CIC has begun returning Canada Experience Class applications indicating the the annual cap of 8,000 application was met on October 21. This is despite the notices into December that only 4600 applications had been received up to that point.
It appears that applications were allowed to accumulate for months without being counted, while the updates posted on the CIC website continued to reflect a number that was less and less accurate each time.
Now that Express Entry is active, applicants under all federal economic categories will have intake managed through an invitation based system. This will create a much more straightforward picture on the annual number and is probably the biggest advantage of this new concept.