Mobility and migration

Mobility and migration information tells us where residents of Canada are moving to and where they are moving from. Infrastructure decisions and service delivery vary in response to the coming and going of the population.

Examples of reported data usesFootnote1


Federally, Census Program data on mobility and migration underpin the Employment Insurance Act and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act. These data are also needed for activities related to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Act, the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Act, the Department of Industry Act (1995) Part III - Regional Economic Development of Ontario and the Canada Elections Act.

Provincially, the data are used in the implementation of the Ontario-Quebec 2006 Construction Labour Mobility Agreement. As well, the Government of Quebec requires data from various topics including mobility and migration in support of the Loi sur l'Institut de la statistique du Québec (L.R.Q., chapitre I-13.011) and to report on indicators under the Loi pour assurer l'occupation et la vitalité des territoires. Other examples of provincial legislation for which the topic of mobility and migration was cited include Alberta's Government Accountability Act, Ontario's Planning Act, R.S.O. 2005 and New Brunswick's Employment Development Act.

Resource allocation and service delivery

At the federal government level, data on mobility and migration are used for resource allocation and/or service delivery by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and by Canadian Heritage for their Official Languages Support program. The results from this Census Program topic are used by the government of British Columbia to estimate the number of immigrants which informs funding for settlement services and labour market programs. They are also used provincially to forecast and allocate public health funding.

Planning, development, monitoring, evaluation and performance reports

The federal government uses mobility and migration data for policy and/or program management in relation to Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security. The Public Health Agency of Canada uses the results from this topic together with age and sex and other Census Program results for surveillance, to inform intervention and prevention activities related to enteric diseases, and to target public health programs in an effort to decrease the incidence among high-risk groups. As well, mobility and migration data are required by Natural Resources Canada to monitor the social and economic well-being of resource-dependent communities, by Industry Canada for the Federal Economic Development Initiative in Northern Ontario (FEDNOR) Northern Ontario Development Program, and by Transport Canada for planning and policy development as part of their Air Forecasting Program.

Provinces and territories look to mobility and migration data to carry out many activities related to planning as well as policies and programs. Examples include rural, regional and Aboriginal policy development, income assistance, highways and public works in Yukon and the Flexible Work Strategy in Ontario.

Among the feedback received by local governments, these data are used for planning, program monitoring, evaluation and development. They are considered for community planning where higher rates of mobility and migration help prioritize where services may be required, for corporate strategic planning, and to produce multi-year plans and policy recommendations related to affordable housing and homelessness.

Migration data are consulted locally to identify areas of growth and decline, important for infrastructure planning (e.g., placement of roads, schools and hospitals), plan housing and target social services delivery. Other examples include demographic, economic and employment forecasting at lower levels of geographical detail in relation to regional official plans, monitoring the conformity of growth plans, as well as for service planning as reported by the Regional Information Systems Working Group, which supports the Regional Planning Commissioners in Ontario.

Research and other uses

Mobility and migration data are used in labour market and research studies and are inputs in modelling labour market supply and demand. These data assist provincial governments understand interprovincial mobility and plan for postsecondary enrolment. They are used by local governments for transportation and engineering studies, local decision-making, for comparative purposes with other municipalities/regions, to develop Early Years community profiles and measure population retention.

Non-government organizations refer to these data to prepare population projections, plan community health services and ensure adequate service delivery based on Canada's official languages. They are used by Aboriginal organizations to determine the need for stable supports such as affordable housing, identify policy gaps, offer assistance to families settling in new communities, for analysis, research and dissemination.

They are analysed by academia to study settlement patterns and population flows, to forecast population distribution and changes, and to understand demographic and demolinguistic dynamics.

Business uses them to predict patterns of growth, for market segmentation and site location research, and the media consult them when reporting on Canada's evolving economic landscape.

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