More Canadian immigrants are settling outside of Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. This is good news for economic growth across Canada.
Immigrants have traditionally settled in three major cities in Canada: Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.
In 2021, 29.5% of recent Canadian immigrants – those who arrived in Canada between 2016 and 2021 — settled in Toronto, 12.2% in Montreal, and a fraction fewer (11.7%) chose Vancouver as their first Canadian home.
This is a persistent tendency that has emerged during the previous 50 years. For example, census data dating back to 1999 show that, in three distinct years — 1999, 2001, and 2006 — throughout the previous quarter-century, more than 68% of immigrants chose to reside in just three cities.
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However, this reality is now starting to shift, according to the 2021
What is happening across Canada?
According to the most current census data from Statistics Canada, “the percentage of recent immigrants who have settled in Canada’s three main metropolitan areas [continues] to fall.” Throughout the five-year reporting period (2016 to 2021), the percentage of landed immigrants settling in one of the three cities declined 2.6%, from 56.0% to 53.4%. The Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) with the greatest reduction in overall immigrant settlement was Montreal, where the percentage of immigration fell from 14.8% in 2016 to 12.2% in 2021.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of recent immigrants are choosing to settle outside of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. In fact, the Ottawa-Gatineau region saw a 1.3% growth in immigrant settlement (3.1% in 2016 to 4.4% in 2021). Moreover, the CMA known as Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo nearly doubled its percentage of immigrants (1.2% to 2.1%) over the same time frame while over three percent of recent immigrants landed in both “small urban” (4.4%) and “rural” (3.2%) areas in 2021 as well.
On a bigger scale, new immigrants are dispersing across Canada’s provinces. Five provinces’ percentage of recent immigrants increased in 2021 compared to previous censuses. Ontario’s percentage of recent immigrants increased from 39% (2016) to 44% during the five-year reporting period contained in the most recent Canadian census (2021). Immigration to British Columbia increased from 14.5% to 14.9% during the same period, whereas settlement increased in Nova Scotia (1% to 1.6%), New Brunswick (0.8% to 1.2%), and Prince Edward Island (0.3% to 0.4%).
What does this new immigrant distribution mean for Canada?
For the very same reasons that Canada introduced its Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) in 1998, widespread immigration across Canada benefits the entire country through economic development in smaller regions of the country.
As more immigrants settle in diverse areas of Canada, either through one of 11 PNPs or another immigration pathway, these newcomers will help address labour market needs specific to the area they live in. Naturally, this will result in economic growth within those regions, as new immigrants become employed, earn money, and subsequently spend money that goes back into the economy. Evidence of this can be found in the reality that immigration is said to have contributed to 79.9% of Canada’s labour force growth between 2016 and 2021.
Additionally, newcomers will continue to pay taxes while spending money on housing, transportation, and other necessities, further allowing the economy to grow in the places across the country that are seeing a recent boom in immigration.
Ultimately, the growth experienced by these new immigrant settlement destinations across Canada will therefore benefit the country at large because more parts of Canada will become economically and developmentally prosperous, which will help strengthen Canada in its entirety. Check your Eligible for Canadian Immigration.
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