The Canadian government announced plans to welcome an unprecedented 1.45 million immigrants over the next three years, as a way to combat the country’s staggering labor shortage.
The federal government’s Immigration Levels Plan aims to fill 1 million job vacancies by recruiting immigrants to supplement the country’s most impacted industries — health care, manufacturing, engineering, and trades. The plan also includes strategies for long-term economic growth, advances to provincial programs, and faster family reunification.
Canada has long pursued immigration as a strategy to overcome an aging population and low birth rates. The U.S. too is grappling with a native-born population decline — recent studies suggest that U.S. population growth will be driven entirely by immigration come 2043. However, unlike the U.S., whose immigration rates have fluctuated, Canada has managed to maintain high immigration levels since the 1990s. New census figures from Statistics Canada show that one in five Canadians is now an immigrant, the highest percentage in nearly a century.
There is also evidence that more immigrants are choosing Canada for higher education and employment opportunities than the U.S., due in part to Canada’s seemingly friendlier immigration policies, like the most recent Immigration Levels Plan.
Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said the plan would target 465,000 immigrants in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025.
The country is already on track to exceed its set target of newcomers for 2022. “Last year, we welcomed the most newcomers in a single year in our history,” Fraser said. “This year’s Immigration Levels Plan will help businesses find the workers they need, and set Canada on a path that will contribute to our long-term success.”