ARCHIVED – The Interprovincial Mobility of Immigrants in Canada


Mobility patterns of immigrants analysed in the IMDB mirrored some trends found in the general population.

While Ontario generally registered high retention rates for immigrant tax filers landed from 2000 to 2006, those who moved from their original province of destination tended to flow from the east to the west in high proportions. Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia received large volumes of immigrants; however, relative to the original destination of immigrant filers, Alberta witnessed a high proportional influx of interprovincial migrants.

These movers boosted Alberta and British Columbia’s inflow; thus, making Alberta and British Columbia the only provinces with positive net migration in the 2006 tax year. This finding was consistent with net migration rates produced by Statistics Canada’s Demography and Census Divisions (Figure 13 and Table 18).

The uneven spread in retention rates of immigrants across the provinces, and the varying flows of immigrant interprovincial migrants based on their original province of destination, followed similar trends noted in general population. For example, the census reported that between 2001 and 2006, Newfoundland and Labrador reported declines in population growth rates while Alberta reported a 10% growth rate increment, making it the fastest growing province in the country.

Figure 13: Fifteen main interprovincial flows, 2001 to 2006 (based on the 2006 Census)

Source: 2006 Census of Canada. Produced by the Geography Division, Statistics Canada, 2008.

Fifteen  main interprovincial flows, 2001 to 2006 (based on the 2006 Census)

As with the general Canadian population, Alberta stood out as one of the key provinces for interprovincial migration exchanges for immigrants in Canada. Immigrants landed from 2000 to 2006 clearly relocated to Alberta in high proportions.

Statistics Canada reported that findings from the 2006 census reflect that between 2001 and 2006 the proportion of Canadians who had moved provinces (3%) was “the lowest proportion recorded in at least 35 years”12. Findings from the IMDB; however, reflected significantly higher interprovincial mobility rates among recent immigrants, particularly among those admitted to Canada under the skilled worker, business and Provincial Nominee programs.

Next steps

  • Further studies on the demographic and other characteristics of immigrant movers could enrich this analysis and further provide the vehicle for understanding the factors contributing to the mobility of different categories of immigrant filers.
  • Analysis of the phenomenon of “disappearance” (emigrating from Canada) of immigrants could be further examined, to help build a fuller picture on movers and some of the drivers fuelling mobility of certain filers.


12: Statistics Canada. 2008. Report on the Demographic Situation in Canada: 2005 and 2006. Statistics Canada. Catalogue no. 91-209-X. Ottawa.

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