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Percentage of permanent residents becoming Canadian citizens in decline: StatCan data

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StatCan numbers reveal the percentage of permanent residents who become Canadians has plummeted over the past 20 years.

The Institute for Canadian Citizenship says Statistics Canada data points to a 40 per cent decline in citizenship uptake since 2001.

The group's CEO, Daniel Bernhard, calls the drop alarming and says it should serve as a "wake up call" to improving the experience newcomers have in Canada.

In 2021, nearly 45.7 per cent of permanent residents who'd been in Canada for less than 10 years became citizens.

That's down from 60 per cent in 2016, and 75.1 per cent in 2001.

The StatCan data did not identify reasons for the drop, but Bernhard suggests Canada's cost of living and job prospects are likely factors.

He says the institute is investigating root causes.

"There are a myriad of issues," said Bernhard.

"But ultimately, what's changing is that people have decided that they're less interested in being `Team Canada."'

Bernhard said the decline affects Canada's long-term economic and social outlook.

"This is a problem for all of us who care about Canada's future prosperity and dynamism," he said. "We need to solve this for the future of our country."

The federal government has said it wants to boost immigration by adding 1.45 million permanent residents over the next three years, starting with 465,000 in 2023 and increasing to 500,000 in 2025.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2023.

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