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Population projections indicate immigration is critical to Canada's future prosperity. Without a steady level of immigration, Canada's population growth could eventually dip below zero. Immigrants are an important source of skilled labour and entrepreneurship, and contribute to Canada's cultural diversity. For this reason, provinces are anxious to attract and retain immigrants. For similar reasons, it is important to keep emigration levels in check.
share of new immigrants
Immigration levels spike and dive in response to both federal immigration policies (particularly intake targets) and economic conditions. The West's share of Canada's new immigrants is lower than its share of Canada's population (26.9 percent of new immigrants in 2000 compared to 30 percent of the population).
share of new immigrants
The importance of immigration to population growth varies dramatically among the four western provinces, ranging between 72.1 percent of population growth in British Columbia to 17 percent in Saskatchewan in 2000. What is clear from data and population projections is that immigration's importance to population growth is increasing, and will continue to do so.

Excerpts reprinted from Robert Roach and Loleen Berdahl, State of the West: Western Canadian Demographic and Economic Trends (Calgary: Canada West Foundation: 2001), with permission from the Canada West Foundation.

For a chronology of Canadian immigration in Canada from 1900-1999 see the Canadian Council for Refugees.

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