Non-permanent residents (NPRs) represent a growing share of Canada’s population, according to a new study by Statistics Canada based on the 2021 census.
When NPRs were first counted in the 1991 census, they made up 0.8 per cent of the population. Now, the 2021 census shows 924,850 residents, or 2.5 per cent of Canada’s population, which surpassed 40 million people on Friday, are NPRs.
These are people who do not have the right to vote, but can participate in key sectors of the country such as the postsecondary education system, and contribute to the economy as consumers and workers – if granted a work permit.
Canada, like many other countries, grants temporary foreign workers, international students and asylum claimants the right to live in the country temporarily.
The census noted those with a work permit only made up 40.1 per cent of NPRs, while another 14.2 per cent had a work and study permit. Those with a study permit alone (mostly international students) represented 21.9 per cent, while asylum claimants (people seeking refugee protection) accounted for 15.1 per cent.
The remaining 8.7 per cent have a combination of NPR types like temporary resident permit holders or family members of Canadian residents.
‘HIGH RATE OF OVERQUALIFICATION’
In light of Canada’s aging population, declining fertility rates and labour shortages, the country relies on NPRs for the economy.
According to the study released Tuesday, the labour force participation of NPRs stood at 74.2 per cent, with more than one-third, or 36.4 per cent, working in sales and service occupations, compared to 25 per cent of the rest of the Canadian population.
The study shows NPRs have a higher educational attainment on average than the rest of the Canadian population.
However, most of them were often in occupations requiring no formal education, meaning most NPRs are overqualified for their current jobs.
The study said obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher in Canada made little difference primarily for NPRs with a work permit only.
“More research is needed into the reasons for the high rate of overqualification among NPRs,” stated the study.
About half of asylum seekers are considered overqualified for their jobs, the highest rate, compared to 43 per cent of NPRs with a study permit only and 44.6 per cent of those with a combination of work and study permit.
NPRs ARE YOUNGER
Overall, NPRs are much younger than the rest of the Canadian population.
With six in 10, or 60.1 per cent, of NPRs falling into the age profile of young adults between 25 and 34 years old.
In comparison, the rest of the Canadian population is 18.4 per cent young adults. That figure is 37.3 per cent for recent immigrants with permanent residency.
According to the study, most NPRs in the age group of young adults have a work permit or a study permit – either a combination of both or just one.
However, asylum claimants had a greater age gap with nearly one-quarter, or 22.7 per cent of people seeking refugee protection in Canada being children under the age of 15 years old. This is slightly lower than the young adults segment seeking refugee at 26.4 per cent.
INDIA, CHINA TOP PLACES OF BIRTH FOR NPRs
Although NPRs come from all over the world, the study shows India is represented in 28.5 per cent of the population and China in 10.5 per cent. They are the two most common places of birth for work or study permit holders across all provinces, except for Quebec where France was the most common place of birth.
Meanwhile, asylum seekers came mostly from Nigeria with 10.7 per cent, followed by India with 8.3 per cent and Mexico at 8.1 per cent.
The asylum claimant statistics also varied significantly based on provinces. In Ontario, Nigeria dominated the charts, while in Quebec, most were from Haiti, and in B.C. it was Iran.