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OTTAWA - Canada is on track to meet its goal of 401,000 new permanent residents this year after adding record numbers in June and July, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said on Friday.
Canada counted 39,500 new permanent residents in July - a number that has not yet been published officially - after 35,700 in June, both monthly records, the minister said. That brings the 2021 total so far to more than 184,000.
"We're ahead of where we expected to be at this point in the year, and we are going to continue to accelerate the pace of landing new permanent residents," Mendicino said in a telephone interview. "We are going to deliver on that goal."
The last time Canada attracted more than 400,000 people in one year was in the early 1900s. The government has said it hopes to add 411,000 new permanent residents next year.
With borders closed for much of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of new permanent residents fell to 185,000 in 2020 from 341,000 in 2019.
Canada has ramped immigration back up by relying on programs that allow temporary residents already in the country to acquire permanent residency more easily to meet its immigration goals.
"By granting them permanent status, they're going to put down roots in their communities," Mendicino said. "That is exactly how we're going to address both the short-term economic recovery, which we are accelerating through immigration, as well as the long-term demographic pressures."
Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has relied on immigration to boost the Canadian economy since coming to power in 2015, setting an annual target of about 1% of the country's population of nearly 38 million.
Trudeau is expected to seek a Sept. 20 election - two years ahead of schedule - on Sunday. REUTERS