On April 2, I read this on the Global News website:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government wants to rein in the number of temporary immigrants coming to the country, saying the situation needs to be brought “under control.”

“Whether it’s temporary foreign workers or whether it’s international students in particular, that have grown at a rate far beyond what Canada has been able to absorb,” Trudeau said at a housing announcement in Dartmouth, N.S.

My jaw dropped.

This was the first time I’d seen a quote from the Prime Minister himself stating straight out that immigration, including temporary immigration, needs to be brought “under control” – as if the current situation had not been created by his own government, and often under his direct instructions.

Decisions the Liberals have made since coming to power in 2015 have resulted in uncontrolled immigration – uncontrolled not only in terms of numbers but also in terms of selection criteria – with damaging effects on the Canadian economy, access to housing and public services, and perhaps even social cohesion. To understand these decisions, we need to analyze the evolution of Canadian federal immigration policy, starting with the previous Harper government and then pinpointing the changes made by the Liberals.

To be clear, I am not criticizing any one type of immigration. International study is to be encouraged. Hiring temporary foreign workers has its place in filling specific short-term labour market needs and international commitments. Asylum seekers’ rights must be respected. Families need to be together, and the world humanitarian situation is in crisis. Rather, I am pleading for the restoration of a managed system with positive outcomes for newcomers and established Canadians alike.

Figures 1 and 2 show the overall trends in administrative activity related to permanent and temporary immigration and a breakdown of temporary immigration activity by program. While the increases in permanent immigration targets were grabbing the headlines, the often overlooked upsurge in temporary immigration was much more dramatic. These data represent visas and permits issued and asylum claims received, and are not to be confused with numbers of actual arrivals each year or population numbers. It is also important to note the proportions and increases in each of the temporary permit programs and the movement with regard to asylum claims.

Figure 1
Figure 2. Note: IMP – International Mobility Program; TFWP – Temporary Foreign Workers Program
The 2015 election: A major turning point

The only significant public immigration issue prior to the October 2015 election was the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP). In 2014 there were multiple embarrassing headlines about employers bringing in foreign workers to replace Canadians. The Royal Bank went so far as to expect the Canadian workers being fired to train their foreign “temporary” replacements. Justin Trudeau, Liberal Opposition Leader at the time, expressed his outrage in an article in the Toronto Star in May 2014:

Since taking office, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have transformed the Temporary Foreign Worker Program – which was originally designed to bring in temporary workers on a limited basis when no Canadian could be found – into one that has brought in a large pool of vulnerable workers.

He expressed his alarm about the increased numbers of temporary foreign workers and the disturbing possibility that this might result in more temporary worker entries than permanent resident entries, with negative economic outcomes for Canadians.

In reaction to the headlines, the Harper government tightened the rules for hiring foreign workers linked to labour market needs, with a view to cutting back on numbers and abuses. It divided the TFWP in two, carving out the International Mobility Programs (IMPs) and grouping them into a new separate single program of the same name.

In October 2015, the Conservatives went down to defeat at the hands of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. Six months after the election, the new Liberal approach to immigration started to emerge with the creation of the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, headed by Dominic Barton of Century Initiative¹ and McKinsey fame.

In October 2016, the council produced its first report, recommending a major increase in population through immigration. The council proposed that “economic” immigration levels reach 450,000 by 2021. The report demonstrated a lack of understanding of immigration planning because its concept of “economic immigration” encompassed both permanent and temporary immigration, while it is only permanent immigration that is “planned.” Annual targets are set only for permanent immigration, which includes family and humanitarian categories (not mentioned by the Council).²

The report also pushed for a major hike in international students. However, whether referring to permanent residents, temporary workers or international students, the council advocated strictly for highly skilled immigrants in new technical fields, where Canadian expertise was apparently lacking.

The council’s forecasts of economic growth and GDP per capita were fundamentally flawed because population is not the most significant indicator of economic growth, immigration is not entirely economic and, as we shall see, employers were and are more interested in cheap labour than expensive highly skilled labour.

In every field of immigration, the Liberal government has facilitated increased numbers of new arrivals, without consideration for the capacity on the ground to welcome them with appropriate access to housing and public services. At the same time, it has abdicated selection to postsecondary institutions and businesses, and decisions on matters of immigration have been driven by headlines. The result has been a diminishing proportion of newcomers being selected by the points system, which has served Canadian immigration well since 1967.

Decisions designed for population growth

Gradual growth in permanent immigration targets: The new Liberal government’s official permanent immigration plans started off slowly. For 2017 and 2018 total immigration levels were maintained at 300,000.

Annual permanent immigration levels started to rise by 10,000 to 20,000 as of 2019. The federal multiyear immigration plans are rolling and are hence updated each year, so that a target for 2021 set in 2019 could be increased in 2020, and so forth. (This is not the case in Quebec, which updates its multiyear plans at the end of each planning cycle.) So the federal plans have been creeping up each year: the 2023–25 plan put the overall target in 2025 at 500,000.

Push to increase the number of foreign students: With regard to temporary immigration, however, the government felt no restraint at all. Sean Fraser, Immigration Minister from 2021 to 2023, repeatedly claimed he had no control over temporary immigration. The numbers came down to the needs of postsecondary institutions and businesses.

In August 2019, in the runup to the October general election, three federal ministers proudly announced the government’s five-year International Education Strategy. Reflecting federal priorities, they were the ministers of the economy, employment and immigration – none of whom had responsibility for education, a provincial jurisdiction.

The first five-year international education strategy had been announced in 2014 by the Harper Conservatives. It was specifically linked to increasing the number of international students from countries targeted as emerging commercial markets, and set an objective of attracting “more than 450,000 international students to Canada” by 2022. Aside from trade, the strategy touted the new jobs to be created, the money the students would spend, the “boost” to the economy and the additional tax revenues. Immigration was a potential collateral benefit, not an objective.

The Liberals took the idea of international education and ran with it. The 2019 strategy noted that international students represent an important source of economic activity, contributing more than $21 billion to overall GDP in 2018. According to the strategy, international students would be encouraged to apply for permanent residency, allowing the government to attain its permanent immigration targets more easily.

In 2022, more than 550,000 study permits (new or renewals) were issued. This number rose to more than 680,000 in 2023. At the end of 2022 there were close to 805,000 study permit holders in the country; at the end of 2023, there were 1,040,985.

A fast-track processing service, called the Student Partnership Program, was created by the Conservatives in 2008 specifically for Indian students applying to community colleges, with Chinese students added in 2010. A recent study indicates that this fast-tracking significantly increased the acceptance rate of study permits from the targeted countries. In 2018, the Liberals renamed the program the Study Direct Stream, increased the list of countries to 14 and opened it up to all postsecondary institutions designated by provincial governments. The Liberal strategy emphasized diversifying the countries of origin without identifying any specific targets. There is no reference to the levels or study programs that should be prioritized.

In October 2022, Immigration Minister Fraser lifted the restriction on the number of hours international students could work off-campus during the semester; the maximum had been 20 hours a week. The change was ostensibly directed at allowing students to cover the increase in the cost of living, but it had the added benefit of providing more low-wage labour for certain economic sectors – international students work in low-wage sectors such as retail, restaurants and tourism.

Given that there is no link between international students’ study programs and labour market needs, these young people are too often getting diplomas in programs such as business and administration only to discover they can’t find a job in their field. The data have prompted one researcher to comment, “What we’re doing is bringing in low skill, low wage, expendable and exploitable temporary foreign workers in the form of students.”

Applicants for a study permit may be accompanied by their families. Open work permits were created for the spouses of international students and qualified temporary workers, such as those with a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). These measures and others, facilitating the transition to permanent residency, led to the international study program becoming an immigration program. Private colleges sprouted up providing substandard diplomas in the shortest time frame allowed under the permanent pathway programs.

Easing of eligibility requirements for employers in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, a “contemporary form of slavery”: According to the federal government’s website,

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary jobs when qualified Canadians are not available … The Program assesses the impact by looking at available labour market information for the region and the occupation, the employers’ recruitment and advertisement efforts, wages and working conditions, labour shortages and the transfer of skills and knowledge to Canadians.

It all sounds perfectly reasonable, but before even looking at the ways the program has been “adjusted” by the Liberal government to increase the numbers of low-wage foreign workers, it is critical to acknowledge that, according to the 2023 report of the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, “The agricultural and low-wage streams of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program constitute a breeding ground for contemporary forms of slavery.”

This is largely because the work permits issued under this program are known as closed permits. They tie the workers exclusively to the employer who brought them into Canada. The program has been a source of abuse and exploitation since its inception. It requires significant and growing resources just to ensure the safety and security of the workers. Also, if a business profiting from the program closes down, a foreign worker doesn’t just lose their job – they most likely will have to leave the country at the end of their temporary visa, along with their spouse and children.

For the average Canadian, “temporary foreign workers” means seasonal agricultural workers coming in from Latin America. Until recent years, this has largely been true for the TFWP. There are, however, several streams to the program, including high-wage and low-wage positions in other sectors. The data on Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs)³ issued provide information on the number of positions approved for hiring under the various streams (figure 3). Low-wage positions greatly exceed high-wage positions and have increased dramatically in the last two years. In some provinces, particularly Alberta, Quebec and New Brunswick, the low-wage stream has even overtaken the primary agriculture stream. Many of the low-wage positions are in the food processing and manufacturing sectors where jobs are permanent rather than temporary.

Figure 3

This rapid increase in the hiring of foreign workers for low-wage positions did not happen by accident – it was deliberate Liberal policy. In April 2022, then–Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough announced several measures to facilitate the hiring of foreign workers in low-wage positions, including:

  • an end to the limit to the number of low-wage positions for employers in seasonal industries, making permanent a measure that had been in place since 2015;
  • an increase in the maximum duration of these positions from 180 days to 270 days per year;
  • an increase in the duration of the validity of LMIAs to 18 months (it had previously been raised from six to nine months);
  • extension of the maximum duration of employment for high-wage and global talent stream workers from two to three years to help workers access pathways to qualify for permanent residency (this was an admission that the TFWP was being used to fill permanent positions and an acknowledgement that low-wage stream workers generally do not qualify for permanent immigration programs);
  • an increase in the proportion of an employer’s workforce that could be hired through the TFWP for low-wage positions for one year to 30 per cent for seven sectors with demonstrated labour shortages, while all other employers will be allowed to hire up to 20 per cent of their workforce – up from 10 per cent – through the TFWP for low-wage positions until further notice;
  • an end to the automatic refusal of LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the accommodation and food services and retail trade sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6 per cent or higher.

Agreements were signed between the Quebec and federal governments to increase the number of LMIA applications (from Quebec employers) which would be eligible for the “Simplified Process.” This program identifies hundreds of occupations for which employers would not have to demonstrate an effort to hire locally. The vacant positions are often not even posted in Quebec. The Quebec ministry of immigration now concentrates its international recruitment efforts on candidates for this program.

The explosion of work permits not linked to labour-market needs – the International Mobility Program: The International Mobility Program (IMP), the least known of the three temporary permit programs, now produces the most temporary residents: 765,855 permits issued in 2023. Over a hundred types of work permits fall under this program.

No LMIA is required for these work permits. The other distinction of this program is that most of the permits are “open” work permits, not linked to a specific employer.

The program used to be marginal, in the sense that these work permits generally did not lead to permanent residency and were for people such as diplomats, visiting academics and those coming to Canada to work temporarily under the auspices of international trade agreements like NAFTA (now CUSMA).

The IMP permit data break down the numbers into four categories and 18 subcategories. Figures 4 and 5 show the IMP trends. Figure 4 disaggregates the data in terms of four main categories, while figure 5 disaggregates the most significant “Canadian interests” subcategories.

Figure 5

The recent increase in “Other IMP Participants” is almost entirely due to the arrival of close to 300,000 Ukrainians. A ministerial decision known as a “public policy” and the IMP were used essentially to bypass regular processes, which require that refugee status be determined by the appropriate UN agency before arrival.⁴ The IMP and public policies have been used to react as quickly as possible to other humanitarian situations for Sudanese, Gazans, Iranians, Moroccans and some Afghans.⁵ The numbers of “other IMP participants” permits may now be expected to decline since the special Ukrainian entry program came to an end on March 31, 2024.

The Liberal government has used the IMP for a multitude of other purposes, for example:

  • to entice to Canada highly skilled immigrants in the United States with H-1B temporary work permits that were expiring;
  • to extend Post-Graduate Work Permits during and after the pandemic;
  • to provide temporary work permits for young Hong Kong residents with postsecondary diplomas and their family members after the establishment of the Hong Kong national security law.

Given their highly discretionary nature when linked to public policies, IMP permits can be created to target specific groups, in a discriminatory manner which would be almost impossible if a legislative pathway were required.

The IMP has also been used to compensate for long processing delays for permanent residency applications in the economic and family categories by offering open work permits to family members of these applicants while they wait for their permanent status. The same approach was taken with respect to temporary foreign workers when it was announced in October 2023 that spouses and working-age children of all temporary workers in the high- and low-wage streams would have access to an open IMP work permit, “resulting in family members of over 200,000 foreign workers being able to work in Canada.”

The most substantial IMP increases have been in the Canadian interests category. This category includes permits for:

  • International Experience Canada, a work-vacation program for young people from countries with which we have reciprocal agreements;
  • intracompany transfers;
  • visiting lecturers, research and education programs; and
  • charitable or religious work.

However, it is clear that the subcategories most on the rise have been driven by the growth in study permits, that is the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) and permits for the spouses of international students and of skilled temporary workers. Aside from offering the infrastructure for a pathway to permanent residency for international students, the spousal permits also aim to reduce the eventual number of applications for family reunification. They speak again to the fact that the government does not really view temporary work permits or study permits as temporary.

As with study permits, IMP open work permits effectively increase arrivals with no criteria linked to the needs of the Canadian labour market or economy.

The rise in asylum seekers

“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” Trudeau said on Twitter on January 28, 2017, the day after newly inaugurated U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning refugees and visitors from Muslim-majority countries. Trump had also proposed the mass deportation of illegal immigrants.

Quebec felt the impact of this tweet almost from the moment it was posted. Asylum seekers started to pour in by the infamous Roxham Road in southern Quebec, thanks to a loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States. The agreement allowed the two governments to turn back asylum seekers, but only at regular points of entry – which Roxham Road was not. The numbers jumped from almost 24,000 in 2016 to more than 50,000 in 2017. They slowed during the border closures due to the pandemic, but started to rise rapidly in both Quebec and Ontario immediately following the reopening of the Canada-U.S. border in November 2021 (figure 6).

Quebec had to wait until the March 2023 meeting between Trudeau and President Biden for an amendment to the U.S.-Canada agreement that allowed the refusal of claimants along the entire border. Still, the numbers have continued to rise, with arrivals in Ontario outpacing those in Quebec in the first two months of 2024. The international airports in Toronto and Montreal are the major points of entry for flights from around the world, including most of Asia.

Around the same time, Sean Fraser decided to reduce the backlog of visitor visa applications. The Prime Minister was in an embarrassing position at a photo-op in mid-February 2022 when a young international student nurse recounted that her mother had been refused a visitor visa. The mother had wanted to be at her daughter’s side during hospitalization. Trudeau publicly announced that he had asked his Immigration Minister to ease up on applying certain visitor visa conditions. Two weeks later, Fraser did exactly that despite the warnings of his civil servants that this would likely result in more asylum claims. In fact, we do see increased claims at international airports as of March 2023.

Also, more and more people with study permits are claiming refugee status in Canada. Data are not available for the number with expiring work permits who are making asylum claims. As a result of the slowdown of the economy in 2023, expiring closed work permit numbers may increase asylum demands.

The Canadian immigration system has evolved into a two-step system that not only creates a huge and growing population of nonpermanent residents but also forces immigrants to live for many years on precarious temporary permits or as asylum claimants with no guarantee of permanent residency. Many of those who do not meet the conditions for permanent residency simply stay on as undocumented residents.

The Liberals’ policy decisions in pushing unconditional increases in the number of international students and facilitating foreign hiring, particularly for low-wage positions, explain the current situation. It should not be a surprise to the Prime Minister. In fact, if the objective was population increase, it’s one of the most successful policies the government has implemented. So what happened?

“Unexpected” side-effects of a successful population strategy

Red flags about the negative side-effects appeared almost immediately. Within a month of the April 2022 announcement of the easing of TFWP requirements, leading economists were warning that the new policy “risks undermining real wage growth and increasing income inequality, … driving down average living standards in Canada.” The economists of all the major banks and various think tanks eventually published similar analyses as the economic fallout of the policy started to show. Editorials in mainstream media reflected the economists’ analyses. As well, other publicized studies linked the increasing population to housing shortages and cost escalation. Statistics Canada regularly published figures showing not only the rapid increase in population but also the predominant role of nonpermanent residents in contributing to the rise.

An auditor general’s report criticized backlogs and processing times of permanent residency applications at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and questioned the department’s capacity to manage the additional workload. The report didn’t even look at the backlogs of citizenship and temporary visa and permit applications making the headlines.

Foreign students were found sleeping under bridges in Toronto, and asylum seekers were on the streets outside overflowing shelters. Demonstrators were calling for the regularization of undocumented workers, while stories circulated about exploitation and abuse of migrant workers, systemic fraud in the international studies program, and foreign students in Cape Breton having trouble finding work.

The UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery published his report. Pressure was coming from Washington for Canada to require a visa for Mexican visitors because many were now being smuggled across the U.S.’s northern border, some dying in the process. (Smugglers have been doing the same for Indian nationals, despite a visa requirement.)

To top it off, the unthinkable happened. Polls were starting to show that many more Canadians – potential voters – were questioning the higher immigration targets and linking immigration to the housing crisis and pressure on education systems and other public services. With a general election looming in 2025 and with the knowledge that it would take some time for any reduction measures to show results, it was time for the government to act.

Turning the ship of state around

First item of business: shuffle the cabinet and change the ministers responsible for immigration and employment.

In July 2023, Fraser was moved, ironically, to the housing ministry and Marc Miller was put in place to try to turn the immigration ocean liner around. Randy Boissonnault took over Employment and Social Development. Miller and Boissonnault have been hard at work turning back many of their predecessors’ decisions, including permanent immigration levels, study permits, the TFWP and two of the permits in the IMP linked to international students.

Permanent immigration: At the end of October, Miller announced that he would not increase permanent immigration targets for 2026. They would remain at the 2025 level, 500,000. This will not make a significant difference in new arrivals since a large proportion are already in Canada with temporary status.

International students: On January 22, 2024, to curb the number of international students, at least temporarily, Miller announced a cap on college- and bachelor’s-level study permits for two years. The goal is to decrease the overall number of approved study permits this year to 360,000, about 35 per cent of the number in 2023.⁶ The 2025 targets are to be announced later in the year.

Post-Graduate Work Permits: PGWPs under the IMP will no longer be available to students enrolled in private/public colleges. There is no estimate of how many PGWPs this may represent, but it reverses the message that study permits are a direct path to permanent residency in Canada, particularly for college-level students. This message is reinforced by the decision that open work permits will be available to spouses of international students only in master’s and doctoral programs.

Asylum seekers: at the end of February Miller reapplied the pre-2015 visa requirement for Mexican travellers. It is a partial visa targeting a minority of Mexicans, and it is unclear whether this will make much difference. When the visa was lifted, asylum claims did go up slightly, but more from Indian nationals (who require a visa) than Mexicans. The global context has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Human smugglers, criminal organizations, have taken to the skies and are bringing in asylum seekers on planes; visas don’t seem to as effective as they used to be.

It should also be mentioned that in December 2023, Miller revoked Fraser’s order to ease up on the criteria for processing visitor visas. The ongoing increase in the number of asylum claims and the very problematic removal process for those whose claims are refused make this category of “temporary” residents the most difficult to predict and to control.

Overall temporary resident levels: Another announcement came on March 21, 2024. Miller announced that he is “targeting a decrease in our temporary residents population to 5 per cent over the next three years,” down from 6.2 per cent in 2023.⁷ This target will be finalized after consultations with the provinces and included, for the first time ever, with the permanent immigration targets in the immigration plan for 2025–27, to be tabled by the end of October 2024.

Temporary Foreign Workers Program: Then Miller handed the microphone to his colleague Randy Boissonnault, who rolled out a few backtracks on the TFWP. New Labour Market Impact Assessments will be valid for six months, clawed back from the previous announcement of 18 months. (There was no mention of the pilot project that Boissonnault himself had launched back in October, which provides for 36-month LMIAs for employers with a good track record in the TFWP.)

The total percentage of an employer’s workforce that can be hired through the TFWP was clawed back from 30 to 20 per cent. This will affect some, but not all, of the sectors to which Carla Qualtrough had applied the 30 per cent limit. It had been 10 per cent for all employers prior to 2022. None of the other elements of the 2022 strategy have been touched and no estimate has been provided for the real reduction in permits and workers.

Don’t blame us

So what can we expect as a result of these multiple announcements designed to convince us that the Liberals can bring order to the immigration system and get numbers under control?

I tend to agree with Tony Keller, who pointed out in an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail following the March 21 press conference that the target of 5 per cent of the population for temporary residents, if accomplished, would bring us back, in three years, to where we were in July 2023. Keller concluded, “What Miller served up should not be consumed without first adding many large grains of extra-coarse salt.” Henry Lotin, a research economist in this field, agrees that “given our immigration and entry laws, these targets will be almost impossible to achieve, certainly not by 2027.”

If we don’t notice much of a change by election time in 2025, whose fault will it be?

Miller provided the government’s answer in his March statement, identifying the culprits as well as the circumstances which were beyond the government’s control. Of course, there’s the pandemic: “Provinces and businesses needed us to bring more workers.” Also, “The chronic underfunding of post-secondary education and unscrupulous actors looking to profit off of vulnerable individuals – among others – led to exponential growth.” Not to be ignored, international conflicts are responsible: “Unprecedented levels of conflicts, economic and political upheaval, human rights abuses and climate change” left the government with no choice but to use temporary public policies to respond to these crises.

This government started out blindly inspired by Century Initiative siren calls that a bigger population is better for the economy and will set Canada up on the international scene, confident that Canadians would embrace the idea. Ignoring its own Advisory Council recommendations regarding highly skilled immigration, it responded willingly to “needs” expressed by the business community by providing cheap labour from foreign students and low-wage foreign workers and families. It has encouraged and accepted more applications than it can process for all types of visas and permits.

Instead of optimizing its permanent immigration system to respond more effectively to a rapidly evolving context, the government used temporary permits to entice people to the country, creating a vast class of residents who live here for years in precarious situations leading to exploitation and abuse by criminals, recruitment agencies, employers and landlords.

Had they known what was happening, Canadians would never have agreed to this kind of immigration structure. Have we really gotten to the point where our political system precludes, on issues as critical as how we welcome people into our society, a common political will to engage in a serious social dialogue for the benefit of all?

Notes

1 The Century Initiative is an elite lobby group that took on its current name and form in 2013. Its mission is to push for Canada’s population to increase to 100 million by 2100, essentially through immigration. My dialogue with Pierre Fortin in which we criticized the Century Initiative’s assertions appeared in the Summer/Fall 2023 issue of Inroads.

2 The economic category generally represents between 55 and 60 per cent of total permanent immigration.

3 Employers wanting to hire under this program must apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). If approved, each worker must also obtain a work permit.

4 Federal immigration law allows the minister to change immigration rules or invent new ones if he or she feels there are “sufficient public policy considerations” to do so. The use of this authority has led to dozens of ad hoc programs in both permanent and temporary immigration over recent years.

5 It is a sad sign that the regular refugee process is no longer adapted to the modern global context of conflict and climate change. Signatories to the 1951 convention commit to accepting a certain number of recognized refugees each year and they are welcomed, in Canada, as permanent residents. This avoids years of processing asylum claims in Canada and then trying to deport them if they don’t qualify.

6 Actually, this number is not very clear, since 360,000 is closer to 35 per cent of the number of study permit holders on December 31, 2023 (1,040,985) than to the number of permits approved in 2023.

7 The temporary resident population reached 6.8 per cent of the Canadian total (some 2.7 million people) on April 1, 2024.