Immigration

 

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1. The Canadian Immigration System

 

Canada always was a country of immigration, but before the 1960s immigration was limited in numbers to an annual quota of around 150,000 immigrants and it was based on ethnic discrimination. The prevalent theory was that of the “absorptive capacity of Canadian society” both in economic terms (hence the limited number of immigrants) and in cultural terms (hence the preference for white immigrants). Therefore before the 1960s, 90% of immigrants came from Europe and the US.

 

 

Things began to change around 1960; discriminatory immigration policies were more and more at odds with Canada’s liberal internationalism and its stand against apartheid. Moreover, it became clear after 1960 that Europe would no longer provide the immigrants necessary to support Canada’s economy and compensate for the falling birth rate.

 

This led to the 1962 and 1967 revisions of the Immigration Act, which reduced the color bias that had restricted immigration from non-whites.

 

Every year a target is voted by the federal Parliament to accept three classes of immigrants:

- economic immigrants, especially skilled workers: 60% to 65%

- people with family in Canada: 20% to 25%

- humanitarian immigrants (including refugees): 10% to 15%

 

The economic category is by far the largest and people are given points according to their language skills, education and work experience. The goal is to attract young, bilingual, educated, mobile, and competent workers.

After 2013, Canada strengthened its welcome of economic migrants thanks to:

- Express Entry, a system which gives additional points for candidates who already have a job offer, or have skills in targeted occupations

- An increase of temporary workers’ permits

 

 

 

2. A Large Immigration

 

Since the late 1960s, Canada has promoted a large immigration with a target of 200,000 to 250,000 permanent residents per year to compensate for the falling birth rate and increase its population.

The Liberals who came back to power in 2015 decided to increase the immigration target to compensate for the falling birth rate:

- 2017   300,000

- 2018   310,000

- 2019   330,000

- 2020   340,000

 

As a result of this large yearly input of immigrants, the Canadian population increased from 18 million to 35 million between 1960 to 2016, while the proportion foreign-born population has steadily increased to reach 21.9% in 2016.

 

Recent immigration data:

In 2016, Canada had 1,212,075 new immigrants who had permanently settled in Canada from 2011 to 2016.

The majority (60.3%) of these new immigrants were admitted under the economic category

26.8% were admitted under the family class to join family already in the country

11.6% were admitted to Canada as refugees.

Canada’s proportion of foreign-born population increased from 20,6% in 2011 to 21.9% in 2016

 

Number and proportion of foreign-born population in Canada, 1871 to 2036

 

Foreign-born as a percentage of metropolitan population, 2006

 

Graph: Number and proportion of foreign-born population in Canada, 1871 to 2036

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4 Foreign-born as a percentage of metropolitan population, 2006

 

Sources: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census;

U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 American Community Survey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreign-born population, as a proportion of the total population, G8 countries

 and Australia

 

Taux d’immigration bruts en 2011

 

 

Pays

Population totale

Immigrants permanents admis

Pourcentage

Canada

          34 7432 780

          249 748

0,72

États-Unis

          311 591 917

          1 061 400

0,34

Australie

          21 766 711

          219 500

1,01

France

          65 296 094

          211 300

0,32

Allemagne

          81 471 834

          290 800

0,36

Royaume-Uni

          62 698 362

          321 200

0,51

 

Source : Statistiques de l’OCDE

 

3. A Diverse Immigration

 

Canada's immigration is not only large, it is also extremely diverse: in the 2016 census, immigrants reported close to 200 countries as a place of birth.

Since the 1960s, the sources of immigration have changed:  in the past, 60% of all immigrants to Canada came from Europe while today, Asia (including the Middle East) is Canada's largest source of immigrants.

According to the 2016 census, immigrants came from:

- 61.8% Asia (including the Middle East)

- 13.4% Africa

- 12.6% the Americas

- 11.6% Europe

- 0.7% Oceania

 

Distribution of foreign-born population, by region of birth, Canada, 1871 to 2036

 

Top 10 countries of birth of recent immigrants, Canada, 2016

 

 

Graph: Distribution of foreign-born population, by region of birth, Canada, 1871 to 2036

 

number

%

Recent immigrants

1,212,075

100.0

Philippines

188,805

15.6

India

147,190

12.1

China

129,020

10.6

Iran

42,070

3.5

Pakistan

41,480

3.4

United States

33,060

2.7

Syria

29,945

2.5

United Kingdom

24,445

2.0

France

24,155

2.0

South Korea

21,710

1.8

Other countries

530,195

43.7

 

Source(s): Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Where do immigrants settle?

 

Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal together are still the place of residence of over half of all immigrants (61.4%) and recent immigrants (56.0%) in Canada. In comparison, just over one-third (35.7%) of Canada's total population lived in these three cities.

 

In 2016, immigrants represented:

- 46.1% of Toronto's population

- 40.8% of Vancouver's

- 23.4% of Montréal's.

 

Nonetheless, more immigrants are settling in the Prairies. From 2001 to 2016, the percentage of new immigrants living in the prairies rose:

- Alberta: from 6.9% to 17.1%

- Manitoba: from 1.8% to 5.2%

- Saskatchewan: from just under 1.0% in 2001 to 4.0%

 

 

5. References

 

Immigration in 2006 : Highlights from the 2006 Census

http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2006/as-sa/97-557/p1-eng.cfm

 

Immigration in 2011 : Highlights from the 2011 Census

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-010-x/99-010-x2011001-eng.cfm

 

From the 2016 Census:

Immigration and ethnocultural diversity: Key results from the 2016 Census

Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity Highlight Tables

Ethnic and cultural origins of Canadians: Portrait of a rich heritage