Canadian Provinces/Territories By Immigrant Population

Canada is known to be a very tolerant nation when it comes to welcoming immigrants from across the world. Image credit: Bartolomiej Pietrzyk/
Canada is known to be a very tolerant nation when it comes to welcoming immigrants from across the world. Image credit: Bartolomiej Pietrzyk/
  • Canada was colonized in the 16th century.
  • In 2019, Ontario welcomed 139,071 immigrants into its province.
  • Most immigrants accepted into Canada have a proven ability to contribute to the economy.

Statistics on immigration into Canada reflects the number of people migrating into the country with the intent of residing in Canada. In most cases, the end result is Canadian Citizenship. Over the past several decades, domestic immigration policy has undergone dramatic changes. In 2002, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was formed. This act reflects the primary laws surrounding immigration in Canada today. 

Immigration Trends In Canada

Since its colonization in the 1500s, immigration into Canada has seen a steady increase. The demographic of immigrants has evolved. Up until the mid-1900s, the majority of immigrants into the country primarily came from Europe. Since that time, Canada has seen the demographics shift to an influx of immigrants from Asian nations.

The primary categories of immigrants can be broken down into three groups: 

  • Family Class -  permits citizens or permanent residents to sponsor family members to be allowed into Canada.
  • Economic Class -  provides admission into Canada to applicants and family members who have a proven ability to contribute to the economy of the nation. Economic Class is the group with the highest number of acceptances according to data from 2017.
  • Refugee Class  - allows admission into Canada for refugees and others who require humanitarian protection.

Data suggests the majority of immigrants into Canada are well-educated. Most immigrants have earned a degree from a university or post-secondary certificate. Even though most immigrates are educated, over the last several years their average unemployment rate of immigrants is 0.4% higher than that of natural-born Canadians. Studies have shown that the longer immigrants remain in the country, the more likely they are to find employment. 

Why Some Provinces see Higher Immigration Rates Than Others 

 Sign at the entrance of Immigrants Service Canadian Welcome Center in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Image credit: Ivaivar/

In 2019, Ontario welcomed 139,071 immigrants into its province, making it the province with the most immigrants according to Statista. Many factors draw newcomers to this large, diverse province. Ontario is home to Canada’s capital city of Ottawa and the nation’s largest city, Toronto. Nearly half of Toronto’s population are immigrants. Some of Canada’s most prestigious universities are located in Ontario, another major draw to the province. 

Many people migrate to Ontario for business opportunities. Many well-known corporations are headquartered within the province, and many multinational corporations conduct business in Ontario.

Those new to Ontario will find plenty of activities to enjoy from professional sporting events, national parks, historical sites to the world-famous, Niagara Falls. 

While each Canadian province provides opportunities for success, most immigrants to Canada are drawn to provinces with the strongest economy and most economic advantages. Provinces like Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia top the list of provinces with the most immigration. Provinces offering limited economic advantages are relatively poorer provinces and lack a major city within their province. These experience a lower inflow of immigrants. While many of these provinces offer other favorable factors such as low crime rates and great places to raise a family, securing employment can be challenging. 

What The Future Holds

      People with colorful posters gathered at Yonge & Dundas to support the incoming Syrian refugees into Canada during a solidarity rally on November 22, 2015 in Toronto,Canada. Image credit: Arindambanerjee/

While Ontario offers many attractive amenities to immigrants, there has been a focus in recent years by many of the other Canadian provinces to encourage immigration. As these regions work to mirror the amenities found in Ontario, the future trend may be a shift in migration to provinces outside of Ontario. Polling results from 2014 indicate that the majority of Canadian citizens feel immigration is valuable to the nation’s economic future.

Canadian Provinces/Territories By Immigrant Population

RankCanadian provinceNumber of immigrants 2019
3British Columbia43,151
7Nova Scotia6,393
8New Brunswick5,076
9Prince Edward Island2,267
10Newfoundland and Labrador1,651
12Northwest Territories227

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