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Migration Flows

See where migrants come to Canada from, which provinces they settle in, how trends have evolved over time for different migration types – foreign workers, students, permanent residents.


Canada is a country of migrants. It has one of the highest rates of migration intensity of any country in the world (second only to Australia). In 2019, over three quarters of a million temporary residents and over a quarter of a million permanent residents arrived in Canada.

In recent years, migration patterns to Canada have changed rapidly. While permanent migration has remained remarkably steady, temporary migration has grown rapidly over the past decade. Particularly, temporary migration of foreign workers has quadrupled between 2000 and 2019, with a small dip in 2015.

Asian countries are the fastest growing senders of migrants to Canada, in particular from South Asia and South East Asia. Specifically, India (29%), China (12%), and the Philippines (4%) were the largest sources of origins for new migrants to Canada in 2019 and together provide over a third of all Canada’s incoming residents.

Globally, Canada’s international student programs are the largest driver for temporary migration to Canada accounting for 400,995 temporary residents in 2019. Further, the increase in temporary migrants to Canada is almost exclusively due to substantially rising numbers of international students coming from the low and middle income countries. India provides the most striking example, with a more than eighty-fold increase in international students between 2000 and 2019.

Within Canada, Ontario (44.2%),British Columbia (18.4%), and Quebec (14.0%) are the provinces receiving the most migrants, about 77% of all migrants to Canada. While differences in Temporary and Permanent migration to provinces and territories are largely insignificant for other provinces, large universities in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec may make these provinces primary destinations for large numbers of incoming international students.

How to use this data

Hover over country circles on the map to see the amount of permanent and temporary residents originating from that country. Circles are sized to reflect the amount of migrants originating from the selected year (by default 2016). Additionally, country circles are divided according to the portion of permanent (red) and temporary (blue) residents originating from that country.

Use drop-down selectors to limit the data by ‘Country of Resident’, Migrant ‘Type,’ Migrant ‘Sub-Type,’ ‘Province/Territory of Settlement,’ origin ‘Region’, origin ‘Income Group,’ or change the ‘Year’ (2019 by default).

The right pane presents flows from countries according to province or territory of settlement. The  bottom left pane gives a time series view of migration originating from selected countries (all by default). Lastly, the bottom right panel gives the time-series breakdown by  migrant sub-type.

Clicking on a country on the map will present the time series line graph of migrants from that country, where they settled in the list pane, and the breakdown of migrant sub-types. Multiple countries can be selected at one time for comparison (no more than two at a time are recommended). Hold down Control + right click. Click again to deselect.

Download the Data

Migration 2020 (2000-2019) (MS Excel)

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada)


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