The Invisible Housing Demand of Canada’s Growing Population

How Can We Meet the Housing Needs of Canada’s Growing Population Amid Its Transformational Shift Over the Next 20 Years?

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Over the next decade, Canada can expect the birth of over a million new babies, and Greater Toronto’s population is set to hit eight-million. Not only this, but Ontario government projections show that Canada’s growing population will further expand to ten-million by 2045. At this point, Toronto will likely become one of the world’s most diverse megacities.

But future Toronto needs to be a flourishing, livable city. Amid challenges associated with climate impact and transit crunches, many are asking: how will we overcome the impending housing shortage? This is a vital question. Regardless of climate issues, the GTA will continue to attract a huge number of migrants to its safe haven of opportunity.

“We have room to grow. We have a welcome community in terms of our relationship with immigrants and newcomers,” says the Conference Board of Canada’s Bennett. “We have a high degree of technical sophistication. These are real opportunities to seize.”

Canada’s Growing Population: Ontario’s 2018–2046 Projections

As we move towards a new future, The Office of Economic Policy has produced a report of population projections. The report provides an overview of the risks and rewards that Canada can expect over the next couple of decades.

The study predicts that Greater Toronto will be the province’s fastest-growing region. Its population is expected to expand from 6.8 million in 2018 to over 10.2 million by 2046. However, 2033 will mark a demographic milestone well before the population grows to 10-million. At this point, 50% of all Ontarians are expected to be living in the region.

The report projects that:

  • Toronto’s population will rise 44.5% from 2.96 million to 4.27 million in 2046.
  • Durham, Halton, Peel, and York populations will expand much faster than the Ontario average. Over 2.1 million more people will live in suburban Greater Toronto.
  • Peel’s population will grow by over one-million between 2018 and 2046. This 68.7% rise will likely be the fastest growth among the province’s census divisions.

Canada’s Growing Population: A Generational Evolution

By 2030, our lifestyles will have heavily evolved to suit Canada’s growing population. We will have new transportation, new ways of working, and new ways of living. Those leading Greater Toronto will have evolved, too. The Baby Boomers will have retired, and digitally dexterous generations will form our governments.

New generations will help Toronto’s workforces to care for the hugely populated generation that grew up in the time of the Beatles, all of whom will be at least 65 in 2031. Ontario’s population will comprise almost double the seniors we have today—around 4.6 million or 23.4% of the population.

As more Boomers downsize their homes, we can expect a huge rise in the demand for small living spaces. The demand will be especially high for properties with accessibility features in locations with easy transit connections. We may end up adding units to the semi-detached/detached properties that make up around 70% of Toronto’s residential neighbourhoods.

The Impact of Migration

Despite the shift to care for the well-populated older generation, Greater Toronto will likely remain the region with the youngest age structure. This is because of the prevalence of international migration and positive natural increase.

The Office of Economic Policy predicts that the GTA’s share of the provincial population will rise from 47.8% in 2018 to 51.8% in 2046. Migration will likely make up approximately 82% of this growth. Immigration levels continuously rise in Greater Toronto due to the federal immigration plan, rising net gains of interprovincial migration population, and the growing number of non-permanent residents.

Statistics Canada estimates that Ontario was home to approximately 497,500 non-permanent residents on July 1, 2018. In this context, non-permanent residents can be defined as foreign students, temporary workers, and refugee claimants. During 2017–2018, the number of non-permanent residents in Ontario expanded by 85,700, the biggest growth in 29 years.

The continuation of migration gains will also form a core part of growth for other regions, such as Central Ontario. The number of immigrants settling in Ontario has already risen from 36.8% in 2014 to 42.8% in 2018. By 2021, Ontario is expected to account for 42.4% of national immigration. However, some census divisions of Northern Ontario only receive small shares of international migration, reducing current and future population growth in these areas.

International Students

Canada is a popular education hub for international students because of its reputation as a multicultural society with scope for high-quality qualification routes and opportunities for long-term residency through the federal Express Entry system.

International students are essential to helping Canadian universities and colleges to expand programs and supplement revenues. Canadian post-secondary educational institutions celebrate their huge numbers of international students and many are calling out for more. In fact, Canada’s international student population doubled to over 570,000 between 2012 and 2018.

In 2019, Canada expanded its Student Direct Stream (SDM) to Senegal, Morocco, and Pakistan. The SDM enables international students to easily pursue an education in the country. The program also enables students from China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam to obtain study permits in as few as 20 days.

As the number of international students rises in Canada, the demand for accommodation is also growing. Not only are students looking to live in Canada during their studies, but many seek permanent residence upon completing their courses.

Future Developments for Canada’s Growing Population

Urbanist Richard Florida warns that Toronto may not reach its full potential as a modern global metropolis due to the absence of major civil ambition. He recommends that governments develop a region-wide growth model to make the most of space and detail ambitious transit investments, similar to the transformation model that New York City underwent decades ago.

As challenges rise from Canada’s projected growth, many international students, migrants, non-permanent residents, and new generations are seeking advice to secure ideal housing deals ahead of turbulent changes to the marketplace. If you need advice, Storey Collective’s expert realtors can offer tailored guidance and support.

Get in touch at for your free 15-minute consultation.