Canada is known for being welcoming to expats and the latest official figures show that immigration continues to account for most of the steady population growth the nation is experiencing.

As of October 2017, Canada's population was estimated at 36,885,049, having increased by 176,966 in the third quarter, the highest quarterly increase since 1971.

Canada Immigrants

A large part of that growth, some 138,315, was due to people moving to live and work in Canada, a level not seen since 1971, official figures show, and 79,804 was due to an unprecedented rise in the number of non-permanent residents.

The main source of this increase was a growth in the number of study permit holders, as well as equal gains in the number of work permit holders and refugees and statisticians pointed out that the number of non-permanent residents has exceeded the number of immigrants admitted to Canada, a scenario rarely seen in the past.

Nevertheless, the number of immigrants was the second highest for a third quarter in the past six years, after the third quarter of 2015 with growth of 78,899.

All regions of Canada saw population growth except in Newfoundland and Labrador where the population fell by 0.1% while Nunavut and Ontario had the highest population growth rate at 0.6% each.

Elsewhere, the population growth rate reached 0.5% in Prince Edward Island, Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon and compared with the same period last year, the population growth rate was up in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Alberta and the territories.

Arrivals from overseas have also been the main driver of growth in almost all provinces and in Yukon. In fact, six provinces and one territory posted unprecedented gains for a third quarter. In Alberta, however, natural increase and international migratory increase accounted for the population growth in similar proportions.

The Northwest Territories and Nunavut continued to post the highest rates of natural increase, which accounted for 68% and 81% of their demographic growth respectively. Statistics show that fertility in these two territories is higher than the rest of Canada.

In most provinces, an increase in the number of non-permanent residents was behind the rise in international immigrants. Quebec recorded a gain of 14,601 non-permanent residents, a major increase over the third quarter of 2016 of 5,902.

In addition, Ontario posted a 39,862 increase in non-permanent residents, compared with 30,821 in the same quarter one year earlier. In British Columbia, the number of non-permanent residents rose 14,702, compared with 9,107 during the same quarter last year.