Immigrant Retention Highest In Ontario Out Of All Canadian Provinces Or Territories

Immigrant Retention Highest In Ontario Out Of All Canadian Provinces Or Territories
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A Statistics Canada report shows Ontario retains more of its newly-arrived immigrants through the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program,  Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or Canadian Experience Class (CEC) immigration than any other Canadian province.

In their The Provincial Nominee Program: Retention in Province of Landing, report, Statistics Canada’ Garnett Picot, Eden Crossman and Feng Hou looked at the retention rates for immigrants who arrived in Canada in 2010 and in 2019.

When those groups of immigrants are combined and their one-year and five-year retention rates are examined, Ontario emerges as being the province the most likely to hang onto its newcomers.

“Retention rate among economic immigrants aged 20 to 54 at landing, by years since landing, 2010 to 2019 cohorts combined was highest in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, and lowest in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick,” note the report’s authors.

“Longer-term retention rates are also informative. In Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, relatively few nominees left the province five years after the landing year.”

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Not only is Ontario more likely to hang onto its immigrants, it also attracts other immigrants who have landed in other parts of the country.

“By the end of the first full year following the landing year, Ontario had 23 per cent more provincial nominees than were in the province during the landing year – a net retention rate of 123 per cent,” reveals the report.

“By the end of the fifth year following the landing year, Ontario had 56 per cent more nominees – a net retention rate of 156 per cent. The gains were due to inflows of nominees from other provinces, combined with relatively low outflows.”

Prince Edward Island had the lowest, one-year immigrant retention rate of any province. The Atlantic Canadian province was also the one most likely to see immigrants move after their arrival during the time period of the study, a trend which some data suggest may have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic.


“After accounting for inflows and outflows of provincial nominees, Ontario was the only province that demonstrated a large net gain,” note the researchers.

“Alberta and British Columbia displayed net retention rates of around 106 per cent by the fifth year (i.e., inflows were slightly larger than outflows). Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan displayed one-year net retention rates in the mid-90 per cent range, falling to the 65 per cent to 85 per cent range after five years. Newfoundland and Labrador had a one-year net retention rate of 89 per cent, falling to 62 per cent after five years.

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“Prince Edward Island had a one-year rate of 74 per cent, falling to 40 per cent after five years.”

At the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration (FMRI) discussions on Nov. 17, provincial, territorial and federal immigration ministers were keen to develop strategies to improve retention rates.

“Immigration is critical to addressing labour shortages, attracting new investment, and supporting Canada’s economic growth,” said FMRI provincial-territorial co-chair Jeremy Harrison, the minister of immigration and career training .

“Provinces and territories play a key role in ensuring that immigration is responsive to employers’ labour needs and benefits all regions of the country. Several provinces and territories are also taking steps to improve foreign qualification recognition to ensure newcomers can work in occupations aligned with their skills and experience.”

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.