Canada’s population increased by 1.2 per cent in 2018, the largest increase since the early 1990’s. The main driving force was increased immigration. The federal government announced its new immigration targets in October which will see the flow of new Canadians increase from about 310,000 this year to 350,000 by 2021. The unemployment rate in Canada is at its lowest level since the early 1970’s and labour shortages are intensifying. Immigration will be key to filling many new jobs in the country as millions of baby boomers retire over the next decade.
In Atlantic Canada, the population is older than in the rest of Canada and unemployment (8.6 per cent in October) is at its lowest level since the late 1960’s. Immigration is playing an increasingly important role in offsetting some of the decline in the labour force—which fell by 47,000 over the last four years. Immigration to Atlantic Canada has not been keeping pace with flows to other parts of Canada. The gap has closed recently, but more needs to be done to stabilize the labour force in the region. Programs like the Atlantic Immigration Pilot must continue and in fact accelerate to support the labour force challenges ahead for Atlantic Canada.
This chart appears in Maclean's "Important Charts to Watch for 2019"