Canada’s population sees record low growth due to sharp decline in migration

Hindustan Times

1st October, 2020 01:15:25 printer

Canada’s population sees record low growth due to sharp decline in migration

Canada has seen record low growth in its population in the second quarter of the year, mainly due to a fall in migration to the country due to travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A key highlight of the trend is that the number of Indians arriving in Canada as permanent residents (PRs) this year is set to number less than half the total for 2019.

According to the country’s data agency Statistics Canada or StatCan, there was just a 0.1% increase in population between April and June, which is a record low.

StatCan said in a release, “International migration is the main driver of population growth in Canada, accounting for 81.9% of growth in 2019-2020. Therefore, the restrictions placed on international borders and the subsequent drop in international migration levels had the largest impact on population growth in 2019-2020.”

Coronavirus-related curbs have markedly affected Indians moving to Canada; they have comprised the largest source group for the country’s PRs in recent years. According to data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Indian-origin PRs in 2019 were at a peak of 85,590, up from 69,980 the previous year.

The category saw the numbers rise during the first quarter of the year, growing from 15,595 to 16,660. However, as Covid-19 restrictions came into place, there was a sharp drop in PRs in the country, falling from 23,825 for the second quarter of 2019 to only 9,945 for the same period this year.

In total, just 29,800 Indians became Canadian PRs till the end of July this year, a pace that indicates the total will be below half of that for 2019.

This is in sharp contrast to the situation last year. StatCan noted that the July-October quarter of 2019 had seen the numbers reach 208,659, growing by 0.6%. It said it was the “highest level of growth for a quarter since comparable record keeping began in July 1971”.

However, “the global pandemic began to affect the demographic patterns in Canada at the end of the first quarter of 2020”, StatCan said, after Canada recorded its first Covid-19 death on March 9 and curbs, including those on international travel, came into effect about a week later.

Canada had targeted accepting more than 300,000 new PRs each year. The pandemic could possibly make the government wind down those numbers in the near future.