November 6, 2017
Federal Government Announces Three-Year Immigration Plan
The federal government announced on Wednesday, November 1 that Canada will welcome close to one million immigrants over the next three years. After accepting 300,000 newcomers this year, that number will rise to 310,000 in 2018, 330,000 in 2019, and finally 340,000 in 2019. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada said that the increase in immigration levels is the result of a need to add to the workforce as more and more Canadians retire. The vast majority of immigrants in 2018 will come from the economic class, followed by family class immigrants, and finally refugees. Between 2011 and 2016, 60.3 per cent of immigrants to Canada were part of the economic class, nearly half of whom arrived through the skilled workers program. Only one in 10 immigrants to Canada is a refugee.
The plan, which was tabled in the House of Commons, comes on the heels of Statistics Canada’s release of new data, which shows that the number of people who consider themselves immigrants in Canada is as high as it has been in almost 100 years. According to figures from the 2016 census, 21.9 per cent of Canadians consider themselves an immigrant or have permanent resident status. To find the last time such a high number of Canadians identified as such, you would have to go all the way back to 1921. As a result of the rise that has already occurred, StatsCan has projected that by 2036, 30 per cent of Canadians could be immigrants. This percentage could be even higher due to this latest announcement.
The census numbers shine some light on where newcomers to Canada are choosing to live. It should come as no surprise that immigrants prefer the big cities, i.e. Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, where they can more easily access cultural communities. 56 per cent of immigrants to Canada choose to settle in one of these three cities. Ontario is the most popular province for immigrant settlement but proportionally not as popular as it once was: 39 per cent of immigrants settle in Ontario, down from 55.9 per cent in 2001. Ontario’s loss has been Alberta’s gain, with 17.1 per cent of immigrants choosing the largest prairie province, up from 6.9 per cent just 16 years ago.
Asian countries are some of the most common birth-countries of immigrants to Canada. Seven of the top 10 countries of birth of recent immigrants are located in Asia: Philippines, India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, and South Korea. The top-five countries of birth of refugees were Syria (26,550 refugees between 2011 and 2016), Iraq (15,505), Afghanistan (6,105), Eritrea (5,125), and Democratic Republic of the Congo (5,020).