Canada’s Immigration Targets: A Balancing Act for Future Growth

In a bid to address the mounting challenges of high inflation and a housing crisis, Canada’s liberal government has opted to maintain its current immigration targets for the next two years. Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced that Canada plans to welcome 465,000 new residents this year, with targets set at 485,000 for 2024 and eventually reaching 500,000 in 2025. However, starting in 2026, the government will no longer increase immigration levels but aims to sustain the 500,000 annual intake.

Miller emphasized that these immigration levels serve multiple purposes. They not only fuel Canada’s economic growth but also contribute to its population expansion, while also ensuring a moderated impact on critical systems such as infrastructure and housing. The government acknowledges the need to strike a delicate balance between facilitating growth and addressing the concerns raised by high inflation and the housing crisis.

The Royal Bank of Canada has supported the government’s decision to pause targeted immigration levels temporarily, considering the challenges the country faces in terms of housing and declining public support. However, the bank also highlighted the long-term need for immigrants, stating that the current annual intake of 1.3% of the population is insufficient to stabilize the age structure. According to the bank’s report, an immigration rate of around 2.1% is necessary to achieve this stabilizing effect.

Canada’s population growth has largely relied on immigration, which in turn has bolstered its economic progress in recent years. While some economists attribute the housing shortage to immigration, it is important to note that immigrants also contribute to industries such as construction that are facing labor shortages. The Bank of Canada has recognized that immigration has both driven and restrained inflation, which reached 3.8% in September. By increasing consumer demand, immigration can lead to price increases, but it can also help keep labor costs in check by supplying workers to the market.

Canada experienced its fastest population growth last year since 1957, positioning the country among the top 20 fastest growing nations globally, according to Statistics Canada. This growth has partially offset the effects of an aging population and the accompanying healthcare costs. However, there has also been a rising trend of newcomers choosing to leave Canada in recent years, posing a challenge for a country that heavily relies on immigration for both population and economic expansion, as highlighted by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

In conclusion, Canada’s immigration targets serve as a crucial balancing act to sustain future growth. While they contribute to economic progress and population expansion, they must also be managed carefully to address housing challenges and maintain public support. The government’s decision to pause the ramping up of immigration levels from 2026 onward indicates a commitment to finding the right equilibrium for a prosperous future.


1. Why is Canada maintaining its immigration targets?

Canada is maintaining its immigration targets to support economic growth, population expansion, and moderating impact on critical systems like housing and infrastructure.

2. Why is the pause in immigration levels deemed appropriate?

Given the housing challenges and eroding public support, the government believes that temporarily pausing the increase in immigration levels is necessary.

3. How does immigration affect inflation?

Immigration can be both a driver and a brake for inflation. Increased immigration leads to greater consumer demand, which can drive up prices. However, immigrants also help keep down labor costs by contributing to the workforce.

4. Why is stabilizing the age structure important?

Stabilizing the age structure of the population is crucial to ensure a balanced demographic distribution. Canada’s current annual immigration intake is not sufficient to address this concern.

5. How does population growth in Canada compare globally?

Canada experienced its fastest population growth since 1957, ranking among the top 20 fastest growing countries in the world, according to Statistics Canada. This growth offsets the effects of an aging population and associated healthcare costs.

– The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles