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Future of Work

A curated resource of recent research on trends shaping Canada's labor market.

How Much Will Canada’s Population Grow? Nobody Knows, but We Can Predict Where It Goes

Key Takeaway
Reducing the numbers of non-permanent residents in Canada could exacerbate a recession, hinder economic recovery, and affect GDP.


This report delves into the role that non-permanent residents (NPRs) play in shaping Canada’s population growth and economic landscape.

The author points out that NPRs, comprising temporary foreign workers and international students, have become a significant driver of Canada’s recent population surge. This trend underscores a shift toward temporary immigration as a significant factor in Canada’s demographic evolution.

The report explores how varying levels of NPR admissions could significantly affect Canada’s economic future, influencing GDP growth and the dynamics of potential recessions. The author explains that even though NPRs are not permanent residents, they contribute to population increases during their extended stays in Canada. This reflects the country’s attractiveness as a centre for international education and its role as a key player in the global labour market.

The paper debates the economic implications of altering the levels of NPR admissions, suggesting that reducing these could exacerbate an expected recession in 2024, hinder Canada’s economic recovery, and affect its potential GDP growth. Conversely, increasing NPR admissions might help prevent an imminent recession and foster better long-term economic outcomes. The author points out that policy-makers have a challenging balance to achieve: high NPR admissions can strain provincial finances and housing affordability, yet reducing admissions might negatively affect economic growth.

The report concludes by emphasizing the need for flexible and cautious policies in response to the uncertain future of Canada’s population growth and its wide-ranging economic implications.

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January, 2024 | Nanos Research
Key Takeaway: Most Canadians support policies that enable temporary workers to fill job vacancies and become permanent residents or citizens.
January, 2024 | Bartlett, R.
Key Takeaway: Reducing the numbers of non-permanent residents in Canada could exacerbate a recession, hinder economic recovery, and affect GDP.
October, 2023 | Griffiths, J., Lane, J.
Key Takeaway: Poor communication between the main players in Canada’s labour market is causing mismatches between the skills that businesses need and the skills that workers have. A competency-based system could be the solution.
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