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"Yours to discover."

(Check out our complete overview of the official 2018 Express Entry Report here.)

For years, this has been the slogan of the Canadian province of Ontario.

Now, a new report shows that nearly two-thirds of all applicants for immigration to Canada through Express Entry — the main driver of economic applications — are taking that invitation to discover Ontario quite seriously. By moving there.

A grand total of 122,247 applications for Canadian permanent residence were submitted through Express Entry in 2018. This figures includes accompanying family members such as spouses, partners, and dependent children, as well as principal applicants.

Of these, 78,838 stated their intention to reside in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, and home to the largest city in Canada, Toronto, as well as the nation’s capital, Ottawa. This was more than three times the number who set their sights on beautiful British Columbia as their new home in Canada, with Alberta the third most popular destination province.

Applications received for permanent residence through Express Entry by province of destination, 2018

British Columbia2215318.1%
Nova Scotia35322.9%
New Brunswick19791.6%
Prince Edward Island5460.4%
Newfoundland and Labrador2980.2%
Northwest Territories480.04%

Note that the province of Quebec is not listed above. This is because Quebec operates a distinct economic immigration system separate from Express Entry.

Why Ontario?

In a word: opportunity.

The Moving2Canada Jobs Report shows that Ontario’s unemployment rate is consistently around or below the Canadian average, with the Ontario rate currently at 5.2% as we enter the second half of 2019.

Toronto: Moving to Canada
Home sweet (new) home. The Toronto skyline is perhaps the most iconic in all of Canada, and many newcomers live, work or study in its shadow.

‘But isn’t Toronto expensive?’ we hear you say. Well, for starters Toronto and Ontario are not one and the same place. Though it is the largest city in both Ontario the province and Canada the country, more than half of Ontarians live outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Yes, Toronto can be more expensive than elsewhere, but wages are higher there too, and even then it’s hardly the only option in the province.

For example, you could consider Kitchener-Waterloo (for tech and science), Ottawa (for tech and the public sector), Hamilton, Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie (for manufacturing), or any of the other many smaller cities and towns across the more than one million square kilometres that make up this gigantic province.

It’s also an education hub. If you want to study abroad or provide amazing higher education options for your family, Ontario is going to be an attractive proposition.

Invitations, applications, and admissions

It should be noted that there is a difference between someone who is invited to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry and someone who is admitted. Before being admitted to Canada, the invited person has to submit an application. You can imagine this in three steps:

  1. Receive invitation
  2. Submit application
  3. Receive admission to Canada

Not all of those who are invited to apply end up submitting an application. For example, they could fail to meet the 60-day application deadline, or simply decide late in the day that moving to Canada is not the right choice for them and withdraw their candidacy.

In addition, not all applications result in someone being admitted to Canada as a permanent resident. For example, they could be deemed inadmissible on criminal or medical grounds, or have misrepresented something in their application and therefore be refused.

Finally, it takes time between a person being invited to apply until they are admitted to Canada. Typically, Express Entry applications are processed in six months or less.

With this in mind, it’s worth noting that the number of admissions to the various provinces through Express Entry in 2018 was broadly in line with the intended province of residence of those invited (and note that though that some applicants may be counted in both sets [invitations issued and admissions in 2018], it is highly likely that some of those who were admitted in 2018 were invited in 2017, so we’re not quite dealing with exactly the same group of people here).

Admissions (total persons) through Express Entry, 2018

British Columbia1603517.4%
Nova Scotia32553.5%
New Brunswick18762.0%
Prince Edward Island4700.5%
Newfoundland and Labrador2440.3%
Northwest Territories360.04%

The information in this article is from the year-end 2018 Express Entry report, which was published by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in early July 2019.

See our other summaries from the 2018 Express Entry Year-End Report, including:

  • Canada Abroad team

    Canada Abroad

    Canada Abroad is a transparent Canadian immigration consultancy with advice you can trust. Led by Deanne Acres-Lans (RCIC #508363), the team delivers professional, regulated, and efficient service.

  • The Doherty Fultz Immigration team staff members

    Doherty Fultz Immigration

    Led by Anthony Doherty (RCIC #510956) and Cassandra Fultz (#514356), the Doherty Fultz team uses their 40+ years of experience to empower you towards settling in Canada.

  • Perez McKenzie Immigration

    Led by Jenny Perez (RCIC #423103), Perez McKenzie Immigration is a Canadian immigration consultancy based in British Columbia, with offices in Vancouver and Whistler.

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