ARCHIVED – Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, 2016

Message from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

As Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, it is with great pleasure that I present the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration 2016, including Canada’s Immigration Plan for 2017.

Immigration is an integral part of our nation’s history, but also a key part of our future. Indeed, it would be impossible to tell the story of Canada without also telling the story of how immigration has shaped this country. As we look to grow our country, immigration will play a key role in contributing to our society’s well-being, to our economic prosperity, and to our success as a nation. We will continue to ensure that our immigration system balances compassion, efficiency and economic opportunity for all, while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians.

Few countries in the world can match Canada’s embrace of immigration and the integration of immigrants into our communities. Last year, Canada admitted over 271,000 new permanent residents, the highest number since 2010. I am also proud that we made great progress in reducing processing times for spouses and families. Reuniting spouses and families quickly and efficiently will continue to be a priority going forward.

This was an important year for Canada as the country came together in what was very much a national project to resettle more than 25,000 Syrian refugees. We accomplished this by collaborating with non-governmental organizations, businesses, service provider organizations and people from every walk of life. Indeed, a key factor in our approach was our unique private sponsorship program. Canada will continue to welcome displaced and persecuted people in need of protection, security and an opportunity to rebuild their lives in our country.

We will also continue to welcome those who come to Canada temporarily. Canada has always been a popular destination for students, workers and visitors from around the world, and this popularity is growing at a remarkable rate. In 2015, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada processed more than two million temporary resident applications and extensions, which was an increase of more than 18 percent over the previous three years. Temporary immigration represents a significant contribution to Canada’s labour market and to our economy in general. We are committed to improving processing times and meeting the challenge of more and more people applying to come to Canada.

I would like to express my gratitude to departmental staff for their hard work over this last year to keep our system relevant and flexible. I have no doubt they will approach the year ahead with the same dedication and professionalism.

The Honourable John McCallum, PC, MP
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship


About Immigration to Canada

Immigration to Canada can be either on a permanent basis or temporary in nature, such as to visit, study or work. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is responsible for overall management of Canada’s immigration system and handles large volumes of permanent and temporary resident applications across its extensive global processing network. With both temporary and permanent immigration, applicants are screened to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians.

Through temporary and permanent resident immigration streams, Canada selects foreign nationals whose skills contribute to Canadian prosperity, as well their family members. Canada’s humanitarian tradition and international obligations are also upheld by welcoming refugees, and other people in need of protection, to the country.

When foreign nationals are selected to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents, IRCC works with provincial and territorial partners, as well as service provider organizations, to help them settle into Canadian society and the economy through a number of different settlement services.

About This Report

Under section 94 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA, see Annex), the Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is required to table an annual report in Parliament on the specific aspects of Canada’s immigration system. This report responds to the Act and is divided into four sections.

Section 1 provides key statistics relating to permanent residents admitted in 2015, and highlights the 2017 Immigration Levels Plan.

Section 2 provides key statistics relating to temporary residents admitted in 2015.

Section 3 focuses on IRCC’s partnerships with the provinces and territories. It outlines the bilateral agreements currently in force between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments and describes major joint initiatives.

Section 4 describes IRCC’s framework for gender-based analysis, highlights gender-based analysis activities and provides an overview of gender differences in relation to permanent and temporary resident admissions.

Section 1: Managing Permanent Immigration

2015 Permanent Resident Admissions

The Government of Canada, in consultation with the provinces and territories and with input from stakeholders, plans admissions of permanent residents each year in order to meet Government goals for immigration, uphold the objectives for immigration as set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and achieve its priorities in a way that balances the benefits of immigration with its costs. Permanent residents are persons who have been admitted to live in Canada on a permanent basis and who have the right to work and study in Canada, but have not become Canadian citizens. To maintain this status and not become inadmissible, they must continue to meet residency requirements and not violate the conditions of their status by reason of serious criminality, security, human or international rights violations, organized crime, or misrepresentation. As defined in IRPA, there are three basic classes of permanent residents: economic, family and refugees. The following is an overview of permanent resident admissions in 2015.

Admissions of Permanent Residents in 2015

Canada admitted 271,845 new permanent residents in 2015, an increase over 2014 (260,404), and the highest admissions level since 2010. Of those, 62.7% were economic immigrants (along with their spouse/partner and dependants), 24.1% were in the family reunification category and 13.2% were in the humanitarian category (including refugees). Table 1 provides a detailed breakdown of the 2015 admissions by immigration category. More statistical information on admissions can be found in the Facts and Figures published by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Table 1: New Permanent Residents Admitted in 2015
Immigrant Category 2015 Plan Admission Ranges
2015 Plan Admission Ranges
Number Admitted in 2015
Federal Skilled Workers Footnote 1 Footnote * 47,000 51,000 48,744
Canadian Experience Class 21,000 23,000 20,059
Caregivers Footnote 2 26,000 30,000 27,225
Federal BusinessFootnote * 1,000 1,700 974
Quebec-selected BusinessFootnote * 5,000 5,500 5,417
Quebec-selected Skilled WorkersFootnote * 26,000 27,000 23,370
Provincial Nominee Program 46,000 48,000 44,533
Ministerial Instruction Economic Programs Footnote 3 100 500 62
Total Economic 172,100 186,700 170,384
Spouses, Partners and Children Footnote 4 45,000 48,000 49,672
Parents and Grandparents 18,000 20,000 15,489
Family Class – Other Footnote 5 - - 329
Total Family 63,000 68,000 65,490
Protected Persons in Canada and Dependants Abroad Footnote 6 10,000 11,000 11,930
Government-Assisted Refugees 5,800 6,500 9,411
Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugees 700 1,000 810
Privately Sponsored Refugees 4,500 6,500 9,350
Public Policy – Federal Resettlement Assistance 400 500 80
Public Policy – Other 500 700 544
Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations Footnote 7 3,000 4,000 3,797
Total Humanitarian 24,900 30,200 35,922
Temporary Resident Permit Holders 0 100 45
Other - - 4
TOTAL 260,000 285,000 271,845

Source: IRCC, Permanent Resident Data as of May 31, 2016. Additional IRCC data are also available through the Quarterly Administrative Data Release. Any numbers in this report that were derived from IRCC data sources may differ from those reported in earlier publications; these differences reflect typical adjustments to IRCC’s administrative data files over time. As the data in this report are taken from a single point in time, it is expected that they will change over time as additional information becomes available.

Highlights of Economic Class Admissions in 2015

Rooted in objectives outlined in IRPA, economic class immigration focuses on the selection and processing of immigrants to build a skilled work force, address immediate and longer-term labour market needs, and support national and regional labour force growth. The Economic Class includes federal and Quebec-selected skilled workers, federal and Quebec-selected business immigrants, provincial and territorial nominees, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and caregivers, as well as spouses, partners and dependants who accompany the principal applicants in any of these economic categories.

In 2015, Canada admitted 170,384 permanent residents in Economic Class programs. While this resulted in a 3.2% increase from 2014, the number of economic admissions fell below the planned admission range of 172,100 to 186,700.

Express Entry is an application management system that was launched on January 1, 2015. Under Express Entry, individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada under the Federal Skilled Workers (FSW) Program, Federal Skilled Tradespersons (FST) Program, CEC or certain streams of the Provincial Nominee Program (PN) must complete an Express Entry profile and be invited to apply before they can submit an application for permanent residence. Applicants are scored and ranked using a “Comprehensive Ranking System,” which allots points for human capital criteria such as age, language proficiency, education and work experience. In addition, Express Entry includes an element of labour market responsiveness, allocating points for arranged employment.Footnote 8

Through the FSW Program, Canada selects immigrants with skills in managerial, professional or high-skilled occupations on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada. The FST Program facilitates the entry of skilled tradespersons, emphasizing practical training and work experience. There were 48,744 FSW Program admissions in 2015, including admissions in the FST Program, which falls within the planned range of 47,000 to 51,000. Of those admissions, 3,359 were admitted through Express Entry.

The CEC program enables certain skilled temporary foreign workers, including many who were international student graduates with at least one year of full-time work experience after graduation, to stay in Canada permanently. In 2015, a total of 20,059 people were admitted as permanent residents, which falls slightly below the planned admission range of 21,000 to 23,000. Of those admissions, 5,942 were admitted through Express Entry.

The PN Program provides provinces and territories with a mechanism to respond to their particular economic needs by allowing them to nominate individuals who will meet specific local labour market demands, and to spread the benefits of immigration across Canada by promoting immigration to areas that are not traditional immigrant destinations. The number of provincial nominee admissions in 2015 was 44,533, below the planned admission range of 46,000 to 48,000. Of those admissions, 498 were admitted through Express Entry. It is important to note that individual provinces launched their Express Entry streams over the course of 2015, the first year of the new system, so many provinces did not begin nominating candidates until mid-year. Most of these nominations will result in admissions in 2016.

An inventory of pre-Express Entry applications in the FSW Program, FST Program and CEC is being processed concurrently with new Express Entry applications. Once the pre-Express Entry inventory is fully processed to completion, all admissions from those three federal programs and a portion of the PN Program will be sourced from the Express Entry pool of candidates.

On November 30, 2014, the Government of Canada introduced two new permanent residence programs for caregivers, as well as transitional measures to grandfather applications received prior to ending the Live-in Caregivers Program. In 2015, IRCC admitted 27,225 caregivers for permanent residence, which is within the planned admission range of 26,000 to 30,000.

A total of 974 admissions in 2015 were through the IRCC Federal Business Immigrants Program and include immigrant investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons. The majority of admissions in 2015 represent legacy cases of the remaining investor and entrepreneur programs, following the backlog termination measures enacted through the 2014 Budget Implementation Act. The total admissions for this category were slightly below the planned admission range of 1,000 to 1,700.

The Ministerial Instruction Economic Programs category comprised only one program in 2015, the Start-up Visa Program. This program brings foreign entrepreneurs to Canada who will create a start-up business and have the support of a Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor group, business incubator or business accelerator. In all, 62 persons were admitted in 2015 under this program, which is below the planned admission range of 100 to 500. The five-year pilot program was launched in 2013 and will be reviewed in 2016 to determine if it should be made permanent once it expires in 2018.

Highlights of Family Reunification Admissions in 2015

Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor spouses or partners, dependent children, parents, grandparents and other close relatives to become permanent residents as Family Class immigrants. In 2015, IRCC admitted 65,490 permanent residents to Canada in the Family Class, which is within the planned admission range of 63,000 to 68,000.

Significant progress has been made on reducing the inventory of sponsored parent and grandparent applications in the last few years. IRCC has reduced the inventory by 70% since the beginning of 2012. In 2015, a total of 15,489 individuals were admitted as parents and grandparents, helping to further reduce this inventory. While not a pathway to permanent residence, the super visa allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to visit Canada for up to two years at a time, with the visa being valid for 10 years. In 2015, IRCC issued 17,320 super visas.

In 2015, IRCC admitted 49,672 spouses, partners and children as permanent residents under the Family Class, which is above the planned admission range by 1,672 admissions.

Highlights of Humanitarian Admissions in 2015

IRCC and its partners play a significant role in upholding Canada’s international obligations and humanitarian tradition by offering protection to refugees and persons in need of protection, including in response to significant humanitarian crises. In 2015, a total of 35,922 people were admitted to Canada on humanitarian grounds, which includes refugees and people admitted for humanitarian and compassionate considerations as well as under public policies.

The Department first announced the 2015 plan for Canada’s refugee resettlement levels as: government-assisted refugees (range of 5,800 to 6,500); blended visa office-referred refugees (range of 700 to 1,000) and privately sponsored refugees (range of 4,500 to 6,500). This translates into a total range of 11,000 to 14,000 resettled refugees.

However, in response to the growing and unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, the Government committed to resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees by February 29, 2016. Between November and December 2015, the Department resettled over 6,000 refugees to Canada and surpassed its commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by February 29, 2016.

In 2015, a total of 9,411 people were admitted as government-assisted refugees, which is 45% above the planned admission range of 5,800 to 6,500. With 9,350 admissions for privately sponsored refugees, the planned admission range of 4,500 to 6,500 for this category was exceeded by 44%. The number of blended visa office-referred refugees totaled 810 in 2015, which is within the planned admission range of 700 to 1,000. The number of resettled overseas refugees from all three categories totalled 19,571 persons, including both Syrian and non-Syrian refugees, which is 40% over the original planned range.

In addition to the achievements in overseas refugee resettlement, 11,930 protected persons in Canada received permanent residency (including their dependants abroad) in 2015. This was slightly above the planned admission range of 10,000 to 11,000. More information about Canada’s refugee resettlement programs and in-Canada asylum process can be found on the IRCC Web site.

IRPA authorizes the Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to consider the circumstances of, and grant permanent resident status to, individuals and their families who would not otherwise qualify under an immigration program. These discretionary provisions for humanitarian and compassionate consideration, or for reasons of public policy, provide the flexibility to approve deserving cases that come forward.

In 2015, a total of 3,797 people were admitted into Canada based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations, which is within the planned admission range of 3,000 to 4,000. In addition, a total of 80 people were admitted for reasons of public policy and received federal resettlement assistance, which is below the planned admission range of 400 to 500. For admissions related to public policy that were not subject to federal resettlement assistance, 544 people were admitted in 2015, which is within the planned admission range of 500 to 700.

Admissions of Permanent Residents by Knowledge of Official Language in 2015

As outlined in IRPA, one of the objectives of Canada’s immigration system is to enrich and strengthen the cultural fabric of Canadian society, while respecting its bilingual character. Table 2 shows the knowledge of official languages among permanent residents. Of the permanent residents admitted in 2015, a total of 76% self-identified as having knowledge of English, French or both official languages, which is a three percentage point increase compared to 2014.

For economic immigrant principal applicants, 96% self-identified as having knowledge of at least one of the official languages in 2015, which is a three percentage point increase compared to 2014.

Table 2: Knowledge of Official Languages Among Permanent Residents, 2015
Immigration Class English French Both Neither Not Stated Total
Family Class 34,798 4,212 2,957 23,401 122 65,490
Economic Immigrants — Principal Applicants 60,678 3,052 10,027 2,917 14 76,688
Economic Immigrants — Spouses and Dependants 64,096 4,401 4,637 20,505 71 93,710
Total Economic Immigration 124,774 7,453 14,664 23,422 85 170,398
Refugees 14,452 3,163 1,299 16,685 311 35,910
Other Immigrants 18 2 0 23 6 49
TOTAL 174,042 14,830 18,920 63,531 524 271,847
PERCENTAGE 64.0% 5.5% 7.0% 23.4% 0.2% 100%

Source: IRCC, Permanent Residents Data as of June 30, 2016.
Note: Data in this table may differ from those found in other tables in this report due to the date these numbers were extracted from IRCC’s data systems.

Admissions of Permanent Residents by Top 10 Source Countries in 2015

Canada’s immigration program is based on non-discriminatory principles, where foreign nationals are assessed without regard to race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or gender. Canada receives its immigrant population from almost 200 countries of origin.

As Table 3 indicates, 61% of new permanent residents admitted in 2015 came from the top 10 source countries, which is an increase of one percentage point compared to 2014. The overall composition of the top 10 countries in 2015 remains similar to 2014. However, due to the Government’s response to the Syrian crisis, the number of permanent residents with Syrian citizenship increased, making it the sixth highest source country in 2015.

Table 3: Permanent Residents Admitted in 2015, by Top 10 Countries of Citizenship
Rank Country Number Percentage
1 Philippines 50,846 18.7%
2 India 39,530 14.5%
3 People’s Republic of China 19,532 7.2%
4 Iran 11,669 4.3%
5 Pakistan 11,329 4.2%
6 Syria 9,853 3.6%
7 United States of America 7,522 3.0%
8 France 5,807 2.0%
9 United Kingdom and Colonies 5,451 2.0%
10 Nigeria 4,133 2.0%
Total top 10 countries of citizenship 165,672 61.5%
Other countries of citizenship 106,173 38.5%
Total 271,845 100%

Source: IRCC, Permanent Resident Data as of May 31, 2016.

Canada’s Immigration Plan for 2017

Table 4 presents the 2017 Immigration Levels Plan, which outlines the anticipated number of permanent residents that will be admitted to Canada over the next calendar year. The overall planned admission range for 2017 is 280,000 to 320,000. The Immigration Levels Plan is informed by consultations with Canadians and the provinces and territories, performance results, Government of Canada and departmental priorities and operational capacities.

As part of implementing its 2017 Immigration Levels Plan, IRCC will focus efforts on reducing application backlogs and making our immigration system faster and easier to use. It will make key improvements to Express Entry to realize efficiencies and ensure the selection of immigrants who can effectively integrate into Canada’s economy. The Department will also continue to honour its humanitarian tradition in protecting those in need, realize its commitment to reunite families, and support Canada’s open and welcoming spirit, which values the diversity and inclusion of all newcomers.

More information on the 2017 Immigration Levels Plan is available on IRCC’s Web site.

Table 4: 2017 Immigration Levels Plan
Projected Admissions Low High
Federal-selected Economic Programs, Provincial/Territorial Nominees, Family, Refugees, Humanitarian Entrants and Permit HoldersFootnote *†  252,000 288,800
Quebec-selected Skilled Workers and BusinessFootnote ** 28,000 31,200
TOTAL 280,000 320,000

Section 2: Managing Temporary Migration

In addition to selecting permanent residents, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) processes applications for the temporary entry of foreign workers, important to Canada’s economic growth; international students, attracted by the quality and diversity of Canada’s educational system; and visitors who come to Canada for personal or business travel.

These temporary residents contribute to Canada’s economic development by filling gaps in the labour market, enhancing trade, purchasing goods and services, and increasing cultural links.

IRCC’s global processing network handles both permanent and temporary resident applications. While IRCC plans admission ranges for permanent residents, temporary resident applications are processed according to demand.

Temporary Foreign Workers

The entry of temporary foreign workers requiring a work permit is facilitated by the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program and the International Mobility Program (IMP). The TFW Program refers to streams under which foreign workers enter Canada at the request of employers following approval through a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) issued by Employment and Social Development Canada. The LMIA allows an employer to fill acute labour shortages on a temporary basis by demonstrating that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no qualified Canadians or permanent residents are available.

The IMP facilitates the entry of foreign nationals holding work permits that are not subject to an LMIA, and whose primary objective is to advance Canada’s broad economic and cultural national interests. By exempting some foreign nationals from needing an LMIA before being able to work in Canada, the IMP aims to provide competitive advantages to Canada and reciprocal benefits to Canadians in the form of work, study or travel opportunities abroad.

In 2015, IRCC admitted 73,111 individuals to Canada under the TFW Program and 176,772 under the IMP. In addition, 43,573 TFW Program and IMP work permit holders transitioned to permanent residence under an Economic Class program.

International Students

International students bring with them new ideas and cultures that enrich the learning environment within Canadian educational institutions. They also make a major economic contribution—international students spend more than $11.4 billion dollars in Canada annually.Footnote 9 International students are well prepared for the Canadian labour market and can integrate quickly into Canadian society, primarily due to their Canadian educational credentials. In 2015, the number of student applications received was 187,968, a 6.4% increase compared to 2014. IRCC issued 125,783 new study permits for international students, a 5.4% increase from 2014. In addition, a total of 5,829 international study permit holders transitioned to permanent residence through the economic streams.

Tourists and Business Visitors

Tourists contribute to the economy by creating a demand for services in the hospitality sector. Business visitors allow Canadian businesses to benefit from their specialized expertise and international links. Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), all foreign nationals wishing to visit Canada must have a temporary resident visa before arriving in Canada, unless they are from countries specifically exempted or they benefit from certain other limited exceptions, for example, as accredited diplomats.

As of December 31, 2015, citizens from 149 countries and territories required temporary resident visas to visit Canada. In 2015, IRCC processed applications (new and extensions) from 1,588,590 persons seeking temporary resident visas to come to Canada, 82.3% of which were approved. IRCC continued to be successful in promoting the use of multiple-entry visas, which are valid for up to 10 years and allow applicants from visa-required countries to travel to Canada more frequently and on their own schedules. In 2015, a total of 1,231,041 multiple-entry visas were issued, which was a 21% increase from 2014. Effective February 6, 2014, a policy change automatically considered visitors to Canada eligible for a multiple-entry visa. IRCC also introduced a single fee for the processing of a temporary resident visa applicable to both single-entry and multiple-entry applications.

Public Policy Exemptions for a Temporary Purpose

In 2015, a total of 1,063 visas were issued under the public policy authority provided in subsection 25.2(1) of IRPA for certain inadmissible foreign nationals to facilitate their temporary entry into Canada as visitors, students or workers. This public policy has been in place since September 2010 to advance Canada’s national interests while continuing to ensure the safety of Canadians.

Temporary Resident Permits

Under subsection 24(1) of IRPA, designated officers of IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency are authorized to issue temporary resident permits to foreign nationals whom they believe are inadmissible or who do not meet the requirements of the Act under other programs. Temporary resident permits are issued for a limited period of time and are subject to cancellation at any time. They provide flexibility to address exceptional circumstances and can be used to further Canada’s national and international objectives.

IRCC continues to make an important contribution to the Government of Canada’s multifaceted efforts to combat human trafficking. Since May 2006, immigration officers have been authorized to issue temporary resident permits to foreign nationals who may be victims of this crime so that they have a period of time to remain in Canada and consider their options. In 2015, IRCC issued 44 temporary resident permits to victims of human trafficking. This figure includes 25 subsequent temporary resident permits that were issued to victims of human trafficking to maintain legal status in Canada.

Table 5 indicates the number of temporary resident permits issued in 2015, categorized according to grounds of inadmissibility under IRPA. In 2015, a total of 10,333 permits were issued. Of this number, 121 temporary resident permits were authorized under instruction of the Minister.

Table 5: Temporary Resident Permits and Extensions Issued in 2015 by Provision of Inadmissibility
Description of Inadmissibility Provision under IRPA Number of Permits in 2015
Security (espionage, subversion, terrorism) 34(1)(a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) 3
Human or International Rights Violations 35(1)(a), (b) and (c) 3
Serious Criminality (convicted of an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of at least 10 years) 36(1)(a), (b) and (c) 578
Criminality (convicted of a criminal act or of an offence prosecuted either summarily or by way of indictment) 36(2)(a), (b), (c) and (d) 5,305
Organized Criminality 37(1)(a) or (b) 0
Health Grounds (danger to public health or public safety, excessive demand) 38(1)(a), (b) and (c) 38
Financial Reasons (unwilling or unable to support themselves or their dependants) 39 0
Misrepresentation 40(1)(a), (b), (c) and (d) 28
Non-compliance with Act or Regulations (e.g., no passport, no visa, work/study without permit, medical/criminal check to be completed in Canada, not examined on entry)Footnote *† †  41(a) and (b) 4,315
Inadmissible Family Member 42(a) and (b) 20
No Return Without Prescribed Authorization 52(1) 43
TOTAL 10,333

Source: IRCC Enterprise Data Warehouse as of May 2, 2016.
Note: The statistics in this table include the number of temporary resident permits used to enter or remain in Canada in 2015.

Use of the Negative Discretion Authority

The negative discretion authority under subsection 22.1(1) of IRPA allows the Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to make a declaration that, on the basis of public policy considerations, a foreign national may not become a temporary resident for a period of up to three years. The legislative authority came into force in August 2013 – archived, with associated regulations – archived coming into force in November 2013. Illustrative guidelines have been made available on IRCC’s Web site to inform the public about the types of behaviours or circumstances that may give rise to public policy concerns. Subsection 22.1(4) of IRPA requires the Minister to report annually on the number of declarations made under subsection 22.1(1) and set out the public policy considerations that led to the declarations. During the current reporting period, one declaration was made under subsection 22.1(1). The policy considerations that led to this decision align with public guidelines regarding certain behaviours, activities and circumstances that could attract the Minister’s attention when considering a 22.1(1) declaration, namely a foreign national’s promotion of violence and/or criminal activity and the counselling of others to engage in such activity.

Section 3: Federal-Provincial/Territorial Partnerships

Jurisdiction over immigration is a joint responsibility under section 95 of the Constitution Act, 1867, and effective collaboration between the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories is essential for the successful management of Canada’s immigration system.

Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act, the Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has the authority, with the approval of the Governor in Council, to enter into agreements with the provinces and territories to facilitate the coordination and implementation of immigration policies and programs. Table 6 below provides a list of the key bilateral agreements currently in force, with their signing and expiry dates. Framework agreements with eight provinces and one territory highlight immigration as a key area for bilateral collaboration and formalize how governments work together on this issue. Agreements for a Provincial Nominee Program (PN) are also in place with 11 jurisdictions (Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and all provinces except Quebec), either as an annex to a framework agreement or as a stand-alone agreement.

Under the PN Program, provinces and territories have the authority to nominate individuals as permanent residents to address specific labour market and economic development needs. Table 7 presents the breakdown of permanent residents admitted in 2015 by province or territory of destination and immigration category. Under the Canada-Québec Accord relating to Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens, Quebec has full responsibility for the selection of immigrants (except Family Class and in-Canada refugee claimants), as well as the sole responsibility for delivering reception and integration services, supported by an annual grant from the federal government. Quebec also establishes its own immigration levels, develops its own related policies and programs, and legislates, regulates and sets its own standards. The federal government is responsible for establishing admission requirements, setting national immigration levels, defining immigration categories, determining refugee claims within Canada, reuniting families and establishing eligibility criteria for settlement programs in the other provinces and territories. In 2015 and 2016, IRCC engaged the Government of Quebec frequently and at all levels to advance common immigration priorities.

Table 6: Federal-Provincial/Territorial Agreements Currently in Force
Agreement Date Signed Expiry Date
Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Immigration Agreement July 31, 2016 August 1, 2021
Agreement for Canada-Prince Edward Island Co-operation on Immigration June 13, 2008 Indefinite
Canada-Nova Scotia Co-operation on Immigration September 19, 2007 Indefinite
Canada-New Brunswick Agreement on Provincial Nominees January 28, 2005 (amended March 29, 2005) Indefinite
Canada-Québec Accord relating to Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens February 5, 1991 Indefinite
Canada-Ontario Agreement on Foreign Workers June 17, 2015 June 16, 2020
Canada-Ontario Agreement on Provincial Nominees May 27, 2015 May 26, 2020
Canada-Manitoba Immigration Agreement June 6, 2003 Indefinite
Canada-Saskatchewan Immigration Agreement May 7, 2005 Indefinite
Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration May 11, 2007 Indefinite
Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement April 7, 2015 April 6, 2020
Agreement for Canada-Yukon Co-operation on Immigration February 12, 2008 Indefinite
Canada-Northwest Territories Agreement on Territorial Nominees September 26, 2013 September 25, 2018

Under the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Vision for Immigration, jurisdictions commit to welcoming and supporting newcomers to join in building vibrant communities and a prosperous Canada. IRCC has worked with provinces and territories to draft a Vision Action Plan. This plan outlines shared priorities over a three-year period to make progress toward fulfilling the joint vision.

Specifically, the vision identifies key outcomes that describe what success will look like for immigration and sets out guiding principles which define how this work will be jointly managed through intergovernmental partnership. IRCC will continue to work closely with the provinces and territories in several key areas over the next three years:

  • reforming key areas of Express Entry and promoting Canada’s immigration programs;
  • consulting with provinces and territories on multiyear immigration levels planning and developing a joint consultation framework;
  • strengthening the design, management and accountability of economic immigration programs;
  • implementing “Helping Immigrants Succeed – an FPT Action Plan for Settlement and Integration”;
  • developing a pan-Canadian language strategy; and
  • improving the settlement outcomes of refugees and protected persons through targeted initiatives.

Given the success of the 2012–2015 Vision Action Plan, in 2015–2016 IRCC collaborated with the provinces and territories to develop shared priorities and actions for the 2016–2019 FPT Vision Action Plan for the approval of FPT ministers responsible for immigration. Further to the work under the FPT Vision Action Plan, IRCC works at the multilateral level with provinces and territories through the FPT Settlement Working Group to share information and provide input on policy, programs, research and other issues concerning the settlement and integration of newcomers across Canada. At the bilateral level, IRCC works with individual provinces and territories via settlement arrangements that define guiding principles, the areas of partnership and the respective roles and responsibilities relating to improving the settlement and integration outcomes of newcomers.

Under subsection 10(2) of IRPA, the Minister must consult with the provinces and territories regarding the upcoming year’s immigration levels plan, taking into account regional economic and demographic needs. In 2015, IRCC and the provinces and territories worked to broaden the consultations on 2016 levels through multilateral and bilateral discussions. All parties agreed to formalize consultations for future levels planning cycles, and the FPT Multilateral Levels Planning Working Group developed a joint levels consultation framework to guide the consultations in 2017 and beyond.

Table 7: Permanent Residents Admitted in 2015, by Destination and Immigration Category

Permanent Residents Admitted in 2015
Immigration Category NL PE NS NB QC ON MB SK AB BC YT NT NU Not Stated Total
Federal Skilled WorkersFootnote 10 Footnote *† † †  107 39 835 116 0 28,926 720 721 10,558 6,691 15 15 1 0 48,744
Canadian Experience Class 25 7 180 71 1 9,541 116 370 7,007 2,701 15 16 9 0 20,059
CaregiversFootnote 11 17 3 65 78 1,107 14,434 146 287 5,385 5,620 14 55 14 0 27,225
Federal BusinessFootnote 12 Footnote *† † †  0 4 7 0 0 547 7 8 55 346 0 0 0 0 974
Quebec-selected BusinessFootnote *† † †  0 0 0 0 5,417 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5,417
Quebec-selected Skilled WorkersFootnote *† † †  0 0 0 0 23,370 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 23,370
Provincial Nominee Program 533 953 1,394 1,765 3 3,550 10,262 8,663 10,411 6,785 153 61 0 0 44,533
Ministerial Instruction Economic Program 0 0 4 0 0 42 0 0 5 11 0 0 0 0 62
Total Economic 682 1,006 2,485 2,030 29,898 57,040 11,251 10,049 33,421 22,154 197 147 24 0 170,384
Permanent Residents Admitted in 2015
Immigration Category NL PE NS NB QC ON MB SK AB BC YT NT NU Not Stated Total
Spouses, Partners and ChildrenFootnote 13 130 70 454 226 9,383 21,313 1,488 1,359 7,431 7,707 54 47 10 0 49,672
Parents and Grandparents 12 3 66 11 1,063 8,175 354 194 2,232 3,358 13 8 0 0 15,489
Family Class — OtherFootnote 14 0 0 2 1 46 155 5 3 79 38 0 0 0 0 329
Total Family 142 73 522 238 10,492 29,643 1,847 1,556 9,742 11,103 67 55 10 0 65,490
Permanent Residents Admitted in 2015
Immigration Category NL PE NS NB QC ON MB SK AB BC YT NT NU Not Stated Total
Protected Persons in Canada and Dependants AbroadFootnote 15 8 7 23 19 2,964 7,362 54 90 865 522 1 6 3 6 11,930
Government-Assisted Refugees 273 78 252 248 1,631 3,282 694 638 1,181 1,132 0 0 0 2 9,411
Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugees 16 6 49 30 10 439 41 29 68 117 0 0 0 5 810
Privately Sponsored Refugees 0 18 41 10 2,956 3,536 979 127 1,198 422 0 0 0 63 9,350
Public Policy — Federal Resettlement Assistance 0 0 0 0 0 68 0 0 8 4 0 0 0 0 80
Public Policy — Other 0 0 0 0 44 279 0 0 139 65 0 0 0 17 544
Humanitarian and Compassionate ConsiderationsFootnote 16 1 2 30 2 966 1,957 29 24 570 208 2 3 0 3 3,797
Total Humanitarian 298 111 395 309 8,571 16,923 1,797 908 4,029 2,470 3 9 3 96 35,922
Permanent Residents Admitted in 2015
Immigration Category NL PE NS NB QC ON MB SK AB BC YT NT NU Not Stated Total
Permit Holders 0 0 1 1 1 19 5 4 10 4 0 0 0 0 45
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 4
Permanent Residents Admitted in 2015
Immigration Category NL PE NS NB QC ON MB SK AB BC YT NT NU Not Stated Total
TOTAL 1,122 1,190 3,403 2,578 48,962 103,625 14,900 12,517 47,202 35,735 267 211 37 96 271,845
PERCENTAGE 0.4% 0.4% 1.3% 0.9% 18.0% 38.1% 5.5% 4.6% 17.4% 13.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%

Note: Numbers presented in this table are up to date and may differ from numbers previously published by IRCC.
Source: IRCC Permanent Resident Data as of May 31, 2016.

Section 4: Gender-Based Analysis of the Impact of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Gender equality is a core Canadian value and is enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It means women and men, in all their diversity, are able to fully participate in all spheres of Canadian life. Gender equality is a priority for the Government of Canada. Ministerial mandate letters issued in November 2015 include a commitment to gender parity across the federal government. In addition, several Parliamentary Committees have examined issues related to gender, including the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, where the approach taken by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to gender-based analysis was recently profiled. Notably, IRCC participated in the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration study on “Strengthening the Protection of Women in Our Immigration System,” whose report was tabled in February 2015.

Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) is a tool that helps identify equality gaps, including diversity. GBA+ is also an analytical process used to assess the potential impacts of policies, programs, services and other initiatives on diverse groups of women and men, taking into account gender and other identity factors. IRCC is the only federal department with a gender-based analysis requirement enshrined in legislationFootnote 17 and which continues to integrate GBA+ across the Department. Over the course of the past year and a half, IRCC has continued to implement GBA+ in policy and program development, collect and generate sex-disaggregated data, and disseminate research to support policy and program development.

Of particular note, this report presents gender-disaggregated data from permanent resident and temporary resident categories, as well as examples of GBA+ that have been administered in select instances by IRCC.

In conjunction with the Government’s highlighted commitments on GBA+, IRCC intends to include gender-based outcomes information following further analysis and review in next year’s Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration. This further analysis is expected to include a focus on specific economic outcome indicators (employment earnings, incidence of employment and rate of social assistance usage) by gender, which would provide a more in-depth picture of the impact of IRCC’s policies on immigrants.

Permanent Residents Highlights

There has been a slight increase in the number of female principal applicants across economic programs. In 2015, the gap between male and female principal applicants was 10,380, which represents a 55% decrease from 2005 where the difference was 22,894. This suggests that these programs are successfully recognizing the human capital of female immigrants. This is an important trend, and IRCC will continue to monitor its economic immigration programs to ensure that they welcome qualified men and women.

Figure 1: Economic Immigration – Principal Applicants by Gender 2005–2015

figure 1: described below
Text Version: Figure 1: Economic Immigration – Principal Applicants by Gender 2005–2015
Gender 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Female 19,469 18,331 18,808 23,626 25,345 31,262 26,714 28,123 26,949 35,504 33,890
Male 42,802 38,794 36,155 39,574 41,289 48,105 40,372 42,416 39,836 45,365 45,502
Not stated 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2
Total 62,271 57,125 54,963 63,200 66,634 79,367 67,086 70,539 66,787 80,869 79,394

Economic Class Highlights

Skilled Workers

Over the last few years, skilled workers admissionsFootnote 18 have shown a narrowing of the gender gap, which demonstrates a greater recognition of the skills and experiences of women.

From 2006–2010, the average number of all female skilled workers admitted to Canada (including both principal applicants and their dependants) was 49,573, compared to an average of 55,041 males. The difference in the average was 5,468. From 2011–2015, however, this difference in average decreased to 3,531, demonstrating a narrowing in the gender gap among all immigrants in the skilled workers category. In 2015, close to 48% of all skilled worker immigrants were female, and 37% of principal applicant skilled workers were female. This is an increase from 2006 when the percentage of female principal applicant skilled workers was 30%.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class continues to show a decline in female representation. It is one of the only immigration categories where women as principal applicants are not showing signs of increase. In 2009, the first year of the program, 41% of principal applicants were female. In 2015, however, this number was 30%. The Department will continue to monitor results and consider programming adjustments if this trend continues.

Provincial Nominee Program

The number of admissions through the Provincial Nominee Program has increased significantly over the past decade, and in that time, the percentage of female principal applicants admitted to Canada has steadily increased from 24% in 2006 to 35% in 2015. In 2015, a total of 21,140 females were admitted under the Provincial Nominee Program, which includes principal applicants, spouses and dependants.

Family and Humanitarian Category Observations

Family Class

Among spouses and partners, the largest category within the family class, there is a slight trend toward greater gender parity. In 2005, 62% of all spouses and partners were female. This proportion declined steadily over time, reaching 58% in 2015. Conversely, the number of male spouses and partners admitted through the family class increased from 38% in 2005 to 41% in 2015. This suggests that the increasing number of female principal applicants in the economic class may be having an influence on the gender balance of spousal sponsorship.


Gender parity continues to be present in Canada’s refugee programs. Among resettled refugees who were admitted to Canada in 2015, 52% were male and 48% were female. The proportion of male and female asylum claims made in Canada has also remained steady over the last few years. In 2015, 56% of asylum claims made in Canada were made by males and 44% were made by females.

Temporary Residents Overview

While the representation of females is showing an increase in select permanent immigration programs, IRCC data suggest the reverse trend in temporary programs where fewer females are entering Canada.

Temporary Foreign Workers Program and International Mobility Program

In 2015, the proportion of female workers with a valid work permit under the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Program and the International Mobility Program was 36%, a decrease from 38% in 2008. Workers under the TFW Program are subject to a Labour Market Impact Assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada, whereas workers under the International Mobility Program are exempt from this requirement. In 2015, the proportion of female workers who held a Labour Market Impact Assessment was 20%, a decrease from 33% in 2008. In 2015, the proportion of female workers exempt from the requirement was 42%, similar to 2008.

The drop in female applicants to the TFW Program may be reflective of changes in certain low-skilled movements such as reductions in the number of (female-dominated) live-in caregivers and increases in the number of (male-dominated) agricultural workers over this period.

Foreign Students

The ratio of male to female study permit holders has remained fairly constant over the past few years. In 2015, 46% of study permit holders were female and 54% were male.

Top Source Countries

The Philippines, India and China are still among Canada’s top source countries for permanent immigration. While the majority of these top source countries generally maintain an even balance between male and female admissions, the Philippines and China have shown trends where more females than males are admitted as permanent residents. In 2011, the ratio of males to females from the Philippines was 46% to 54% and in 2015 this ratio was 44% males to 56% females. For China, the ratio was 46% males to 54% females in 2011 and 45% males to 55% females in 2015. This reveals an increase in female permanent resident admissions among two of the largest top source countries.

Application of GBA+ at IRCC

Over the past year, IRCC has introduced new tools and guidance to assist departmental employees in implementing GBA+ in their daily work. For example, the Department developed a new assessment tool on GBA+ to support policy and program personnel in assessing the GBA implications of program and policy changes. Also in 2015, IRCC conducted a wide-ranging review to assess the application and results of GBA+ across the Department. The review identified four areas where improvements to the application of GBA+ could be made: GBA+ analyses being conducted at IRCC could be more rigorous; the utility and importance of GBA+ need to be better understood by departmental staff; there needs to be a broader and more systematic application of GBA+; and monitoring and reporting mechanisms, including the Annual Report on Immigration, could be enhanced. The Department is now acting on this review, including implementing enhanced training, communication/promotion efforts and a new GBA+ Performance Measurement Framework.

Executives in several branches at IRCC are now required to take online GBA+ training. IRCC has created a GBA+ Intradepartmental Working Group to enhance information sharing and collaboration across the Department on various issues linked to diversity and gender, including family violence. In addition, IRCC hosted an event as part of the “Embracing Diversity. Delivering Results” GBA+ Awareness Week in May 2016. Furthermore, departmental officials appeared in May 2016 before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women on the application of gender-based analysis and the ways in which it is being implemented across federal government departments to advance gender equality. Officials noted that IRCC is well positioned to be a leader among departments on GBA+, although there is room for improvement in terms of GBA+ application and implementation.

Applying GBA+ to Key Program and Policy Areas

IRCC continues to apply GBA+ to departmental policies and programs. The Department is currently developing a proposal to raise the maximum age at which a child may be considered a dependant in Canada’s immigration and refugee protection programs from the current maximum of less than 19 years. This change would require an amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. Departmental officials are using the new assessment tool on GBA+ to both pilot the tool and develop an understanding of the potential impacts of this proposal on diverse groups of people. The assessment will draw from diverse data on past cohorts of immigrants in terms of their gender, age, country of origin, immigration category, and other variables that will help identify which groups may be most affected.

Canada has put in place measures to ensure that gender-sensitive approaches related to protection are applied at every stage of development and implementation of the refugee program. Women subject to gender-based violence can apply for asylum on the grounds they face persecution as a result of being a member of a particular social group, one of the grounds listed under the definition of “Convention refugee.” Situations of gender-related persecution can also include girls who fear persecution for failing to conform to, or for transgressing, certain gender-discriminating religious or customary laws and practices in their country of origin. Special accommodation is provided at the eligibility determination stage for refugee protection claims made by vulnerable persons, including pregnant women or women who are victims of gender-based violence. This special support continues throughout the claims adjudication stages at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. Gender-specific asylum guidelines and training are in place to assist decision-makers at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada in carrying out their adjudicative duties.

Since 2010, visa officers have been provided with information on a gender-based analytical framework to guide decision making on refugee resettlement applications received abroad. Officers are equipped with tools and procedures to assess the gender aspects of refugee resettlement applications. Key considerations presented include the following:

  1. gender is a legitimate ground for fearing persecution;
  2. women often experience persecution differently than men;
  3. persecution based on sexual orientation has a gender dimension; and
  4. through the Women at Risk program, Canada ensures that vulnerable women refugees who are in need of urgent protection receive protection on an equal basis with men.

In the event of a sudden change in country conditions, the Minister may exempt certain nationals from the bar on accessing a pre-removal risk assessment. Regulations have been developed to specify criteria that must be considered when determining whether or not an exemption should be granted. Situations that could qualify for an exemption may include gender-based assessments of country conditions.

GBA+ and Settlement Services for Newcomers

Since the modernization of IRCC’s Settlement Program in 2008, the settlement needs and barriers of newcomers of different ages, genders and circumstances of migration are imbedded in the policy development process. This has led to more flexible, responsive and holistic programming for newcomers to Canada.

The resulting Settlement Program framework has six settlement themes:

  • an assessment of newcomers’ settlement needs;
  • support services;
  • information and orientation to Canada;
  • language and skills development;
  • labour market participation; and
  • community connections.

Service provider organizations are now able to offer more flexible services that better address the unique needs of various newcomer groups including women, youth, children, seniors, and clients with complex needs facing multiple barriers, including refugees.

IRCC continues to consider gender and diversity issues in the development of settlement programming. For example, gender-specific programming aimed at women and youth and in the area of family violence prevention has been a priority area for both pre-arrival and in-Canada services.


The Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration fulfils the Minister’s obligations under section 94 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to table a report in Parliament on specific aspects of Canada’s immigration system; the Annex to this report provides the excerpted portions of the Act that detail these obligations. For more information on Canada’s immigration system, please consult the following resources:

In addition to these resources, a variety of different immigration-related publications are available on IRCC’s Publications and Manuals Web site.

Annex: Section 94 and Section 22 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

The following excerpt from the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which came into force in 2002, outlines the requirements for IRCC to prepare an annual report to Parliament on immigration.

Reports to Parliament

94. (1) The Minister must, on or before November 1 of each year or, if a House of Parliament is not then sitting, within the next 30 days on which that House is sitting after that date, table in each House of Parliament a report on the operation of this Act in the preceding calendar year.

(2) The report shall include a description of

  • (a) the instructions given under section 87.3 and other activities and initiatives taken concerning the selection of foreign nationals, including measures taken in cooperation with the provinces;
  • (b) in respect of Canada, the number of foreign nationals who became permanent residents, and the number projected to become permanent residents in the following year;
    • (b.1) in respect of Canada, the linguistic profile of foreign nationals who became permanent residents;
  • (c) in respect of each province that has entered into a federal-provincial agreement described in subsection 9(1), the number, for each class listed in the agreement, of persons that became permanent residents and that the province projects will become permanent residents there in the following year;
  • (d) the number of temporary resident permits issued under section 24, categorized according to grounds of inadmissibility, if any;
  • (e) the number of persons granted permanent resident status under each of subsections 25(1), 25.1(1) and 25.2(1);
    • (e.1) any instructions given under subsection 30(1.2), (1.41) or (1.43) during the year in question and the date of their publication; and
  • (f) a gender-based analysis of the impact of this Act.

The following excerpt from the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act outlines the Minister’s authority with respect to negative discretion, which came into force in 2013, and the requirement to report on its use.

Negative discretion

22.1 (1) The Minister may, on the Minister’s own initiative, declare that a foreign national, other than a foreign national referred to in section 19, may not become a temporary resident if the Minister is of the opinion that it is justified by public policy considerations.

(2) A declaration has effect for the period specified by the Minister, which is not to exceed 36 months.

(3) The Minister may, at any time, revoke a declaration or shorten its effective period.

(4) The report required under section 94 must include the number of declarations made under subsection (1) and set out the public policy considerations that led to the making of the declarations.

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