Canada opened arms to record number of immigrants last year


Advertise with us

Canada welcomed a record number of immigrants in 2022 as it opened its borders to 431,645 people.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe:

Monthly Digital Subscription

$4.75 per week*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles

*Billed as $19.00 plus GST every four weeks. Cancel anytime.

Canada welcomed a record number of immigrants in 2022 as it opened its borders to 431,645 people.

“Newcomers play an essential role in filling labour shortages, bringing new perspectives and talents to our communities, and enriching our society as a whole,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser in a statement issued Tuesday to announce the milestone.

The federal government didn’t release a breakdown of newcomers to each province.

Statistics were not available on the number of new permanent residents to Manitoba as of Dec. 31, but by the fall, the province had recorded the largest influx of immigrants in recent memory.

Manitoba recorded 19,020 permanent resident admissions from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, said Brant Batters, press secretary to Jon Reyes, the provincial immigration minister.

Until then, the largest wave of immigrants to Manitoba in recent memory was in 2019, when 18,905 permanent residents were reported for the entire year.

The provincial government is “anxiously waiting” for the federal government to release the detailed breakdown for 2022, Batters said.

In 2021, 16,575 permanent resident settled in Manitoba.

Historically, Manitoba set a record for immigration in 1912-13, when 43,813 newcomers settled here in that fiscal year. Late that century, immigration levels dropped to around 3,000 per year until the Progressive Conservative government launched the Manitoba provincial nominee program in 1998 to revive the population and economy.

The number of permanent residents admitted through that program from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2022 was 12,355, which is just shy of the nominee program’s 2019 record of 12,545, Batters said.

The federal government said Tuesday that it reached it’s record-high target for immigration and is setting its sights on even higher immigration rates in the next three years.

That’s good news for a province like Manitoba that is desperate for workers.

“This announcement… will support the much-needed labour market recovery in Manitoba,” said Judith Hayes, executive director of the non-profit organization Manitoba Start, where the job board was full of postings Tuesday.

Manitoba reported an unemployment rate of 4.4. per cent in December, the third-lowest among provinces.

Canada’s aging population means the worker-to-retiree ratio will fall to two to one by 2035. That’s a huge drop from seven workers for every retiree 50 years ago.

Nearly three-quarters of Canada’s population growth comes from immigration, mostly through the economic category.

By 2036, immigrants will represent up to 30 per cent of Canada’s population, compared with 20.7 per cent in 2011.

Hayes said the past year was “very busy” for Manitoba Start, the main provider of career services for newcomers that matches their skills with employers’ job requirements.

“We are set to exceed our past numbers of new arrivals and have been able to support many newcomers in their transition into the Manitoba workplace, where their skills have been well-received by employers,” she said.

Since the fiscal year began in April, the government-funded agency has welcomed 5,700 newcomers at its main location downtown and its satellite office near the Winnipeg airport. That’s more than double the 2,128 new clients Manitoba Start registered for the entire previous fiscal year of 2021-22, when India, Nigeria and China were the top source countries for their newcomer clientele.

The record number of new permanent residents to Canada last year doesn’t include Ukrainians who fled the Russian invasion of their country.

They arrived under the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel, said Ostap Skrypnyk of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Manitoba Council.

The program was designed to quickly help Ukrainians and provide them with the ability to work and study while in Canada.

It allows those already in Canada to extend their visitor status, work permit or study permit so they can stay temporarily. Manitoba estimates it welcomed more than 12,400 Ukrainians in 2022 through the emergency program.

The Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations said it was a challenging year as the sector coped with the COVID-19 pandemic and responded to the desperate situation of those who fled Ukraine.

“Agencies had to adapt to a new reality with having to bring many services back in-person while retaining the ability to do some of it remotely,” said the umbrella group’s executive director Vicki Sinclair.

“It was challenging to balance the needs and preferences of newcomers who need services in-person with those who don’t feel safe yet, or who can’t find child care as a result of the pandemic,” she said Tuesday.

“As Canada responded to the crisis in Ukraine, many agencies in the sector were taken by surprise by the amount of newcomers who arrived at once,” she said.

The sector was grateful for Canada’s quick decision to shelter the refugees and enable agencies to help them under special circumstances, Sinclair said. “At the same time, many had to adapt quite quickly to respond to unexpected demand and very specific needs.”

The provincial and federal governments have been “generous and innovative” welcoming displaced Ukrainians, she said.

“We are advocating as a sector for this to be a precedent for how all groups are welcomed in Manitoba and across Canada, and hope the federal and provincial immigration departments will continue to work together to make sure no newcomers fall through the gaps of service,” Sinclair said.

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us