Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Year of immigration

Release date: May 3, 2017 Updated on: October 25, 2017


'Year of immigration' refers to the year in which the immigrant first obtained landed immigrant or permanent resident status.

Statistical unit(s)



Not applicable

Reported in

2016 (25% sample); 2011Note 1 (30% sample); 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986 and 1981 (20% sample). For availability prior to 1981, please refer to Appendix 2.0.

Reported for

Persons in private households who are, or who have ever been, landed immigrants or permanent residents

Question number(s)

Direct variable: Question 15


Single years, from the earliest year on the file to the reference year.

Typically, single years of immigration are collapsed to form larger categories of five or ten years to derive the variable period of immigration.


Respondents who answered 'Yes' to the landed immigrant status question (Question 14) were asked to answer the year of immigration question (Question 15). The 2016 Census of Population year of immigration question is: "In what year did this person first become a landed immigrant?" Respondents who were unable to give the exact year of immigration were asked to enter the best estimate.

As well, additional instructions were provided to respondents in the 2016 Census of Population Long-form Guide:

For persons who obtained their landed immigrant (permanent resident) status while living in Canada:

For persons who immigrated to Canada more than once:

Some immigrants have resided in Canada for a number of years, while others have arrived recently. In the 2016 Census of Population, 'Immigrant' includes immigrants who landed in Canada on or prior to May 10, 2016.

Respondents who answered 'No' to Question 14 will not have gone through the immigration process and, thus, did not have to answer the year of immigration question (Question 15). These persons include Canadian citizens by birth (non-immigrants) and non-permanent residents. A non-permanent resident refers to a person from another country who has a work or study permit or who is a refugee claimant, and the family members sharing the same permit and living in Canada with them.

To better understand the relationship between the concepts of immigration and place of birth, please refer to Figure 5.1.

To better understand the relationship between the concepts of immigration and citizenship, please refer to Figure 5.2.

For more information on immigration variables, including information on their classifications, the questions from which they are derived, data quality and their comparability with other sources of data, please refer to the Place of Birth, Generation Status, Citizenship and Immigration Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2016.


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