Canadian Population Growth Slows To Lowest Rate In Years

Canada’s robust population growth has been grinding to a halt during the pandemic. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) quarterly population estimate for Q3 2020 shows there is still a lot of growth. However, it’s a lot less robust than last year, and barely moved in the most recent quarter. In fact, the most recent quarter represented less than a tenth of annual growth. 

Canadian Population Sees Rapidly Slowing Growth

Canada’s population slowed to a multi-year low for the rate of growth, but still made substantial gains. Stat Can estimates the population reached 38.01 million in Q3 2020, up 25,384 (0.07%) people from the previous quarter. Compared to last year, this works out to an increase of 411,854 (1.10%) people. Extremely slow quarter, but it gives an idea of how quickly the population was growing before the pandemic. 


Compared to last year, Canada’s population growth has been relatively slow. The annual increase was about 150,000 people fewer than last year. The annual rate of growth was also the slowest observed since Q2 2016. The slowed growth has been attributed to closed borders hampering immigration, as well as “excess mortality” during the pandemic. 

Canadian Annual Population Growth Estimate

The 12-month percent change in population across Canada, and in selected provinces.

Source: Stat Can, Better Dwelling.

Ontario’s Population Sees Slowest Rate of Growth Since 2016

Ontario represents the largest chunk of population growth in the quarter, and grew in line with the national rate. The population estimate increased by 10,517 (0.07%) people in Q3 2020, up 189,296 (1.30%) people from last year. The annual rate is the lowest since 2016, largely due to the most recent quarter. 

British Columbia’s Population Adds 5,300 People In Q3

British Columbia also saw slow growth, but the quarter was a little better than the national average. The population estimates the province added 5,308 (0.10%) people in Q3 2020, and is now up 56,757 (1.11%) from last year. The quarterly rate of growth is slightly higher than the average, but the annual growth rate is the lowest since 2011. 

Quebec’s Population Grew By Just 2,500 People

Quebec is seeing one of the more unusual slowdowns in population growth, even amidst a national decline. The province is estimated to have added 2,517 (0.03%) people in Q3 2020, and is now up 72,868 (0.86%) from last year. The annual growth is also the lowest since 2017 for the province.  The quarterly and annual growth are both below the national ratio, meaning the province is overrepresented in the decline.

Canada’s population still put in some huge numbers over the past year, but slowed fast in the most recent quarter. This is largely considered temporary, due to the pandemic slowing down immmigration. However, economic cycles tend to influence population growth and outflows as well. A recent forecast from RBC stated they don’t expect a bounce back to normal for at least 18 months. 

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  • mike 4 years ago

    What’s the underlying reason for this?

    I’m guessing Canadian population growth has likely stalled because unemployment is at all time highs and there isn’t any need for skilled immigrants until unemployment drops down to normal levels and the job market growth trends back up.

  • Jessie 4 years ago

    So where is the housing for the 150,000 people that were planned? Funny how people are still driving prices, and people are hanging onto empty inventory because it’s climbing.

    • The Truth Will Set You Free 4 years ago

      It really is….and when the bottom of the housing market completely falls out (when the deferrals end and the wage subsidy does as well) these people are all going to be broke. This is going to spell the end for the middle and low high class who have made all their money in the so called ‘gig’ economy. People who got rich off real estate the only exception being the flippers WHO got out and never allowed greed to pull them back in.

      • Doomcouver 4 years ago

        It’s like a high-stakes game of musical chairs. The future price growth expectations of home-buyers are at odds with the reality of what housing as an asset actually is. The debt levels we’re seeing as well is testament to the fact that we’re at or close to peak pricing. The bubble is more than 2 decades in the making and the debt-hangover will be historic.

  • renter 4 years ago

    Educated professionals with young families and no parental support are unable to find affordable home 1 hrs drive from work while paying 30% in taxes while some people are holding 5-6 homes and sometimes 40 properties. What a sad situation.

    • Fight Back 4 years ago

      My friend that is why we need a speculator / hoarder tax.
      1. Any person / family / corp owning more than 2 residential properties will be taxed at 5% of property value each year.
      2. Any foreigners who own residential real estate where price are unaffordable for locals will be taxed at 10% property value each year.

      Problem solved, we all know the solution. The government is in bed with speculators. This is the real problem.

      • renter 4 years ago

        Agree with you on this. In Florida there’s a thing called homestead allowance. The property tax rate increase is capped at 5% for primary residence but uncapped for non primary residence and go up and up annually. So a MI residence who has a second home in FL has to pay higher property tax. I hope cities and municipalities impose this law here and prevent first time homes buyers getting indebted unfairly.

    • Maria 4 years ago


  • Kolf 4 years ago

    Guys this proves market is in irradiation bubble territory, the government needs to step in and pop this bubble or we will not have a recovery. It was a mistake to not let housing prices fall back in 2008.

    • RT 4 years ago

      I am one of those fitting your example. Was on road for 2 years and that too with a young child in back seat. Couldn’t do it anymore. Sold my house this July and now renting a shoe box paying 40% of income. Once the plandemic restrictions get relaxed planning to buy a house mortgage free back in my home country. Property tax is just $30 a year, so i know even when i retire, i wont be home less when the income stops due to UNPRECEDENTED situation as per govt.
      No more want to be part of this ponzi real estate scheme unless prices are 3 to 4 times income. Its pretty expensive to be even homeless in this country, especially when it favors rich to speculate housing as a commodity.

    • Sam 4 years ago

      Let’s see….

      Population Growth (immigration) is lowest in years.
      Canadian Mortgage debt at sky-high levels
      Canadian Household debt at sky-high levels
      Pandemic devastating the economy…..high unemployment and reduced household incomes.

      Housing market setting records for manic activity driving up house prices…..(condos taking a minor hit….probably mostly due to Airbnb issues)

      The government buying Mortgage Debt…..CERB……enabling banks to actually profit off deferrals….keeping the treadmill going…….WHY?

      Because since the fall of oil prices Canadian Housing has been the main engine for the Canadian economy…..and the government needs housing to continue bolstering the bank & investor profits. We can discuss the pros & cons of this…..but the result isn’t going to be good. In my opinion, no matter that there aren’t other options, Canadian Housing should never have been used as the main economic engine…..what next….Canadian Water?

  • george 4 years ago

    we need a fucking Thanos snap…i’m ready to go

  • SH 4 years ago

    I guess the Liberals’ agenda to replace and displace Canadians is on hold for the time being.

  • Quintilian 4 years ago

    Not so sure that population growth is applicable in bubble markets.
    Demographics is one of the driving fundamentals of housing, however that link has been broken and patched up by hype promoted by the RE cartel.
    The only thing that is holding up the market is the mindset the cartel has been able to firmly implant into the public perception.
    Of course, reality will eventually set in, and then the bottom is a very long way down.

  • Stephen M 4 years ago

    Now will slow growth be the new normal for us? Hope not.

  • Paul 4 years ago

    I want to know, where is all the real estate data that was supposed to be released?

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