Canada’s population grew the most among G8 countries, according to newly released figures from the 2011 census, with the western provinces showing particularly strong growth. It’s the first time in history Canada has more people living west of Ontario than to the east of it, and the first time Saskatchewan passed the one million mark. Among cities, Calgary and Edmonton had fastest growing populations, followed by Saskatoon.
Overall, the 33.5 million population count of 2011 is 5.9 per cent larger than the previous 2006 census. Immigration is still the driving force behind population growth, twice as much as fertility. But there are distinct changes in the immigration routes to Canada. Compared to 2006, three times more immigrants went to Saskatchewan and twice as many to Manitoba, while Ontario saw almost 100,000 fewer immigrants settling in the province. Still, even with people moving to places where they can find jobs, such as Alberta where unemployment is the lowest in the country, job vacancy rates in the oil-rich province remain high, as is unemployment among recent immigrants, so something’s clearly amiss.