January 23, 2024

Analysis indicates that Canada will have to increase its immigration levels in the coming years

On November 1st, Canada made headlines by unveiling its plan to maintain current immigration levels, aiming for approximately 500,000 newcomers annually in both 2025 and 2026. While this announcement signifies a commendable effort, recent insights from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) prompt a closer examination. This blog seeks to unravel the layers of Canada’s immigration landscape, exploring challenges, opportunities, and the potential need for adjustments in the years ahead.

The Present Landscape - Canada's Aging Population

At the heart of Canada's current immigration dilemma lies a demographic challenge. The nation grapples with an aging population and a low fertility rate. With just 1.40 births per woman, Canada faces the difficulty of sustaining its population through natural means alone. This is where immigration plays a crucial role in rejuvenating the nation’s vibrancy, especially considering Canada's standing as the ninth-largest global economy.

The Call for More Immigration

While the goal of welcoming 500,000 immigrants per year is a notable stride, the RBC report suggests a more ambitious approach might be necessary. The report recommends an annual immigration rate equivalent to 2.1% of the current population—translating to a significant 849,944 new permanent residents every year.

Echoing this sentiment, a Desjardins study emphasizes not only the need for more immigrants but also a focus on expanding the working-age population. This includes individuals from various categories, such as family sponsorships and refugees. To maintain current ratios of young to older working individuals, an annual growth of the working-age population at 2.2% (equivalent to 721,600 newcomers) is essential. To preserve the historic ratio of the working-aged to retired population, an even more substantial annual growth of 4.5% (1,476,000 newcomers) is deemed necessary.

The Road Ahead: 2024-2026 and Beyond

While acknowledging the long-term need for increased immigration, the RBC report provides insights into the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) decision to stabilize current levels. The successful integration of newcomers into Canada's societal fabric emerges as a crucial factor for the overall success of the immigration program.

Recent challenges in housing affordability have spurred the IRCC to reevaluate the number of temporary residents, particularly those on study or work permits. This aligns with the government's commitment to addressing labor shortages, notably in the construction sector—an industry marked by persistent job vacancies. Striving for a delicate balance between meeting labor demands and addressing the surging need for housing, this strategic approach reflects economists' recommendations.

Navigating Tomorrow: Achieving Sustainable Growth

As Canada navigates the complexities of immigration policy, the need for a carefully calibrated approach becomes increasingly apparent. While the current plan sets an ambitious course, the RBC report sparks a necessary conversation about the potential need to elevate immigration levels even further to ensure the country's future vitality.

This comprehensive analysis underscores the intricate relationship between immigration, demographics, and economic prosperity. Striking a balance between welcoming newcomers, providing housing, and meeting labor demands will be pivotal in steering Canada toward sustainable growth and resilience.


In conclusion, Canada's journey in immigration policies is a dynamic one, marked by challenges and opportunities. While the present plan is a noteworthy step forward, the nuanced insights from the RBC report invite a thoughtful reflection on the potential need for recalibration. Achieving a delicate equilibrium in immigration policies, housing provisions, and labor market strategies will undoubtedly shape Canada's future trajectory.

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