ARCHIVED – The Interprovincial Mobility of Immigrants in Canada

Immigrants landed from 2000 to 2006

This section examines the mobility and retention of immigrants who landed in Canada from 2000 to 2006, and filed a tax return for the 2006 tax year – based on the category7 in which they were admitted to Canada.

The province in which immigrants were originally destined for on landing and the province in which they filed their tax return in the 2006 tax year was used in deriving the migration and retention rates presented in this section. In light of the significant number of immigrants who were admitted into Canada under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) since 20008 and the analysis of mobility by immigration category, it was essential to examine the mobility patterns of the more recent cohort of immigrants. (Refer to Tables 2 to 7 and Appendix I tables for details on figures referenced in this section).

Highlights

A little over 1.6 million immigrants were admitted to Canada as permanent residents from 2000 to 2006, and approximately 986,000 were captured in the IMDB for the 2006 tax year. Over this period, approximately 113,000 (11%) of these tax filers had moved from their original province of destination.

Figure 2: Immigrants found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (2000 to 2006 landing years)

Immigrants found in destination province vs.  those found outside destination province (2000 to 2006 landing years)
Immigrants found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (2000 to 2006 landing years)
Province Tax filers found in province of  original destination in 2006 tax year Tax filers found outside province of original destination in 2006 tax year
Newfoundland and Labrador 720 935
Prince Edward Island 500 425
Nova Scotia 4,175 2,000
New Brunswick 1,950 1,300
Quebec 142,665 24,170
Ontario 493,485 46,470
Manitoba 20,155 6,415
Saskatchewan 4,910 2,700
Alberta 64,255 7,790
British Columbia 140,080 20,750
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).
  • The figure above shows the number of filers who stayed within the provinces they were originally destined for compared to those who moved to other provinces. From the figure, it is clear that in comparison to other provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador registered the highest proportional immigrant filer outflow.
  • The provinces registered retention rates ranging from 43% (Newfoundland and Labrador) to 91% (Ontario).
    • In terms of numbers, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia registered the highest influx of immigrant filers who were originally destined for other provinces, with about 90,000 filers originally destined for other provinces being found in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia in the 2006 tax year. This left these three provinces with the highest retention rates of 91%, 89% and 87%, respectively.
  • Quebec ranked fourth, with a retention rate of 86%. About 14,600 more tax filers than were originally destined for the province, filed their 2006 taxes in the province while 24,170 filers originally destined for Quebec filed in other provinces.
  • The Atlantic provinces registered a significantly higher proportion of outflow of filers originally destined for the region, than inflow. This left Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia with retention rates of 44%, 54%, 60% and 68%, respectively.
    • Immigrant tax filers originally destined to Newfoundland and Labrador on landing, posted the highest proportion of filers who moved from their original province of destination in the 2006 tax year. In the 2006 tax year, over half of filers destined for the province were found in other provinces. 
    • Prince Edward Island (-28%), New Brunswick  (-16%)  and Nova Scotia ( -7%),  all registered negative net change values as more filers, originally destined to these provinces, flowed out to Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
  • In terms of proportions, Alberta and British Columbia were the only provinces that registered a higher proportional inflow than outflow of immigrant filers originally destined for other provinces. This led to Alberta and British Columbia, registering the only positive net change values (30% and 3% respectively) among the provinces. On the other hand, Newfoundland and Labrador (-35%) and Prince Edward Island (-28%) registered the lowest net migration change rates. This finding was reflective of the mobility in the general population. (Figures from Statistics Canada’s Demography Division showed that Newfoundland and Labrador consistently recorded negative net migration from 1981 to 2006).
  • Saskatchewan and Manitoba also experienced a higher proportional outflow than inflow9 of interprovincial immigrant movers, and registered retention rates of 65% and 76% respectively.

Mobility patterns of immigrant tax filers, based on the category10 under which they were admitted, showed marked differences. Business, skilled worker and provincial nominee filers displayed a higher degree of mobility than other categories of filers.

  • The figure below shows a comparison of filers who were found in their original province of destination versus those who moved - based on the category in which they were admitted to Canada from 2000 to 2006. From the figure, it is evident that filers admitted under the business category (22%) moved at a higher rate than those admitted under the live-in caregiver category (3%).

Figure 3: Immigrants found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on immigration category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)

Immigrants found in destination province  vs. those found outside destination province (based on immigration category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Immigrants found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on immigration category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Immigration Category Tax filers found in province of  original destination in 2006 tax year Tax filers found outside province of original destination in 2006 tax year
Family class 274,465 17,145
Skilled workers 398,725 64,710
Provincial nominees 16,565 3,330
Business 35,445 9,885
Live-in caregiver 19,490 630
Refugees 107,210 16,090
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).
  • Of the 480,000 skilled worker immigrants who were captured in the IMDB for the 2006 tax year (and landed from 2000 to 2006), about 65,000 (14%) had moved from their “destination at landing” province by 2006, with a high proportion of movers moving to Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia.
  • About 290,000 immigrants captured in the IMDB for the 2006 tax year (and landed from 2000 to 2006), were admitted to Canada under the family category.  By 2006 about 17,000 (6%) of these immigrants had moved from their “destination at landing” province. Most movers (15,815) out-migrated to either Ontario, British Columbia or Quebec.
  • Approximately 45,000 tax filers admitted to Canada from 2000 to 2006 under the Business class program were captured in the IMDB. 22% of these filers were found in other provinces in the 2006 tax year. Business immigrant filers who had noted Quebec as their province of destination on landing were more likely to leave Quebec in comparison to other categories of filers.  Almost all of these movers ended up in either Ontario or British Columbia in the 2006 tax year.
  • Of approximately 20,000 tax filers admitted into Canada under the live-in caregiver program from 2000 to 2006, only 3% moved from their original province of destination by the 2006 tax year. 8 out of 10 of those who moved relocated to Alberta, Ontario or British Columbia.
  • Of approximately 123,000 tax filers in the refugee category that landed from 2000 to 2006 (captured in the IMDB), approximately 13% of them had moved from their original province of destination by the 2006 tax year.
Table 2: Immigrants landed from 2000 to 2006 (2006 tax year)
Province Destined at landing Out-
migr-
ation
Destined and resident in 2006 In-
migr-
ation
Resident
in 2006
Retention rate (%) Net
change
(%)
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,655 935 720 350 1,070 43.5 -35.3
Prince Edward Island 925 425 500 165 665 54.1 -28.1
Nova Scotia 6,175 2,000 4,175 1,545 5,720 67.6 -7.4
New Brunswick 3,250 1,300 1,950 775 2,725 60.0 -16.2
Quebec 166,835 24,170 142,665 14,620 157,285 85.5 -5.7
Ontario 539,955 46,470 493,485 35,155 528,640 91.4 -2.1
Manitoba 26,570 6,415 20,155 2,650 22,805 75.9 -14.2
Saskatchewan 7,610 2,700 4,910 1,375 6,285 64.5 -17.4
Alberta 72,045 7,790 64,255 29,555 93,810 89.2 30.2
British Columbia 160,830 20,750 140,080 25,235 165,315 87.1 2.8
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).

Skilled workers

Trends in interprovincial movement for this category of tax filers differed based on the province they were originally destined for on landing from 2000 to 2006. Provincial retention rates for tax filers admitted under the skilled worker program ranged from 56% (Saskatchewan) to 90% (Quebec).

  • Figure 4, below, shows the share of skilled workers who stayed in their province of original destination and the share of those who left. Skilled workers destined to Saskatchewan left the province at a higher proportion than those destined for other provinces.

Figure 4: Skilled workers found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the skilled worker category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)

Skilled  workers found in destination province vs. those found outside destination  province (based on those landed under the skilled worker category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Skilled workers found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the skilled worker category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Province Tax filers found in province of  original destination in 2006 tax year Tax filers found outside province of original destination in 2006 tax year
Atlantic provinces 2,230 1,445
Quebec 77,210 8,580
Ontario 235,840 33,640
Manitoba 2,260 1,550
Saskatchewan 1,230 950
Alberta 26,165 4,720
British Columbia 53,790 13,825
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).
  • Half of all skilled workers who left the Atlantic provinces moved to Ontario, and a lesser portion moved to Quebec (18%), Alberta (16%) and British Columbia (15%). More tax filers under the skilled worker category flowed into the Atlantic provinces from Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, enhancing the region’s net migration positively.
  • About 8,500 tax filers originally destined for Quebec moved primarily to Ontario (62%), Alberta (19%) and British Columbia (15%); however, in-flow was higher as Quebec recorded about 2,900 more skilled workers than were originally destined there. In-migrants came mainly from Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.
  • For those originally destined for Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec were the primary provinces of choice by the 2006 tax year, with a little over 21,000 moving to Alberta and British Columbia and just under 10,000 moving to Quebec. Those moving in to Ontario mostly came from British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta; however, their numbers were insufficient to give Ontario a positive net migration.
  • Skilled workers originally destined for Manitoba, mostly moved to Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec at rates of 44%, 23%, 19% and 10% respectively, and those who moved in, came primarily from Ontario and British Columbia. Out-flow was greater than in-flow for this group of filers in Manitoba.
  • Over 900 skilled workers originally destined for Saskatchewan on landing, had primarily moved to Alberta (320), Ontario (290) British Columbia (205) and Quebec (60) by the 2006 tax year. Half of those who moved in came from Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta; however, their numbers were not sufficient to give Saskatchewan a positive balance.
  • Half of the skilled workers who out-migrated from Alberta moved to Ontario, with a lesser portion moving to British Columbia (32%) and Quebec (8%). A little over 10,000 skilled worker immigrants originally destined for Ontario fuelled the growth in Alberta’s skilled worker population. This led to Alberta recording the highest net gain among the provinces.
  • British Columbia lost about 13,800 skilled workers mostly to Ontario (8,415), Alberta (3,240) and Quebec (1,380). On the other hand, a total of 14,010 skilled workers moved in primarily from Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, leaving British Columbia with a positive balance.
Table 3: Immigrants landed under the skilled worker category from 2000 to 2006
(2006 tax year)
Province Destined at landing Out-
migr-
ation
Destined and resident in 2006 In-
migr-
ation
Resident
in 2006
Retention rate (%) Net change (%)
Atlantic 3,675 1,445 2,230 1,750 3,980 60.7 8.3
Quebec 85,790 8,580 77,210 11,295 88,505 90.0 3.2
Ontario 269,480 33,640 235,840 17,895 253,735 87.5 -5.8
Manitoba 3,810 1,550 2,260 1,405 3,665 59.3 -3.8
Saskatchewan 2,180 950 1,230 780 2,010 56.4 -7.8
Alberta 30,885 4,720 26,165 16,410 42,575 84.7 37.9
British Columbia 67,615 13,825 53,790 14,000 67,790 79.6 0.3
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).

Family category

As shown in Table 4 and in the figure below, retention rates across the provinces were generally higher for tax filers admitted under the family category compared to filers admitted under the skilled workers category. Ontario led the way with a retention rate of 96% and Saskatchewan registered the lowest retention rate of 75%. The figure below shows that Ontario was more likely to retain immigrants admitted under the family category compared to other provinces.

Figure 5: Filers landed under the family category found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the family category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)

Filers landed under the family category found in destination province vs. those found  outside destination province (based on those landed under the family category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Filers landed under the family category found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the family category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Province Tax filers found in province of  original destination in 2006 tax year Tax filers found outside province of original destination in 2006 tax year
Atlantic 2,160 535
Quebec 32,600 3,175
Ontario 158,125 6,315
Manitoba 3,975 840
Saskatchewan 1,275 425
Alberta 22,835 1,680
British Columbia 53,495 4,175
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).
  • As with the skilled immigrant category, Alberta was generally popular with immigrants in the family category that moved; however, trends in interprovincial movement, differed slightly based on the province they were originally destined for on landing from 2000 to 2006. Alberta was the only province to register a positive net change rate in mobility (14%) as 21% more tax filers than were originally destined for Alberta flowed in, away from their original province of destination on landing.
    • About half of the 535 immigrants under the family category who left the Atlantic provinces moved to Ontario, and a lesser portion moved to Alberta (25%), British Columbia (16%) and Quebec (9%). A lesser number moved into the region, mainly from Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.
    • 3,175 of those originally destined for Quebec moved out of the province. Movers primarily relocated to Ontario (68%), Alberta (18%) and British Columbia (10%). In-migrants mostly came from the same provinces that out-migrants had moved to; however, their numbers were insufficient to give Quebec a positive balance.
    • For those originally destined for Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta or Quebec was their primary province of choice by the 2006 tax year, with a little over 4,370 moving to Alberta and British Columbia and about 1,300 moving to Quebec. A lesser number moved in, thus leaving Ontario with a negative balance.
    • Those originally destined for Manitoba, mostly moved to Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia at rates of 38%, 32% and 22% respectively, and in-flow to Manitoba came mainly from the those provinces.
    • A little over 400 tax filers originally destined for Saskatchewan on landing primarily relocated to Alberta (45%), Ontario (24%) and British Columbia (18%) by the 2006 tax year.
    • The majority of tax filers under the family class that out-migrated from Alberta moved to British Columbia and Ontario, with a lesser proportion moving to other provinces.
    • Those originally destined for British Columbia that moved went overwhelming to either Ontario or Alberta.
Table 4: Family class immigrants landed from 2000 to 2006 (2006 tax year)
Province Destined at landing Out-
migr-
ation
Destined and resident in 2006 In-
migr-
ation
Resident
in 2006
Retention rate (%) Net change (%)
Atlantic 2,695 535 2,160 370 2,530 80.2 -6.1%
Quebec 35,775 3,175 32,600 1,595 34,195 91.1 -4.4%
Ontario 164,440 6,315 158,125 5,415 163,540 96.2 -0.6%
Manitoba 4,815 840 3,975 465 4,440 82.6 -7.8%
Saskatchewan 1,700 425 1,275 240 1,515 75.0 -10.9%
Alberta 24,515 1,680 22,835 5,150 27,985 93.2 14.2%
British Columbia 57,670 4,175 53,495 3,655 57,150 92.8 -0.9%
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).

Business immigrants

The figure below shows that Quebec had the highest proportion of movers in comparison to other provinces. British Columbia, on the other hand, registered the highest retention rate (93%) of business immigrants among the provinces.

Figure 6: Filers landed under the business category found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the business category – 2000 to 2006 landing years)

Filers  landed under the business category found in destination province vs. those  found outside destination province (based on those landed under the business  category – 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Filers landed under the business category found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the business category – 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Province Tax filers found in province of  original destination in 2006 tax year Tax filers found outside province of original destination in 2006 tax year
Atlantic 445 385
Quebec 3,515 6,240
Ontario 14,330 1,445
Manitoba 275 80
Saskatchewan 75 100
Alberta 1,360 425
British Columbia 15,445 1,210
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).
  • 22% more business tax filers in-migrated to British Columbia by the 2006 tax year. On the other hand, Quebec witnessed the highest proportion of out-migration of business immigrants. By the 2006 tax year, Quebec registered a retention rate of 36%.
  • Immigrants admitted to Canada from 2000 to 2006 under the business class program displayed a different trend from those in the skilled worker class. Table 5 shows that British Columbia, with a net mobility change value of 22%, was popular for business immigrant tax filers.
    • Business immigrant tax filers who had noted Quebec as their province of destination on landing were likely to leave Quebec. By the 2006 tax year Quebec witnessed a loss of about 6,000 business immigrant tax filers who landed in the province from 2000 to 2006, with almost all of them moving to either Ontario or British Columbia.
    • Less than 10% of immigrants destined for British Columbia at the time of landing, had moved to a different province by the 2006 tax year. Those who moved relocated mainly to Ontario. Ontario gained most of the business immigrants who moved out of British Columbia by the 2006 tax year.
  • The Atlantic provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan all registered negative net change values (-33%,-4% and -34% respectively), with most movers being found in either Ontario or British Columbia in the 2006 tax year.
Table 5: Business class immigrants landed from 2000 to 2006 (2006 tax year)
Province Destined at landing Out-
migr-
ation
Destined and resident in 2006 In-
migr-
ation
Resident
in 2006
Retention rate (%) Net
change
(%)
Atlantic 830 385 445 115 560 53.6 -32.5
Quebec 9,755 6,240 3,515 480 3,995 36.0 -59.1
Ontario 15,775 1,445 14,330 3,735 18,065 90.8 14.5
Manitoba 355 80 275 65 340 77.5 -4.2
Saskatchewan 175 100 75 40 115 42.9 -34.3
Alberta 1,785 425 1,360 595 1,955 76.2 9.5
British Columbia 16,655 1,210 15,445 4,825 20,270 92.7 21.7
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).

Live-in caregivers

In general, the retention rate of live-in caregivers across the provinces was high (above 85% for all provinces) (see Figure 7 and Table 6).

Figure 7: Filers landed under the live-in caregiver category found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the live-in caregiver category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)

Filers  landed under the live-in caregiver category found in destination province vs.  those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the  live-in caregiver category - 2000  to 2006 landing years)
Filers landed under the live-in caregiver category found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the live-in caregiver category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Province Tax filers found in province of  original destination in 2006 tax year Tax filers found outside province of original destination in 2006 tax year
Atlantic 75 10
Quebec 1,805 145
Ontario 8,145 185
Manitoba 245 5
Saskatchewan 190 30
 Alberta 3,940 80
British Columbia 5,100 195
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).
  • Of approximately 20,000 tax filers admitted into Canada under the live-in caregiver program from 2000 to 2006, just 3% moved from their original province of destination by the 2006 tax year. Eight out of 10 of those who moved relocated to Alberta, Ontario or British Columbia.
Table 6: Live-in caregiver class immigrants landed from 2000 to 2006 (2006 tax year)
Province Destined at landing Out-
migr-
ation
Destined and resident in 2006 In-
migr-
ation
Resident
in 2006
Retention rate (%) Net
change
(%)
Atlantic 85 10 75 20 65 88.2 -23.5
Quebec 1,950 145 1,805 20 1,825 92.6 -6.4
Ontario 8,330 185 8,145 155 8,300 97.8 -0.4
Manitoba 250 5 245 25 270 98.0 8.0
Saskatchewan 220 30 190 20 210 86.4 -4.5
Alberta 4,020 80 3,940 270 4,210 98.0 4.7
British Columbia 5,295 195 5,100 125 5,225 96.3 -1.3
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).

Refugees

The Atlantic provinces, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all registered relatively low retention rates for refugee tax filers, with retention values of 48%, 50% and 59% respectively. On the other hand, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec all registered retention rates above 79% (Table 7 and Figure 8).

Figure 8: Filers landed under the refugee category found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the refugee category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)

Filers  landed under the refugee category found in destination province vs. those found  outside destination province (based on those landed under the refugee category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Filers landed under the refugee category found in destination province vs. those found outside destination province (based on those landed under the refugee category - 2000 to 2006 landing years)
Province Tax filers found in province of original destination in 2006 tax year Tax filers found outside province of original destination in 2006 tax year
Atlantic 1,115 1,225
Quebec 22,610 5,715
Ontario 64,245 4,225
Manitoba 2,800 1,975
Saskatchewan 1,070 1,055
 Alberta 7,635 765
British Columbia 7,735 1,130
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).
  • A high proportion of refugee tax filers who relocated from one province to another by 2006, were those originally destined for Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces on landing.
    • In terms of numbers, Quebec lost the most refugee tax filers  (5,700) but gained about 1,000 tax filers from other provinces by the 2006 tax year. Most of these tax filers originally destined for Quebec ended up in Ontario (4,050) and Alberta (1,145).
    • About 9,000 refugee tax filers were originally destined for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces between 2000 to 2006; however, by the 2006 tax year, approximately 4,000 of them had moved to other provinces. 87% of these tax filers who moved, had relocated to either Ontario or Alberta.
  • Alberta recorded the highest proportional in-migration of refugee tax filers (approximately 6,000) originally destined for other provinces.
    • The highest net inflow of refugee tax filers into Alberta came from Ontario (2,445), Quebec (1,145)  and Manitoba (1,135).
Table 7: Refugees landed from 2000 to 2006 (2006 tax year)
Province Destined at landing Out-
migr-
ation
Destined and resident in 2006 In-
migr-
ation
Resident
in 2006
Retention rate (%) Net
change
(%)
Atlantic 2,340 1,225 1,115 180 1,295 47.7 -44.7
Quebec 28,325 5,715 22,610 1,065 23,675 79.8 -16.4
Ontario 68,470 4,225 64,245 6,695 70,940 93.8 3.6
Manitoba 4,775 1,975 2,800 410 3,210 58.6 -32.8
Saskatchewan 2,125 1,055 1,070 260 1,330 50.4 -37.4
Alberta 8,400 765 7,635 6,075 13,710 90.9 63.2
British Columbia 8,865 1,330 7,735 1,365 9,100 87.3 2.7
Source: Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB).

Notes

7: In this analysis, spouses and dependants are counted in all cases.
8: Including previous cohorts would bias mobility measures and limit the comparability between immigration categories.
9: Proportional inflow and outflow rates are derived relative to the population of immigrants originally destined for a given province.
10: In analysing tax filer trends by immigration category, the Atlantic provinces were grouped together.

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