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The Growth Challenge

The Growth Challenge

Bank of Canada rate announcements, changes in the bond market, inflation rate pronouncements, employment numbers, home sales statistics – we’re being conditioned to look at these short term changes and respond accordingly. Longer term dynamics affecting our local market may provide us better guidance as we try to make major decisions.

For instance, London’s population growth rate more than doubled for the 5 years ending 2021, as compared to the five years ending 2016… from 4.1% to 10% growth. We added over 8,000 people every year for 5 years. Since June of this year Canada’s population has grown by more than 500,000 – in 4 months!

What’s fuelling this? A significant contributor comes from international students attending our Universities and Colleges. Enrolment from 2012 to 2022 went from 65,000 to 210,000 – it tripled. One need not wonder why Canada’s rental costs have skyrocketed due to just this one contributing effect.

Looking into the future, and being informed by these past numbers, what should we be aware of? In the near term – over just the next 7 years, we are going to need 40,000 more skilled workers, according to London’s own number’s guy and former Deputy Mayor, Jesse Helmer (on behalf of the Smart Prosperity Institute). Further out, it is projected our population will grow by 50% over the next 30 years. 220,000 more Londoners. Stop for a moment and absorb that statistic. 8,000 new Londoners landed here, every year for the 5 years leading up to the pandemic. Even if growth slows to half that number going forward, our population will grow by 50% by mid century.

We are seeing residential tower approvals at a scale never seen before. That’s to be expected and applauded. Every metric will be new and record breaking if we’re to adapt to our swelling population. Budgets grow, schools grow, hospitals grow, and infrastructure must keep up if we’re not to become a failed, sprawling city that used to be livable.

Blog also available on London Inc Magazine: CLICK HERE

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