Charlottetown, Regina and Toronto welcomed the most number of immigrants per capita. Ottawa was the newest city to join the exclusive one per cent club. Cities across Canada are active in a heated competition to draw more immigrants. Due to their ageing populations and low birth rates, many cities need more immigrants to keep their workforce and economy strong.
At the national level, Canada received more than 341,000 newcomers in 2019 or about 0.9 per cent of its population. Canada is welcoming more migrants through Express Entry program, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), as well as more recent initiatives such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP).
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Toronto welcomed 118,000 new immigrants
The city of Toronto has continued to welcome the most immigrants among Canadian cities by a significant margin. It attracted nearly 118,000 new immigrants last year or thirty-five (35) per cent of Canada’s newcomer total. Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, and Edmonton occupied the top five Canadian cities.
Percentage as Newcomers of the population, 2019
Charlottetown is #1 on a per capita basis
On a per-capita basis, however, the story is much different. Using this statistic, Charlottetown led the way as it attracted 2.4 per cent of its population in new immigrants. This is due to the province of Prince Edward Island’s success in welcoming large numbers of the economic class immigrant through the AIP and PNP.
Regina occupies the second spot, with a share of newcomers also close to 2.4 per cent of its population.
Toronto’s massive intake landed it in third on a national per capita basis, as it took in 1.8 per cent of its population in immigrants.
Saskatoon came in fourth with almost 1.8 per cent of its population, followed by Winnipeg, also with almost 1.8 per cent. Both Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been able to welcome significant numbers of economic class immigrants via the PNP over the last twenty years.
Growth in Atlantic Canada
Several cities in Atlantic province have been able to welcome significant numbers of immigrants in recent years to further aid their economic development. Halifax, Fredericton, and Moncton each welcomed at least 1.2 per cent of their populations in new immigrants last year. Both the PNP and AIP have been highly instrumental in strengthening immigration to the region.
Ottawa-Gatineau joins an exclusive club
Canada’s national capital province has become the newest addition to an exclusive club of Canadian cities. In 2019, Ottawa-Gatineau accepted one per cent of its population as newcomers.
Ottawa-Gatineau’s immigration levels have grown remarkably in recent years which is likely due to some factors. In addition to welcoming more refugees, it is welcoming more economic class immigrants. While its economic class data are not yet accessible at the time of writing, it is possible that Ottawa-Gatineau is admitting more international students making the change to permanent residence through Express Entry and the Ontario PNP. Besides, given Quebec’s recent decision to cut down immigration by twenty (20) per cent, there is the possibility that some newcomers interested in settling in Quebec may have chosen to settle in the neighbouring Ottawa-Gatineau city rather than in the province.
Because of Quebec’s decision, immigration to Montreal went down by about 10,000 last year which has resulted in the city’s immigrants per capita intake plummeting to one per cent of its population (0.8 per cent).
Over 80 streams to promote immigration across Canada
Happily, Canadian cities have great tools at their disposal to boost their immigrant populations. Likewise, would-be immigrants to Canada are spoiled for choice. There are over eighty (80) economic class streams available through Express Entry program, additional federal programs such as the PNPs, as well as the AIP.
These streams provide more Canadian cities with the opportunity to promote immigrations and achieve the important one per cent newcomer milestone.