Foreign nationals coming from all over the world have preferred to settle down in 4 of Canada’s most popular cities: Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary. However, over the past few years, the number of immigrants settling down in small urban cities has increased exponentially.
According to a Ryerson University paper by David Campbell, between the years 2013 and 2019, the number of immigrants in mid-sized cities has increased by 45% compared to 9% in Canada’s 4 most popular cities. During the same period, the number of immigrants in the rest of Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA) had also increased by 40%.
CMAs are major urban centers that include multiple municipalities around a populated city. For example, Toronto CMA includes Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan and Pickering. The immigration rate in small urban centers has remained lower. The immigration rate refers to the number of immigrants per 10,000 Canadian residents.
According to the paper, Toronto has the highest immigration rate in Canada with 163 immigrants per 10,000 residents. Vancouver falls in second place with 123 immigrants per 10,000 residents.
What Are the Immigration Rates in Mid-Size Urban Centres?
The paper analyzed 14 mid-size urban centers and discovered that the immigration rate was over 100 immigrants per 10,000 residents. However, small cities like Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan had an immigration rate of 193 and 178 immigrants per 10,000 residents, respectively, which is a lot higher than Toronto.
The rest of the 12 urban centers with high immigration rates included Halifax, Charlottetown, Fredericton, Moncton, Swift Current, Winkler, Steinbach, Brandon, Thompson, Brooks, High River and Wood Buffalo. These urban centers saw a high influx of immigrants recently due to the introduction of pilot programs such as the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot and the Agri-Food Pilot Program and an aging population that has lead to high demand for foreign workforce to meet the shortages.
Many small urban centers are experiencing a decline in their natural population due to a disparity between the aging population and birth rates which has led to a need to attract more immigrants to maintain the economy.
However, the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to the rising number of immigrants settling down in small urban centers due to travel restrictions and the closing of many small businesses due to lockdowns.
Even with the travel exemptions for certain temporary foreign workers and international students, most foreign nationals who received a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) after March 18, 2020, can still not travel to Canada.
Forecasts say that Canada will need to depend on immigration more than ever now for economic recovery post-pandemic. Canada experienced a surge in the workforce between 2009-2019, the majority of which came from immigration. It has been observed that provinces with a larger immigrant population have the fastest-growing economies.
Immigration will play an imperative role in encouraging the economic growth of major mid-sized urban centers all over Canada.