Housing New Canadians
Research Working Group - Toronto
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Toronto is the primary reception and settlement area for Canada's immigrants and refugees.

Since the turn of the twenty-first century almost fifty percent of immigrants and refugees coming to Canada have settled in the Toronto Census metropolitan area (CMA). The Toronto CMA has about thirteen percent of Canada's population.

Both the absolute number and the proportion of Canada’s immigrants settling in the Toronto area have increased since the late 1990s

Immigration to the Toronto Area,
(Toronto Census Metropolitan Area)
Canada Toronto Toronto as
% of
1995 212,859 95,252 44.8%
1996 226,039 97,235 43.0%
1997 216,014 96,540 44.7%
1998 174,159 73,560 42.3%
1999 189,922 84,476 44.5%
2000 227,346 110,069 48.4%
2001 250,484 125,114 50.0%
2002 229,091 111,580 48.7%

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Immigration Overview, Facts and Figures, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003.


The countries of origin have also changed dramatically over recent decades.

Until the late 1960s, most of Toronto's immigrants were from Britain and other European countries. Since then there has been a substantial internationalization of Toronto's population with the arrival of relatively large numbers of immigrants from various countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and the Caribbean. About sixty percent of the immigrants who entered Toronto in 2002 came from Asia and the Pacific, eighteen percent originated in Africa and the Middle East and about eight percent arrived from South and Central America and the Caribbean. Only thirteen percent of new immigrants arrived from European countries.

Toronto's newcomers also represent a wide spectrum of economic classes ranging from refugees to business people. In 2002 almost two-thirds of Toronto's immigrants came as skilled workers or business people, twenty-eight percent were sponsored by families already living in Canada and about eight percent arrived as refugees.

Many of these new Canadians face considerable difficulties as they begin their lives in Toronto. Potential problems include finding employment, accessing social services and dealing with complex legal systems. It is in the process of seeking permanent housing - especially in a market such as Toronto with high rents and few rental vacancies - that the newcomer experiences many of these interrelated complexities. For many new Canadians the process of finding appropriate housing can be made more difficult by the lack of adequate financial resources and by the 'racial' and gender barriers that still permeate much of Canadian society.

Selected References on Immigration in Toronto

Anisef, Paul and Michael Lanphier (2003). The World in a City. Toronto:
University of Toronto Press.

Doucet, Michael (2003). Bibliography on Immigration and Settlement in the Toronto Area, Second Edition. Toronto: Joint Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement – Toronto, Working Paper # 26

Joint Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement — Toronto (CERIS) http://ceris.metropolis.net

Murdie, Robert, editor (2003). Living on the Ragged Edges: Immigrants, Refugees and Homelessness in Toronto, Forum Summary: Toronto: Joint Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement – Toronto

Ornstein, Michael (2000). Ethno-Racial Inequality in the City of Toronto: An Analysis of the 1996 Census. Toronto: City of Toronto.

Papillon, Martin (2002). Immigration, Diversity and Social Inclusion in Canada's Cities. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Networks, Discussion Paper F/27.
view the pdf

Settlement.Org (Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants — OCASI) http://www.settlement.org/atwork/

Statistics Canada (2003). 2001 Census: Analysis Series. Canada's Ethnocultural Portrait: The Changing Mosaic. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Catalogue no. 96F0030XIE2001008. http://www.statcan.ca/english/IPS/Data/96F0030XIE2001008.htm


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