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B.C. population growth highlights need for immigrant supports: advocates

February 13, 2022

By Victoria News

Canada is one of the fastest-growing nations in the G7 and that growth is driven in large part by immigration, newly releases census data shows.

Immigrants account for around 80 per cent of Canada’s population growth, according to data released Wednesday (Feb. 9).

B.C. was the province with the second-highest percentage of population growth since 2016 and four of the top five fastest-growing metropolitan areas in Canada are in B.C.

Carlos Teixeira, a professor with the department of geography at UBC Okanagan, said the findings of the census don’t surprise him.

“Immigrants, in general, don’t go to rural areas. They prefer urban centres where there are already established ethnic communities. The existence of those communities eases integration into Canadian society.”

Teixeira’s research has found that new immigrants to Canada are bypassing urban centres and settling in areas with more affordable housing. For example, many immigrants to the Metro Vancouver area tend to settle in surrounding communities like Delta, Langley, Surrey, Chilliwack and Abbotsford where rental prices are relatively more affordable.

“Immigrants come to Canada for economic reasons. They want jobs, they want to be successful, they want to integrate into the tapestry of our country. But they also need affordable housing,” Teixeira said. “The ultimate goal for most immigrants is to own a dwelling. Owning a home means they did it, they’re successful, they can say this is my country and they’re achieving the dream.”

But that dream isn’t often what immigrants find when they come to Canada. Teixeria conducted interviews with 176 new immigrants in the Metro Vancouver area and found that 40 per cent spent at 30 to 50 per cent of their income on housing and 45 per cent spent more than 50 per cent.

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