Canadian Population Growth Rate To Fall 75%, Hangover To Come: NBF

Canada’s population binge growth is coming to an end—now to deal with the hangover. That was the take from National Bank of Canada (NBF), who notes that this year’s population growth is on track to set another record, but the average annual growth rate will drop 75% for the next 3 years. The move comes as policy makers struggle to absorb the recent boom, and hope to embrace more manageable progress going forward. 

Canadian Population Growth On Track For Another Record In 2024 

Over the past few years, Canada’s population growth has been advancing at a breakneck speed. It managed to grow a whopping 3.0% in 2023—much faster than its real GDP. NBF notes the rate is on track to hit 3.1% in 2024, which would set a new record. For context, that would mean 7x the average rate seen across the advanced economies that make up the OECD.   

“After another record year of demographic growth in 2024, Canada’s economy will experience a population hangover,” explains Stefan Marion, chief economist at NBF. 

He adds, “After all, there was always going to be a limit to the absorptive capacity of our economy.” 

Canada To Pause Aggressive Population Growth Rate, Target 75% Lower

Adding people is easy. Allocating those people to ensure they’re effective resources is much more difficult. After finding that out the hard way, Canada is set to impose limits on how its population will advance going forward. 

Recently announced measures include a cap on student and temporary visas. It’s finally clicked that successfully growing a country’s population is more difficult than just allowing people in. It also requires building infrastructure first. 

“As we now move to build the infrastructure needed to better welcome more people to our country, our statistical agency’s new projections predict a population hangover of about three years, based on current policies,” said Marion. 

The latest projections show a sharp slowdown in growth. Over the next 3 years, the average growth rate will fall to just 0.7% per year. It’s still extremely high given the 0.4% average rate across OECD countries, but much slower than most have come to expect.

Source: National Bank of Canada. 

Canada Still Needs To Deal With The Hangover From Its Recent Binge

The Government of Canada (GoC) move comes after increasing scrutiny over recent growth. The sharp reduction of GDP per capita, declining productivity, housing affordability stress, and rising unemployment all point to poorly managed growth. 

The OECD previously warned that Canada’s fixation on a housing-based economy would put its per capita GDP dead last amongst advanced economies for the next 4 decades. That was back in 2019, and the country has only doubled down on that strategy since. It’s reached the point where the Bank of Canada (BoC) has declared a “productivity crisis.” Using immigration as excessive stimulus backfired, actually putting the country further behind. 

“Recognizing that the situation was becoming increasingly perilous, the federal government recently decided that it was time to pause to allow the economy to digest the unprecedented population growth binge of the past two years,” says Marion. 

“It was the right decision, as our population count for this year is already where Statistics Canada thought it would be in 2028, based on projections made just two years ago.” 

8 Comments

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  • Reply
    Jeremy P 2 weeks ago

    Of course it’s going to fall. People who moved here are even saying screw it, and trying to move onward if they have any skills.

  • Reply
    Ahmed 2 weeks ago

    They’re reducing targets to save face.

    Applications for students fell before they even tried to limit. The limit was to stir up FOMO, but they have no actual plan to enforce it and I bet it won’t be enforced if they call an early election and win. Though PP hasn’t said he would trim immigration either, so don’t count him out for ignoring the deep pockets in the private education industry.

  • Reply
    Ethan Wu 2 weeks ago

    A wise scientist named Edward Abbey once said, “growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

    If the growth isn’t targeted in any way to produce a material benefit, you don’t have a good management. You have management that’s run amok, and needs to be cut out.

  • Reply
    Omar 2 weeks ago

    Live long enough and you realize this is what the peak of the bubble always looks like.

    The immigrants with options start to taper off, like the wealthy Chinese, Arabs, and Indians attending our best schools.

    Then you have to chase the laggers, like those late in an investment cycle. The people who are sold on the idea that just moving here is a shortcut to the prosperity those people have, but they attend colleges that pop up overnight.

    When they find out they just paid years of developing world salary for a useless piece of paper, they end up without enough money to even get home and have to work their ass off at a low skill job they hate, which leads to worse productivity.

    Happened in he early 80s, the 90s, the 2000s, and now the 2020s.

  • Reply
    Tammy Elesko 2 weeks ago

    Trouble is the government has painted themselves into a corner. Our birthrate is below the replacement rate and successive governments have burdened future generations with absolutely massive unfunded liabilities. Pension commitments, healthcare costs, legacy infrastructure that needs to be maintained or replaced and of course the interest on the debt. They’ve all kicked this problem down the road and the end of that road is coming fast. Never understand those that support bigger and bigger government. Government is not the solution, they are the problem. Also, never forget that the Liberals and the NDP fundamentally believe that they are better managers of your money than you are, the workers and businesses that go out and earn it.

  • Reply
    Ron Bruce 2 weeks ago

    Unqualified immigrants seek a handout for jobs, education, affordable housing, and health benefits. Trudeau’s immigration binge looked to the government and taxpayers to help the economy. All he did was dig a hole for the newcomers and the existing population. Never ask him to run a business or run the Country. But when you live off the taxpayers all your life, this is the decision-making you get.

  • Reply
    Mark Bayly 2 weeks ago

    Won’t happen Politicians will keep inviting in millions of people for their votes Regardless of the consequences.

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