A Healthy Trend
A new study revealed that immigrants are able to earn more money in Calgary, Regina, and Saskatoon than they do in Toronto, a significant trend that best explains as to why the share of immigrants is steadily declining in the city.
It is true that Toronto is still the dominant hub for the newcomers but the fact is that its proportion of Canada’s total annual immigrant intake has dropped to just one-third in 2007, which was almost half in 2001. And in contrast, the number of immigrants settling in western cities like Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Saskatoon has been increasing on a consistent basis since the past five years.
Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies said that these statistics represents a significant shift in the immigration patterns. He said that everyone thinks of Alberta and Saskatchewan as places for internal migration, but now, even the western cities are drawing a lot of immigrants.
It is known that immigrants often settle where family members live, but at he same time they are also drawn by the economic opportunities. According to the census data in Mr. Jedwad’s paper, in the year 2005, the average annual income of an immigrant family in Calgary was $102,118, $33,000 more than what it is in Montreal, $22,000 more than in Vancouver and $12,000 more than what it is in Toronto.
Also between the years 2001 and 2005, Saskatchewan moved from the bottom three provinces to the top three provinces in terms of the average income for an immigrant family, with just Alberta and Ontario ahead of it.
Ottawa’s goal has always been to disperse immigrants more evenly throughout the country and avoid concentration of new immigrants in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. In 2007, cities outside the “MTV” received nearly one-third of the total 236,000 newcomers that arrived in Canada.
Myer Siemiatycki, a Ryerson University professor of immigration and settlement services said that the trend is healthy, although he noted that Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver still receive a large number of newcomers with Montreal been able to actually increase its share.
In cities like Regina, well-educated workers might fair well as there is less competition for high-paying jobs. Professor Siemiatycki noted that traditionally, Saskatchewan has always had problems attracting highly skilled talents.
The executive director of the Maytree Foundation Ratna Omidvar said that although Toronto is attracting fewer immigrants, but they are going to the outlying suburbs that are a part of the city region.