Canada’s housing crisis might be getting a lot more intense with its population boom accelerating even faster than its previous record. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data shows permanent residents were up significantly in February. Beating last year’s record growth isn’t easy, but it’s on track to easily surpass the growth.
Canada Admitted 33% More Permanent Residents
Canada has ramped up the number of permanent resident admissions in 2023. Admissions hit 49.5k people in February, up 33% compared to last year. It follows a 44% increase to 50.9k in January. Needless to say, those are record months for permanent resident arrivals.
Canada’s Permanent Resident Admissions Are 38% Higher So Far
The full first quarter isn’t in yet, but it’s about to be crushed. Only the first two months hit 100.4k permanent resident arrivals in 2023, vs 113.8k for all of Q1 2022. Growth this year is about 38% faster than last year, with nearly a quarter of 2022’s total already accomplished.
Ontario, BC, and Alberta Attract The Largest Share of Permanent Residents
Typical immigration and economic hubs are the intended destinations for permanent residents. Ontario managed to capture the largest share (41% of the total), in line with its typical share. It was followed by BC (17%), and Alberta (12%)—both capturing large but significantly smaller shares of the total.
Smaller Provinces Are Seeing Fast Growth
Economic hubs captured the largest share, but smaller regions saw the most growth. Newfoundland only saw 505 permanent residents in February, but it was 159% more than last year. Saskatchewan (+105%), and Manitoba (90%) also represented a small but fast growing share of the total for the month.
Canada’s plan to expand its population for economic growth is a bit of a mixed bag. At first, it was bolstering GDP data—at the aggregate at least. Currently, it might be applying so much pressure on housing that non-productive capital use is dominating. Investment in machinery and productivity have dropped, as shelter costs consume a very large share of the economy. The dependence of the economy is now heavily slanted towards just sheltering its rapidly growing population. This comes at the expense of long-term economic growth, with the OECD forecasting Canada will perform more poorly than its advanced economy peers.