Interprovincial Mobility of Immigrants in Canada 2006-2011

Table of contents

List of tables and charts

Executive summary

This document focuses on the interprovincial mobility (or retention) of immigrants who landed in Canada between 2006 and 2011 and in which province they resided in the 2011 tax year. The data are drawn from the 2011 Longitudinal Immigration Database.

Of the 1,008,745 immigrants who landed in Canada between 2006 and 2011 and declared a destination province, just under 10% (or 93,895) moved from their destination province to another province by 2011 (called “movers” in this document).

With regard to secondary movers, those who leave their destination province tend to do so within the first two or three years after being admitted.

Female retention rates are slightly higher than males, in almost all provinces and older age groups have higher retention rates than younger age groups with particularly large differences in the Atlantic provinces between the retention rates of older and younger age groups.

Official language ability appears to be an important factor in Atlantic provinces, but is not very important in Alberta and British Columbia. In terms of secondary migration, Ontario receives the largest number of all language groups including French, but for French movers, Quebec is also an attractive destination, whereas Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia are for English movers. For secondary movers with no knowledge of an official language Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta are attractive.

The province with the highest retention rate was Ontario, followed by Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec. When net change is taken into account, Alberta stands out because it was the recipient of so many secondary movers (a net increase of more than 16,500 over the 6 year period).

In terms of immigration categories, live-in caregivers, refugees, and the family class have highest retention rates (90%) while retention rates for skilled workers and provincial nominees were somewhat lower (between 80 and 85%). Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia have retention rates of skilled workers above 85%. Similarly for provincial nominees, Ontario and provinces to the west had retention rates above 80%. East of Ontario, retention rates were significantly lower, particularly in Prince Edward Island where the retention rate of provincial nominees was less than 30%. Ontario and British Columbia are recipients of substantial provincial nominee in-migration. Refugees generally had high retention rates although for refugee movers, the primary provinces of secondary migration were Alberta and Ontario.

Comparing average employment earnings (AEE) of those who moved from and those who stayed in their destination province offers some perspective into decisions of immigrants after they are admitted. Alberta stands out because it has relatively high employment earnings of stayers across many categories, and this may provide a rationale for why over the period examined, its retention rates were amongst the highest (after Ontario) and why more than 25,000 immigrants destined for other provinces subsequently moved to Alberta. However, it is equally clear that employment earnings cannot be the only reason, since Ontario attracted the highest number of secondary movers (almost 32,000) but ranked 6th amongst all provinces in terms of average employment earnings of stayers.

Interprovincial Mobility of Immigrants

This document provides is an update and an extension of the 2010 publication The Interprovincial Mobility of Immigrants in Canada. Whereas the earlier document focussed on the 2006 tax year, this document focuses on immigrants who landed between 2006 and 2011 and where they resided (which province) in the 2011 tax yearFootnote 1.

There are several differences between this document and the earlier one. One important change in the database (see below) has resulted in capture rates that are higher than in the last publication and as a consequence retention rates are higher almost across the board. In addition, in this publication, where the numbers are sufficient, information is provided about retention and mobility for all provinces with the Atlantic provinces broken out separately. On the other hand, because the business program has recently been paused, business categories are not included except for a comment about business retention rates in Quebec where the program continues. In addition, for the first time we present demographic characteristics to see how they affect retention and mobility; and, at the end of this document, we present for the first time, comparisons of the average employment earnings of movers and stayersFootnote 2 by immigration category and look at how quickly those who move tend to leave their destination province by immigrant category.

Mobility and retention rates are two facets of the same coin, those who arrived between 2006 and 2011 and are still found in their province of destination in 2011 are considered retained and are included in the calculation of the retention rate. Net change includes inflows of those not originally destined for a province, less outflows of those who were destined for that province divided by the number originally destined for the province.

All categories in this document include the principal applicants and their spouses and dependants since for mobility purposes, families tend to migrate together.

All data is taken from the 2011 Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) and focuses on the 2011 tax year. In some places, the Research Data Mart Cubes Facts & Figures 2012 is also used (for example to calculate the IMDB capture rateFootnote 3).

Of the 1,517,250 immigrants who became permanent residents of Canada between 2006 and 2011, 1,010,120 are included in the IMDB, and of these, 1,008,745 declared a destination province and are included in the calculation of retention rates. Of these, 93,895 or just under 10% had moved from their destination province to another province by 2011 (called “movers” in this document).

Retention Rates and Net Rates of Change

Retention Rates and Net Rates of Change of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province, 2011 Tax Year

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Chart of the Retention Rates and Net Rates of Change of Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates and Net Rates of Change of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province, 2011 Tax Year
Province Net change % % Retained
NL 80.2% 62.4%
PEI 37.3% 32.3%
NS 88.4% 72.1%
NB 77.6% 65.8%
QC 92.9% 88.7%
ON 100.2% 93.0%
MB 90.5% 85.1%
SK 102.8% 85.3%
AB 115.7% 91.7%
BC 103.3% 91.3%

Rates of moving from destination province or of staying (retention, indicated by beige bars) vary considerably by province and by immigration category.Footnote 4

Comparing the provinces, we see that immigrants who were destined for Prince Edward Island between 2006 and 2011 were least likely to be found in Prince Edward Island (32%) and most likely to be found in other provinces in 2011 (68%).

At the other extreme, of immigrants destined to Ontario, between 2006 and 2011, 93% continued to reside in Ontario in 2011. Retention rates were also high in Alberta (92%), British Columbia (91%), and Quebec (89%). Of immigrants destined for Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 85% continued to reside there. The Atlantic provinces had lower retention rates: Newfoundland (62%), New Brunswick (66%) and Nova Scotia (72%).

The red bars indicate the provinces' rates of change net of outflows and inflows from other provinces by 2011. (See table on following page for inflow and outflow numbers by province.) Comparing these we see that the three western provinces experienced substantial gains as a result of immigrants originally destined for other provinces subsequently moving west. Ontario was the only province outside the west to see substantial inflows compensating for outmigration.

Of the 444,035 people originally destined for Ontario, 30,870 (or 7%) left the province by 2011, the largest outflow of any province. This was followed by 21,990 who left Quebec, 14,340 who left British Columbia and 8,835 who left Alberta. Manitoba also lost 7,615 immigrants. Although Atlantic Canada had lower retention rates, the smaller numbers of immigrants originally destined to the Atlantic provinces resulted in fewer moving from there, except for Prince Edward Island which lost 4,030 immigrants.

Retention Rates and Net Rates of ChangeFootnote 5 of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, 2011 Tax Year

Prov of Destination Destined at Landing Out Migration Destined & Resident in 2011 In Migration Resident in 2011 Retention rate Net Change Net Change Rate %
Newfoundland and Labrador 2,475 930 1,545 440 1,985 62.4% -490 -19.8%
Prince Edward Island 5,950 4,030 1,920 300 2,220 32.3% -3,730 -62.7%
Nova Scotia 9,215 2,575 6,640 1,510 8,150 72.1% -1,065 -11.6%
New Brunswick 7,070 2,415 4,655 830 5,485 65.8% -1,585 -22.4%
Quebec 195,430 21,990 173,440 8,275 181,715 88.7% -13,715 -7.0%
Ontario 444,035 30,870 413,165 31,935 445,100 93.0% 1,065 0.2%
Manitoba 51,000 7,615 43,385 2,805 46,190 85.1% -4,810 -9.4%
Saskatchewan 22,685 3,330 19,355 3,970 23,325 85.3% 640 2.8%
Alberta 106,020 8,835 97,185 25,500 122,685 91.7% 16,665 15.7%
British Columbia 164,865 14,340 150,525 19,785 170,310 91.3% 5,445 3.3%

Ontario had the highest retention rate (93%), but nevertheless 30,870 immigrants who had landed between 2006 and 2011 left for other provinces including Alberta (11,770), British Columbia (7,710), Quebec (5,785), Saskatchewan (1,950) and Manitoba (1,485). Due to substantial in-migration, Ontario's net change was close to zero.

Alberta had the second highest retention rate (91.7%), but 8,835 immigrants left for other provinces including Ontario (3,625), British Columbia (3,085), and Saskatchewan (780). Nevertheless, flows of in-migration were so extensive, that overall, Alberta had the highest net change (16,665 or 15.7%).

British Columbia also had a high retention rate, but 7,195 immigrants left for Ontario, 4,375 for Alberta, 950 for Quebec and 580 for Saskatchewan. However, British Columbia was also the destination of a large number of movers, and thus, its net change was about 5,500 or 3%.

Quebec's retention rate was almost 89% but 21,990 immigrants left, primarily for Ontario (12,585), Alberta (4,430), and British Columbia (3,705). At the same time, almost 8,300 in-migrants arrived. Thus, although Quebec is the province with the highest net loss of immigrants, its net change is only -7%.

Saskatchewan's retention rate was 85.3% and it saw 3,330 immigrants leave for Ontario (1,160), Alberta (1,100) and British Columbia (685), resulting in a net change of almost 3%.

Manitoba's retention rate was slightly lower (85.1%) but because of its larger number of immigrants, this translated into a loss of 7,615 immigrants who left the province primarily for Alberta (2,660), Ontario (2,500), and British Columbia (1,825). Less than 3,000 movers arrived, resulting in Manitoba having a net loss of 4,800 or just under 10%.

Nova Scotia (72.1%) saw 2,575 moving, to Ontario (1,315), British Columbia (455), Alberta (415) and Quebec (185) and only 1,500 in-migrants arriving resulting in a net loss for the province of more than 1,000 or almost 12%.

With a retention rate of 65.8%, New Brunswick saw 2,415 immigrants leave, primarily for Ontario (1,165), British Columbia (520), Alberta (305), and Nova Scotia (100) while only 830 arrived resulting in a net loss of about 1,600 or 22%.

Newfoundland saw 930 immigrants leaving the province, primarily for Ontario (380), Alberta (235) and British Columbia (105). At the same time, only 440 arrived, resulting in a net loss of immigrants to the province of almost 500 or about 20%.

Most of the immigrants who landed in Prince Edward Island between 2006 and 2011 did not stay. Prince Edward Island saw two-thirds of its immigrants (4,030) leaving for Ontario (1,955), British Columbia (1,650), Quebec (150) and Alberta (145), resulting in a negative net change of approximately 63%.

Retention Rates of Immigrants by Gender

Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province of Destination and Gender, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province of Destination and Gender, 2011 Tax Year
Gender NL PEI NS NB QC ON MB SK AB BC
Male 63.6% 32.6% 72.4% 66.3% 88.2% 92.5% 84.5% 85.5% 91.9% 91.0%
Female 68.2% 32.5% 73.1% 66.9% 89.6% 93.8% 86.2% 86.0% 92.0% 91.9%

Retention rates by gender tend to mirror the overall provincial rates, but in general, female retention rates by province tend to be slightly higher than those seen for males. The sole exception to this is in Prince Edward Island (0.1% lower).

Specifically, in Newfoundland the female retention rate is 4.6% higher than the male rate, in Manitoba it is 1.7% higher than the male rate and in Quebec it is 1.2% higher.

Province of Secondary Migration by Gender of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Province of Secondary Migration by Gender of Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Province of Secondary Migration by Gender of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, 2011 Tax Year
Province Male Female
NL 0.3% 0.3%
PEI 0.2% 0.2%
NS 1.5% 1.4%
NB 5.5% 5.4%
QC 8.0% 8.6%
ON 31.5% 32.8%
MB 2.7% 2.8%
SK 4.0% 4.0%
AB 27.3% 23.9%
BC 19.1% 20.6%

Males were somewhat more likely to move than females with the number of male moversFootnote 6 about 1,000 higher than female movers (50,100 male movers compared to 49,085 female movers).

Ontario was the secondary destination of more than 30% of males (15,775) and females (16, 095), followed by Alberta (about 25%, 13,680 and 11,750) and British Columbia (about 20%).

Female movers showed a stronger tendency to move to Ontario (1.3 percentage points higher than males), British Columbia (1.5 points higher than males) and Quebec (0.6% points higher than males). On the other hand, Alberta was the secondary destination of 3.4 percentage points more males than females.

Retention Rates of Immigrants by Age Groups

Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province of Destination and Age Group at Landing, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province of Destination and Age Group at Landing, 2011 Tax Year
Age group NL PEI NS NB QC ON MB SK AB BC
0-14 - 30.0% 71.1% 78.8% 88.2% 91.5% 87.1% 87.9% 94.4% 91.2%
15-24 65.2% 27.2% 70.0% 58.0% 88.0% 93.6% 83.9% 85.2% 91.8% 90.8%
25-34 63.8% 43.2% 70.9% 66.5% 89.6% 92.5% 84.5% 85.5% 91.3% 90.3%
35-44 72.2% 29.1% 75.4% 70.3% 89.0% 92.4% 86.5% 86.9% 92.3% 91.1%
45-54 81.4% 35.5% 76.4% 66.7% 84.8% 93.9% 87.0% 86.6% 92.5% 93.3%
55-64 100.0% 62.9% 88.0% 97.1% 90.2% 96.2% 89.3% 90.9% 94.1% 96.2%
65+ - - 100.0% - 95.3% 98.1% 100.0% 94.7% 96.4% 97.9%

Older age groups (55 years of age or older) have the highest retention rates, regardless of province of destination.

Several provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec) show very little variation across age groups whereas others, for example the Atlantic provinces, show markedly lower retention rates for younger immigrants.

Footnote 7

These younger movers had a very high propensity to relocate to Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.

Province of Secondary Migration of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Age Group at Landing, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Province of Secondary Migration of Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Province of Secondary Migration of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Age Group at Landing, 2011 Tax Year
Province 0-14 15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
NL 0.0% 0.0% 0.5% 0.3% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
PEI 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0%
NS 0.9% 1.1% 1.9% 1.4% 1.0% 0.9% 0.7%
NB 0.0% 0.4% 0.9% 0.7% 0.5% 0.0% 0.0%
QC 8.0% 9.1% 11.0% 8.1% 7.8% 7.9% 8.8%
ON 31.0% 34.1% 40.5% 34.4% 36.5% 32.8% 32.1%
MB 3.0% 3.0% 3.3% 2.8% 2.3% 2.9% 1.5%
SK 3.0% 4.2% 5.4% 3.7% 3.2% 5.7% 1.5%
AB 35.1% 27.2% 36.5% 25.6% 19.7% 21.4% 25.5%
BC 19.0% 20.8% 20.9% 22.8% 28.6% 28.4% 29.9%

The largest group of secondary movers were aged 25-34 years. Of these 30,310 movers, about 40% (12,270) moved to Ontario, mainly from Quebec (5,645), British Columbia (2,525), Alberta (1,605) and Manitoba (980). A further 36% moved to Alberta from Ontario (4,860), Quebec (2,295), British Columbia (1,720) and Manitoba (1,195).

The next largest group of movers (25,185) was aged 35-44 years. Of this age group, 35% moved to Ontario from Quebec (3,175), British Columbia (2,115), Alberta (910), Prince Edward Island (735) and Manitoba (655). Another 25% went to Alberta from Ontario (3,105), Quebec (1,115) and British Columbia (1,100). A further 22% went to British Columbia from Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

The third largest group of movers (16,755) was aged 15-24 years. Almost 35% went to Ontario, mainly from Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, while 27% moved to Alberta, mainly from Ontario, British Columbia Quebec and Manitoba and 21% moved to British Columbia mainly from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba.

Of the 1,680 child (aged 0-14 years) movers, 35% relocated to Alberta by 2011, 31% to Ontario and 19% to British Columbia. Likely, these moves were motivated by opportunities for their parents.

Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Official Language

Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province of Destination and Declared Knowledge of Official Language at Landing, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province of Destination and Declared Knowledge of Official Language at Landing, 2011 Tax Year
Language NL PEI NS NB QC ON MB SK AB BC
English 68.3% 42.8% 73.6% 73.4% 81.4% 93.7% 87.6% 87.1% 92.1% 91.8%
French - - 91.7% 73.6% 96.5% 83.6% 86.6% 100.0% 88.9% 89.2%
Both  85.7% 81.8% 82.6% 72.1% 90.2% 87.9% 84.7% 84.1% 89.8% 91.0%
Neither 56.4% 26.3% 67.3% 45.4% 80.0% 93.5% 78.0% 81.4% 91.8% 91.3%

Retention rates for those who declare knowledge of French is particularly high in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.

Retention rates of those who land in the Maritimes without knowing either official language are lower than for those with knowledge of one or both official languages, while those who land in Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia are about the same as English-speakers.

Knowledge of an official language at landing does not appear to significantly affect retention rates in western provinces (except French in Saskatchewan).

Province of Secondary Migration of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Declared Official Language Ability, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Province of Secondary Migration of Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Province of Secondary Migration of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Declared Official Language Ability, 2011 Tax Year
Province English French Both Neither
NL 0.5% 0.0% 0.2% 0.0%
PEI 0.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2%
NS 2.0% 0.0% 1.0% 0.6%
NB 0.8% 0.7% 0.9% 0.3%
QC 7.2% 32.8% 16.1% 5.5%
ON 30.2% 37.4% 47.0% 34.9%
MB 3.2% 1.2% 1.2% 3.1%
SK 5.0% 1.2% 1.1% 4.1%
AB 30.6% 22.1% 20.2% 22.9%
BC 20.3% 4.8% 12.3% 28.5%

Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia attract most of those who move from their destination province.

Ontario is the secondary destination of 30% of movers who reported knowledge of English at landing, and more than 45% of movers who reported knowledge of both official languages. About 35% of immigrants who moved and who arrived knowing neither official language resided in Ontario in 2011. Interestingly, Ontario attracted the highest number of movers who declared knowing only French on arrival.

Quebec attracted 33% of movers who arrived reporting knowledge of only French, 16% of those who declared knowledge of both official languages and 5% of those who knew neither.

Alberta was a particularly attractive secondary destination for those who arrived reporting knowledge of only English, attracting just over 30% of English movers. It also attracted more than 20% of movers reporting knowledge of French only, 20% of those who knew both official languages and 23% of movers who knew neither.

British Columbia attracted 20% of English movers, more than 28% of movers who knew neither official language, 12% of those who declared knowledge of both and less than 5% of movers who reported knowledge of only French.

Retention Rates of Immigrants by Highest Level of Education

Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province and Highest Level of Education at Landing, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province and Highest Level of Education at Landing, 2011 Tax Year
Level of education NL PEI NS NB QC ON MB SK AB BC
0-12 62.7% 31.5% 73.4% 65.6% 88.9% 94.1% 81.7% 84.6% 92.9% 92.4%
13+ 82.6% 31.8% 75.4% 71.6% 90.0% 94.1% 88.0% 89.4% 92.8% 92.1%
Trade 88.9% 37.5% 92.0% 81.3% 93.2% 94.5% 85.5% 85.9% 93.5% 93.9%
Non-Univ Dip 84.4% 33.2% 78.6% 64.0% 90.9% 94.1% 85.0% 85.9% 92.8% 93.0%
BA 70.0% 36.2% 71.6% 69.0% 87.2% 92.6% 89.9% 88.4% 92.2% 91.4%
MA 66.2% 33.9% 70.0% 71.4% 88.3% 90.5% 83.6% 82.0% 88.0% 87.2%
Ph.D 100.0% 43.5% 80.8% 88.0% 90.3% 91.6% 93.9% 96.2% 88.9% 89.3%
range 37.3% 11.9% 22.0% 24.0% 4.9% 4.0% 12.2% 14.2% 5.4% 6.7%

Highest level of education appears to have very little influence on provincial retention rates except in the smaller (Atlantic) provinces and in certain instances:

  • In general, doctoral degrees are associated with high retention rates in most provinces whereas MAs have consistently lower rates than do PhDs, perhaps a reflection of the occupations involved.
  • Trades certificates are also related to somewhat higher retention rates in many provinces (except Manitoba and Saskatchewan).

Province of Secondary Migration of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Highest Level of Education at Landing, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Province of Secondary Migration of Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Province of Secondary Migration of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Highest Level of Education at Landing, 2011 Tax Year
Province 0-12 13+ Trade Non-Uni Dip BA MA Ph.D
NL 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.3% 0.5% 0.0%
PEI 0.2% 0.1% 0.0% 0.3% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
NS 1.0% 0.9% 0.3% 1.2% 1.4% 1.5% 1.1%
NB 0.6% 0.2% 0.3% 0.4% 0.6% 0.7% 1.4%
QC 7.3% 10.6% 7.8% 8.0% 8.6% 10.3% 13.1%
ON 31.5% 34.4% 32.8% 34.6% 35.6% 36.4% 40.7%
MB 3.5% 1.7% 3.0% 2.1% 2.5% 2.4% 2.8%
SK 4.8% 2.9% 4.2% 3.1% 3.8% 4.2% 2.2%
AB 30.4% 27.7% 26.9% 23.9% 26.9% 24.9% 16.2%
BC 20.5% 21.6% 24.6% 26.3% 20.2% 19.1% 22.6%

Ontario, followed by Alberta and British Columbia attract most of those who move from their destination province.

For every level of education, Ontario attracts more than 30% of movers. Those with doctorates are particularly inclined to move to Ontario (41%), but a high proportion of immigrants with non-doctoral degrees (MAs and BAs) also leave their destination province for Ontario.

Outside Ontario, Alberta received the next highest proportion of movers, with a substantial proportion with very low levels of education moving there from their original destination province (30% of movers with less than 13 years of schooling migrate to Alberta compared to 16% of those with PhDs).

British Columbia was the second most attractive destination of movers with PhDs (23%), and it also attracted 24% of movers with Trade certificates and 26% of movers with non-university diplomas.

Retention Rates of Immigrants by Immigration Category

Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011 by Immigration Category, 2011 Tax year

Chart of the Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates of Immigrants Landed 2006-2011 by Immigration Category, 2011 Tax year
Refugees 95.6%
Family 94.3%
Caregiver 96.4%
PN 84.5%
SW 88.3%

Of those who landed between 2006 and 2011 and entered under the refugee categoryFootnote 8 96% were still in their destination province in 2011. In addition:

  • Live-in Caregivers were equally likely to continue residing in their province of destination.
  • Of those who entered under the Skilled Worker category (includes Federal Skilled Workers and Quebec Skilled Workers in the province of Quebec) 88% remained in their destination province.
  • Provincial Nominees and their families were least likely to remain in their province of destination --15% left and 85% remained. That this category is least likely to remain in their province of destination is a concern because PNs are an immigration stream specifically intended to distribute the economic benefits of immigration to all regions of Canada.
  • Of Quebec business immigrants (self-employed, entrepreneurs, investors and other business immigrants 78% remained in Quebec in 2011. Those who left were found in Ontario (2,195) and British Columbia ((1,645).
  • Only Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia had Canadian Experience Class immigrants in any quantity and these arrived starting in 2009. Retention rates for this group were quite high--96.6%, 94.7% and 94.1% respectively.
  • For family class immigrants arriving between 2006 and 2011, 94% remained in their destination province in 2011. One difference between family class immigrants and others that should be noted is that sponsors of family class immigrants are legally obliged to provide for them for at least the first three years after landing, and this may have some impact on retention rates over the first few years after landing.

Retention Rates and Net Change of Skilled Workers

Retention Rates and Net Change of Skilled WorkersFootnote 9 Landed 2006-2011, by Province, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Retention Rates and Net Change of Skilled Workers; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates and Net Change of Skilled Workers Landed 2006-2011, by Province, 2011 Tax Year
Province Net change % Retention %
NL 106% 56%
PEI 127% 36%
NS 95% 65%
NB 101% 57%
QC 94% 90%
ON 98% 89%
MB 111% 71%
SK 143% 71%
AB 120% 88%
BC 101% 86%
Province Destined at Landing Out-Migration Destined & Resident in 2011 In-Migration Resident in 2011 Retention Rate Net Change Rate %
Newfoundland 590 260 330 295 625 55.9% 5.9%
Prince Edward Island 110 70 40 100 140 36.4% 27.3%
Nova Scotia 2,410 850 1,560 725 2,285 64.7% -5.2%
New Brunswick 885 380 505 390 895 57.1% 1.1%
Quebec 111,500 11,600 99,900 4,920 104,820 89.6% -6.0%
Ontario 155,300 16,365 138,935 13,920 152,855 89.5% -1.6%
Manitoba 2,290 670 1,620 930 2,550 70.7% 11.4%
Saskatchewan 1,970 570 1,400 1,415 2,815 71.1% 42.9%
Alberta 33,050 4,095 28,955 10,635 39,590 87.6% 19.8%
British Columbia 47,570 6,770 40,800 7,415 48,215 85.8% 1.4%
Skilled Workers Total 355,675 41,630 314,045 40,745 354,790 88.3% -0.2%

Retention rates of skilled workers showed significant variation across provinces. They were highest in Quebec (89.6%), Ontario (89.5%), Alberta (87.6%) and British Columbia (85.8%). Despite these high retention rates, these provinces also lost the highest number of skilled workers (and their families) with Ontario losing 16,365 mainly to Alberta (5,800), British Columbia (4,170), Quebec (3,775), Saskatchewan (825), Manitoba (575) and Nova Scotia (395).

Quebec lost 11,600 skilled workers and their families mainly to Ontario (6,985), Alberta (2,415), and (1,420).

British Columbia lost 6,770 skilled workers and their families, mainly to Ontario (3,825), Alberta (1,820) and Quebec (530).

Alberta lost 4,095 mainly to Ontario (1,845), British Columbia (1,405), and Quebec (280).

Nova Scotia lost 850 skilled workers and their families, mainly to Ontario (465), Alberta (135) and British Columbia (100).

Manitoba lost 670 mainly to Ontario (270), and Alberta (155) and British Columbia (135).

Saskatchewan lost 570 skilled workers to Ontario (210), Alberta (190) and British Columbia (90).

New Brunswick lost 380 skilled workers and their families to Ontario (130), and Quebec (110).

Newfoundland lost 260 skilled workers of which 155 went to Ontario.

Prince Edward Island had very low numbers of skilled workers and lost most of them, but received almost as many skilled workers through secondary migration as were originally destined there and thus its net change was positive.

The provinces who benefited most from interprovincial migration of skilled workers and their families (i.e. those for whom in-migration of skilled workers exceeded out-migration) were Alberta (a net gain of 6,540), Saskatchewan (a gain of 845), British Columbia (a gain of 645) and Manitoba (260). The provinces whose outflows significantly exceeded their inflows were Quebec (a net loss of 6,680) and Ontario (a net loss of 2,445). When taking into account the number originally destined to each province, Saskatchewan had a net change of almost 43%, the highest of all provinces. This was followed by Prince Edward Island (which had a very small number destined) and Alberta which had a net change of almost 20%.

Retention Rates and Net Change of Live-In Caregivers

Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Live-In Caregivers Landed 2006-2011, by Province, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Live-In Caregivers Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Live-In Caregivers Landed 2006-2011, by Province, 2011 Tax Year
Province Net change % Retention %
NS 95% 89%
QC 94% 92%
ON 98% 97%
MB 110% 94%
SK 125% 95%
AB 111% 98%
BC 98% 96%
Province Destined at Landing Out-Migration Destined & Resident in 2011 In-Migration Resident in 2011 Retention Rate Net Change Rate %
Nova Scotia 95 10 85 5 90 89.5% -5.3%
Quebec 4,455 370 4,085 95 4,180 91.7% -6.2%
Ontario 24,570 775 23,795 295 24,090 96.8% -2.0%
Manitoba 485 30 455 80 535 93.8% 10.3%
Saskatchewan 385 20 365 115 480 94.8% 24.7%
Alberta 7,760 150 7,610 965 8,575 98.1% 10.5%
British Columbia 10,785 395 10,390 200 10,590 96.3% -1.8%

Retention rates of live-in caregivers are generally amongst the highest of all immigration categoriesFootnote 10 (along with refugees).

Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have the highest retention rates. Nevertheless, Ontario experienced the largest out-migration of live-in caregivers and their families (775) of which 465 went to Alberta, 105 to British Columbia and 55 to Quebec. British Columbia’s out-migration (395) was next largest of which 235 went to Alberta and 110 to Ontario. Quebec had the third largest out-migration (370) and they mainly went to Alberta (205) and Ontario (110).

In terms of provinces who gained from interprovincial mobility of those landing under the live-in caregiver program, Alberta was the largest a net gainer with an increase of 815 followed by Saskatchewan (95) and Nova Scotia (75).

Provinces with a net loss of live-in care givers from interprovincial mobility included Ontario (-480), Quebec (-275) and British Columbia (-195).

Once the number of immigrants destined to the province is taken into account, the net change (light grey bars) is highest for Saskatchewan (an increase of almost 25%), Alberta (an increase of 10.5%) and Manitoba (an increase of 10.3%).

Retention Rates of Provincial Nominees

Retention Rates of Provincial Nominees Landed 2006-2011, by NominatingTable footnote * Province, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Retention Rates of Provincial Nominees Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates of Provincial Nominees Landed 2006-2011, by Nominating Province, 2011 Tax Year
Province Net%
NL 59.7%
PEI 22.7%
NS 59.9%
NB 60.4%
ON 98.0%
MB 84.6%
SK 84.7%
AB 94.2%
BC 93.4%
Province of Nomination Number Nominated and Found in the IMDB for 2011 Tax Year Number found in Nominating Province in 2011 Tax Year Share in Nominating Province Number found Outside Nominating Province in 2011
Newfoundland 670 400 59.7% 270
Prince Edward Island 6,925 1,575 22.7% 5,350
Nova Scotia 3,455 2,070 59.9% 1,385
New Brunswick 4,450 2,690 60.4% 1,760
Ontario 1,000 980 98.0% 20
Manitoba 37,615 31,805 84.6% 5,810
Saskatchewan 15,050 12,750 84.7% 2,300
Alberta 16,630 15,670 94.2% 960
British Columbia 13,480 12,585 93.4% 895
Grand Total 103,935 80,525 77.5% 23,410

Provincial Nominees are nominated by a particular province, but at arrival may declare another intended destination province. Shares of provincial nominees found in nominating province varied significantly amongst the provinces, with Ontario having the highest share found in a nominating province (98%) and Prince Edward Island (23%) the lowest.

Manitoba had the highest number of nominations and 85% of those nominated by Manitoba that landed between 2006 and 2011 were found in Manitoba in 2011. Of those that were not, they tended to be in Ontario (2,490), Alberta (1,285), and British Columbia (1,670).

While Prince Edward Island did not have as many nominations, almost 77% (5,350) were found outside the province, mainly in Ontario (2,590) and British Columbia (2,330).

Saskatchewan had a large number of nominations and about 15% (2,300) were found outside the province in 2011, mainly in Ontario (835), Alberta (700) and British Columbia (540).

About 40% of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia’s provincial nominees were found outside those provinces in 2011, mainly in Ontario and British Columbia.

Alberta and British Columbia had amongst the highest share of provincial nominees found in the nominating province in 2011, and of those that were not, they tended to be either in Ontario, or in Alberta (in the case of British Columbia) or in British Columbia (in the case of Alberta).

Although there were not as many nominations from Ontario found in the IMDB, in the 2011 tax year Ontario attracted by far the largest number of nominees that were nominated by other provinces and moved (8,350) compared to 5,910 for British Columbia and 2,730 for Alberta.

Proportion of Provincial Nominees Landed 2006-2011, found Outside their Province of Nomination by Province of Nomination, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Proportion of Provincial Nominees Landed; text version below
Text version: Proportion of Provincial Nominees Landed 2006-2011, found Outside their Province of Nomination by Province of Nomination, 2011 Tax Year
Newfoundland 1.4%
Prince Edward Island 28.5%
Nova Scotia 7.4%
New Brunswick 9.4%
Ontario 0.1%
Manitoba 31.0%
Saskatchewan 12.3%
Alberta 5.1%
British Columbia 4.8%

The proportion of Provincial Nominees found outside their province of nomination was highest for Manitoba (31%) and Prince Edward Island (29%).

The reason for the high proportion was different for the two provinces - Prince Edward Island had only 7,000 nominations over the 6 year period but saw 77% of its nominees live outside the province, whereas Manitoba had more than 37,600 nominees over the period and lost 15% of its nominees.

Ontario’s share was close to 0% due to its high retention rate (98%) and relatively low number of nominees (1,000 over the 6 year period).

Saskatchewan accounted for 12% of the nominees found outside their nominating province. It had the same retention rate as Manitoba, but less than half the nominees, therefore a significantly lower number were found outside the province.

New Brunswick which accounted for 7% of PNs found outside their nominating province, nominated 4,500 but had a low retention rate (64%).

Nova Scotia’s share of PNs found outside their province of nomination was 7%. It had less than 3,500 nominees, but had a relatively low retention rate (60%).

Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Provincial Nominees Landed 2006-2011, by Destination Province, Tax Year 2011

Chart of the Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Provincial Nominees Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Provincial Nominees Landed 2006-2011, by Destination Province, Tax Year 2011
Province Net change % Retention %
NL 75% 67%
PEI 31% 29%
NS 76% 68%
NB 69% 65%
QC 303% 51%
ON 227% 82%
MB 89% 88%
SK 91% 88%
AB 109% 95%
BC 123% 92%
Province Destined at Landing Out-Migration Destined & Resident in 2011 In-Migration Resident in 2011 Retention Rate Net Change Rate %
Newfoundland 645 210 435 50 485 67.4% -24.8%
Prince Edward Island 5,305 3,780 1,525 130 1,655 28.7% -68.8%
Nova Scotia 3,245 1,040 2,205 270 2,475 68.0% -23.7%
New Brunswick 4,200 1,490 2,710 180 2,890 64.5% -31.2%
Quebec 185 90 95 465 560 51.4% 202.7%
Ontario 4,315 795 3,520 6,280 9,800 81.6% 127.1%
Manitoba 37,065 4,520 32,545 620 33,165 87.8% -10.5%
Saskatchewan 15,205 1,890 13,315 545 13,860 87.6% -8.8%
Alberta 17,875 950 16,925 2,630 19,555 94.7% 9.4%
British Columbia 15,425 1,250 14,175 4,750 18,925 91.9% 22.7%

Provincial Nominees are nominated by a particular province, but at arrival may declare another intended destination province. This chart and graph show how many nominees of a province were destined to that province (at landing) and were also found in that province in 2011. The graph shows significant variation in retention rates between the provinces and is also quite different from the retention rates of provinces by nomination province. The province with the highest retention rate is Alberta with 95%, while Prince Edward Island has the lowest (29%). There are several other interesting points to note:

  • Quebec does not have a provincial nomination program, nevertheless it was the destination for 185 nominees, and retained more than half.
  • Ontario nominated only 1,000 but was the destination for more than 4,300 and retained 82% of them (lower than the 98% of those that it nominated itself).
  • Of the almost 7,000 that Prince Edward Island nominated, more than 1,600 declared another province of destination and of those that arrived in Prince Edward Island the province lost a further 3,800 (i.e. 71%).
  • Manitoba, the province with the highest number of nominations, lost 550 to other destinations on arrival, but of those that were destined to Manitoba it retained 88%.
  • Likewise, Saskatchewan had a higher retention rate of those destined to the province (88%, 3 percentage points higher than those it nominated).
  • Alberta received 1,245 more nominees than it nominated and retained 95% (0.5 percentage points higher than its nomination retention rate).
  • British Columbia received 1,945 more nominees than it nominated and retained 92%.
  • In general, the Atlantic provinces tended to lose nominees at arrival (i.e. immigrants chose another destination province at landing), but due to this, their destination retention rates were higher than their nomination retention rates (i.e. Newfoundland and Nova Scotia were 8 percentage points higher while Prince Edward Island was 6 percentage points higher and New Brunswick 4 percentage points higher).

Looking at net change, if we discount the aberration in Ontario and Quebec, we see that British Columbia had the highest net change (an increase of almost 23%).

Share of Nominees Landed 2006-2011, Found Outside their Province of Destination, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Share of Nominees Landed; text version below
Text version: Share of Nominees Landed 2006-2011, Found Outside their Province of Destination, 2011 Tax Year
Newfoundland 1.3%
Prince Edward Island 23.6%
Nova Scotia 6.5%
New Brunswick 9.3%
Quebec 0.6%
Ontario 5.0%
Manitoba 28.2%
Saskatchewan 11.8%
Alberta 5.9%
British Columbia 7.8%

While Manitoba’s and Prince Edward Island still remained the largest source of movers, that  shares of nominees destined to their provinces and found outside their provinces in 2011 is lower compared to the shares of those it nominated. Manitoba was 28% compared to 31% for those it nominated while Prince Edward Island’s was 24% compared to 29% for those it nominated.

On the other hand, Ontario, which lost almost none of its own nominees, lost 5% of those destined to Ontario but nominated by other provinces.

Similarly Quebec, with no nomination program of its own, contributed 1% to nominees found outside their province of destination.

British Columbia was responsible for 8% of nominees found outside their province of destination, an increase of 3 percentage points compared to those it nominated that were found outside their province of nomination.

Saskatchewan and New Brunswick’s shares of nominees found outside their province of destination was unchanged from share found outside their province of nomination.

Retention Rates of Family Class Immigrants

Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Family Class Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Family Class Immigrants Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Family Class Immigrants Landed 2006-2011, by Province, 2011 Tax Year
Province Net change % Retention %
NL 91% 75%
PEI 88% 67%
NS 98% 83%
NB 93% 79%
QC 97% 94%
ON 99% 96%
MB 97% 88%
SK 130% 86%
AB 108% 93%
BC 100% 94%
Province Destined at Landing Out-Migration Destined & Resident in 2011 In-Migration Resident in 2011 Retention Rate Net Change Rate %
Newfoundland 500 125 375 80 455 75.0% -9.0%
Prince Edward Island 240 80 160 50 210 66.7% -12.5%
Nova Scotia 1,905 325 1,580 285 1,865 82.9% -2.1%
New Brunswick 1,060 220 840 140 980 79.2% -7.5%
Quebec 41,205 2,500 38,705 1,425 40,130 93.9% -2.6%
Ontario 149,715 6,530 143,185 4,365 147,550 95.6% -1.4%
Manitoba 6,230 740 5,490 575 6,065 88.1% -2.6%
Saskatchewan 2,585 360 2,225 1,135 3,360 86.1% 30.0%
Alberta 32,590 2,285 30,305 4,875 35,180 93.0% 7.9%
British Columbia 57,385 3,450 53,935 3,320 57,255 94.0% -0.2%
Family Total 293,415 16,615 276,800 16,250 293,050 94.3% -0.1%

Retention rates of family class immigrants are fairly high for every province and there is less variation among provinces than for some other immigration categories. Despite having the highest retention rates, Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta still experienced significant out-migration of family class immigrants.

Ontario which had a retention rate of almost 96% lost 2,500 family class immigrants to Alberta, 1,750 to British Columbia, 985 to Quebec, 605 to Saskatchewan and 275 to Manitoba.

British Columbia with a retention rate of 94% lost 1,410 family class immigrants to Ontario, 1,315 to Alberta, 220 to Saskatchewan, 175 to Quebec and 140 to Manitoba.

Quebec which had a retention rate of almost 94% lost 1,475 family class immigrants to Ontario, 535 to Alberta and 290 to British Columbia.

Alberta with a retention rate of 93%, lost 910 family class immigrants to British Columbia, 790 to Ontario, 220 to Saskatchewan and 105 to Manitoba.

Manitoba with a retention rate of 88%, lost 245 family class immigrants to Ontario, 240 to Alberta, and 185 to British Columbia.

Saskatchewan with a retention rate of 86% lost 115 family class immigrants to both Ontario and Alberta, and 90 to British Columbia.

Nova Scotia with a retention rate of 83% lost 135 family class immigrants to Ontario and 75 to Alberta.

Despite their lower retention rates, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island also had lower levels of out-migration.

The provinces with the largest net gain of family class immigrants from interprovincial migration (i.e. those for which in-migration was larger than out-migration) included Alberta (net gain of 2,590) and Saskatchewan (net gain of 775), while those with the largest net loss of family class immigrants included Ontario (net loss of 2,165) and Quebec (net loss of 1,075), Manitoba (net loss of 165) and British Columbia (net loss of 130).

Retention Rates and Net Change of Refugees

Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Refugees Landed 2006-2011, by Province, 2011 Tax Year

Chart of the Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Refugees Landed; text version below
Text version: Retention Rates and Net Change (%) of Refugees Landed 2006-2011, by Province, 2011 Tax Year
Province Net change % Retention %
NL 51% 50%
PEI 74% 63%
NS 87% 74%
NB 71% 60%
QC 91% 87%
ON 98% 93%
MB 75% 63%
SK 110% 81%
AB 151% 91%
BC 102% 89%
Province Destined at Landing Out-Migration Destined & Resident in 2011 In-Migration Resident in 2011 Retention Rate Net Change Rate %
Newfoundland 605 300 305 5 310 50.4% -48.8%
Prince Edward Island 230 85 145 25 170 63.0% -26.1%
Nova Scotia 780 205 575 100 675 73.7% -13.5%
New Brunswick 590 235 355 65 420 60.2% -28.8%
Quebec 20,405 2,660 17,745 740 18,485 87.0% -9.4%
Ontario 61,505 4,125 57,380 2,905 60,285 93.3% -2.0%
Manitoba 4,170 1,550 2,620 490 3,110 62.8% -25.4%
Saskatchewan 2,085 400 1,685 600 2,285 80.8% 9.6%
Alberta 8,715 795 7,920 5,205 13,125 90.9% 50.6%
British Columbia 6,755 765 5,990 910 6,900 88.7% 2.1%
Refugee Total 105,840 11,120 94,720 11,045 105,765 89.5% -0.1%

Although refugees generally had among the highest retention rates, the rates differed substantially by province—from a low of 50% in Newfoundland to a high of 93% in Ontario (where the majority (58%) of refugees were destined). Despite having the highest retention rate, Ontario also saw the largest number of out-migration of refugees (4,125) with more than half of these (2,425) going to Alberta, and others to Quebec (500), British Columbia (425), Saskatchewan (325) and Manitoba (320).

Quebec, which received almost 20% of Canada’s refugees during this period, had a relatively high retention rate (87%) but saw 2,660 refugees leave, destined mainly to Ontario (1,350), Alberta (940), and British Columbia (215).

Manitoba’s retention rate was relatively low (63%) and this was reflected in the 1,550 refugees leaving for Alberta (1,065) and Ontario (285).

Both Alberta and British Columbia had relatively high retention rates (91% and 89% respectively) but nevertheless saw almost 800 refugees leave each of their provinces. British Columbia’s refugees were mainly destined for Ontario (325) and Alberta (315), while Alberta’s were destined for Ontario (455) and British Columbia (120).

Saskatchewan had a retention rate of 81% and saw 400 refugees leave the province mainly for Alberta (170) and Ontario (165).

Newfoundland’s outmigration of refugees and their families (300) were mainly destined for Ontario (110) and Alberta (105).

In terms of provinces who experienced net gains from the interprovincial migration of refugees, these were three western provinces and mainly Alberta (4,410), but also Saskatchewan (200) and British Columbia (145). The provinces who lost the most refugees were Quebec (1,920), Ontario (1,220) and Manitoba (1,060) but also Newfoundland (295), New Brunswick (170) and Nova Scotia (105).

Comparison of Average Employment Earnings (AEE) in Tax Year 2011: StayersFootnote 11 versus moversFootnote 12, Immigrants Landed between 2006 and 2011, for selected immigrant categories

What are some of the economic drivers that affect immigrants' decision to stay in their province of destination or to move? This assumes that they have this information or similar information about employment incomes in their destination province and the province of secondary destination. The next chart compares the average employment earnings in 2011 of those who stayed in their destination province and those who moved to another province and allows comparison across provinces of those who stay and move by immigration category.

Comparison of Average Employment Earnings (AEE) in Tax Year 2011: Stayers versus Movers, Immigrants Landed between 2006 and 2011, for selected immigrant categories

Dest/Res. All Immigrants SW pa PN pa Family Refugee LiC p.a.
NL Stayers $44,484 $76,677 $67,745 $37,060 $14,726 $19,700
NL MoversTable 8 footnote * $37,201 $73,066 $45,875 $30,765 $19,351 NA
PEI Stayers $19,107 $44,500 $26,629 $23,187 $10,825 NA
PEI Movers $18,104 NA $23,184 $22,000 $12,273 NA
NS Stayers $30,170 $45,927 $41,424 $29,828 $16,070 $24,250
NS Movers $30,691 $50,793 $32,026 $31,196 $17,944 NA
NB Stayers $28,730 $48,771 $40,919 $23,979 $15,049 $22,857
NB Movers $26,782 $44,554 $32,161 $36,923 $21,402 NA
QC Stayers $22,914 $29,250 $29,000 $17,834 $16,720 $18,562
QC Movers $30,079 $39,799 NA $24,541 $21,158 $27,986
ON Stayers $27,309 $44,480 $50,502 $21,966 $19,921 $23,398
ON Movers $31,957 $47,517 $38,750 $25,328 $26,782 $29,689
MB Stayers $23,932 $39,200 $29,085 $22,122 $17,935 $28,000
MB Movers $25,886 $43,001 $32,892 $22,606 $24,624 NA
SK Stayers $30,849 $43,952 $41,670 $24,181 $19,657 $35,543
SK Movers $30,700 $52,584 $39,342 $28,018 $22,013 NA
AB Stayers $37,758 $54,203 $70,971 $28,159 $26,170 $34,869
AB Movers $31,832 $45,029 $53,209 $24,944 $17,606 $24,958
BC Stayers  $27,274 $38,482 $64,445 $21,604 $18,184 $25,055
BC Movers $30,273 $43,188 $56,997 $24,087 $19,115 $24,654
Dest/Res. All Immigrants SW pa PN pa Family Refugee LiC p.a.
NL Stayers 1,545 180 295 375 305 5
MoversTable 9 footnote * 890 95 80 80 280 NA
PEI Stayers 1,920 20 685 160 145 NA
Movers 3,990 NA 795 40 55 NA
NS Stayers 6,640 825 1,080 1,580 575 70
Movers 2,525 435 410 265 180 NA
NB Stayers 100 285 1,300 840 355 35
Movers 2,365 195 610 170 195 NA
QC Stayers 173,440 65,595 35 38,705 17,745 2,495
Movers 21,670 7,455 5 2,400 2,630 200
ON Stayers 413,165 69,845 1,660 143,185 57,380 15,600
Movers 30,125 8,380 290 6,325 4,075 435
MB Stayers 43,385 820 16,885 5,490 2,620 290
Movers 7,520 295 2,230 700 1,510 NA
SK Stayers 19,355 745 7,230 2,225 1,685 235
Movers 3,275 290 920 325 360 NA
AB Stayers 97,185 14,675 9,335 30,305 7,920 4,720
Movers 8,565 2,085 495 2,180 2,455 60
BC Stayers 150,525 20,300 8,325 53,935 5,990 6,680
Movers 13,995 3,365 580 3,310 740 260

Immigrants destined to Alberta who stayed in the province have higher average employment earnings than those who left Alberta (Alberta's movers) across every immigration category. In addition, Alberta's stayers have average employment earnings that are higher than stayers in other destination provinces in many, but not all, categories including provincial nominee principal applicants (pas) ($70,970) refugees ($26,170) and live-in caregivers ($34,870).

Newfoundland has the highest average employment earnings for stayers in: all immigrant categories grouped together ($44,480), for the family category ($37,060) and also for skilled worker principal applicants ($76,680). In general, average employment earnings for skilled worker pas, provincial nominee pas and family class immigrants who stay in the province are higher than the average observed for movers, and indeed are amongst the highest in Canada (except for provincial nominee pas who stay in Alberta).Footnote 13

Average employment earnings of stayers in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba are consistently lower than of those provinces' movers (except in the case of Ontario's provincial nominee pas who earn almost $12,000 more than those who left the province). In some cases (i.e. Quebec) the average earnings of stayers appear to be amongst the lowest in Canada for each category.

Prince Edward Island also has a number of categories where incomes for stayers (as well as movers) are consistently among the lowest in Canada. For example, for all immigrants the average employment earnings of stayers is about $1,000 more than that reported by movers, but still $3,800 less than the average employment earnings in the next lowest province (Quebec). While provincial nominee pas who stay in Prince Edward Island earn more ($3,400) than those who move, they earn about $2,500 less than all other provincial nominee pas who stay in their provinces of destination (the next lowest province is Quebec followed by Manitoba). Prince Edward Island.

In British Columbia, which is the third largest immigrant receiving province (after Ontario and Quebec), average employment earnings of stayers is higher than movers only in the case of PNs where they earn roughly $7,500 more than those who move, and live-in caregivers where the difference is only about $400 between stayers and movers. This suggests that the reasons that draw secondary migrants to British Columbia are unlikely to be purely economic.

Examining the table through the program lens, indicates that the AEE of immigrants who were admitted under the provincial nominee category was higher for those who stayed in the destination province for every province except Manitoba, which despite having a retention rate for provincial nominees of almost 88%, loses the highest number through outmigration. Provincial nominees who stayed in Manitoba had average employment earnings that were roughly $3,000 lower than those who left.

The opposite is true for refugees who as we have seen had amongst the highest retention rates of all categories. In every province except Alberta, refugees who stayed in their destination province had lower average employment earnings than those who moved.

Interprovincial Comparison of Retention Rates over Time (Years Since Landing (YSL)) across Immigration Categories

Skilled Worker
Chart of the Retention Rates over Time of skilled workers; text version below
Text version: Skilled Worker
  Years Since Landing
Province 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
NL 82 73 61 46 45 - - - - - - -
NS 79 73 64 65 61 55 54 58 49 42 43 32
NB 79 64 50 60 52 44 43 45 40 22 15 18
QC 93 92 90 87 88 87 86 85 86 86 85 84
ON 93 92 90 89 89 87 87 87 86 82 83 85
MB 83 78 72 64 62 64 68 60 65 49 38 37
SK 93 73 74 68 65 60 57 52 53 39 33 36
AB 92 90 84 86 87 87 88 86 85 75 74 69
BC 92 87 87 84 84 84 82 82 79 73 70 67
CEC
Chart of the Retention Rates over Time of CEC; text version below
Text version: CEC
  Years Since Landing
Province 0 1 2
NL - - -
NS - - -
NB - - -
QC - - -
ON 97 95 97
MB - - -
SK - - -
AB 97 93 88
BC 96 90 94
Refugees
Chart of the Retention Rates over Time of refugees; text version below
Text version: Refugees
  Years Since Landing
Province 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
NL 63 52 42 40 65 40 38 - - - - -
NS 100 77 83 70 67 45 42 39 39 39 37 43
NB 82 71 75 52 56 36 32 36 21 36 23 19
QC 97 91 88 86 84 81 77 74 75 71 72 68
ON 97 96 96 92 91 90 91 90 90 90 90 92
MB 67 75 76 63 54 49 55 56 49 55 47 53
SK 92 84 83 74 76 77 52 52 51 39 31 27
AB 94 91 91 87 88 92 91 90 91 84 86 83
BC 95 89 86 84 88 89 87 87 83 83 82 83
PNP (destined)
Chart of the Retention Rates over Time of PNP (destined); text version below
Text version: PNP (destined)
  Years Since Landing
Province 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
NL 84 72 71 56 - - - - - - - -
NS 90 80 69 63 59 55 55 - - - - -
NB 79 67 68 56 61 57 48 58 58 57 - -
QC - - - - - - - - - - - -
ON 86 86 90 73 68 72 78 85 73 - - -
MB 94 89 87 85 86 82 77 75 71 73 69 75
SK 94 88 85 86 83 70 68 67 65 - - -
AB 97 95 94 92 90 89 89 90 76 - - -
BC 94 92 93 90 90 92 91 93 81 96 - -
Live in Caregiver
Chart of the Retention Rates over Time of live in caregivers; text version below
Text version: Live in Caregiver
  Years Since Landing
Province 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
NL - 50 - - - 100 - - - - - -
NS 75 100 100 100 100 - - - - - - -
NB 100 100 100 - 100 100 - 100 - - - -
QC 95 95 94 90 88 86 85 88 83 88 88 80
ON 99 98 97 96 95 94 94 95 95 96 94 95
MB 89 95 95 94 100 92 100 - - - - -
SK 94 100 93 93 - - - - - - - -
AB 98 99 97 98 97 99 98 97 98 95 97 94
BC 98 98 96 95 96 96 95 96 93 92 94 95
Family
Chart of the Retention Rates over Time of family; text version below
Text version: Family
  Years Since Landing
Province 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
NL 87 88 63 81 64 64 60 64 63 - - -
NS 94 85 83 83 77 77 71 71 68 69 69 -
NB 92 80 82 78 72 71 65 65 70 70 70 -
QC 98 97 94 94 91 89 88 88 85 86 86 80
ON 98 97 96 95 95 94 93 94 94 94 94 95
MB 94 90 91 87 86 81 77 76 77 74 75 -
SK 95 88 87 82 81 80 76 74 67 71 67 -
AB 97 94 92 92 92 92 91 90 90 90 88 94
BC 98 96 95 94 92 92 91 91 91 89 88 95

The previous figures offer a longer time horizon over which to view retention rates (up to 11 years after landing, unlike most of the analysis in this document which concerns itself with the first 5 years after admission.) In general, across all categories, retention rates in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta are the highest and change least over time. Other provinces, especially the Atlantic and prairie provinces experience outflows of immigrants that begin fairly soon after their admission. By Category:

Skilled Workers: Within the first year after admission, and continuing into the second, a high proportion of skilled workers arriving in the Atlantic and prairie provinces leave for other provinces (from the previous figures it is clear that a substantial secondary in-migration of skilled workers arrives in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec during this period).

Provincial Nominee Program: A substantial proportion of provincial nominees leave the Atlantic provinces within the first year or two of admission. Manitoba and Saskatchewan also see the steady departure of provincial nominees within the first two years and continuing over the period, but the out-migration is not as dramatic as it is in the Atlantic provinces. Some of the variability of Ontario’s retention rate over time is due to the ramping up of the program in that province. In earlier years, there were fewer nominees and hence more variability related to these numbers. There is a substantial in-migration of provincial nominees to Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.

CEC: Retention rates in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario are high and there is little change over the two years examined.

Live-in Caregiver: Retention rates are quite high for the five provinces included in the figure above although in Quebec we see a steady but slow out-migration starting in the first year. Most of those moving again are headed to Alberta (or to a lesser extent, Ontario).

Refugees: A substantial proportion of refugees leaves the Atlantic provinces and Saskatchewan in the first couple of years and this continues throughout the period examined. The variation in the Atlantic provinces over time is related to the ever dwindling numbers there. After increasing slightly over the first two years, Manitoba also sees and substantial number of refugees leaving the province, with the rate stabilizing after the fourth year. As we know from the figure on page23 most refugees leaving their destination province tend to go to Alberta and Ontario.

Family: The Atlantic provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan all see a substantial number of family class immigrants leaving within the first year or two of admission. It is clear from the previous table that they are destined for Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.

Summary of main findings

The province with the highest overall retention rate is Ontario, followed by Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec. In Atlantic Canada, retention rates are lower with Prince Edward Island facing the greatest challenge. When net change is considered, Alberta stands out because it is the recipient of so many secondary movers (a net increase of more than 16,500). At the same time in terms of secondary migration, Quebec stands out for having 13,700 more leave than enter.

Female retention rates are slightly higher than males in almost all provinces and older age groups have higher retention rates than younger age groups with particularly large differences in the Atlantic provinces between the retention rates of older and younger age groups.

Official language ability appears to be an important factor in Atlantic provinces, but not very important in Alberta and British Columbia. In terms of secondary migration, Ontario receives the largest number of all language groups including French, but for French movers, Quebec is also an attractive destination, whereas Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia are for English movers. For secondary movers with no knowledge of an official language Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta are attractive.

Relatively speaking, retention rates for trades and PhDs were high in the Atlantic provinces (except Prince Edward Island) and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and less significant in other provinces. However, in terms of secondary migration, Ontario attracted more than 30% of all educational levels and 40% of PhDs while Alberta attracted 30% of movers with the lowest levels of education.

In terms of immigration categories, live-in caregivers, refugees, and the family class have highest retention rates (above 90%) while retention rates for skilled workers and provincial nominees were somewhat lower (between 80 and 85%). Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia have retention rates of skilled workers above 85%. Similarly for provincial nominees, Ontario and provinces to the west had retention rates above 80%. East of Ontario retention rates were significantly lower, particularly in Prince Edward Island where the retention rate of provincial nominees was less than 30%. Ontario and British Columbia are recipients of substantial provincial nominees in-migration. Refugees generally had high retention rates although for refugee movers, the primary provinces of secondary migration were Alberta and Ontario.

Comparing average employment earnings (AEE) of movers and stayers across provinces offers some perspective into decisions of immigrants after they are admitted. Alberta stands out because it has relatively high employment earnings of stayers across many categories, and this may provide a rationale for why over the period examined, its retention rates were amongst the highest (after Ontario) and why more than 25,000 immigrants destined for other provinces subsequently moved to Alberta. However, it is equally clear that employment earnings cannot be the only reason, since Ontario attracted the highest number of secondary movers (almost 32,000) but ranked 6th amongst all provinces in terms of average employment earnings of stayers. British Columbia, the 3rd most popular destination for secondary movers, ranked 7th in terms of average employment earnings of stayers.

Examining AEE of stayers and movers across provinces by immigration category we see that skilled workers destined for Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia and subsequently left for another province had higher employment earnings than those who stayed. But, for those who were admitted under the provincial nominee category, this is only true for those destined for Manitoba, which despite having a retention rate for provincial nominees of almost 88%, loses the highest number through outmigration. Provincial nominees who stayed in Manitoba had average employment earnings that were roughly $3,000 lower than those who left. The converse is true for refugees who had amongst the highest retention rates of all categories. In every province except Alberta, refugees who stayed in their destination province had lower average employment earnings than those who moved.

Looking at the length of interval between arriving in the destination province and moving elsewhere, we see that in general, if immigrants move to another province, they tend to do so within the first two or three years after being admitted.

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