortfall,”. He further added, ‘“This puts even more of a spotlight on the federal government’s execution of its immigration plan.”
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