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Immigrant Settlement in Canada

By: Janice Bandick

Published On: January 27, 2015


In 2012, Statistics Canada announced that Canada’s population had reached 35 million people, signifying the fastest growth rate of any G8 nation. Canada has one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the developed world, and immigration continues to be an important facet of Canadian culture. Statistics Canada recently projected that within the next twenty years, population growth could rely almost entirely on migratory increase. Canada has admitted more than 1.6 million new permanent residents since 2006, and will admit between 260,000 and 285,000 in 2015 alone, due in part to changes to immigration application processes, including the launch of Express Entry.

As the second-largest country in the world, Canada has a total area of 3.8 million sq. miles or 9.9 million sq. kilometres. With ten provinces, three territories, and countless cities to choose from, where (and why) are new immigrants choosing to settle in Canada?

The Big Three

Canada’s three largest immigrant destinations are Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal; each city is home to more than 250,000 recent immigrants. Other popular destinations for immigrants include Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Ottawa (40,000 to 100,000 recent immigrants each) and Victoria, Saskatoon, Regina, Québec, and Halifax (5,000 to 15,000 recent immigrants each). Of the 1.1 million immigrants who landed in Canada between 2001 and 2006, about 70% settled in one of the “big three” and about 28% headed for other urban areas. Only 3% chose to settle in a rural area.
Immigrants who have immigrated within the past fifteen years tend to be more concentrated in the “big three” than immigrants who landed earlier. Considering recent immigrants only, Vancouver’s immigration rate is still increasing, while the rates of Toronto and Montreal are stable. The most cited reason for settling in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, according to a survey of immigrants, was to join the social support networks of family and friends. Job prospects, language, and climate were also cited as influential factors in an immigrant’s decision regarding settlement destination.

More than 60% of immigrants and 70% of recent immigrants live in Canada’s three largest cities’Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, while just over one-quarter of people born in Canada live in the same three cities.

Income Level

The average incomes of the Canadian-born and of immigrants are about the same, both for women and for men. Immigrants who landed before 1986 have average incomes approximately 15% higher than the Canadian-born, in part a result of the fact that on average they are older than the Canadian-born. The income of very recent immigrants is about two-thirds of that of the Canadian-born.

Education Level

Immigrant men are more likely to have a post-secondary diploma or degree than Canadian-born men, while these qualifications are about as common among immigrant women and their Canadian-born counterparts. Among both men and women, very recent immigrants are more likely to possess with post-secondary qualifications.

Immigrants and the Canadian-born have different settlement patterns in regards to level of education. Among the Canadian-born, the incidence of completed post-secondary studies is high in the cities and low in the rest of Canada, which is primarily rural. For immigrants, there is not the same difference between urban and rural Canada. The highest rate of post-secondary qualifications is found among immigrants in small to medium sized cities. In these cities, as well as in the rest of Canada, the average education level of immigrants, is higher than that of the Canadian-born, which is not the case in the larger cities.

Immigration Category

From 1985 – 2000 the economic category of immigrants had been the most common, particularly between 1995-2000, when nearly three out of five new immigrants entered through this class. Skilled workers and their families comprised the majority of the economic category throughout. The number of immigrants entering through the family class has fallen back sharply after surging in the first half of the 1990s. The number of refugees also declined significantly in the second half of the 1990s, after increasing in the first half. As a proportion of all immigrants, however, refugees reached a peak of 18% in the second half of the 1980s.

These proportions are somewhat skewed in Canada's major cities. Vancouver draws relatively more economic immigrants and fewer refugees. The same applied to Montreal during the late 1980s and early 1990s, but more recently, refugees make up a relatively large share of new immigrants in that city. Refugees also tend to disperse more than economic immigrants, often settling in smaller cities after spending time in one of the “big three”.

Respond to Canada’s Need for Immigrants

Ashton College offers an Immigration Consultant Diploma (IMCD) Program that provides individuals with the academic knowledge to seek out career opportunities as practicing Immigration Consultants.
The Immigration Consultant Diploma (IMCD) Program course is designed to provide individuals with knowledge about immigration law and policy as well as the analytic skills to apply these principles within practical settings. The knowledge acquired will prepare graduates to complete the FSE and become certified Immigration Consultants. Available in full-time,part-time and online-only formats, the Ashton College IMCD program includes courses on immigration law, client representation, professional practice management and professional conduct, among others.

Applications are currently being accepted. Apply today to begin your journey towards a career without borders.




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