Ontario Is The Number One Canada Province As Destination For New Immigrants

Ontario Is The Number One Canada Province As Destination For New Immigrants
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Ontario once again punched above its demographic weight class to snag the lion’s share of new permanent residents to Canada last year. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data reveals Ontario welcomed 184,725 new permanent residents in 2022, or almost 42.3 per cent of the total and record-breaking 437,120 new permanent residents to Canada that year. 

Admittedly, that’s 7.3 per cent less than the 199,295 new permanent residents who came to Canada’s most populous province in 2021.

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But Ontario is still attracting a far greater percentage of immigrants than its demographic weight in Canada. The province’s population comprises a tad more than 38.8 per cent of Canada’s almost 39.3 million people.

Economic programs, including the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), Agri-Food Immigration Pilot (AFIP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Caregiver programs, Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), Federal Skilled Trades (FST) and Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) programs, the Start-Up Visa (SUV) and Self-Employed Persons (SEP) programs, and the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway accounted for roughly half of all new permanent residents coming to Ontario last year. 

Those programs helped 93,795 new permanent residents arrive in Ontario last year. Another 46,610 new permanent residents arrived in Ontario through family sponsorships and 39,765 came through Canada’s refugee programs. 

Next door, the francophone province of Quebec welcomed the second-highest number of immigrants last year with 68,685 new permanent residents arriving in La Belle Province in 2022.

Quebec Premier François Legault repeatedly stated last year his government wants to hold the line on immigration and not greatly increase the number of new arrivals to Quebec. His immigration minister, Christine Fréchette, has echoed those sentiments.

“It is up to Quebec to set its own targets for permanent immigration,” she tweeted in French last year.

“The upper limit for Quebec is now 50,000 (new permanent residents) due to our capacity to welcome, provide French-language services and integrate them.”

Quebec Welcomed A Relatively Small Number Of Immigrants Last Year Based On Its Population

The provincial immigration minister has maintained Quebec is already welcoming proportionately more immigrants than either the United States or France.

Maybe. But Quebec, which is home to almost 22.3 per cent of Canadians, only welcomed 15.7 per cent of all new permanent residents to Canada last year. 

Number of New Permanent Residents by Canadian Province and Territory In 2022

Province Number of New Permanent Residents 
Prince Edward Island 2,665
Newfoundland and Labrador 3,490
Nova Scotia 12,650
New Brunswick 10,205
Quebec 68,685
Ontario 184,725
Manitoba 21,645
Saskatchewan 21,635
Alberta 49,460
British Columbia 61,215
Yukon 455
Northwest Territories 235
Nunavut 45

Immigration to Quebec – despite its premier’s insistence – is on the rise with the province welcoming a record-breaking 68,685 new permanent residents in 2022, up 36.6 per cent over the 50,275 newcomers to Quebec the previous year.

British Columbia, Atlantic Canada and Saskatchewan and Manitoba all bullish on immigration

Among the provinces which welcomed a bigger percentage of Canada’s immigrants last year than their share of the population would suggest are British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

In 2022, British Columbia welcomed 61,215 new permanent residents, or 14 per cent of the total number of immigrants to Canada while comprising slightly less than 13.7 per cent of the country’s population. 

Immigration to that province on Canada’s west coast dropped by 12 per cent last year from the 69,470 new permanent residents it welcomed in 2021.

Saskatchewan, though, saw a remarkable, 97.6-per cent growth in immigration last year with the number of new permanent residents rising to a record-breaking 21,635. 


With that boom in immigration, Saskatchewan’s share of total immigration to Canada rose to 4.95 per cent last year even though the Prairie province only accounts for a smidgeon more than three per cent of the national population.

Next door, Manitoba also saw impressive growth in immigration last year with the number of new permanent residents rising almost 30.6 per cent to hit 21,645. In 2022, immigration to Manitoba comprised more than 4.9 per cent of the national total even though the province is home to only 3.6 per cent of the country’s residents.

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, aided by the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP), all punched above their demographic weight last year. 

Immigration To New Brunswick Almost Doubled To 10,205 New Permanent Residents

New Brunswick almost doubled its level of immigration, jumping from 5,310 new permanent residents in 2021 to 10,205 last year. Immigration to the only officially-bilingual province in Canada was 2.3 per cent of the national total despite only having under 2.1 per cent of the population.

Bluenosers, as the residents of Nova Scotia are affectionately called, also welcomed a much greater number of immigrants in 2022. 

The Atlantic Canadian province saw an almost 38.2 per cent jump in immigration with 12,650 new permanent residents last year, roughly 2.9 per cent of the total number of immigrants who came to Canada. 

Nova Scotia’s population is only 2.6 per cent that of Canada.

On Prince Edward Island, there was a new, provincial immigration record set in 2022 as the number of new permanent residents nudged up to 2,665. The Island, home to slightly more than 0.4 per cent of the Canadian population, welcomed 0.6 per cent of all immigrants to the country last year.

In the territories in Canada’s far north, immigration levels remained low last year.

The relatively-young territory of Nunavut only received 45 new permanent residents. In the Northwest Territories, immigration slumped 20.3 per cent to 235 new permanent residents. And the Yukon showed a similar trend. In that westernmost territory, immigration was off by 23.5 per cent last year, down to 455, but that after coming off the Yukon’s record-breaking performance of 595 new permanent residents set in 2021.

Alberta Premier Is Eager To Grow That Province’s Immigration Levels

Immigration to Alberta, the westernmost Prairie province, boomed last year, rising by 25.5 per cent to hit a record-breaking 49,460 new permanent residents. Despite that higher immigration level in 2022, Alberta is still welcoming slightly fewer immigrants than its share of the Canadian population. 

Alberta’s population comprises 11.7 per cent of total number of residents in Canada but it only welcomed 11.3 per cent of all immigrants to the country. 

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is hoping to change that. 

Smith is eyeing a massive spike in her province’s Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) over the next three years, with nominations expected to soar by almost 67 per cent by the end of 2025.

“Alberta is still calling,” the premier wrote on her LinkedIn page.

“Right now there are over 100,000 job vacancies to fill in Alberta. We need more skilled workers to keep our economy firing on all cylinders!”

The Prairie province has been lobbying Ottawa to up the number of immigrants it can welcome through its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which it calls the AAIP, to meet its labour shortage.

Now, it’s been given the green light to increase immigration under the AAIP to 9,750 nominations in 2023 and it expects to receive 10,140 nominations in 2024 and 10,849 nominations in 2025.

Those are substantial increases from the 6,500 allowed last year.

On the East Coast, in Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador saw a 69.8 per cent surge in immigration as the province welcomed a record-breaking 3,490 new permanent residents last year. 

That, though, is still only 0.8 per cent of the total immigration to Canada and the province comprises more than 1.3 per cent of the country’s population.

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