Non-permanent Residents an Economic Force in Canada

By Andrew Rickard | May 05 2015 12:59PM

There are almost 800,000 non-permanent residents (NPRs) in Canada, and most of them are under the age of 45. A recent study suggests that they make a significant contribution to the economy.

photo_web_1380 A report published by CIBC World Markets says that over the last ten years the number of NPRs in Canada has increased from 450,000 a record 770,000, and that 95% of them are younger than 45. In addition, it reveals that the number of NPRs between the ages of 25 and 44 has doubled since 2006.

If it were not for these rising numbers the author of the report, CIBC's Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal, believes that Ontario would have experienced a decline of 120,000 in the 25 to 44 age group. He also notes that NPRs have accounted for all of the growth in that age group in British Columbia.

"It is not a coincidence that those two provinces are also the ones to experience long-lasting strong housing market activity," says Tal. "In fact, given the above demographic picture, it is fair to assume that NPRs play an important role in demand for rental units in both provinces - a factor that is largely behind the recent boom in the condo market in cities like Toronto and Vancouver."

Tal argues that NPRs should no longer be viewed as a “marginal and reversible” factor aimed at solving temporary employment shortfalls in certain markets. "Rather, they should be viewed as an important demographic force capable of influencing and potentially altering the trajectories of macro-economic variables such as housing activity and consumer spending," he concludes.