MARKHAM, Ontario, November 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Canada will let 300,000 immigrants enter the country in 2017, maintaining this year's target despite recommendations to increase it to help spur economic growth. The government said it was establishing 300,000 as a new baseline for the admission of permanent residents, with the majority of those allowed into the country to be selected as economic immigrants. While the target is unchanged from 2016's plan, it is above the average of 259,542 immigrants admitted from 2011 to 2015. Speaking to reporters after tabling his annual report in Parliament on Oct. 31, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum said the new target "lays the foundation for future growth." "I do believe it is true that more immigrants for Canada would be a good policy for demographic reasons," McCallum declared. Today, Canada has a population of about 35 million. Like many developed countries, Canada has an aging population, which poses a challenge for economic growth. An economic advisory council to finance Minister Bill Morneau recently recommended that Canada increase its annual immigration target to 450,000 over the next five years to attract top talent to Canadian companies. Under next year's plan, the number of immigrants admitted under the economic category will increase to 172,500 from 160,600 this year, the government said. The number of refugees will decrease to 40,000 from 55,800.