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Canada’s population jumps with immigrants lifting the numbers

The population in Canada is on a climb.

New data shows that the country’s population growth is the highest seen in more than six decades according to a new report released by Statistics Canada.

They’re figures that are being seen firsthand in Moncton.

“We’ve seen a drastic increase in the number of new comers coming in both permanent residents, temporary foreign workers, international students. Last year there were 4,700 new permanent residents welcomed to the Moncton CMA, that’s far in away the most in any given year,” said John Wishart, the CEO for the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce.

Looking at the big picture, Canada’s population increased by 2.9 per cent from July 2022 to July 2023, pushing the total population over 40 million people.

International migration with an increase in both work and study permits is contributing to 98 per cent of the increase.

In a statement to CTV News, Arlene Dunn, the minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and the Minister Responsible for Immigration said that immigration is a key priority across New Brunswick.

“The province has benefitted from an increase in the number of temporary residents, including international students and workers, in recent years and we hope this trend will continue,” she said.

“We are also very proud that New Brunswick has exceeded its target of 1,300 nominations for international students, as we have supported over 1,750 international students in their permanent resident application process so far in 2023.”

Wishart says adding new workers into the labour force is a benefit in the Moncton area, and something that is needed to meet demand.

“You cut across construction, health care, transportation, finance, insurance, they all are crying for talent and a lot of international talent that’s coming in is of really high quality. They have great experience and education,” he said.

Adding, “Here at the chamber, in the last year, over 40 per cent of our new members are owned and operated by new comers. So that jumped from about 10 per cent to 40 per cent almost overnight.”

Breaking it down in the Maritimes, Prince Edward Island saw a 3.9 per cent growth increase, Nova Scotia 3.2 per cent and New Brunswick 3.1 per cent. All three coming in just behind Alberta at 4.0 per cent.

“This is really unprecedented in our region,” said Wishart.

“I grew up here and it was always an outflow of people to Ontario and west. That’s been reversed and now we’re thinking ‘okay, how do we cope? How do we accommodate this sudden growth?’ So these are new challenges we’re dealing with as a business community, as governments, and I think it’s probably going to be the focus of a lot of attention over the next 5-10 years.”

New Brunswick’s Finance Minister, Ernie Steeves said on Wednesday that the province had a stronger than anticipated economic recovery for the 2022-2023 fiscal year with record population growth.

“It's estimated now that there are more than 845,000 people calling our province home,” he said.

“Not only has the population growth supported taxes, but it's also positively impacted revenue improvements.”

Experts say if the rate of population growth that was seen this last year remains constant, Canada’s population would double in 25 years.

“One of our most pressing issues as a community is housing and meeting housing demands,” said the City of Moncton’s economic development director, Kevin Silliker.

However, that’s why the city has a 25 year urban plan in place.

“The city is spending an awful lot of time and investment on densifying in the downtown and building in areas where there’s already infrastructure,” he said.

He adds that the city is looking at growing its population to about 116,000 over the next 23 years.

“In the same plan it calls for about 50,000 units by that time in 2046,” said Silliker.

“That’s about 15,000 units to be added over the next 23 years. Just to put that in perspective, since 2016 there has been 5,734 units built in our community, so it is achievable but we need to stay on the plan and making sure that we’re making the right investments to enable housing development.”

Silliker says that five of the last six years have been record breaking in terms of building permits in the city.

“I would say that population growth is really going to help grow our community going forward,” he said.

“That’s access to labour force and making sure we have the right talent to allow employers to grow and that’s something that we’ve heard from employers. They want to grow, they need that labour force so population growth is key to moving our city forward.”

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