2018 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration
Message from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Thanks in great part to the newcomers we have welcomed throughout our history, Canada has developed into the strong and vibrant country we all enjoy. Immigrants and their descendants have made immeasurable contributions to Canada, and our future success depends on continuing to ensure they are welcomed and well-integrated.
Today, Canada faces new challenges such as an ageing population and declining birth rate, and immigrants have helped address these by contributing to Canada’s labour force growth.
With this in mind, Canada welcomed more than 286,000 permanent residents in 2017. Over half were admitted under Economic Class programs. The number also included over 44,000 resettled refugees, protected persons and people admitted under humanitarian, compassionate and public policy considerations.
Also in 2017, the Government of Canada adopted a historic multi-year levels plan to responsibly grow our annual immigration levels to 340,000 by 2020, with 60 percent of the growth in the Economic Class. Growing immigration levels, particularly in the Economic Class, will help us sustain our labour force, support economic growth and spur innovation.
This increase is also helping us improve service, as we have been able to address many chronic backlogs in our immigration system. Key results include reuniting spouses and other family members within 12 months, reducing citizenship processing time from 24 to 12 months and processing caregiver applications in less than 12 months.
We have developed our levels plan in close consultation with provinces and territories, allowing them to bring in more people through their provincial nominee programs. We have also addressed regional needs by implementing the Atlantic Immigration Pilot and supporting francophone immigration communities outside Quebec.
I am proud of all we have accomplished in the past year, and we are committed to even more progress in the year ahead. In that spirit, I invite you to read the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration 2018, including the multi-year levels plan for 2019 to 2021.
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Text version: Highlights
- In 2017, an ambitious plan for population growth was unveiled and 5,371,162 visitor travel documents were approved.
- In 2017-2018, international migration accounted for 80% of population growth. (Source: Statistics Canada)
- 93% of immigrants have knowledge of English or French. (Source: Census 2016)
- In 2016-2017, international students and visitors contributed over $31 billion to the Canadian economy.
- Over 130% increase in citizenship applications from October 2017 to June 2018.
- In 2017, Canada admitted 65,417 new permanent residents in the Economic Class through the Express Entry application management system.
- 93% of immigrants have a strong sense of belonging to Canada. (Source: 2013 General Social Survey)
- In 2017, 39% of economic immigrants settled outside Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver.
- In 2017, economic immigrants residing in Canada for at least 5 years exceeded Canadian average earnings by 6% and were 15-24% more likely to be working than Canadian-born residents.
- In 2017, 56% of permanent resident admissions were in the Economic Class.
Every year the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship tables in Parliament an Annual Report on Canada’s immigration system. The report provides the Minister with an opportunity to report on key details for permanent resident admissions, temporary resident volumes, and aspects of inadmissibility for the previous year. It also provides the projected number of permanent resident admissions for 2019 to 2021, which is essential for planning purposes. The Annual Report adheres to the requirements of sections 94 and 22.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). For more details, see Annex 1.
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is required under IRPA to include a GBA+ assessment of the impact of the Act in its Annual Report. In previous years, a separate section was created to highlight GBA+. In this year’s report, GBA+ has been integrated throughout the report and is easily recognizable via the GBA+ identifier.
GBA+ is an evidence-based approach that highlights the intersecting identity factors that must be considered in policy and program development. The “plus” acknowledges that GBA goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences to consider how race, ethnicity, age, disability and sexual orientation affect people’s experience with policies, programs and initiatives.
About Data in this Report
Please note that numbers 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.
I. Why Immigration Matters
Canada’s immigration tradition
Immigration has been an important part of building Canada into what it is today: a country that celebrates multiculturalism and diversity, has a global reputation for welcoming people from around the world, and stands up for the most vulnerable. Waves of immigrants and their descendants have contributed their talents and hard work to Canada’s success.
Canada is a world leader in managed migration with an immigration program based on non-discriminatory principles, where foreign nationals are assessed without regard to race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or gender. Immigration is a defining feature of Canada: immigrants (meaning people born outside of Canada) currently represent one in five people in Canada.Footnote 1 Over six million new immigrants have arrived in Canada since 1990.Footnote 2
Immigration makes an important contribution to Canada’s economy and society and has immediate and long-term social outcomes. Whether through economic immigration, family reunification or the protection of refugees and vulnerable persons, immigration is a central pillar of Canada’s success story.
- Gender is central to any discussion of the causes and consequences of migration, and influences an individual’s reasons for migrating, who migrates and to where.
- The roles, expectations, relationships and power dynamics associated with being a man, woman, boy or girl, and whether one identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited (LGBTQ2), significantly affect all aspects of the migration process, and can also be affected in new ways by migration.
- Risks, vulnerabilities and needs are also shaped in large part by one’s gender, and often vary drastically for different groups.
Immigrants contribute to the labour market and economy
Canada’s immigration program, as set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), is intended to “support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy, in which the benefits of immigration are shared across all regions of Canada.” Canada sets an annual target for immigration and selects newcomers who best contribute to the country’s economic and social well-being.
With an ageing population and low fertility rates, immigration plays an important role in ensuring that Canada’s population and labour force continue to grow. Given that immigrant newcomers are, on average, younger than the Canadian-born population, immigration can help mitigate some of the challenges of an ageing demographic. In addition, immigration to Canada is a tool that can help to lessen the decline of Canada’s worker-to-retiree ratio. In 2012, the worker-to-retiree ratio was 4.2 to 1; projections put that ratio at 2 to 1 by 2036.Footnote 4
While many jobs can be filled by Canadians, gaps remain. Immigration helps to provide workers to satisfy labour market needs which, in turn, stimulates economic growth. Recent projections indicate that existing labour shortages, particularly in health, sciences, skilled trades, transport and equipment, are expected to persist into the future. Immigration also helps to meet specific regional labour market needs, especially through Provincial Nominee programs.
When immigrants come to Canada they pay taxes and spend money on housing, transportation and consumer goods. Productive capacity increases and there is a ripple effect across the economy. Canada’s economy has benefitted from solid gains in the size of the labour pool, due largely to immigration. Over the past two decades, real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, productivity and the labour force have all increased by around 1.25% per year.Footnote 5
In 2017, the top five occupations of principal applicants were: information systems analysts and consultants; software engineers; computer programmers and interactive media developers; financial auditors and accountants; and administrative assistants.
In Canada, immigrants of all categories including refugees tend to have positive outcomes across a range of economic indicators. For example, in 2017, the labour force participation rates of immigrants aged 25 to 54 who landed more than 10 years earlier are comparable to those of the Canadian-born (86.9% vs. 88.4%).Footnote 6 The economic performance of all immigrants increases with time spent in Canada. Average employment earnings reach the Canadian average at about 12 years after landing. Principal applicants in the Canada Experience Class and Provincial Nominee program exceed the Canadian average within the first year of landing.
Ultimately, immigration is important for Canada’s current and future prosperity.
“She and her family have had a positive impact on our tourism industry and have helped create jobs in the town.”
Toos Giesen-Stefiuk is living proof that immigration matters in smaller communities all across the country. She and her family moved to Canada from the Netherlands in 1981, settling in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, a small prairie town.
Over the past 37 years, Giesen-Stefiuk and her family have created many jobs and boosted local tourism in Gravelbourg. They owned and operated a construction company, built the Gravelbourg Inn, and opened the landmark Café Paris. She currently runs a bed and breakfast called La Maison 315.
On top of her business ventures, Giesen-Stefiuk is a 15-year veteran of the Gravelbourg town council and is actively engaged in the economic and cultural development of her community.
Immigration has immediate and long-term social outcomes
It is recognized that immigrants can play a key role in linking source and host countries as they have knowledge about both countries (language, culture, preferences and business environment) as well as access to social and business networks.Footnote 7 Newcomers enhance and help build our communities through civic engagement as well as contributions to and participation in charitable organizations and activities.
Most eligible immigrants go on to obtain Canadian citizenship, demonstrating a lasting commitment to the country. In 2016, more than 6.5 million immigrants were eligible to obtain Canadian citizenship. Of these, almost 86%, reported that they had acquired Canadian citizenshipFootnote 8, which is the highest rate among similar countries.
“They’re great listeners, and their staff are friendly and kind.”
Chetan and Roshni Bahl, the married co-owners of the Heart to Home Meals food delivery franchise, grew up in India learning that it was important to feed people and ensure seniors are looked after properly. Now they are earning a living—and living their values—as they care for some of Edmonton’s most vulnerable residents.
Processing orders and delivering meals are the central activities of their business—but their genuine interest in their customers’ lives is what helps them stand out.
One day on the job, Chetan saved a customer’s life. He heard a thump coming from the customer’s apartment, but the man wasn’t answering the door. That seemed odd, so Chetan called the building manager, who opened the door. It turned out the customer was having a heart attack. They called 911, and paramedics arrived shortly after.
Launching the business took courage and determination. But the Bahls have delivered: their franchise has grown 170% year-over-year since it opened in July 2016.
Immigration contributes to the vitality of communities by adding newcomers and diversity to Canadian communities, including Francophone minority communities. This is facilitated in part through Provincial Nominee programs, the federal Atlantic Immigration Pilot (which began receiving applications in March 2017) and the Express Entry application management system by awarding extra points under the Comprehensive Ranking System to candidates who have strong French language skills.
The growth of the Provincial Nominee programs over the past 20 years, coupled with the introduction of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot in 2017, has helped shift immigration landing patterns beyond the largest cities. For example, in 2017, a full 34% of economic immigrants were destined outside Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, compared to just 10% in 1997.
Destination of immigrants across Canada
Economic Immigrant Destinations - 1997
Text version: Economic Immigrant Destinations - 1997
|Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec||90%|
|Rest of Canada||10%|
Economic Immigrant Destinations - 2017
Text version: Economic Immigrant Destinations - 2017
|Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec||66%|
|Rest of Canada||34%|
Immigrants have high rates of education, thereby significantly increasing the Canadian talent pool. Almost half of all immigrants between the ages of 25 and 64 held a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016, compared to just under one-quarter of the Canadian-born population in the same age group.Footnote 9
The performance of subsequent generations is even stronger. Children of immigrants have a higher university completion rate than the children of two Canadian citizens by birth (41% versus 24%).Footnote 10
Immigrants are active in Canadian society. In 2016, a total of 32% of immigrants volunteered and 61% of immigrants were members of social organizations, which is slightly below their Canadian-born counterparts.Footnote 11 The voter turnout rates for established immigrants are similar to the Canadian-born. Immigrants are interested in and have a sense of belonging to their welcoming communities.
“Mehari is my game-changer. Before I met him, I wasn’t thinking about going to college or playing sports. Now I’m a student at the University of Windsor. We see drugs and prostitution all around us, but he guides us to look beyond it.”
When Mehari Hagos arrived in Windsor, Ontario from Eritrea in 1994, he was six years old and the youngest of 10 children. He grew up in Glengarry, a low-income neighbourhood affected by drug-related violence. Now 30, he makes his living owning a gym—but views his true calling as helping Glengarry kids succeed.
A nationally recognized coach, motivator and personal trainer with a competitive sports background, Mehari Hagos is best known for working with the youth of Glengarry through his unique MH100 Teen Bootcamp.
The after-school boot camp is a 100-day high-intensity interval training program that aims not only to help participants get fit, but to fit into the community. For example, kids learn nutrition, financial literacy and the value of hard work.
While Hagos originally hoped his after-school program would simply keep kids off the street, dozens have gone on to attend university and play on varsity teams—a testament to his positive influence. “The way I look at it, I had an opportunity to come to Canada—and I better make my opportunity count and be the best that I can be.”
Canada’s Settlement Program plays a crucial role in supporting the integration of newcomers. The objective of this program is to assist permanent residents in overcoming integration barriers, while supporting communities to become more welcoming and inclusive. The Settlement Program provides newcomers with a comprehensive suite of services, including needs assessment and service referrals, information and orientation, language training, labour market services and community supports. In addition, the Settlement Program specifically supports Francophone minority communities through the initiatives announced in the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023, including the development and consolidation of a Francophone integration pathway in collaboration with stakeholders in the Francophone settlement sector.
Addressing gender-based violence
In 2017, the Government of Canada through Status of Women Canada launched It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. The strategy became the first in Canadian history to put in place a federal action plan to end gender-based violence. It is a whole-of-government approach aimed at preventing and addressing gender-based violence. The strategy builds on federal initiatives already under way and coordinates existing programs. Under the strategy, IRCC received $1.5 million in funding over five years to further enhance the Settlement Program. This funding will be used to deliver targeted services for newcomer women and youth with place-based interventions that address isolation and provide mental health supports. Initiatives include training for front-line settlement workers to assist in identifying abuse and making appropriate referrals for newcomers, including those in smaller cities and rural communities.
Family reunification is a central pillar of Canada’s immigration program and is also a core objective of IRPA. Canada has a long tradition of supporting family reunification, permitting both permanent residents and citizens to be reunited with members of their family. Family reunification plays an essential role in attracting, retaining and integrating newcomers so that they are able to build successful lives in Canada. Family members bring with them a cultural richness and diversity of experience, and can act as a bridge between their culture of origin and that of their new home in Canada. In these ways, family reunification contributes to the economic, social and cultural prosperity of all Canadians.
Maintaining Canada’s humanitarian tradition
The immigration program plays a significant role in upholding Canada’s international and humanitarian commitments by offering protection to refugees and to vulnerable persons, and by responding to significant humanitarian crises. In addition, Canada offers several programs for the resettlement of refugees from abroad.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) welcomed over 1,400 survivors of Daesh, including vulnerable Yazidi women and children and their families. Coordination with the settlement services community was a key component in meeting the acute needs of this group of newcomers. In 2017, IRCC welcomed 26,000 refugees and 15,000 protected persons, all of whom were eligible to receive IRCC-funded settlement services.
With unprecedented levels of global displacement in 2017—over 68.5 million persons forcibly displaced, including 25.4 million refugees—Canada is also playing a lead role in pursuing effective international responses in cooperation with partners to secure solutions for refugees and displaced persons. In March 2017, IRCC announced contributions totalling $5.6 million to support global resettlement initiatives, which will go toward the recruitment and deployment of refugee experts to work with the United Nations Refugee Agency in the screening and submission of refugees needing resettlement.Footnote 12
Canada is also actively advocating for increased refugee protection spaces globally by supporting efforts to adopt a global compact on refugees and by sharing expertise with other countries that may want to adopt our approach to refugee resettlement. In addition, IRCC is a key supporting partner in delivering on the Government of Canada’s commitments on Canada’s National Action Plan for the Implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security 2017–2022. In this role, IRCC will support the empowerment and inclusion of women and girls around the world by assisting in Canada’s response to gender-based violence and conflict and protecting women’s and girls’ human rights in conflict settings.
Like other immigrants, refugees make valuable contributions to Canada through their participation in society and the economy.
Helping LGBTQ2 people fleeing violence and persecution
IRCC resettles vulnerable refugees who have been forced to flee their home country due to persecution or massive conflict, including LGBTQ2 individuals who are often at heightened risk due to their sexual orientation or identity. The Department offers specialized settlement supports to all LGBTQ2 immigrants, including refugees upon arrival in Canada. The Department continues to work with LGBTQ2 stakeholders in Canada to collaboratively improve the available supports and ensure the refugee resettlement program includes an adequate LGBTQ2 lens.
Temporary residents contribute to the labour market and economy
Canada also benefits from the contributions of visitors and international students who spend money in our communities, bring fresh perspectives to our institutions, and create linkages to friends and family around the world. In 2016, visitors and international students contributed $31.8 billion to the Canadian economy.Footnote 13
Temporary worker programs are essential in meeting broader short-term labour market needs. Initiatives such as the Global Skills Strategy make it easier for Canadian businesses to quickly attract the temporary foreign talent they need through a fast and predictable immigration process. Once here, these talented workers can drive innovation and help Canadian firms to grow and prosper—leading to more jobs for Canadians and a stronger economy for all.
Temporary work programs also ensure that Canada remains responsive to the needs of industries that rely heavily on foreign workers during peak seasons. For example, in some agricultural sectors, foreign workers may account for as much as three-quarters of the labour force.Footnote 14
Depending on their human capital such as education, official language proficiency and work experience, temporary workers are invited to apply for permanent residency through Express Entry. This ranking system awards additional points to applicants with previous work or study experience in Canada, thus providing a path for skilled temporary residents to transition to permanent residence.
Ultimately, temporary residents play an important role in Canada’s economy.
Canada has long benefitted from immigrants and temporary residents, with tangible long-term and immediate social and economic impacts.
Immigrants continue to make important positive contributions to Canada’s economy and the vibrancy of communities across the country. The Government of Canada is gradually increasing Canada’s annual admissions to nearly one percent of the population by 2020. Close to 60% of this growth will come through various departmental economic programs.
II. Canada’s Immigration Plan for 2019–2021
The levels plan for 2019–2021 replaces the three-year plan introduced in fall 2017, which for the first time in over 15 years set out planned immigration levels for more than a single year. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship revisits the plan each fall to adjust planned levels for the coming years, as required. The 2019–2021 plan includes adjustments to previously-announced targets in 2019 and 2020, and includes a new third year (2021).
Under this plan, Canada will welcome more talented workers with the skills and expertise our economy needs, reunite more family members and accommodate more refugees looking to start new lives. In addition, multi-year levels planning is contributing to the success of Canada’s immigration program by enabling Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, its federal and provincial and territorial partners, and other key partners such as settlement service providers, to better plan for projected permanent resident admissions.
2019–2021 Immigration Levels Plan
|Projected Admissions - Targets||330,800||341,000||350,000|
|Projected Admissions - Ranges||Low 2019||High 2019||Low 2020||High 2020||Low 2021||High 2021|
|Federal Economic, Provincial/Territorial Nominees||142,500||176,000||149,500||172,500||157,500||178,500|
|Quebec-selected Skilled Workers and Business||To be determined||To be determined||To be determined||To be determined||To be determined||To be determined|
|Refugees, Protected Persons, Humanitarian and Other||43,000||58,500||47,000||61,500||48,500||64,500|
Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec has full responsibility for the selection of immigrants destined to Quebec (except Family Class and in-Canada refugee claimants). Given the timing of the Quebec general election, Quebec’s planned levels for 2019 and beyond were not finalized in time to be included in this plan. Levels targets will be established following consultation with the Government of Quebec.
III. Managing Permanent Immigration
A. 2017 Permanent Resident Admissions
This section of the report covers permanent resident admissions since 2015, broken down by gender and the following immigration categories: Economic Class, Family Class and Protected Persons, Refugees, Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C).
Permanent Residents Admitted to Canada (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
*Totals of gender-disaggregated data may not add up to the overall totals due to cases where gender was not stated.
Text version: Permanent Residents Admitted to Canada (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
Canada admitted 286,479 permanent residents in 2017.
Immigration to Canada by Category (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
*Totals of gender-disaggregated data may not add up to the overall totals due to cases where gender was not stated.
Text version: Immigration to Canada by Category (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
|2015||Refugees and H&C||17,922||18,020||35,958|
|2016||Refugees and H&C||30,515||31,827||62,343|
|2017||Refugees and H&C||21,664||23,082||44,747|
Admissions of Permanent Residents by Immigration Category and Province/Territory of Intended Destination, 2017
Text Version: CANADA – Admissions of Permanent Residents by Immigration Category and Province/Territory of Intended Destination, 2017
|Refugees, Protected Persons and H&C||23.8%||3.8%||10.8%||12.3%||19.1%||19.5%||14.7%||7.1%||13.0%||7.4%||2.9%||2.5%||4.9%|
|Total (Per Province)||1,171||2,348||4,514||3,649||52,388||111,925||14,700||14,680||42,094||38,443||238||40||225|
*Totals of provincial-disaggregated data may not add up to the totals due to cases where province/territory of intended destination was not stated.
B. Economic Class Admissions in 2017
This section of the report covers Economic Class permanent resident admissions since 2015, broken down by gender. The Economic Class is comprised of the following federal and provincial categories: federal skilled, caregivers, federal business, provincial nominee, Atlantic Immigration Pilot, Quebec skilled workers and Quebec business immigrants. This report covers all the federal economic categories and the Provincial Nominee (PN) category.
Economic Permanent Residents Admitted to Canada (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
*Totals of gender-disaggregated data may not add up to the overall totals due to cases where gender was not stated.
Text version: Economic Permanent Residents Admitted to Canada (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
Canada admitted 159,262 permanent residents in Economic Class programs
Highlights of Economic Class Admissions for 2017
Text version: Highlights of Economic Class Admissions for 2017
|Federal Economic - Skilled||26,308||31,526||57,834|
|Quebec Skilled Workers & Business||14,096||15,355||29,451|
In 2017, Canada admitted 159,262 permanent residents in Economic Class programs, representing 55.6% of all 2017 admissions. This was below the planned admissions range of 164,100 to 183,500 primarily due to longer than expected landing times.Footnote 15
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot, implemented in partnership between Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the four Atlantic provinces, aims to address demographic challenges, fill labour gaps and support economic growth in the Atlantic region, as part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy.
As of June 30, 2018:
- More than 2,000 graduates and skilled immigrants have received job offers, personalized settlement plans, and endorsement from a province to submit an application to immigrate to Canada.
- Atlantic employers are seeing the potential of immigration to fill labour market needs that cannot be met locally. Since its launch in January 2017, over 1,000 employers have been designated to participate in the pilot. Over 250 employers are currently benefitting from services offered by the dedicated service channel which gives access to an account manager to assess needs, answer questions and provide guidance.
Gender-disaggregation of total admissions (principal applicant and their immediate family unit) within each economic immigration program shows near parity between women and men. For instance, in 2017, a total of 77,302 women (48.5%) and 81,960 men (51.5%) were admitted through the Economic Class.
However, as demonstrated in the graph below, the gap between female and male principal applicants remains consistent at 12%. In 2017, women comprised 44% of principal applicants in the economic category, compared to 56% for men. This follows a long-standing trend which may reflect the historically gendered nature of labour market sectors that attract economic immigrants, such as engineering and information technology—occupations that are predominantly filled by men.
Economic Permanent Residents Admitted to Canada (2015–2017, Principal Applicants Only)
Text version: Economic Permanent Residents Admitted to Canada (2015–2017, Principal Applicants Only)
Gender differences among economic immigrants are also evident in comparisons of gender-disaggregated employment earnings. Male principal applicants have much higher average entry employment earnings and higher average employment earnings than their female counterparts. In 2014, the average entry employment earnings of economic principal applicant tax filers in the first year since landing was $56,000 for men, compared to $32,000 for women. Earnings of male principal applicants have grown by $12,000 in the last three years, while earnings of female principal applicants saw comparatively lower growth of $3,000.
The Express Entry system is one of the ways that Canada manages economic immigration. Candidates who wish to immigrate to Canada through the Express Entry system are selected based on points awarded through the Comprehensive Ranking System and placed in the Express Entry pool. Invitations to apply for permanent residency are awarded to the highest ranked candidates in the pool, and occur every few weeks throughout the year.
- In 2017, Canada admitted 65,417 new permanent residents in the Economic Class through the Express Entry application management system, an increase of 32,003 from the previous year.
- Of the 49,724 admissions under the Provincial Nominee Program, 13,531 were through Express Entry, an increase of 73% over 2016.
1. Federal Economic – Skilled category
In 2017, a total of 57,165 permanent residents were admitted to Canada through the Federal Economic – Skilled category, which comprises three separate programs.
Of these, in 2017, 22,550 people were admitted under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program; 1,875 under the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Program; and 32,740 under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Program.
In the FST Program, 36% of principal applicants were women and 64% were men, reflecting the historically gendered nature of the skilled trade sector which has been predominately male.
Under the CEC Program, 35% of principal applicants who received admissions under Express Entry were women and 65% were men.
Of all FSW Program principal applicants, 36% were women and 64% were men.
In 2017, IRCC admitted 22,253 caregivers as permanent residents. This was above the high end of the planned admissions and reflected measures to reduce the inventory of applicants that applied under the former Live-in Caregiver Program.
Women are over-represented as principal applicants in the caregiver category. In 2017, there were over 8,600 female principal applicants in the caregiver category (94%) compared to just over 500 males (6%), which is consistent with the historically gendered nature of this industry/sector.
In fact, one in four of all female economic principal applicants immigrated in the caregiver category. By comparison, approximately one in 100 male economic principal applicants immigrated in this category.
3. Federal Business
In 2017, a total of 587 admissions were processed through Federal Economic – Business Immigration programs.
The Start-up Visa was launched as a five-year pilot program in April 2013 and provides permanent residence to innovative start-up entrepreneurs who have a commitment of support from a designated Canadian business incubator, angel investor group or venture capital fund. The program has seen increased interest from foreign entrepreneurs eager to come to Canada and grow their businesses.
Under the five-year Start-up Visa pilot program, IRCC accepted 132 innovative entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada. This pilot program was made permanent on March 31, 2018.
In 2017, principal applicant admissions under the Federal and Quebec Business Immigrants classes were predominantly made by men (78%). Women accounted for only 22% of principal applicants. Of the four business categories (entrepreneur, investor, self-employed and start-up business), female investors represented 16% of all business immigrants while male investors represented 64%.
Fewer than 16% of businesses in Canada are majority-owned by women.Footnote 16 A 2016 study examined business ownership by immigrants and revealed that men were over twice as likely to be business owners than women, and accounted for two-thirds of all immigrant private business owners and 57% of self-employed immigrants in 2010.Footnote 17 According to the study’s analysis, this could be due to the historically gendered nature of business ownership as well as experience in owning a business prior to immigrating to Canada.Footnote 18 In addition, family and caregiving responsibilities could mean that fewer women immigrate in this category.
4. Provincial Nominees
The PN Program provides provinces and territories with an opportunity to address their specific economic development needs while distributing the benefits of economic immigration across all provinces and territories. As part of the nomination process, provincial and territorial governments assess the skills, education and work or business experience of prospective candidates to ensure that nominees can make an immediate economic contribution to the nominating province or territory.
In 2017, the number of PN admissions was 49,724.
Provincial Nominee Program (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
Text version: Provincial Nominee Program (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
This program has grown exponentially since its implementation in 1996 when only 233 people were admitted in the PN Program. In 2017, nearly 50,000 people immigrated through the PN Program, the highest number in its history.
Provincial Nominee Program (2015–2017, Principal Applicants Only)
Text version: Provincial Nominee Program (2015–2017, Principal Applicants Only)
In 2017, women represented 36% of PN principal applicant admissions while men represented 64%.
C. Highlights of Family Reunification Admissions in 2017
This section of the report covers Family Class annual permanent resident admissions since 2015, broken down by gender. The Family Class comprises the following categories: spouses, partners and children, parents and grandparents, orphaned (brother, sister, nephew, niece and grandchild), and other relatives. All categories are covered here except the orphaned category.
Family Class (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
Text version: Family Class (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
In 2017, Canada welcomed 82,470 permanent residents in the Family Class.
Highlights of Family Reunification Admissions in 2017
*Totals of gender-disaggregated data may not add up to the overall totals due to cases where gender was not stated. Not shown: Family - Other, 330 people (165 men, 165 women).
Text version: Highlights of Family Reunification Admissions in 2017
|Spouses, Partners and Children||35,077||26,568||61,646|
|Parents and Grandparents||12,154||8,337||20,494|
- Increased immigration levels under the Family Class continue to allow for more families to reunite.
- IRCC met two important mandate commitments in support of family reunification by increasing the age of dependent children and repealing conditional permanent residence.
- Between 2011 and 2017, IRCC reduced the application inventory for parents and grandparents by over 80%.
- IRCC has significantly improved the spousal sponsorship process, making it faster and easier for couples to reunite. As of December 31, 2017, IRCC met its commitment to process 80% of the applications received in December 2016 within 12 months.
In 2017, there were a total of 47,396 women admitted as members of the Family Class, or 57%, compared with 35,070 men.
As demonstrated in this graph, the gap between female and male principal applicants remains consistent.
Family Class (2015–2017, Principal Applicants Only)
Text version: Family Class (2015–2017, Principal Applicants Only)
For Family Class immigrants in general, the likelihood of being at the lower end of the income scale (under $20,000) is significantly higher compared to economic principal applicants: 49% of Family Class immigrants versus 34% of all Canadians.Footnote 19 However, lower incomes are mitigated by the fact that each Family Class immigrant has a sponsor (a Canadian citizen or permanent resident) who commits to provide for their needs for between three and 20 years. The majority of Family Class immigrants live with their sponsor during the initial years after arrival.Footnote 20
1. Spouses, Partners and Children
In 2017, Canada welcomed 61,646 sponsored spouses, partners and children.
In April 2017, IRCC removed the requirement for spouses and partners to live with their sponsor for two years as a condition for maintaining permanent resident status.
In 2017, the sponsored spouses, partners and children category was composed of 57% women and 43% men.
2. Parents and Grandparents
In 2017, a total of 20,494 persons were admitted in the Parents and Grandparents category.
- In 2017, IRCC reduced the inventory of sponsored parent and grandparent applications by 21% from 2016.
- In 2017, IRCC introduced a new intake process for the Parents and Grandparents Program, while ensuring that inventories are reduced and processing times remain low.
To support family reunification, parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents have the option of coming to Canada temporarily on a super visa. This allows eligible parents and grandparents to visit Canada for up to two years without the need for status renewal, and to make multiple entries for up to 10 years.
In 2017, IRCC approved 17,248 super visas for parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents, enabling them to stay and visit their family in Canada for up to two consecutive years.
More women than men immigrate in this category, which is to be expected given the number of single female-headed households and differing life expectancies of men and women.
D. Highlights of Refugee, Protected Person and Humanitarian Admissions in 2017
This section of the report covers protected person, refugee and humanitarian class annual permanent resident admissions since 2015, broken down by gender. This class comprises the following categories: protected persons in-Canada and dependants abroad, government-assisted refugees, blended visa office-referred refugees, privately sponsored refugees and humanitarian (including admissions of persons selected on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, for reason of public policy, and those in the permit holder class).
Protected Person, Refugee and Humanitarian Admissions (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
Text version: Protected Person, Refugee and Humanitarian Admissions (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
In 2017, a total of 44,747 people were admitted to Canada as resettled refugees, as permanent residents in the Protected Persons in Canada category or as people admitted for humanitarian and compassionate considerations and under public policies.
Highlights of Protected Person, Refugee and Humanitarian Admissions in 2017
*Totals of gender-disaggregated data may not add up to the overall totals due to cases where gender was not stated. In this graph, the Refugees category includes Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugees, Government-Assisted Refugees and Privately Sponsored Refugees.
Text version: Highlights of Protected Person, Refugee and Humanitarian Admissions in 2017
|Humanitarian and Other||1,705||1,567||3,272|
- Between January 2015 and December 2017, Canada admitted approximately 94,000 resettled refugees, 51,000 of whom were Syrian.
- In 2017–2018, IRCC improved health-care coverage for refugees by including pre-departure medical services for resettled refugees destined for Canada.
As demonstrated in this graph, the gap between female and male principal applicants has remained fairly consistent since 2015. While 60% of principal applicants were male and 40% were female in 2017, most principal applicants in this class are accompanied by family members which, as shown in the first graph on the preceding page, results in near parity in admissions.
Protected Person, Refugee and Humanitarian Admissions (2015–2017, Principal Applicants Only)
Text version: Protected Person, Refugee and Humanitarian Admissions (2015–2017, Principal Applicants Only)
In some instances, particularly during situations of conflict or emergencies, certain groups of women and men are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence. The United Nations Refugee Agency refers to this type of violence as “any act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and is based on gender norms and unequal power relationships. It encompasses threats of violence and coercion. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual in nature, and can take the form of a denial of resources or access to services. It inflicts harm on women, girls, men and boys.”
In 2017, a total of 26,980 refugees were resettled to Canada.
- Canada exceeded its commitment to welcome 1,200 survivors of Daesh by resettling approximately 1,400 individuals, most of whom are vulnerable Yazidi women and children.
- Of all refugees resettled in Canada in 2017, a total of 62% were privately sponsored, 33% were government assisted and 5% were admitted under the Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugee Program, which enables sponsorship groups and government to provide joint support of resettled refugees.
- 39% of all resettled refugees in 2017 were 17 years old or under.
2. Protected Persons
In 2017, a total of 14,495 protected persons (that is, asylum claimants granted protected status by Canada) and their dependants received permanent residency under the Protected Persons in-Canada and Dependants Abroad category.
Asylum claims are governed in part by the international treaties to which Canada is a signatory. As such, Canada has a legal responsibility to assess asylum claims made under these international conventions.
This makes the asylum system fundamentally different than other areas of immigration. Those with a legitimate need for protection have a right to make an asylum claim.
Once an asylum claimant receives a positive determination regarding their claim to protection, they gain status as a protected person and are authorized to apply for permanent residence from within Canada. Permanent residents who are granted permanent status through this method continue to be protected persons.
- In 2017, the total number of asylum claims received in Canada more than doubled, from approximately 24,000 claims in 2016 to over 50,000 in 2017.
- Approximately 40% of all asylum claimants were irregular migrants who crossed between ports of entry along the Canada-U.S. border. Maintaining border integrity and ensuring public safety and security continue to be key guiding principles for the Government of Canada.
In 2017, a total of 7,130 female asylum seekers were granted protected person status in-Canada, representing 49.2% of the 14,495 individuals granted protected status.
3. Humanitarian and Other
In limited circumstances, IRPA authorizes the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to grant permanent resident status to individuals and their families who would not otherwise qualify under an immigration category. These discretionary provisions for humanitarian and compassionate considerations, or for reason of public policy, provide the flexibility to approve deserving cases that come forward. In 2017, a total of 3,272 people were admitted to Canada for humanitarian and compassionate considerations and for reasons of public policy. This category accounted for 1.1% of all permanent residents.
In 2017, more women (1,705) than men (1,567) were admitted as permanent residents under the humanitarian and other category. However, slightly more men (1,119) than women (1,089) of this cohort applied as principal applicants.
E. Admissions of Permanent Residents by Knowledge of Official Language in 2017
Canada tracks the official language profile of all permanent resident admissions.
Linguistic Profile of Immigrants - Self-identified (2017, by % of Category)
Text version: Linguistic Profile of Immigrants - Self-identified (2017, by % of Category)
|Economic||Family||Refugee and H&C|
- Of the 286,479 permanent residents admitted in 2017, a total of 76% self-identified as having knowledge of English, French or both official languages, which is an increase of three percentage points compared to 2016.
- In 2017, IRCC made changes to the Express Entry application management system for economic immigration, providing extra points under the Comprehensive Ranking System for candidates who have strong French or English language skills.
- Among all economic immigrant principal applicants admitted, 97% self-identified as having knowledge of at least one official language in 2017.
- Francophone immigration is a priority for the Department as it works to achieve a target of 4.4% for Francophone immigration outside of the province of Quebec by 2023. In 2017, 4,702 (2%) of all permanent residents admitted outside of Quebec were French speakers, a modest increase from 4,396 (1.8%) in 2016.
- Recent measures adopted by the Department, including the introduction of bonus points for Express Entry candidates with strong French language skills in 2017, are expected to lead to increased admissions of French-speaking permanent residents over the course of the next year. In addition to these measures, the Department will implement a strategy on Francophone immigration in 2018, in support of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013–2018 and the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023.
In 2017, among all sponsored family members, 64% of women and 66% of men self-identified as having knowledge of at least one of the official languages.
Among all resettled refugees and protected persons in-Canada, 45% of women and 49% of men self-identified as having knowledge of at least one of the official languages.
F. Admissions of Permanent Residents by Top 10 Source Countries in 2017
In 2017, Canada received its immigrant population from over 185 countries of origin.
The graph below shows admissions from the top 10 source countries. For more information, please see Table 1 (in Annex 2).
Admissions of Permanent Residents by Top 10 Countries in 2017
Text version: Admissions of Permanent Residents by Top 10 Countries in 2017
|United Kingdom and Overseas Territories||2,143||3,150|
|United States of America||4,600||4,500|
|China, People's Republic of||16,767||13,511|
- 61% of new permanent residents admitted in 2017 came from the top 10 source countries, which is a decrease of two percentage points compared to 2016.
- Philippines and India were among the top three source countries in both 2016 and 2017.
IV. Managing Temporary Migration
A. Temporary Workers
In 2017, a total of 78,788 work permits were issued under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which includes caregivers, agricultural workers and other workers who require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
In addition, 224,033 work permits were issued under the International Mobility Program (IMP), which are exempt from an LMIA for reasons such as reciprocal agreements that promote economic, social and cultural exchange between Canada and other countries. Under the IMP, some of the exempt categories include temporary workers under international agreements, Canadian interests and the Mobilité francophone program.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (2015–2017)
Text version: Temporary Foreign Worker Program (2015–2017)
International Mobility Program (2015–2017)
Text version: International Mobility Program (2015–2017)
- In 2017, the Department facilitated the entry of top talent through the establishment of the Global Skills Strategy, which offers two-week expedited processing of select work permits, and introduced a dedicated service channel for companies making significant investments in the Canadian economy. New work permit exemptions for highly skilled talent coming for 30 days or less and researchers coming for 120 days or less were also developed.
- In 2017, a total of 85% of work permit applications submitted overseas were finalized within the established service standard of two months.Footnote 21
- Starting in 2017–2018, the Government of Canada will invest $279.8 million over five years, and $49.8 million per year thereafter, to support the continued delivery of the TFWP and IMP. This investment will also address employers’ compliance with program rules and will benefit temporary workers, giving them a better understanding of their rights while in Canada.
Both the temporary in-home caregiver and agricultural occupations continue to reflect gendered stereotypes of care and manual labour. In 2017, women accounted for the majority of in-home caregiver temporary work permits (95%), whereas men accounted for only 5%. The reverse is true in the case of agricultural worker temporary permits where women accounted for only 5% of permits compared to 95% for men.
B. International Students
In 2017, Canada issued 317,328 study permits to international students. In 2017, a total of 92% of study permit applications submitted overseas were finalized within the established service standard of two months.
Study Permit Holders (2015–2017)
Text version: Study Permit Holders (2015–2017)
- In 2017, over 332,000 international students were eligible to work on or off campus and over 114,000 held work permits under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
- International students add an estimated $15 billion a year to Canada’s economy.
C. Transitions from Temporary Foreign Worker or International Student Status to Permanent Residence
In 2017, Canada admitted as permanent residents 49,557 individuals who had previously held a work permit under the TFW Program or IMP.Footnote 22
Transition from Temporary Foreign Worker to Permanent Resident (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
Text version: Transition from Temporary Foreign Worker to Permanent Resident (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
In 2017, Canada admitted as permanent residents 9,410 individuals who had previously held a study permit as an international student.Footnote 23
Transition from International Student to Permanent Resident (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
Text version: Transition from International Student to Permanent Resident (2015–2017, Principal Applicants and Immediate Family Members)
- In 2017, Canada transitioned 56,739 temporary residents into permanent economic immigrants, providing the workers needed where the jobs cannot be filled by Canadians. This was a significant increase of 13,551 from the previous year.
- In 2017, the number of invitations to candidates with a Canadian education credential increased to 30,600 (36% of all invitations sent) from 11,600 in the previous year, which is in line with Canada’s aim to attract the most talented students. This increase is in step with the overall growth in Express Entry.
Facilitating visitors’ travel to Canada is achieved through the issuance of temporary resident visas (TRVs) and electronic travel authorizations (eTAs).Footnote 24 In 2017, a total of 1,438,633 TRVs and 3,932,529 eTAs were approved for visitors.
In terms of visa policy changes, on May 1, 2017, certain citizens from Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania became eligible to apply for an eTA rather than a TRV when travelling to Canada by air.Footnote 25 To be eligible, applicants need to have held a Canadian visa within the past 10 years, or hold a valid U.S. non-immigrant visa at the time of application. On December 1, 2017, Canada fully lifted the TRV requirements for Romania and Bulgaria.Footnote 26
- In 2017, the average processing time for TRV applications was 22 days, and 66% were processed within the service standard of 14 days.
- In 2017, two-thirds of TRV applications came from five nations. China alone accounted for 38% of all requests.
- In 2017, a full 99% of eTA automatic approvals were provided within five minutes.
All TRV and eTA applicants must meet the same eligibility and admissibility requirements, regardless of gender. Recent trends indicate that men and women apply for TRVs and eTAs in roughly equal numbers, and the approval rates for both genders are nearly identical.
To facilitate individuals who do not speak English or French, guidance for completing an application is available in multiple languages. Supporting documents can be provided in languages other than English or French, if accompanied by a translation in an official language. In addition, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides an alternative paper application process for individuals who are unable to complete their application online or due to a physical or mental disability.
E. Public Policy Exemptions for a Temporary Purpose
In 2017, a total of 555 applications for temporary residence were received under the public policy provisions of subsection 25.2(1) of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) for certain inadmissible foreign nationals to facilitate their temporary entry into Canada as visitors, students or workers. The public policy exemption has been in place since September 2010 to advance Canada’s national interests while continuing to ensure the safety of Canadians.
Of the 555 temporary residence applications received under the public policy authority, 33% were for female applicants and 67% were for male.
F. Use of the Negative Discretion Authority
In 2017, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship did not use the negative discretion authority under subsection 22.1(1) of IRPA. This authority allows the Minister 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.
G. Temporary Resident Permits
Under subsection 24(1) of IRPA, an officer may issue a temporary resident permit (TRP) to a foreign national who is inadmissible or who does not otherwise meet the requirements of the Act, to allow that individual to enter or remain in Canada when it is justified under the circumstances. TRPs are issued for a limited period of time and are subject to cancellation at any time.
Table 2 in Annex 2 illustrates the number of TRPs issued in 2017, categorized according to grounds of inadmissibility under IRPA. In 2017, a total of 9,221 permits were issued.
As part of the Government of Canada’s multifaceted efforts to combat human trafficking, immigration officers have been authorized since 2006 to issue TRPs to foreign nationals who may be victims of this crime. This enables victims of human trafficking to remain in Canada legally for a period of time and consider their options. In 2017, IRCC issued 32 TRPs to victims of human trafficking (38% to women and 62% to men) and their dependants.
V. Federal-Provincial/Territorial Partnerships
Immigration: A joint responsibility
Multilaterally, the federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) ministers responsible for immigration meet in-person annually to discuss cross-cutting immigration priorities. The FPT Vision Action Plan for Immigration outlines common priorities and mutual commitments to welcoming and supporting newcomers. The current action plan is set to be renewed in 2019 with updated joint immigration priorities. The meeting is also used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to consult multilaterally on policy changes.
In March 2018, FPT ministers responsible for immigration and the Canadian francophonie met to advance Francophone immigration issues. Ministers approved the FPT Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration Outside of Quebec (Action Plan), which outlines concrete actions for jurisdictions to attract, integrate and retain French-speaking immigrants in Francophone minority communities outside Quebec. It is expected that the Action Plan will support an increase in French-speaking immigrants settling outside Quebec.
Canada’s and provinces’ roles and responsibilities
Bilateral framework immigration agreements define the roles and responsibilities of Canada and the province/territory to support collaboration on immigration issues. These agreements (either broader framework agreements or agreements establishing Provincial Nominee Program authorities only) are in place with nine provinces and two territories (excluding Nunavut and Quebec). Under the Provincial Nominee Program, provinces and territories have the authority to nominate individuals as permanent residents to address specific labour market and economic development needs.
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 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 selection criteria.
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.
Table 3 in Annex 2 presents the breakdown of permanent residents admitted in 2017 by province or territory of destination and immigration category.
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; Annex 1 to this report provides details of these obligations. For more information on Canada’s immigration system, please consult the following resources:
- Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports for:
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Facts and Figures, which provide high-level immigration statistics for Canada. Since 2016, IRCC Facts and Figures is now available on the Open Data Portal.
- The Government of Canada’s Open Data Portal for IRCC, which provides more detailed immigration-related data sets.
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: