Ottawa | Canada will welcome 485,000 permanent residents next year and 500,000 in 2025 as the country faces an ageing population and labour shortages in key sectors and is seeking to spur growth with the help of new qualified professionals from countries like India.
"Immigration drives Canada's economy and fuels its future growth," Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller said here at a press conference on Wednesday.
"As we continue to face an ageing population and critical labour shortages in key sectors like health care, transportation and home building, newcomers are critical to help spur innovation, grow the economy, and support local businesses and communities," an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) press release said.
Miller tabled the 2024-2026 Immigration Levels Plan which is tailored to support economic growth while balancing with the pressures in areas like housing, healthcare and infrastructure.
It charts a responsible course for sustainable and stable population growth, a press release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said.
With this Levels Plan, the Government of Canada is maintaining its target of 485,000 permanent residents for 2024 and completing the final step to reach 500,000 in 2025.
Starting in 2026, the government will stabilise permanent resident levels at 500,000, allowing time for successful integration, while continuing to augment Canada's labour market, the press release said.
The government also plans to take action over the next year to recalibrate the number of temporary resident admissions to ensure this aspect of our immigration system also remains sustainable, it said.
"This plan is tailored to support economic growth while balancing with the pressures in areas like housing, healthcare and infrastructure. It charts a responsible course for sustainable and stable population growth," Miller said.
There are over 100 Canadian immigration pathways for skilled workers, business people, and families.
Under the Immigration and Refugees Protection Act (IRPA), which is Canada's main immigration law, the federal government must release its annual immigration plan by November 1 in non-election years, CBC News reported.
The Immigration Levels Plan acts as the guideline for the number of new permanent residents who will be admitted into Canada over the next three years under each of the three immigration classes: economic, family, and humanitarian.
The plan advances the mission of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to strengthen Canada's economy, reunite families and make Canada a safe place for those fleeing oppression or other humanitarian crises.
Miller on Tuesday acknowledged shortcomings in the country's immigration system as he outlined the pillars of a new approach to modernise the system.
The new strategy, entitled An Immigration System for Canada's Future aims to create a more welcoming experience for newcomers, align immigration with labour market needs, and develop a comprehensive and coordinated growth plan.
Canada is currently coping with an affordability crisis and housing shortage that has led to several polls indicating less enthusiasm among Canadians for immigration than in previous years.
However, IRCC continues to maintain high immigration targets because of a shortage of skilled labour due to a low birth rate and the impending retirement of millions of Canadian workers as they reach 65, CBC News reported.
In 2022, India retained top spot as the most important sources of new permanent residents to Canada, according to data on Immigration Canada website.
India provided 118,095 new permanent residents to Canada last year, more than a quarter of the total 437,120 new permanent residents for 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said.
As it stands, Statistics Canada's most recent population estimate shows that newcomers are responsible for 98 per cent of Canada's population growth.
Canada's population grew by a record 1 million people in 2022, owing to immigration births.
"What Canadians are telling us, what economists are telling us, is that we have to dive into the micro-economic impacts of immigration," Miller said.
Miller admitted the housing shortage was a factor in the decision to level off immigration targets, but it is not the main factor.
"If that were the sole reason, it would totally be misunderstanding the challenges I think we're facing as a country," he said.