Where in Canada can I settle: applicants selected by province or territory vs by the federal government

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: April 14, 2024

Increasing numbers of applicants are applying for immigration to Canada under provincial nomination programs.

However, coming to Canada through provincial immigration programs imposes different obligations than immigrating to Canada through federal programs.

This article will discuss the implications of receiving a provincial or territorial nomination and any obligations to settle in the nominating province or territory.

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Mobility rights as a Canadian permanent resident

Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides permanent residents and Canadian citizens with the right to live and work in any province in Canada.

As it relates to Canadian immigration, this means that, after obtaining permanent resident status – either through a federal or provincial immigration program – Canadian permanent residents can eventually relocate anywhere across Canada.

Applicants selected by a province or territory

Paragraph 87(2)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) clarifies that a foreign national is a member of the provincial nomination class if they intend to reside in the province or territory that has nominated them.

Provinces and territories looking to attract newcomers under local immigration programs are left to create the right conditions to attract, and more importantly retain, immigrants.

Applicants applying through provincial or territorial nomination programs must comply with program requirements and remain truthful throughout the application process.

The intention to settle in a province or territory under an immigration program must be clearly present upon landing. The applicant must have a genuine intention to reside in the province selected in their application for permanent residence and make good-faith efforts to settle in that province before moving to another Canadian province or territory.

Such efforts should also be documented in case any questions appear later. For instance, such efforts may be important when a Canadian permanent resident later applies for Canadian citizenship.

Applicants selected by the federal government

Meanwhile, federal immigration applicants who do not receive a provincial nomination are not required to commit to a particular province or territory.

This means that permanent residents who immigrate to Canada through federal programs may decide to reside in any Canadian province or territory upon arriving in Canada.

Demonstrating intent to reside

As an example, the Government of Ontario indicates that intention to reside in the province can be established through documents that display:

  • Current and/or previous employment in the province
  • Job offers or jobs applied to/interviewed for
  • Education in Ontario
  • Volunteer work in Ontario
  • Lease agreements in Ontario or property ownership
  • Professional networks and affiliations
  • Family ties, social connections or personal relationships
  • Previous visits to Ontario

Consequences for misrepresenting intent to reside

If an applicant no longer intends to reside in the nominating province or territory before or upon landing in Canada, they may be reported for non-compliance.

Where it becomes evident that an individual never intended to reside in the nominating province or territory, this could give rise to an allegation of misrepresentation and may result in loss of permanent resident status.

If you were nominated by a province or territory, or wish to learn more about program requirements, you may wish to consult with an authorized immigration lawyer.

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