Study Outlines Increased Immigration To Smaller Cities In Canada

Canadian cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver are popularly known for their significant immigrant population base. However, a recent study by Ryerson University outlines the prospects for immigration in small and mid-sized Canadian cities. 



In the previous decade, Canada’s small to mid-sized cities attracted more immigrants from abroad. According to the Ryerson University paper authored by David Campbell, the number of immigrants settling in smaller urban centers between 2013 and 2019 went up by 45 percent compared to a 9 percent rise in four major Canadian cities. 


Further, the number of new immigrants increased by 40 percent in the rest of Canada’s Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). These are areas of multiple municipalities around a major urban population center. For example, the Toronto CMA consists of the city of Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, and Pickering.


Many smaller & mid-sized cities in Canada have a declining natural population. That is to say, smaller urban centers see an influx of immigrants as a direct response to the challenges faced due to an aging population and workforce.


The paper identified a total of 14 smaller urban centers with immigration rates of over 100 per 10,000 residents. They are regions of Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Halifax, Charlottetown, Fredericton, Moncton, Swift Current, Winkler, Steinbach, Brandon, Thompson, Brooks, High River, and Wood Buffalo. 


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Increased Dependence On Immigration For Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery

Many of Canada’s export industries including agriculture and fish processing regularly hire international workers for short-term or longer period. There’s also a prominently growing tech sector in the country that demands skilled talent in the field of engineering, software/IT, finance & business management. 


Further, Canada is also seeking more foreign individuals to start a new business or run an existing business in any region of choice, preferably regional areas, for the growth of the economy.  Check out our blog on the best options for business immigration to Canada in 2021


Canada has revealed its dependence on immigration in the new Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-23. The country is expected to welcome around 401,000 new immigrants in 2021.  


It is fascinating to note that Canadian workforce increased by 1.95 million between 2009 and 2019- almost all came from immigrants. The table below illustrates this well. 


It shows the growth rate of the workforce by landed immigrants and by those who were born in Canada.

Campbell concluded the paper by noting that the above-average unemployment rates and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases could lessen some people’s support for immigration. However, in the long term, immigration will play a crucial role in the economic growth of major urban centers as well as small to mid-sized urban centers all over Canada.


Programs For Regional Canadian Immigration

Regional immigration programs in Canada are designed to mutually benefit the immigrants and the local economy. 


The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows provinces to nominate desirable immigration candidates based on In-Demand jobs in regional areas of Canada.


The province of Manitoba, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador were among the first few provinces to start a separate nomination program for immigration to Canada. 


However, since the launch of the Express Entry system in 2015, Provincial government could search the Express Entry pool of candidates to nominate desirable foreign talent.


The number of immigrants admitted through the PNPs rose from about 47,600 in 2014 to 68,600 in 2019.


The most popular province for new immigrants was New Brunswick, followed by Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island. A recent government review found that the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) was helping to improve retention in the region.


Despite the ongoing pandemic and travel restrictions, Canada remains committed to welcoming more than 1.2 million immigrants over the next three years. Of these, the PNP is expected to bring in about 80,000 per year, and the AIP is expected to welcome about 6,000.

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If you are interested in immigration to Canada anytime soon, get in touch with CanApprove for genuine visa guidance and documentation support. 


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