Atlantic Canada’s immigration revolution continues

Kareem El-Assal
Published: February 12, 2020

Atlantic Canada’s incredible immigration run continued in 2019 as the region welcomed nearly 18,000 newcomers.

The Atlantic region, which includes Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, has been making significant efforts in recent years to welcome more immigrants.

Atlantic Canada has a rapidly aging population, low birth rate, higher rates of out-migration, and lower rates of interprovincial migration than other parts of the country. As a result, governments, employers, colleges, and universities, and immigrant-serving organizations within the region have been working to develop strategies to welcome and retain more immigrants, international students, and temporary foreign workers.

In 2010, Atlantic Canada welcomed only 8,000 immigrants. This accounted for about 3 per cent of all newcomers to Canada, even though the region comprises about 6.5 per cent of Canada’s population. In other words, Atlantic Canada’s immigrant intake was disproportionately lower than the newcomer intakes of other provinces.

Sources: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, CIC News

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

Immigration revolution began in 2016

Since 2016, Atlantic Canada’s immigration revolution has been in full force as the region was able to welcome nearly 5 per cent of newcomers to Canada that year. This was largely due to the region welcoming more Syrian refugees as well as more economic class immigrants through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

In 2017, the federal government launched the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) to complement Express Entry and the PNP as an added tool to promote immigration in the Atlantic region.

The AIP began to pick up steam in 2018. In conjunction with the PNP, the AIP has brought approximately 14,000 immigrants to the Atlantic region. This represented a 22 per cent increase
compared with the nearly 12,000 immigrants welcomed by the region in 2017.

A 26 per cent increase in 2019

In 2019, the number of immigrants in Atlantic Canada increased by another 26 per cent.

All four Atlantic provinces broke their own immigration records.

Newfoundland and Labrador saw a 21 per cent increase in its newcomer population, welcoming nearly 1,900 immigrants, up from 1,500 the previous year.

Prince Edward Island saw a 15 per cent increase as its intake went up to nearly 2,500 compared with 2,100 in 2018.

Nova Scotia experienced a 27 per cent gain to about 7,600 immigrants compared with 6,000 in 2018.

New Brunswick had the largest increase as its intake grew to 6,000 compared with about 4,600 the previous year.

Atlantic Canada could reach an important milestone in 2021

Atlantic Canada is on the right track and is closing in on an important milestone. It needs to welcome about 24,000 newcomers to reach its proportional share of immigrants to Canada. Assuming it continues to increase the number of newcomers by 20 per cent or more per year, as it has recently done, it could reach this milestone as early as 2021.

Increases to the region’s PNP allocations in recent years have been instrumental in the success of immigration to Atlantic Canada, as has the AIP.

The current federal government has stated in the mandate letter from Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino that it will make the AIP a permanent program.

Canada’s 2019-2021 Immigration Levels Plan set a target of doubling the AIP intake from 2,000 in 2019 to 4,000 in 2020. The PNP’s intake target will also rise to 67,800 compared with the 61,000 target in 2019. This means that Atlantic Canada’s PNP allocation will likely increase in 2020.

As such, there is strong reason to believe that Atlantic Canada will welcome 6.5 per cent of Canada’s newcomers within the coming years.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs


Kareem El-Assal is the Director of Policy & Digital Strategy at CanadaVisa.

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
Where in Canada can I settle: applicants selected by province or territory vs by the federal government
From front to back the flags represent British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brusnwick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario provinces.
British Columbia and Manitoba invite provincial nominees
A picture of a Canadian flatland with mountains in the back.
Ontario releases 2024 PNP allocation; Three provinces nominate candidates in latest draws
Ontario will invite 21,500 candidates to apply for provincial nomination in 2024
Express Entry vs PNP: Which one should I apply to?
A person walking on a path with two different options.
Top Stories
Budget 2024: How will it impact Canadian immigration?
10 frequently asked questions by visitors to Canada
Comparing rental costs across Canada
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Canada
Budget 2024: How will it impact Canadian immigration?
Canada has released Budget 2024.
Comparing rental costs across Canada
A for rent sign infront of a small house
What can newcomers expect from Budget 2024?
Budget 2024 will contain several new initiatives to help with housing affordability in Canada.
I am a Canadian permanent resident, how long do I actually need to stay in Canada?
Calgary skyline
Link copied to clipboard