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The Changing Trends Of Canadian Immigration

Since the turn of the Millennium, there has been a clear change in the destinations in which new immigrants to Canada wish to settle.

While the big cities do remain a popular choice, the noughties saw a rising share of new arrivals, instead opting for other destinations, particularly locales on the Prairies.

A study conducted by Statistics Canada, suggested several possible reasons for the location shift, including:

  • Changes in the programmes through which immigrants entered Canada
  • Changes in the source countries from which they arrived
  • Changes in relative regional economic performance

Canada is the second largest country in the world and welcomed 341,000 immigrants in 2019, its largest number on record.

An ever-popular immigration destination, we examine the current trends of immigration in Canada.

Immigrating to Canada - life in Canada

What are the most popular immigration destinations in Canada?

Immigration data from 2019 shows that the most popular Canadian destination was Ontario, with 45% of immigrants choosing to settle there. This number is up 2% from the previous year and continues to remain a popular immigration destination year on year.

The second most popular destination was British Columbia, Alberta in third place and Quebec dropped to fourth place. The reason for Quebec’s fall, follows their decision to reduce their immigration intake by 20%.

Manitoba has also increased in popularity, with a 24% increase in immigration figures compared to 2018, welcoming 19,000 immigrants in 2019.

The most popular Canadian cities for immigrants are Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary, which welcomed 64% of all new immigrants in 2019, down 2% from 2018.

How has immigration in Canada evolved?

Over the years, the major destinations in which immigrants choose to settle have evolved greatly. Whilst Canada’s major cities continue to remain a popular choice, more rural areas are on the rise.

Manitoba is becoming an increasingly popular immigration destination, with many rural municipalities, whose economy is particularly driven by agriculture. Manitoba also has a lower cost of living and more affordable house prices in comparison to other popular Canadian provinces.

The programmes through which new immigrants enter Canada have also changed over the years, having implications for settlement patterns.

In particular, the share entering through Provincial Nominee Programmes increased from less than 1 per cent in 2000 to 13 per cent in 2010, with this being most evident in the western provinces.

The source countries from which immigrants arrived have also changed, with different groups varying in the extent to which they settled in locations such as Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver or other communities.

Where do Canadian immigrants come from?

The top ten countries from which Canadian immigrants have come from in 2020 so far, are as follows:

  • India
  • China
  • Philippines
  • USA
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Syria
  • France
  • Iran
  • Brazil

India continues to hold the top spot, mainly due to their proficiency when it comes to the English language, which is one of the main competencies within Canada’s immigration requirements.

The number of Chinese immigrants has also risen in 2020, accounting for 10% of new immigrants compared to 9% in 2019.

Immigration from the Philippines has remained consistent with 7% in 2020 and 8% in 2019.

Future for Canadian immigration

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that Canada has still remained an attractive destination for immigrants. In July 2020, the country welcomed over 13,000 immigrants and then over 11,000 in August.

Naturally, these figures are down from 2019, with 31,500 immigrants welcomed into the country in August 2019.

Whilst the pandemic and travel restrictions are having an impact on immigration levels, Canada has highlighted their commitment to welcoming new immigrants into the country. The country believes new immigrants will be key to improving its economic state as COVID-19 concerns ease.

Canada has a Parents and Grandparents Programme (PGP) where Canadian residents are able to sponsor their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada. Canada has recently re-opened the programme following COVID-19 restrictions and has said that they will accept 30,000 PGP applications in 2021.

Canada has also stated that they will look to welcome 300,000 immigrants in 2021. The country is set to soon reveal an immigration plan, which will cover Canada’s strategy for the next three years.