Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently released its annual report to Parliament including its plan for immigration levels out to 2026. This plan details the expected increases in immigration across Canada and the allocations for each type of immigration pathway.
Canadian Immigration in 2022
Overall, Canada saw a record 437,539 people settle in Canada in 2022, an increase of nearly 8% from the year prior. The federal government is planning to grow immigration to 500,000 people by 2025 which would mean welcoming 14% more people that year than in 2022. No further increases to immigration levels are planned after 2025 to ensure that health care and housing availability can support the number of newcomers; community consultations highlighted a need for these resources to be scaled accordingly to ensure adequate immigrant support. Immigration continues to be a driver for overall population growth of the country.
Immigration to Manitoba
Manitoba welcomed 21,660 new permanent residents in 2022 which contributed to 68% of Manitoba’s total population growth over the year. Manitoba became home for 5% of Canadian immigrants in 2022 and was the province with the third highest immigration per capita.
Of these new residents, 77% were admitted under the economic category, which means they are people who have proven that they will fill a need in Manitoba’s labour market, are coming to seize an economic opportunity, or are otherwise well equipped to drive economic growth for the province. This immigration pathway is notably well utilized in Manitoba, with the province utilizing this pathway 19% more than the provincial average. Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) was the most used pathway for entry to the province; evidence that this regionally tailored solution is effective for attracting newcomers to the province.
Manitoba’s Future Immigration
The government of Canada has committed to increasing the percentage of French-speaking new immigrants that settle outside of Quebec, targeting 7.6% of all immigrants to be French speaking in 2026 (an annual increase of 25% to 2025). Manitoba has a unique opportunity to attract these immigrants with welcoming French communities already prevalent in our province. Manitoba welcomed 800 French speakers in 2022 and could be well served to take advantage of this Federal priority.
It is planned that the allocation to Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program will grow annually which will continue to provide an important source of labour for the Manitoban workforce and a boost for the provincial economy.
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Perspective
Record levels of immigration and continued increases in forecast immigration are a positive sign for Canada to help grow its labour force and reduce the aging population trend. Japan serves as an important example of how limited immigration can stifle economic growth, as the GDP of Japan peaked in 2012 as its working-age population declined over that period. Additionally, labour shortages and rising wages disproportionally affected small businesses who turned to short-term unskilled foreign workers to stay in business. Conversely, Canada’s plan for immigration will help to mitigate its overall aging workforce and 2022 was the first year Canada saw its median age decline year-over-year for available StatsCan data back to 1971. This would not have been possible without robust immigration and is a promising sign that Canada will avoid the long-term growth stagnation seen in Japan.
It is encouraging that Manitoba continues to be an attractive destination for immigrants, especially those who can be strong contributors to the economy. Many growing Manitoba communities have relied on immigration to fill needed jobs in the workforce and to help retain their growing businesses. In contrast to some areas of the country, our housing stock can support additional immigration, and our relatively affordable housing market provides a pathway for new immigrants to establish roots in the community.
However, Manitoba has seen a net outflow of over 24,000 people to other provinces over the last four years, with the majority settling in Alberta, BC, or Ontario. While this is not a new occurrence, it is a detriment for the province to have a net loss of talent and taxpayers. The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce has partnered with the Canada West Foundation to explore the root cause of the provincial outmigration; this will help advise the Manitoba government on policies that will encourage retention, attraction, and repatriation in the province. While the story is positive regarding overall immigration numbers, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce will continue to advocate for policies that will make Manitoba more attractive to ensure Manitoba can be the best place to live and work.