Image by SEDACMaps via FlickrOTTAWA — Canada’s population in the third quarter of 2010 was driven forward by the highest immigration rates seen in four decades, Statistics Canada reported.
Canada’s population was estimated at 34,238,000 as of Oct. 1 — an increase of 129,300 since July. The federal agency said 65 per cent of that growth came from new Canadians during the three-month period, as 84,200 immigrants arrived in the country, reported Postmedia news service.
The influx reached most provinces and territories, some of which had their highest quarterly immigration levels since 1971.
Prince Edward Island recorded the highest growth rate, with its population increasing by 0.7 per cent. The increase was largely driven by the 1,200 immigrants who arrived in the province, Statistics Canada said, the highest number since 1971.
Quebec, too, welcomed its highest number of immigrants in the last four decades, with 16,800 people arriving from other countries during the quarter. Manitoba also surpassed records set in 1971, with 4,700 new Canadians arriving in that province.
While not breaking a record, immigrants made up 70 per cent of Ontario’s new arrivals during the period.
Alberta was the only province that had third-quarter growth driven by a “natural increase,” which made up 60 per cent of the growth.
Newfoundland and Labrador, on the other hand, actually faced a population decline in the third quarter, losing about 500 residents.
Growth driven by immigration is a trend the federal government said it expects to continue — at least through the end of 2010.
“In 2010, we should be landing the largest number of permanent residents in 50 years,” said Kelli Fraser, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Canada expects to welcome between 240,000 and 265,000 newcomers by the end of this year.
Fraser said that number is driven largely by a June announcement that Canada would open its doors to more immigrants, especially those in the economic category.
“The reason the announcement was made was because the post-recession economy is now demanding a high level of legal immigration to keep the workforce strong,” she said, adding that there also has been a high number of family reunification immigrants and refugees.
To date, the department said it has already made more decisions, issued more visas and admitted more people to Canada over last year.
It expects the numbers to stabilize at 2010 levels in 2011.