November 23, 2023

Canada’s National Immigration Strategy

Immigration has been and continues to be crucial to Canada’s economic, social, and cultural development. Continuing our exploration of Canada’s current immigration system, these two papers look to unwind the complexities of Canada’s immigration strategy from a national perspective.

In Chapter One, we explore how Canada’s immigration policy has evolved over time, zoning in on key moments that have contributed to national priorities such as nation-building, demographic growth, humanitarian objectives, and economic benefits.

In Chapter Two, we hone in on the present-day landscape of Canada’s immigration policy, exploring specifically economic immigration programs, how the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and Express Entry systems work, and how well economic immigrants typically fare.


Between 2023 and 2025, Canada is expected to welcome 1.5 million new residents, as part of the federal government’s goal to increase immigration targets. The stated purpose of this increase is economic: newcomers will fill labour shortages to grow the economy and help support an aging population.

With the federal government’s new targets, immigration will account for all of Canada’s population growth and nearly all the workforce growth between now and 2036. That means that almost 30% of the population and 37% of the workforce will be immigrants.

While immigration will certainly help make Canada’s economy bigger, it will not necessarily or automatically make Canadians wealthier. In fact, projections show that while Canada is expected to see very tepid economic growth, it will lag in economic growth per capita. And with additional cracks in the system, urgent changes are needed to ensure immigration remains a source of strength and growth for Canada.

Explore more in our Prosperity-Driven Immigration for Canada project here.

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