Ottawa: Canada will boost immigration to one million over the next three years with a plan that “will guarantee” the country’s future prosperity, its immigration minister announced Wednesday.
The number of immigrants will be increased to at least 310,000 next year, and continue growing to 330,000 in 2019 and 340,000 in 2020, said Immigration Minister Ahmad Hussen, who assumed office in January and is himself an immigrant.
“This plan will result in the most ambitious immigration levels in history and will guarantee Canada’s prosperity now and into the future,” he told a press conference.
The arrivals — in economic and family categories, as well as refugees — would push up the population of Canada by about 0.9 per cent each year, an increase from 0.8 per cent in recent years.
Critics, however, said as many as 450,000 newcomers are needed annually to support businesses and labour needs as the population ages and birth rates fall.
According to the last census, the proportion of the Canadian population born abroad had risen to a near historical high of 21.9 per cent in 2016, for a total of 7,540,830.
For the first time, Africa ranked second ahead of Europe as a source of recent immigrants, from 2011 to 2016, Statistics Canada said. Asia, including the Middle East, remained the leading source.
The top source countries in these two regions were Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Cameroon; and the Philippines, India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and South Korea, respectively.