Canada's population surpasses 40 million

Canada's population has surpassed 40 million people, according to Statistics Canada. That growth presents some challenges, particularly with housing.

Population growth rate currently at 2.7 per cent, the highest since 1957

Immigration drives Canada's population to 40M

10 months ago
Duration 1:52
Canada's population has hit 40 million people. The historic pace of the increase is being driven by immigration and the need for workers, but it's also causing the already dire housing crisis to get even worse.

Canada's population has surpassed 40 million people, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal statistics agency's "population clock" uses modelling to estimate Canada's population in real time. The counter hit the 40 million mark just before 3 p.m. ET on Friday. 

"This is an exciting milestone for Canada," said chief statistician Anil Arora in a media statement. "It is a strong signal that Canada remains a dynamic and welcoming country, full of potential."

Canada's population growth rate currently stands at 2.7 per cent. That's the highest annual growth rate since 1957, when Canada was in the middle of its post-war baby boom, says Statistics Canada.

Matti Siemiatycki, director of the Infrastructure Institute and a professor at the department of geography and planning at the University of Toronto, said the population milestone presents opportunities and challenges for Canada.

"This is a recognition that we're a country that's been growing for some time, that we are a country that continues to attract people and is an attractive place for newcomers," he said.

Population grew by over 1 million last year

Canada's population grew by a record 1.05 million last year and about 96 per cent of the rise was due to international migration, the agency said.

Siemiatycki said Canada needs to attract newcomers to fill jobs left vacant by retiring baby boomers.

"From an economic perspective, newcomers have been really important both to fill jobs that are here and to connect us with the economies out into the wider world," he said.

But a growing population also presents challenges, particularly with housing, Siemiatycki said.

The average price of a Canadian resale home has increased four months in a row this year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. The average selling price of a home in April — the month for which the most recent data is available — was $716,000.

Siemiatycki said Canada urgently needs to build more housing to accommodate Canada's growing population.

Seated people hold tiny Canadian flags.
New Canadians take part in a citizenship ceremony. Canada's population is growing at an annual rate of 2.7 per cent, the fastest pace since the late 1950s. (Stephen Lubig/CBC)

"We are in a crunch. We haven't been building enough units across the country, especially at the affordable levels," he said.

But Siemiatycki said attracting more skilled labour can also bolster the workforce needed to build more housing.

Canada's population topped 30 million in 1997 and could reach 50 million as early as 2043 if current trends continue, Statistics Canada said.


Darren Major

CBC Journalist

Darren Major is a senior writer for CBC's Parliamentary Bureau. He can be reached via email at darren.major@cbc.ca.