immigration ontario

Southern Ontario is a top spot for immigrants but pays them worse than the rest of Canada

Newcomers to Canada, as well as those migrating within the country, generally tend to gravitate to one of the nation's two largest urban hubs: the Toronto and Vancouver areas.

But, despite the fact that the two cities and their surrounding regions are the most popular for immigrants, new numbers show that they are the worst places for these groups to try and work, at least as far as pay is concerned.

According to data from Statistics Canada, the median annual income for immigrants (as last surveyed in 2019) was significantly lower in the two key metropolises compared to the rest of the country.

Though entry wages have been going up for new Canadians over time — reaching a median of $31,900 in 2019 compared to $30,600 in 2017 — pay for these populations is still lower than the median across the country, which was $38,800 in 2019.

(Ten years after arriving, this median income for newcomers ends up being slightly higher, at $33,700, though still lower than the general median.)

immigration ontario

Where immigrants in Canada were paid the most and the least in 2018 and 2019. Chart from Better Dwelling using StatsCan data.

Meanwhile, those who've landed in smaller cities are reaping the benefits of higher incomes than the national average, in part due to more need for skilled workers and less job competition in these locales compared to in Toronto and Vancouver, where housing prices and cost of living in general are also notoriously exorbitant.

The highest immigrant wages in the country can be found in rural Alberta, where the median was $46,700 in 2019, and in less populous cities such as Quebec City ($44,500) and St. John's ($44,100).

In Ontario, Thunder Bay has proven the city where immigrants can earn the highest salary ($43,500 in 2019), while the cities of Windsor, London and Toronto had the worst pay grades ($26,300, $28,600 and $29,600, respectively).

As Better Dwelling notes, there is an overarching pattern of immigrants earning more 10 years post-arrival in Canada in areas where there are smaller immigrant populations, with Southern Ontario and New Brunswick having the lowest pay rates overall.

Lead photo by

Israel Andrade

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