Immigration spiked by 43.4 per cent year over year to hit a record for the number of new permanent residents to arrive in a single January as 2023 got off to a strong start, the latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals.

During the first month of this year, Canada welcomed 50,885 new permanent residents, up from 35,450 newcomers for the comparable month last year and also more than double the number of new permanent residents in December 2022.

As last year drew to a close, Canada saw 23,440 new permanent residents, or less than 46.1 per cent of the number in January, 2023. 

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With the exception of 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic when governments put in place restricted international travel and Canada implemented stringent public health measures, immigration for the month of January has steadily increased almost every year. 

In January 2015, 12,915 foreign nationals got their permanent residency in Canada. Since then, immigration to Canada has almost quadrupled, rising to almost 394 per cent of the level of immigration for that month eight years earlier. 

During that period, total immigration to Canada has grown to record levels, hitting 437,500 new permanent residents last year, a growth of slightly more than 60.9 per cent. 

In its 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, Ottawa set the immigration target for this year at 465,000 new permanent residents. The country is to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and another 500,000 in 2025.

That’s a total of 1.45 million new permanent residents to Canada over the next three years.

Last year, Ontario was the most popular destination for new permanent residents with Canada’s most populous province welcoming 184,725 new permanent residents in 2022. That was 42.3 per cent of the total number of new permanent residents to Canada that year.

Economic programs, including the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), Agri-Food Immigration Pilot (AFIP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Caregiver programs, Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), Federal Skilled Trades (FST) and Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) programs, the Start-Up Visa (SUV) and Self-Employed Persons (SEP) programs, and the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway accounted for roughly half of all new permanent residents coming to Ontario in 2022.

Quebec Had The Second-Highest Number Of New Permanent Residents Last Year

Those programs helped 93,795 new permanent residents arrive in Ontario last year. Another 46,610 new permanent residents arrived in Ontario through family sponsorships and 39,765 came through Canada’s refugee programs.

Next door, the francophone province of Quebec welcomed the second-highest number of immigrants last year with 68,685 new permanent residents arriving in La Belle Province in 2022.

In 2022, British Columbia welcomed 61,215 new permanent residents or 14 per cent of the total number of immigrants to Canada.


Going east, immigration to Alberta, the westernmost Prairie province, boomed last year, rising by 25.5 per cent to hit a record-breaking 49,460 new permanent residents.

Saskatchewan saw a 97.6-per cent growth in immigration last year with the number of new permanent residents rising to a record-breaking 21,635. 

Next door, Manitoba also saw impressive growth in immigration last year with the number of new permanent residents rising almost 30.6 per cent to hit 21,645. 

New Brunswick Immigration Almost Doubled In 2022 Due In Part To The AIP

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, aided by the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP), all saw increases in their immigration levels.

New Brunswick almost doubled its level of immigration, jumping from 5,310 new permanent residents in 2021 to 10,205 last year. Nova Scotians welcomed 12,650 new permanent residents, an increase of 38.2 per cent over the previous year, and Prince Edward Island set a new provincial immigration record in 2022 as the number of new permanent residents nudged up to 2,665. Newfoundland and Labrador saw a 69.8 per cent surge in immigration as the province welcomed a record-breaking 3,490 new permanent residents last year.

In the territories in Canada’s far north, immigration levels remained low last year.

The relatively-young territory of Nunavut only received 45 new permanent residents. In the Northwest Territories, immigration slumped 20.3 per cent to 235 new permanent residents. And the Yukon showed a similar trend. In that westernmost territory, immigration was off by 23.5 per cent last year, down to 455, but that came on the heels of the Yukon’s record-breaking performance of 595 new permanent residents set in 2021.

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