Canada’s population growth came to a halt during the start of the pandemic, but it’s back with a fury.  Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows population growth had the second biggest quarter ever in Q4 2021. Estimates are now back to pre-pandemic levels, as backlogs begin to clear. Most of this growth was concentrated in two provinces, BC and Ontario. 

Canada’s Population Growth Was The Second Highest Ever

Canada’s population growth has exploded higher in the latest estimates. There are an estimated 38.44 million people in Canada in Q4 2021, up 0.5% (190,339) from the previous quarter. Annual growth has reached an estimated 1.1% (403,433) people. As mentioned above, the quarter was the second biggest in Canada’s history. The only quarter to see the population add more people was Q3 2019.

A significant part of the population growth is immigration, but it’s not clear how much. New immigrants represented 122,748 people in the overlapping period. It was the biggest quarter since 1946 for immigration. However, many of those categorized as immigrants were already living in Canada.

As the pandemic throttled immigration, the country turned to temporary residents. By converting temporary residents to permanent residents, the population gets a boost. However, it may not mean the same thing for some areas of analysis. One of those examples would be housing, since they were already living in the country. They might want more permanent digs, but not all immigrants necessarily increase demand.

“This increase was mainly the result of temporary residents already in Canada becoming permanent residents and the easing of COVID-19-related border restrictions allowing approved immigrants to now come to Canada,” explains Stat Can. 

Most Of The Population Growth Happened In 2 Provinces

Two provinces managed to represent the majority of population growth, BC and Ontario. BC saw its population increase by 0.7% (34,830 people) in Q4, growing 1.9% (93,048) from last year. It was the second most people any province added. 

Canadian Provincial Population Growth

The quarterly net-change in population in Canada by province for the fourth quarter of 2021.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

The number of people Ontario added to its population is by far the most of any province. Its population increased by 0.6% (88,994 people) in Q4 2021, adding up to 1.2% (174,566) higher than the same quarter last year. Combined with BC, 65% of Canada’s population growth came from BC and Ontario. 

Canadian population growth is back as lockdown measures ease and the border reopens. There were significant one-time boosts, like the Afghanistan Crisis and the pandemic backlog. As these issues ease, we’ll get a better picture of how much of a squeeze we’re seeing from delayed growth. “These are preliminary data that will be revised over the coming year,” notes Stat Can. 


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