Canada’s population reaches 35 million, fastest growing in the G8

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics
Saskatchewan's population grew 2.1 per cent between July 1, 2011 and July 1, 2012, the second-fastest rate in Canada.

Canada reached a milestone, of sorts, this week.

Queue the applause — according to the Statistics Canada population clock, the Great White North now has over 35 million inhabitants.

It's an impressive figure considering that in 1982 we only had a population of 25 million  -- that's a 40 per cent jump in 30 years, which solidifies Canada as the fastest growing nation in all of the G8.

Statistics Canada's Laurent Martel told the Toronto Star that the level of growth is primarily due to our liberal immigration system which allows approximately 250,000 immigrants to enter Canada every year.

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"This immigration rate is one of the highest in industrialized countries," he said.

"It's twice what the U.S. receives every year."

Martel predicts that with similar levels of growth in the future, Canada's population will reach the 40 million mark by 2026 and 50 million by 2054.

While environmentalists and anti-immigration types will always complain that that's too many people, there are others who argue that our aging workforce necessitates more immigration — a lot more.

Last week, PostMedia News obtained an internal government review suggesting that immigration levels should increase to 337,000 by 2018.

According to the report, the boost "is needed to balance the labour market and is based on economic projections that take into account things like unemployment rates."

Last Spring, the Globe and Mail published an impressive series of columns about immigration and Canada's labour shortages and called for Canada to double its level of economic migration.

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A professor in one of the series' columns even suggested that we aim for a population of 100 million people:

"Prof. Studin argues that the country should set its sights on swelling to as many as 100 million people.

This new Canada would become a far more influential consumer market, a more diverse and imaginative producer and a much more robust and self-sustaining culture. Its voice would become more prominent in international affairs.

When history looks back, what seemed like a temporary western labour shortage could turn out to be the impetus that prompted Canada to embrace its destiny as a nation of immigration."

Canada's historical population levels:

1952: 14,459,000

1962: 18,583,000

1972: 22,219,000

1982: 25,118,000

1992: 28,377,000

2002: 31,373,000

2012: 35,001,593