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Choose wisely: Immigration to Canada’s provinces and their main industries

As you make plans to immigrate to Canada, ensure that you are well-informed before choosing a province to live in. Forming part of the second-largest country in the world, Canada’s provinces cover a vast range of territory and understandably have different resource endowments, employment prospects, and demographics. Understand which province will better suit your Canadian immigration settlement needs by reading about each of their different industries, cities, and characteristics.

British Columbia

Population: 4.4million
Capital: Victoria
Largest city: Vancouver
Main Industries: Includes forestry, fishing and mining gold, silver and other minerals. Small businesses comprise 98% of the province’s commerce and are the main source of employment for British Columbians working in the private sector. BC’s tourism industry has grown significantly in the past decade; it now employs 1 in 15 working British Columbians. Finally, British Columbia leads the country in Start-Up activity and entrepreneurial activity, as 3.7% of its working population were engaged with a Start-Up enterprise in 2011. For this reason, it may be wise for successful Start-Up Visa applicants to consider British Columbia as their destination for permanent residence in Canada.


Population: 3,645,257
Capital: Edmonton
Largest City: Calgary
Main Industries: Leading industries in Alberta include energy, agriculture and forestry. The energy industry makes up ¼ of the province’s GDP and includes the oil sands, natural gas and coal. Alberta is Canada’s 2nd largest agricultural producer and forestry is the province’s 3rd largest industry. Several Canadian Immigration avenues such as the Federal Skilled Trades Program have been tailored to provide swift relief to gaps in Alberta’s labour market, increasingly seeking skilled workers in trades such as machinery, plumbing, and metal work.

Infographic of Canadian Immigration settlement funding allocations The Canadian government distributes different immigration settlement funding allocations to each province and territory every year. See how much funding each province receives for their new Canadian permanent residents with this free infographic.


Population: 1,033,381
Capital: Regina
Largest City: Saskatoon
Main Industries: Saskatchewan derives 95% of its produced goods from its cornucopia of natural resources and their refined counterparts. These include grains, livestock, oil and gas, potash, uranium and wood. Many people work in manufacturing companies that produce foods and beverages, chemicals, machinery and wood products. Saskatchewan is progressively becoming the destination of choice for immigrants to Canada. The government’s 2011 National Household Survey reports that Saskatoon’s Canadian immigrant population soared from 11,470 to 27,355 between 2006 and 2011.


Population: 1,208,268
Capital/largest city: Winnipeg
Main industries: Wheat is the most important crop in Manitoba’s sizeable agricultural industry, accounting for 40% of the province’s crop production. Manufacturing in Manitoba is mainly dominated by food, machinery, transportation equipment and clothing. Mining is also a key sector for employment in this region.


Population: 12,851,821
Capital/largest city: Toronto
Main Industries: Seven of the world’s largest vehicle manufactures operate 14 plants in Ontario which demonstrates how important manufacturing is in the province. Information and Technology is also a growing sector, especially in “Technology Triangle” of Toronto, Ottawa and Waterloo. This area continues to attract inventive brains from across Canada and the world. Forestry remains an important industry in northern Ontario while journalism, the arts, and culture thrive in the province’s larger cities.


Population: 7,903,001
Capital: Quebec City
Largest City: Montreal
Main Industries: Quebec is the only province in Canada with a dominant French-speaking population. Tourism, design, software development and commerce flourish especially in Canada’s “Cultural Capital”, the city of Montreal. Aerospace companies such as Bombardier several international air transport organizations have their headquarters located in the province. Quebec’s mining and forestry industry generate billions in international export revenue and Hydro-Québec is a world leader in hydroelectric power, with tens of thousands working for these industries. Those interested in immigrating to Quebec should note that the province has established its own immigration programs and has requirements and distinctions separate from the Federal government’s streams for Canadian immigration.

New Brunswick

Capital: Fredericton
Population: 751,171
Main Industries: New Brunswick is the only official bilingual province in Canada. Main industries in the province include manufacturing and tourism. Like many other Canadian provinces, New Brunswick’s economy is tied to its natural resource endowments and thus relies heavily on its fishing, forestry, energy, and mining sectors.

Nova Scotia

Capital: Halifax
Population: 921,727
Main Industries: Located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean Nova Scotia boasts an industry with bases in offshore and inland fishing, mining and drilling. Shipping is also common in Halifax as it is one of the main Atlantic ports.

Prince Edward Island

Capital: Charlottetown
Population: 140,204
Main Industries: The smallest province in both size and population is famous for its delicious potatoes that make up a large part of its agricultural sector. The majority of jobs on the island revolve around the thriving tourism industry and small businesses.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Capital: St. John’s
Population: 514,536
Main Industries: Top industries in Newfoundland and Labrador include energy, fisheries, mining and forestry, demonstrating how the province—like many others in Canada—grounds its wealth on the profusion of natural resources that the area has to offer. More than half of Canada’s total iron ore is produced in the country’s eastern-most province. Finally, Newfoundland and Labrador’s services industry has also taken off in the past decade, experiencing significant gains especially in tourism, healthcare, and financial services.


Capital: Iqaluit
Population: 31,906
Main Industries: The population of Nunavut is the smallest of the all the provinces and territories in Canada and close to 80% of the Territory’s residents are Inuit. Main industries in the territory include mining and resource development.


Capita: Whitehorse
Population: 33,897
Main industries: The leading industry in the Yukon is mining, which accounts for 30% of the Territory’s economy. The Yukon’s GDP is also bolstered by its business and administration sector. Fishing and trapping is very popular in the area and the Yukon is a popular destination for the film industry, in part due beautiful landscapes and long sunlight hours in the summer.

Northwest Territories

Capital: Yellowknife
Population: 41,462
Main Industries: The territory is investing in the business and economic development sector with funding for entrepreneurs. Other important industries in the territory include energy, diamonds and the mining of minerals, oil and gas.

Sarah Mae Dalgleish is a content writer and marketing intern at FWCanada Immigration Law Firm in Montreal, Canada. Presently, she is studying International Business, French and Spanish at McGill University.

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