Share of recent immigrants, by selected census metropolitan areas

Canada opens its doors to immigration

  • Immigration is playing a vital role in the growth of Canada's labour force. Since the early 1990s, immigration to Canada has averaged more than 225,000 a year. The number and selection of immigrants entering Canada are determined to a large extent by government policies controlling admissions. Since the late 1970s, Canada's immigration policy has been guided by three broad objectives: reunite families, uphold Canada's international obligations and humanitarian tradition with respect to refugees, and foster a strong and viable economy in all regions of Canada.

  • For various reasons—such as proximity of family or friends, availability of jobs, climate or language—most newcomers to Canada settle in the country's three largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs). Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal combined received 68.9% of recent immigrants in 2006. For the sake of comparison, just over a third (34.4%) of Canada's total population was living in those three CMAs.

  • Some statistics suggest that recent immigrants are deciding to make their homes in smaller CMAs. From 2001 to 2006, there was a slight decline in the proportion of recent immigrants (i.e., those who landed within the previous five years) who settled in Toronto and Vancouver and an increase in the proportion who chose Montréal, other CMAs and non-CMAs.

Chart N.1
Share of recent immigrants who settled in the largest census metropolitan areas, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2006

Chart N.1 Share of recent immigrants who settled in the largest census metropolitan areas, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2006

Note: 'Recent immigrants' refers to landed immigrants who arrived in Canada within five years prior to a given census.
Sources: Statistics Canada, Censuses of population, 1981 to 2006.

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