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2006 Census: Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census: Definitions and note


Foreign-born population (also known as the immigrant population) is defined in the 2006 Census as persons who are, or who have been, landed immigrants in Canada. In this analysis, the foreign-born population does not include non-permanent residents, who are persons in Canada on employment or student authorizations, or are refugee claimants. The foreign-born population also excludes persons born outside Canada who are Canadian citizens by birth. The latter are considered part of the Canadian-born or non-immigrant population.

Recent immigrants refer to landed immigrants who came to Canada up to five years prior to a given census year. For the 2006 Census, recent immigrants are landed immigrants who arrived in Canada between January 1, 2001 and Census Day, May 16, 2006. Similarly, recent immigrants in the 2001 Census were newcomers at the time of the 2001 Census, i.e., they came to Canada between January 1, 1996 and Census Day, May 15, 2001.

Metropolitan area (or generally referred to as urban area) refer to a census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA). A CMA or a CA contains an urban core with a population of at least 10,000 and adjacent municipalities that have a high degree of integration with the urban core. The degree of integration depends on the percentage of commuters, based on workplace data from the previous census. A non-metropolitan area is generally referred to as a rural area.

Citizenship refers to the legal citizenship status of the respondent. Canadian citizenship is obtained either by birth or by naturalization. A small number of individuals who were born outside Canada, but to at least one Canadian parent are considered Canadian citizens by birth. Only those landed immigrants who have met certain criteria are eligible for Canadian citizenship by naturalization.

Naturalization refers to the process by which a person becomes a Canadian citizen through the naturalization process. Only immigrants who have met certain criteria such as residency, language and other requirements are eligible for Canadian citizenship by naturalization.


Between 2001 and 2006, some census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and their municipalities were restructured. For analytical purposes, the 2006 geographical boundaries of the CMA and their municipalities were used for the 2001 Census data.