Immigration population at highest in nearly a century as government set to release new limits for 2018.
Canada’s immigrant population is at its highest recorded in nearly a century, according to 2016 census numbers released Wednesday.
The overall population is about 36.7 million and the new report from Statistics Canada (StatsCan) shows 21.9 percent are “foreign-born individuals who came to Canada through the immigration process”, or about 7.5 million.
That figure is the highest since 1921, StatsCan reported.
About 60 percent of the new immigrants originated from Asia and the Middle East.
But for the first time, Africa at 13.4 percent contributed more immigrants than Europe.
The numbers show visible minorities make up 7.7 million of the population, at 22.3 percent, a huge increase from just 4.7 percent in 1981.
The government defines visible minorities as "non-Caucasian in race or non-white in color".
The Indigenous population has shown the largest increase, growing to 1.7 million, a 42.5 percent increase since 2006.
Total immigration between 2011 and 2016 was about 1.2 million.
Canada has welcomed 40,081 Syrian refugees since Nov. 4, 2015. The total overall for 2016 was 46,700, a number that marked a “tremendous achievement”, according to a representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
By contrast, U.S. President Donald Trump has set the number of refugees allowed there next year at 45,000, the lowest since 1980. That number represents a 59 percent reduction of the cap set by former President Barack Obama.
As well, Canada allowed a much higher percentage of refugees based on its population -- the U.S. population is 323 million.
The StatsCan numbers come just days before the Nov. 1 deadline for Canada to set to its immigration target for 2018.
Based on 2016 and 2017, when the annual total immigration number was capped at 300,000, the number will be substantial. The 2018 target will take into account the global migration crisis, illegal border crossings and labor gaps, officials said.
“Canada’s immigration system continues to be based on compassion, efficiency and economic opportunity for all, while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in August.