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Canada immigration: 2021 census data released

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OTTAWA –

Immigrants made up nearly a quarter of all people in Canada in 2021 and are projected to represent a third of people in the country by 2041, the latest release of census data shows.

The proportion of immigrants is the largest it’s been since Confederation with 23 per cent of the country — or more than 8.3 million people — who were, or had ever been, a landed immigrant or permanent resident.

That’s also the highest proportion among G7 countries.

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Statistics Canada says immigration is the main driver of population growth, in part because of the aging population and low fertility rates in the country.

The federal government has committed to bringing in record numbers of people to fill labour shortages, with plans to welcome 431,645 newcomers to Canada this year.

“I think it should come as no surprise that we’ve embraced immigration as a growth strategy in Canada,” Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told reporters Wednesday in Ottawa.

Immigrants accounted for four out of five new workers in the labour force between 2016 and 2021.

Not only that, Fraser said, but immigrants will help pay for schools, hospitals and sustaining basic social services as the Canadian population ages.

Previously, the majority of immigrants to Canada came from Europe, but now most immigrants come from Asia, including the Middle East.

One in five people coming to Canada were born in India, the data shows, making it the top country of birth for recent arrivals.

The last time such a huge proportion of people came from the same place was in the 1971 census, when more than 20 per cent of immigrants came from the United Kingdom.

The overall share of immigrants from Europe has dwindled since then, down to just 10.1 per cent in 2021 from 61.6 per cent in 1971.

The census didn’t ask questions about why people from certain regions have chosen to come to Canada, said Tina Chui, director of diversity and socio-cultural statics for Statistics Canada, but other studies do give some clues.

“Joining family, economic opportunities, all those are kind of the reasons why people chose to come to Canada,” she said at a press conference Wednesday. The large number of international students from India could also be a factor, she said.

Toronto-based immigration lawyer Peter Rekai said well-educated Indian applicants typically do very well in the express entry system, Canada’s main economic immigration program.

The system favours people with a good education, excellent official language proficiency, and work experience in Canada.

“Put it all together and they get enough points to be eligible for this program and also to be competitive,” Rekai said in an interview Wednesday.

Many Indian applicants come to Canada under a work or study visa, which gives them a leg up when it comes to their permanent residence application, he said.

The census shows that two-step immigration process is becoming far more common in Canada. More than one-third of immigrants who arrived in the last five years have gone through the two-step process, compared with just 18 per cent of those who were admitted between 2001 and 2005.

Canada offers a level of stability and a relatively short path to permanent residency and citizenship compared to many other countries, making it an attractive destination for newcomers, Rekai said.

“Canada offers a better path and a quicker path than just about any other country,” he said.

All that immigration over recent years means almost one-third of children in Canada have at least one parent who was born abroad, which is up from 26.7 per cent in 2011 and 29.2 per cent in 2016.

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Nunavut reaches $10-a-day average for child care, years ahead of Canada-wide goal

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Families across Nunavut are now paying an average of $10 a day for child care under a Canada-wide plan, 15 months earlier than initially expected and three years ahead of the national goal.

The federal government has signed child-care agreements with every province and territory. It aims to increase the number of regulated child-care spaces across Canada and reduce fees by an average of 50 per cent by the end of 2022 and $10 a day by 2026.

In signing a $66-million agreement in January, Nunavut planned to reach the $10-a-day mark for licensed child care facilities by March 2024 and create 238 new spaces by the end of March 2026.

The territory has said the fee reduction would see families save up to $55 per day per child beginning Thursday. It added that 30 new spaces have been established so far and employees at licensed centres received retention bonuses this year.

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“Bringing fees for licensed child care down to $10 a day will create opportunities for families to improve their well-being and contribute to Nunavut’s economy,” Pamela Gross, Nunavut’s minister of education, said in a statement earlier this month.

Costs of living are high across Canada’s North, from housing and groceries to child care.

“I know child care is expensive in a lot of places. It just seems like it’s really insane up here,” said Madison Stride, who lives in Yellowknife, is mother to a toddler and is expecting her second child early next year.

The N.W.T. signed a $51-million agreement in December 2021 with plans to create 300 new child-care spaces and reach $10 a day by March 2026. The territory said fees have already decreased by an average of 50 per cent with families saving up to $530 a month per child.

“It’s definitely been great saving money,” Stride said. “I really am hoping they take it further.”

Stride said reducing fees to $10 a day would mean families could save for things such as emergencies, health costs that aren’t covered by benefits and post-secondary education.

“It’s one less thing to think about, to worry about,” she said.

But Stride, who is also on the board for Little Spruce Daycare Association, a non-profit working to develop a new daycares in the city, said the current drop in fees has also made finding child care more competitive.

“It was hard to find a licensed child-care spot before and now it’s darn-right impossible.”

Early-learning and child-care providers in the N.W.T. criticized the initial rollout of funding, saying it failed to prioritize staff shortages and the lack of spaces.

In October, the federal and territorial governments announced $4.6 million between 2022 and 2024 to enhance wages for the sector. It said about 300 educators would benefit with licensed programs receiving more than $12,700 per full-time equivalent position in the first year and $16,250 in the second.

The N.W.T. said it created 67 new child-care spaces during the last fiscal year.

Yukon’s early learning and child-care system has been recognized as a national leader. It began its own universal child-care program and lowered fees to an average of less than $10 a day before signing a more than $41-million agreement with the federal government in July 2021.

The territory said since its program began in April 2021, it has created 236 new child-care spaces. It also has one of the highest minimum wages for fully qualified early childhood educators in Canada at approximately $30 an hour.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022.

— By Emily Blake in Yellowknife

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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A look at how $10-a-day child-care plans have been rolling out across Canada

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Families in Nunavut are now paying an average of $10 a day for child care, the first jurisdiction to achieve the goal under a Canada-wide plan.

The federal government has signed agreements with every province and territory, aiming to reduce child-care fees by an average of 50 per cent by the end of 2022 and to $10 a day by 2026.

Here is how the program is rolling out across the country.

Nunavut signed a $66-million agreement in January with plans to reach $10 a day by March 2024 and create 238 new spaces by the end of March 2026.

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But the territory is ahead of schedule, implementing $10-a-day as of Thursday. It has also created 30 new spaces.

Northwest Territories signed a $51-million agreement in December 2021 with plans to create 300 new child-care spaces and reach $10 a day by March 2026. The territory said fees have already decreased by an average of 50 per cent with families saving up to $530 a month per child.

It has also created 67 new spaces during the last fiscal year.

Yukon started its own universal child care program in April 2021 and reached the $10-a-day average before signing a nearly $42-million agreement in July 2021.

The territory aimed to create 110 new spaces within five years and said it has created 236 spaces since April 2021.

British Columbia was the first to sign on, inking a $3.2-billion deal in July 2021 with plans to create 30,000 new child-care spaces within five years and 40,000 within seven years.

B.C. started a $10-a-day program at select facilities in 2018 and plans to double those spaces to 12,500 this month. As of Nov. 1, there were more than 8,200.

The province said starting that Thursday, child-care fees will be 50 per cent less on average compared to 2019 at participating facilities due to expansion of the $10-a-day program and a fee-reduction initiative.

Alberta signed a nearly $3.8-billion deal in November 2021 with plans to create 42,500 spaces.

The province said as of September, it has created 9,500 spaces and, since January, child-care fees have dropped an average of 50 per cent.

Saskatchewan signed a nearly $1.1-billion deal with plans to create 28,000 new spaces.

As of Sept. 1, fees have been reduced an average of 70 per cent compared to March 2021 levels.

The province has created 3,402 new spaces, plus 1,166 child-care spaces in family and group family homes.

Manitoba signed a more than $1.2-billion deal in August 2021 with plans to create 23,000 new spaces by 2026 and 1,700 extended-hour spaces for evenings and weekends.

It aims to reach $10 a day by 2023.

Ontario was the last to sign on in March. It is to receive $10.2 billion over five years, plus $2.9 billion in 2026-27 with plans to create 86,000 new spaces.

The province said 33,000 new spaces have been created so far.

Quebec signed an agreement in August 2021 with the federal government committing to transfer nearly $6 billion over five years.

In 2021, parents with a subsidized, reduced contribution space paid $8.50 a day for childcare.

New Brunswick signed a $491-million deal in December 2021 to create 3,400 new spaces by the end of March 2026, including 500 by March 2023.

The province says fees were reduced by 50 per cent in June, and 401 spaces have been created since April 1.

Nova Scotia signed a $605-million agreement with plans to create 4,000 new spaces within two years and 9,500 by 2026.

By the end of this month, it said fees will be 50 per cent lower on average compared to 2019.

Prince Edward Island signed a $121.3-million deal with plans to create 452 spaces within two years and reach $10 a day by 2024. In January 2022, fees were reduced from $27 to $34 per day to an average of $25, then further dropped to $20 a day in October.

Newfoundland and Labrador signed a $347-million agreement to reduce fees from $25 a day in January 2021, to $15 a day in 2022, then $10 a day in 2023. It aims to create 5,895 spaces within five years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022.

— By Emily Blake in Yellowknife

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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Canadian ‘father’ of evidence-based medicine wins Einstein Foundation award

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A Hamilton researcher has won an international prize worth about 280-thousand dollars for promoting quality in medical research.

In today’s announcement, jurors for the Berlin-based Einstein Foundation Award describe Dr. Gordon Guyatt as a pioneer of evidence-based medicine.

Guyatt, a professor of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact at McMaster University, developed protocols that help doctors incorporate high-quality, up-to-date research into their treatment decisions.

The annual Einstein Foundation Award recognizes people who have transformed the way medical research is done, leading to better care for patients.

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Guyatt has worked with the World Health Organization to create evidence-based guidelines on whether or not doctors should give COVID-19 patients an antiviral treatment called Paxlovid.

Guyatt says evidence-based medicine didn’t exist until his mentor, the late Dr. David Sackett, paved the way by founding Canada’s first clinical epidemiology program at McMaster University.

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