Canadian Population Growth Slowing As Unemployment Rises

Canadian Population Growth Slowing As Unemployment Rises

The Canadian population continues to advance at a breakneck speed. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) estimates the population reached a whopping 41 million people in Q1 2024, adding 0.6% (+242.7k) people in the quarter. The seasoanlly adjusted annual rate of growth fell to 3.0%, trimming 0.2 points from the previous quarter. Experts believe it’s too early to tell if a slowdown has begun, but they warn the issues related to the stimulated growth are piling up. 

Canadian Population Growth By Segment

Canadian population growth by seasonally adjusted annual number of people per segment.

Source: BMO. 

Canada Is Now 100% Reliant On Immigration For Population Growth

Canada’s growth isn’t due to a booming economy or thriving households starting families. It’s entirely due to international migration, representing a whopping 99.3% of growth in the first quarter. Non-permanent residents, primarily composed of temporary workers and study permit residents, represented 600k people when it comes to annualized growth in the first quarter. 

Canadian Population Growth Was Slower, But Is It Slow? 

The read isn’t quite as straightforward as it has been in most recent quarters. On one hand, the rate of growth decelerated—a sign that growth may be moderating. On the other, these numbers are still astronomically large and one quarter doesn’t make a trend. Are things moderating or still out of control? 

One of Canada’s largest banks shared a few thoughts. “These numbers are a bit early to reflect a more hawkish turn on nonpermanent resident inflows by policymakers,” explained Robert Kavcic, senior economist at BMO. 

At the earliest, we won’t get much clarity on the evolution of the trend until year-end. Any slowdown would be dependent on Canada actually enforcing the non-permanent resident visa cap it recently announced, according to the bank. They also remind investors there’s the possibility that any cap is offset by similar migration programs, offsetting any slowdown.  

“In the meantime, the stress on housing affordability and infrastructure continues, while labour supply continues to grow…,” warns Kavcic.