Canadian Immigration Rate
In 2001, 250,640 people immigrated to Canada, relative to a total population of 30,007,094 people per the 2001 Census. On a compounded basis, that immigration rate represents 8.7% population growth over 10 years, or 23.1% over 25 years (or 6.9 million people). Since 2001, immigration has ranged between 221,352 and 262,236 immigrants per annum.
The three main official reasons given for the high level of immigration are:
The social component – Canada facilitates family reunification.
The humanitarian component – Relating to refugees.
The economic component – Attracting immigrants who will contribute economically and fill labour market needs (See related article, Economic impact of immigration to Canada).
The level of immigration peaked in 1993 in the last year of the Progressive Conservative government and was maintained by Liberal Party of Canada. Ambitious targets of an annual 1% per capita immigration rate were hampered by financial constraints. The Liberals committed to raising actual immigration levels further in 2005. All political parties are now cautious about criticizing the high level of immigration. This may be compared to the situation in the neighbouring United States, where repeated attempts to increase immigration have failed, running into strong opposition from a large segment of the Republican Party’s base. Consequently, immigration levels to Canada (roughly 0.7% per year) are considerably higher per capita than to the United States (about a million, or 0.3%, per year). Further, much of the immigration to the United States is from Latin America, with relatively less from Asia; the United States only admits about twice as many immigrants from Asian countries like China, India, the Philippines, and Pakistan as Canada, despite having nine times the population. Due to this, the largest minority in the United States is the Latin American population, while Canada’s largest minority is its Asian population.
Immigrant population growth is concentrated in or near large cities (particularly Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal). These cities are experiencing increased services demands that accompany strong population growth, causing concern about the capability of infrastructure in those cities to handle the influx. For example, a Toronto Star article published on 14 July 2006 authored by Daniel Stoffman noted that 43% of immigrants move to the Greater Toronto Area and said “unless Canada cuts immigrant numbers, our major cities will not be able to maintain their social and physical infrastructures”. Most of the provinces that do not have one of those destination cities have implemented strategies to try to boost their share of immigration.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, under the Canada-Quebec Accord of 1991, Quebec has sole responsibility for selecting most immigrants destined to the province. Of course, once one they are granted citizenship, they can move from provinces to provinces like any other Canadian. Best thing to do if you are looking to immigrate to Canada is to find a great immigration lawyer.