Canada will boost its immigration targets, hoping to welcome a record number of newcomers in order to address a worker shortage in the country, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced Tuesday.
"Canada needs more people," Fraser told a news conference.
A large chunk of the population is heading into retirement, according to recently released census data, with one in seven people in Canada between the ages of 55 and 64 years old.
And businesses are facing the largest labor crunch on record, with an all-time high of one million job vacancies recorded in March.
"Canadians understand the need to continue to grow our population if we're going to meet the needs of the labor force," Fraser commented.
Last year, Canada welcomed over 405,000 immigrants, the most ever in a single year. This year, said Fraser, the government hopes to double its intake from 2014 levels to 431,000.
It has also revised upward its targets for next year to 465,000, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. This is up from a total of 1.3 million new immigrants settled in Canada from 2016 to 2021.
By 2025, the goal is for more than 60 percent of the total admissions are to be economic migrants, Fraser said. Canada also aims to reunite more families with members abroad faster, but take in slightly fewer refugees.
According to the 2021 census, Canada's population has grown to 39 million people. Almost one in four were born abroad. (AFP)