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Proportion of immigrants, permanent residents hits record, making up 23% of population: census – CBC News



Almost a quarter of people who call Canada home were or have been an immigrant or a permanent resident, making up the largest proportion of the population in the country’s history, according to new census data released by Statistics Canada.

According to the 2021 census data, 8.3 million people, or 23 per cent of the population, fit into this category, topping the previous record of 22.3 per cent in 1921.

The newly released numbers also mean that the percentage of immigrants and permanent residents in Canada is at a higher level than in any other G7 country. 

“If these trends continue, based on Statistics Canada’s recent population projections, immigrants could represent from 29.1 per cent to 34 per cent of the population of Canada by 2041,”  the report said. 

Between 2016 and 2021, 1.3 million new immigrants settled permanently in Canada. That record increase in immigrants for a census period means that almost 16 per cent of all immigrants in Canada came to the country recently.

Statistics Canada says that recent immigrants are younger, on average, than the rest of the Canadian population and have been critical to filling much needed jobs in the Canadian labour market. 

Just over 64 per cent of new immigrants fell into the core working age of 25 to 54, with only 3.6 per cent of new immigrants in the slightly older age group of 55 to 64; by contrast, more than 17 per cent of new immigrants were younger than 15.

Importance to the labour force

From 2016 to 2021, immigrants accounted for four-fifths of Canada’s labour force growth with a large share of recent immigrants being selected for their ability to contribute to Canada’s economy.

According to Statistics Canada, more than half of recent immigrants, 748,120 of the 1.3 million immigrants admitted to Canada between 2106 and 2021, were admitted to Canada under the economic category.

Of these economic immigrants almost 35 per cent came in though skilled worker programs, while just over a third came in through the provincial nominee program. 

The share of new immigrants who first came to Canada temporarily on work or study permits or as asylum claimants before being admitted as permanent residents also increased from almost 18 per cent of new immigrants between 2001 and 2005 to 36.6 per cent in 2021.

Country of origin

Asian-born immigrants accounted for a record share of recent immigrants, rising from just 12.1 per cent in 1971 to 62 per cent in 2021. The number of new immigrants who are born in Europe, however, has continued its 50-year decline, falling to just 10.1 per cent in 2021 from a high of 61.1 per cent in 1971.

Of those Asian countries, India took the top spot as the source country for new immigrants, making up 18.6 per cent of immigrants that arrived in Canada between 2016 and 2021. 

Devotees celebrate Diwali at the Gursikh Sabha Canada gurdwara, in Scarborough, on Oct. 24. Asian-born immigrants accounted for a record share of recent immigrants rising from just 12.1 per cent in 1971 to 62 per cent in 2021. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

“The last time that such a high proportion of immigrants came from a single place of birth was during the 1971 census, when 20.9 per cent of all recent immigrants came from the United Kingdom,” Statistics Canada said. 

The next-largest source countries in Asia of new immigrants were the Philippines, at 11.4 per cent, and China, at 8.9 per cent.

Between 2016 and 2021, 218,430 new refugees were admitted to Canada as permanent residents. More than one quarter of those, 61,000, came from Syria.

“Iraq, 15,505, Eritrea, 13,965, Afghanistan, 9,490 and Pakistan, 7,810, were the other most common countries of birth for new refugees from 2016 to 2021,” the report said.

New immigrants and cities

The new census data revealed that about 90 per cent of recent immigrants chose to settle in cities with more than 100,000 residents, with Toronto at 29.5 per cent, Montreal 12.2 per cent and Vancouver 11.7 per cent, being the cities that attracted the largest proportion of new immigrants between 2016 and 2021. 

Overall, however, the proportion of new immigrants who settled in these cities continued to decline significantly as trends saw an increasing number of immigrants settling outside Canada’s big three cities.

In 2016, the percentage of new immigrants settling in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver stood at 56 per cent; by 2021 that had fallen to 53.4 per cent, with Montreal seeing the biggest decline as it fell from attracting 14.8 per cent of new immigrants in 2016 to just 12.2 per cent in 2021. 

By contrast, new immigrants settled in other urban centres in increasing numbers, boosting Ottawa-Gatineau’s proportion of new immigrants from 3.1 per cent in 2016 to 4.4 per cent in 2021, while Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo saw new immigrants double from 1.2 per cent to 2.1 per cent.

Immigration and language

Although almost 70 per cent of recent immigrants said their mother tongue was neither English nor French, almost 93 per cent of the 1.3 million immigrants that entered Canada between 2016 and 2021 could hold a conversation in one of Canada’s official languages. 

In 2021, nearly one in four new immigrants reported English as their mother tongue, while only 6.5 per cent of new immigrants said French was their language of birth. 

Of the new immigrants that said English was their mother tongue, 20.5 per cent came from India; 12.5 per cent came from the Philippines; 10.3 came from the United States; and 10.2 per cent came from Nigeria.

Of those who came to Canada with French as their language of birth, 30.3 per cent came from France; 11.5 per cent came from Cameroon; 8.4 per cent came from Côte d’Ivoire; and 5.8 per cent came from Algeria. 


  • The share of recent immigrants settling in Atlantic Canada almost tripled in 15 years, rising from 1.2 per cent in 2006 to 3.5 per cent in 2021.
  • Asia, including the Middle East, remained the continent of birth for most recent immigrants at 62 per cent.
  • Almost one in five recent immigrants, or 18.6 per cent, were born in India, making it the leading country of birth for recent immigration to Canada.
  • The share of recent immigrants from Europe continued to decline, falling from 61.6 per cent in 1971 to 10.1 per cent in 2021.
  • The vast majority of recent immigrants, almost 93 per cent, are able to conduct a conversation in either English or French.
  • The share of children of immigrants, or second-generation Canadians, younger than 15 years with at least one foreign-born parent, rose from 26.7 per cent in 2011 to 31.5 per cent in 2021.

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K’omoks First Nation signs draft treaty with B.C., federal governments



COURTENAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Officials with the K’omoks First Nation and the B.C. and federal governments have signed a draft treaty in a step toward the nation’s self-governance.

K’omoks Chief Ken Price says it was an “exciting, memorable, and emotional day” for the community on Vancouver Island as it marked another step toward a treaty.

Price says in a statement that many K’omoks leaders have been part of negotiations over the last 30 years aiming to “build the best treaty possible.”

He says treaties are “the highest form of reconciliation between nations.”

The draft treaty must still be ratified by a vote among K’omoks members, and Price says the next step is to ensure questions are answered to ensure their community members feel they are making an informed decision.

A statement from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada says the initialling marks a milestone on the nation’s path to self-governance.

If the 351 registered K’omoks members vote to ratify the treaty, the statement says the B.C. and federal governments would then adopt it through legislation.

The full ratification process is expected to take three years, with the treaty coming into effect in 2028, the statement says.

The minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, Gary Anandasangaree, says the initialling “marks a pivotal step away from centuries of colonial policies.”

“After 30 years of negotiations involving K’omoks, Canada, and British Columbia, this treaty embodies transformative policy innovations crucial to advancing reconciliation,” he says in the statement. “For Canada, achieving this milestone … represents a significant stride toward genuine nation-to-nation relationships built on mutual respect, partnership, and the full recognition of rights.”

K’omoks is the latest First Nations to sign a draft treaty with the federal and provincial governments, following proposed deals with the Kitselas Nation and the Kitsumkalum Band, part of the Tsimshian First Nation in B.C.’s northwest.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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More zebra mussels found in Manitoba, this time in a popular reservoir



WINNIPEG – The Manitoba government is dealing with another discovery of zebra mussels.

The province says two positive samples have been detected in the St. Malo Reservoir — a popular swimming, kayaking and camping destination in a provincial park south of Winnipeg.

Conservation officers are monitoring the area to make sure boaters clean their watercraft.

Zebra mussels are an invasive aquatic species that can harm fish populations and clog water intake systems.

Last fall, Parks Canada found live zebra mussels in Clear Lake north of Brandon, Man., and later closed the lake to most watercraft.

Earlier this month, Parks Canada found an adult zebra mussel in a cove in Clear Lake, suggesting the mollusks are building a presence in the lake.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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Tenants offered accommodations and support after surprise mass eviction



WINNIPEG – Some tenants of an apartment building moved back in Monday, more than a week after they say they were forced out on a few hours’ notice by a new landlord who put some of their belongings on the front lawn.

“(I’ll) start over, I guess,” said Devony Hudson, who picked up a new set of keys Monday morning as police officers, a private security firm and Manitoba government workers kept an eye on the three-storey brick building, built more than a century ago.

Some of the building’s windows were broken or boarded up. A notice on the front door from the Winnipeg Fire Department said the fire alarm and sprinkler system were out of service.

Hudson said a caretaker came to her door two weekends ago, told her she had to leave immediately and offered her a few hundred dollars. Shortly after, her belongings were outside.

“I just went for a walk, just for like 10 minutes, came back and it was … all on the front lawn.”

Hudson has been spending the last few days in a nearby house that does not have working electricity.

In another suite, Kyle Lemke got a knock on the door. He said he was told the locks were being changed, and a man he had never met who said he was the owner told him he had to leave within 24 hours and offered some money.

“I threw out so much stuff,” Lemke recalled while standing outside a hotel where he has been staying.

“I had maybe four garbage bags and a laundry bag, but I wasn’t able to take everything,” said Lemke, who walks with a limp after almost losing a leg months ago to necrotizing fasciitis.

Lemke said he was told everyone had to leave because of an order from the city over fire hazards, but the city never gave an evacuation order.

Attempts by The Canadian Press to reach the building’s owner were unsuccessful.

The Manitoba government moved last week to support the tenants.

The provincial minister for housing, Bernadette Smith, said the actions the tenants described are illegal and an investigation is underway.

The residential tenancies branch issued orders to the landlord, had the locks changed and made arrangements for the tenants to start returning. The province offered tenants emergency accommodations and per diems for food.

But some tenants were not able to be tracked down.

Marion Willis, who runs an outreach program that helps people find housing and other services, said some tenants had previously been in encampments and had nowhere to go when they were told to leave.

“We have tried to find people. There’s people in encampments, there’s people that are couch-surfing in other buildings. There’s people that are just sleeping out on the street,” said Willis, executive director of St. Boniface Street Links.

Some tenants may be reluctant to return for fear that they may simply face a more formal eviction process and end up homeless again.

Lemke said he has no interest in going back, and had a new apartment lined up. He’d like to see someone held accountable.

“I would like to see justice,” he said.

“You can’t just do that to people.”

The provincial government said Monday at least two tenants had returned over the weekend and a probe of the landlord’s actions was ongoing.

“In this situation, the (residential tenancies branch) has a number of options available, but is still working through the investigation,” said a written statement from the government’s central communications office.

“Depending on the outcome of the investigations, these measures could include the imposition of further orders, administrative fines and prosecution for contraventions under the legislation.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2024.

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