Building their lives in Canada: why do people immigrate to the country?

Courtesy of The New York Times

by Jeff Viray, Ana Luiza Albacete, Rayssa Cavalacanti, Luke Shikhashvili

In 2022 Canada admitted over four-hundred thousand new immigrants into the country. This number reflects the ever-growing immigrant population the country has been seeing. As of the 2021 Canadian census, Canada’s immigrant population makes up a total of 22% of the total population, but why do immigrants choose Canada, what are their expectations of the country and what makes them stay? 

Yakub Kadyrov is an international student from Tajikistan.

For many, like Yakub Kadyrov, an international student from Tajikistan studying at Toronto Metropolitan University, the country’s security was one factor, “ Canada just seems like a peaceful country, so we chose Canada.” As of today, Canada ranks seventh in safety amongst its international counterparts, beating the likes of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. 

Safety and Security seem to be one of the many reasons people choose to come to Canada, but the country also offers opportunities and resources for immigrants to adapt to the Canadian lifestyle, which includes language classes and job training. With the use of these resources newcomers to Canada are able to contribute to the Canadian economy quickly and effectively. According to the government of Canada, immigrants in Canada consist of almost 30% of the country's workforce contributing almost $70 billion to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well. The admittance of new immigrants to the country has also seen almost 80% worth of growth in the Canadian labour force from 2016 to 2021.

The safety Canada brings and the opportunities it presents are important reasons for immigrants to come to Canada, but when these immigrants do come here what are their expectations of the country? Raphael Burkhardt a construction worker from Brazil, told me that the main reason he came here was for safety, "for me the main reason was about the security." But lately, he says that those expectations have started to fall flat, "the violence has increased compared to when I came here." This increase in violence he says is from the increasing reports of violence around Toronto, especially on the TTC.

He also says that the rising prices of everything in Canada are something he definitely did not expect. Immigration, inflation, and safety have all been important topics for Canadians and especially those who are new to the country. According to the Google Trends graph, these topics have been of interest in the last year.

For many immigrants coming to Canada, they choose of their own free will to move, but what about those forced to move to a different nation all of a situation outside of their control?

Bogdan Nikulinskyy is a Ukrainian refugee, forced to move from his homeland and into Canada due to the Russia-Ukraine war which started last year. Nikulinskyy says that his family was forced into a tough position when it came to their circumstance. Moving once already, within the country in 2014 due to the first Russian attack on Ukraine in the Donbas region where his family is from, their next decision was to immigrate to a different country so that he and his family could have a better future.

Bogdan Nikulinskyy a refugee from Ukraine.

Nikulinskyy says that some of his extended family friends decided to stay in Ukraine, but those who decided to stay are still fighting in the war now. Bogdan and his family are now living around the GTA just as many immigrants decide to do.

Toronto and the GTA are hotbeds for immigrants to come to, this is because of the diversity the city has to offer as well as the opportunities the city brings its residents but what about the rest of the country? How are immigrants dispersed around the country?

The map shows that Ontario receives the most immigrants out of any Province or Territory, at more than 4 million, the only ones close to Ontario's admittance are both British Columbia and Quebec at 1.4 million and 1.2 million each respectively. Alberta also has a growing number of immigrants with a population of almost a million. What all these provinces have in common is that they contain major cities, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary. These are all large urban areas where many other immigrants tend to live at and already have a community established.

Even with the immigrants we've talked to, one from Tajikistan, another from Brazil, and a refugee from Ukraine, they have located in Toronto, and just as the graph says it's more than likely half of newly admitted immigrants will move into Ontario.

In 2022 Canada updated more than four hundred thousand immigrants to permanent resident statuses, these are immigrants who have stayed in the country for at least five years and it is the next step towards citizenship. The current trend of immigrant admittance is on track for the established plan of admitting five hundred thousand new immigrants by the year 2025. And by that point, newcomers to Canada can expect a safe and prosperous country to move into.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.