International migration to NWT returns to pre-pandemic levels


The number of people moving to the Northwest Territories from beyond Canada has bounced back to a level last seen before the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The NWT Bureau of Statistics this week said 91 people arrived in the territory from overseas in the three months leading up to October 1. In the same period a year ago, only around 20 people made that move.

Migration from abroad is important to the territory’s economy at the best of times, but particularly in the current environment, dubbed The Great Resignation as many people worldwide leave their jobs and industries.

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Employers have fought to attract and retain staff in an unusually stretched Yellowknife job market. While high turnover rates are a feature of running any northern business, staff shortages have forced some firms to temporarily shut down in recent months.

While 91 people reached the NWT from overseas in the past quarter, some made the trip in the other direction. Subtracting those people left the territory with a net gain of 52 international migrants in July, August, and September this year, the highest quarterly figure since early 2020.

Overall, the territory’s population is barely changing.

October’s population estimate, released on Thursday, was 45,515 people – a 0.6-percent increase on 45,265 this time last year.

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Nunavut’s population grew 1.2 percent year-on-year to 39,589. The Yukon’s population grew 1.9 percent to 43,095.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador all posted population growth lower than that recorded by the NWT. In Newfoundland and Labrador’s case, the province’s 0.3-percent growth since October 2020 did at least halt a trend in which its population had been gradually declining.

Prince Edward Island, at the other end of the scale, saw its population grow 2.8 percent to 165,936.

Canada as a whole now has an estimated population of 38,436,447, a 1.1-percent year-on-year increase.

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Nationally, immigration reached a record level across Canada in the quarter between July and September this year.

“Canada welcomed 122,748 immigrants, which not only surpassed pre-pandemic levels but was the highest since
the beginning of available data in 1971,” the NWT Bureau of Statistics stated.

The NWT’s international immigration figure was its second-highest in at least the past six years.