Canada’s population grew by 0.23 per cent in the first three months of the year, with two-thirds of the gain accounted for by international migration, according to new data by Statistics Canada.
The population estimates report said Canada’s population was roughly 32.85 million as of April 1 of this year, compared to 32.78 million at the beginning of the year.
Only the four westernmost provinces had growth rates at or above the national average, with Alberta leading the provinces once again in terms of growth.
Alberta’s population grew by 0.57 per cent or 7,400 people over the first quarter to 3.46 million, more than twice the national average, although growth was slower than the pace measured during the same period last year. Population growth in the province was 0.77 per cent—or net in-migration of 15,600 people—in the first three months of 2006, the report said.
“The estimates show a slowdown in interprovincial migration for Alberta, a trend that started in the last quarter of 2006,” the report added. “This slowdown occurred in large part because more people left Alberta for other parts of the country. As a result, net gains from interprovincial migration increased for most other jurisdictions, except for Quebec and Yukon.”
Other provinces to have population growth which equalled or outpaced the national average were British Columbia at 0.34 per cent, Manitoba at 0.25 per cent, and Saskatchewan at 0.23 per cent. Nunavut’s population also grew by 0.87 per cent to 31,216 people, due to the strongest fertility rates in the country.
Ontario’s growth was close to the national average at 0.22 per cent, bringing the estimated total population for the province to 12.75 million people. For the third quarter in a row, population growth in the province was lower than the national average, a situation not observed since 1981, the report said.
“This was due to strong losses in interprovincial migration, especially to Alberta, and the lowest number of immigrants for a first quarter since 1999,” StatsCan added.
Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Yukon were the only three regions to record declines in their headcounts from the beginning of the year.
The Yukon posted the biggest population decline with a 0.48-per-cent drop to 30,883, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador with a 0.39-per-cent decrease and Nova Scotia with a 0.09-per-cent decline.
The report noted that the four Atlantic provinces had all recorded more deaths than births during the same quarter, which indicates that these provinces can rely only on international and interprovincial migration to boost their populations.