Are Immigrants looking beyond the “Big City”?


Today’s post has two objectives:  to draw your attention to New Canadian Media, a news website that provides nonpartisan news and views representing all Canadian immigrant communities, and to comment on an article published earlier this year that is highly relevant to REAPontario.

In Immigrants Looking Beyond Big City Living, author Mark A. Cadiz cites a study by research body Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) that listed the top Metro, partially non-Metro, and non-Metro (rural) areas in terms of immigrants per capita.

Are immigrants looking beyond the Big City? 

They certainly are, but not in every province, and not in Ontario according the data profiled. The list of top rural communities in terms of immigrants per capita were mostly concentrated in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and not a single Ontario rural community made the list. Ontario still attracts the most in sheer numbers.

Why immigrants choose smaller communities

Ray D BollmanRural Saskatchewan had higher rates of immigrants arriving per capita than many larger urban centres. Lead researcher Ray Bollman (also a REAPontario researcher!) did not find this to be a surprise:

“In terms of percentage of increases in number of immigrants, Saskatchewan has been leading the pack over the last few years,” Bollman says. “The main driving force for immigrants to these communities are jobs, not family networks.”

Another factor not mentioned in the article is that the prairie provinces have robust Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), programs that Ontario has been pushing to expand in recent years.   PNP links immigration to employment, allowing immigrants to enter a particular province when they have a job offer.  PNP has allowed immigration to grow dramatically in rural areas of Canada that traditionally could not attract immigrants.

Immigrants may also move to small jurisdictions when they perceive that the labour markets in larger centres have become saturated.  Immigrants follow opportunities.

Challenges found in smaller communities

The article cites a number of challenges faced by immigrants in rural communities, including lack of public transportation and lack of English programs, especially for school age children and youth.  Adults may face cross-cultural workplace challenges.


About New Canadian Media

According to its website, New Canadian Media contains

“original journalism from an immigrant perspective along with content produced by our partners in Canada’s ethnic media.”  Its mission?  “[T]o engage all immigrant communities and ensure they are a vital part of Canada’s national conversation.” works with immigrant and non-immigrant journalists to produce original news coverage to a professional standard.  It also aggregates content in English from ethnic media publishers while striving to balance coverage of all immigrant communities.

New Canadian Media seeks to give new Canadian journalists a platform to develop their skills as well as to advance journalism education in Canada.

Sarah V Wayland

Sarah Wayland, Principal Investigator

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