How Much Will Canada’s Population Grow? Nobody Knows, But We Can Predict Where It Goes

Desjardin, Randall Bartlett, Senior Director of Canadian Economics

The population projection is foundational to Canada’s economic outlook, as it’s made up of the consumers and workers who will drive future economic activity and government revenues. Once taken for granted, the population growth forecast is now more uncertain than ever.

Canada’s population has surged recently, largely driven by a sharp increase in net non‑permanent residents (NPRs), such as temporary foreign workers and foreign students. Assuming future immigration is in line with federal government plans, NPRs will be the primary driver of population growth going forward.

The forecast for the working-age population (people ages 15 and over) we used in our recent Economic and Financial Outlook is roughly consistent with the projection through 2025 in the Bank of Canada’s October 2023 Monetary Policy Report. It suggests working-age population growth could average about 1.8% annually from 2023 through 2028. Over the same period, we expect real and “trend” or potential GDP growth to average 1.5% and 1.7%, respectively.

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