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PEI’s Population Growth Slows Amidst Record Immigration

Despite a surge in immigration, Prince Edward Island’s population growth rate is slowing. Statistics Canada’s latest quarterly population estimates reveal that PEI had a population of 177,081 in Q2 2024. 

This represents an increase of only 919 people since Q1 2024 and 5,291 people since Q2 2023, marking an annual growth rate of just over 3 percent.

This trend is not unique to PEI. Nova Scotia, another Atlantic Canadian province, recorded a population growth rate of 2.36 percent over the past year. PEI’s growth rate is also below the national average of 3.2 percent, a surprising shift given its historically strong population increases. 

For instance, PEI’s growth rate was 4.0 percent in Q4 2023 but dropped to 3.7 percent in Q1 2024 before declining further this quarter.

Despite the slowing population growth, immigration to PEI has been robust. In Q1 2024, the province welcomed 1,330 immigrants, the highest number ever recorded for the first quarter. This upward trend in immigration is consistent, with 1,274 immigrants in Q1 2023 and 652 in Q1 2022.

However, rising immigration numbers have not come without challenges. Recently, PEI has witnessed increasing protests against the provincial government’s immigration policy changes. Last week, 75 foreign workers and their allies marched through Charlottetown to express their opposition to the changes. 

Some of these protests have been ongoing since May 9, with demonstrators seeking extensions for their work permits and the chance to obtain Canadian permanent residency.

The protests are largely driven by policy changes made in February that reduce the likelihood of sales and service workers being nominated for permanent residency by PEI. This policy shift has fueled dissatisfaction among many foreign workers in the province despite the overall increase in immigration numbers.

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