Self-employed Immigrants are less mobile within Canada than Immigrant Employees – Foundational Data #3

We know that immigrants are mobile in that they crossed national borders to make new lives for themselves and their families, often coming great distances and traversing cultural and linguistic lines as well as geography.  But once they arrive here, do they “stay put” or does that mobility carry on?

Today’s post focuses on mobility of immigrants in Ontario between 2006 and 2011.  We examine Movers [Table 3 Footnote 2], persons who have moved from one residence to another, and Migrants [Table 3 Footnote 3] who moved to a different city, town, township, village or Indian reserve within Canada. (Interprovincial Migrants are included in both the Movers and Migrants categories.)

According to the Statistics Canada data shown in Table 3, in Ontario self-employed immigrants [Table 3 Footnote 4] are less mobile than immigrants who are paid employees [Table 3 Footnote 1].  They have lower rates of moving households:  45% of immigrant employees are Movers, while 37% of self-employed immigrants are Movers.  And they have lower rates of moving to a new city or region as well:  21% of immigrant employees are Migrants, compared to 16% of immigrant self-employed.

Immigrants are more mobile than Canadian-born populations. Among all employed immigrants (self-employed and paid employees), 44% had moved (i.e. changed their residence) in the past 5 years (this includes the recent immigrants who were living outside Canada) compared to 38% of Canadian-born employed individuals who had changed their residence in the previous five years. (Data for Canadian-born not shown.)

 Table 3 Percent of employed immigrants [1] who moved or migrated from 2006 to 2011, Ontario                               [click on title for full-sized version of Table 3]


Table 4 focuses on the internal migration of immigrants – specifically, for immigrants who were living in Canada and among these, for those that migrated (i.e. moved from one community to another), we look at whether these immigrant internal migrants were more likely to have migrated from within Ontario or compared to the likelihood of having migrated from another province.

Among immigrant employees who were internal migrants, close to 9 in 10 moved within the province.

RDAEmployee immigrants and self-employed immigrants who migrate within Canada are much more likely to migrate within the province of Ontario (89% and 91% respectively), compared to the share that have migrated from another province.

The region with the highest share of immigrant migrants being interprovincial migrants is that of Ottawa, no doubt reflecting the relatively large population in Gatineau, Quebec that is just across the Ottawa River which would allow a higher interprovincial migration of both employee immigrants and self-employed immigrants.

Second highest is the Northwest Economic Region where one-third or more were inter-provincial migrants. This may be due, in part, to the proximity of Winnipeg to Ontario’s Northwest Economic Region.

Table 4 Intra-provincial and inter-provincial migration of employed immigrants [Footnote 1] who migrated from 2006 to 2011, Ontario     [click on title for full-sized version of Table 4]


In sum, among employed immigrants in Ontario who have migrated within Canada between 2006 and 2011, 9 out of 10 migrated from another census subdivision in Ontario and 1 out of 10 have migrated from another province in Canada.

Among the self-employed immigrants who were internal migrants from 2006 to 2011, there was a wide range across the economic regions in the inter-provincial migration rate.  For example, in the Stratford-Bruce Economic Region only 2% had arrived from another province. This is far below the 9% rate for Ontario overall.





A few questions raised by these findings:

  1. Immigrants have shown mobility in coming to Canada, are more mobile within Canada, and may be more likely to move again. What opportunities does this present for smaller communities wishing to attract immigrants? What challenges?
  2. Self-employed immigrants are less mobile than immigrant employees. How does this tie in to opportunities and challenges for smaller communities?
  3. What factors account for the variation in mobility rates across regions of Ontario?

As always, please consider sharing your thoughts in the comments section below.

Sarah V Wayland
Sarah Wayland, Principal Investigator

Tables created by Ray Bollman

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