Jan. 11 (UPI) — Canada wants to add more than 1 million immigrants to its population over the next three years, the country’s immigration ministry detailed in its annual report to Parliament this week.
The figure represents an increase on the number of immigrants Canada accepts each year. In 2017, the country admitted 286,479 people as permanent residents, the report said.
“Thanks in great part to the newcomers we have welcomed throughout our history, Canada has developed into the strong and vibrant country we all enjoy,” said Ahmed Hussen, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, in the report. “Immigrants and their descendants have made immeasurable contributions to Canada, and our future success depends on continuing to ensure they are welcomed and well-integrated.”
Under the plan, the country would admit up to 350,000 immigrants in 2019, including 176,000 that are federal economic and provincial/territorial nominees, 89,000 as part of its family reunification program, and 58,500 refugees. The total number would increase to 360,000 in 2020 and to 370,000 in 2021.
Canada’s overall population is less than 37 million, so each year’s admittance of immigrants would represent about 1 percent of the population. About one in five Canadians are immigrants.
“Immigrants have helped address these by contributing to Canada’s labor force growth,” Hussen said in the report. “Growing immigration levels, particularly in the economic class, will help sustain our labor force, support economic growth and spur innovation.”
The administration of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pushed the acceptance of immigrants since he took office in 2015 amid a migrant crisis in parts of the Middle East and North Africa. In January 2017, after U.S. President Donald Trump signed his first travel ban on refugees and people from primarily Muslim countries, Trudeau promised to welcome migrants regardless of their faith.
“Diversity is our strength,” he tweeted.