Immigration

Canadian Cities That Welcome The Most Immigrants

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Canadian Cities That Welcome The Most Immigrants

Canadian cities are competing to attract more immigrants to Canada.

Regina, Toronto, and Charlottetown welcomed the largest number of immigrants to Canada per capita.

The last city to join the exclusive one percent club was Ottawa.

Canadian cities need more immigrants to keep their economies strong due to low birth rates and aging populations.

Canada welcomed more than 341,000 immigrants in 2019 nationwide or about 0.9 percent of its population, and most of these immigrants are welcomed to Canada through Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), as well as more recent initiatives like the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP).

Toronto welcomes 118,000 new immigrants to Canada.

By a wide margin, Toronto continues to host the majority of immigrants among Canadian cities. Nearly 118,000 immigrants were welcomed to Toronto last year or 35 percent of all immigrants to Canada, and of the following cities made the top five Canadian cities that welcomed the most immigrants; Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, and Calgary.

Charlottetown is No. 1 per capita

The story is very different on a per capita basis. Using this metric, Charlottetown led the way, by welcoming 2.4 percent of its population in newcomers. This is largely due to the success of the Prince Edward Province in attracting large numbers of economy class immigrants through the PNP and the AIP.

In second place is Regina, with a proportion of new immigrants also close to 2.4 percent of its population.

Toronto’s massive intake placed it third nationally per capita, as it welcomed 1.8 percent of its population as new immigrants.

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In fourth place is Saskatoon with almost 1.8 percent of its population, followed closely by Winnipeg, also with almost 1.8 percent. Both Saskatchewan and Manitoba have been able to host large numbers of economy class immigrants through the PNP in the last two decades.

Growth in Atlantic Canada

Several cities in Atlantic Canada have been able to welcome greater numbers of economic immigrants in recent years to help promote the growth of their local economy. Fredericton, Halifax, and Moncton each received at least 1.2 percent of their populations as new economic immigrants last year. Both the PNP and the AIP have been instrumental in strengthening immigration to the region.

Ottawa-Gatineau joins an exclusive Immigrant club in Canada.
Canada’s national capital region has become the latest addition to an exclusive club of Canadian cities attracting the most economic immigrants. In 2019, Ottawa-Gatineau welcomed one percent of its population as new economic immigrants.

In recent years, Ottawa-Gatineau’s immigration levels have grown significantly, which is likely due to several factors. In addition to welcoming more refugees, it is admitting more economy class immigrants.
Ottawa-Gatineau may be seeing more international students transition to permanent residency through Express Entry and the Ontario PNP.

Additionally, some immigrants interested in settling in Quebec may have chosen to settle in the neighboring Ottawa-Gatineau region rather than in the province of Quebec given Quebec’s recent decision to reduce immigration by 20%.

Immigration to Montreal dropped by roughly 10,000 last year due to Quebec’s decision, causing the city’s per capita intake to reach less than 1% of its population (0.8%).

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Why is a per capita intake of one percent important?

Welcoming one percent of the population whether at the provincial, national, or municipal level, is an important milestone in Canada.

Welcoming this level of immigrants to Canada is an important means of promoting economic growth.

Welcoming more people and using those people more productively in the job market are the two ways to grow an economy.

In the last 20 years, Canada’s population has grown one percent or more, contributing to the economic growth of roughly the same amount.

An increasing part of Canada’s population growth is through immigration, and immigration is expected to account for 100% of Canada’s population growth in the next decade or so.

In supporting the country’s economic growth, immigration will play a bigger role. By welcoming at least one percent of its population as economic immigrants, Canada’s cities will put themselves in healthier economic situations.

To increase their immigrant populations Canadian cities have great tools at their disposal. Similarly, economic immigrants to Canada have many options to choose from. Through the Entry Express system, there are more than 80 economy class streams available, additional federal programs like the AIP, as well as the PNP.

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