Editorial

Undecided about where to live in Canada? New tool from IRCC may have the answer

New tool by IRCC may help newcomers decide where they will be most successful in Canada.     


One of the challenges many newcomers face when they finally get their permanent residency, is where to settle in Canada.

Each of Canada’s ten provinces and two territories has its own unique charm, opportunities and a great quality of life. With so many options, it can be difficult to gauge which is best for you.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may soon be able to give you the answer.

For the last three years, IRCC and the Immigration Policy Lab (IPL) at Stanford University have been working on a research project that uses historical data to help newcomers figure out where in Canada they will be most successful.

The tool called GeoMatch makes predictions and recommendations based on machine learning capabilities by taking into account factors such as, the applicant’s work experience and history, their level of education, personality traits etc.

Once the tool has gathered the relevant information, it looks for patterns in the data and looks for the correlation between these factors, economic success and location in Canada.

Why location matters:

Based on a report published by IPL, a newcomer’s initial arrival location plays a key role in shaping their economic success.” However, most immigrants tend to settle in provinces or cities they have heard of, such as Toronto or Montreal without necessarily considering what will be the best fit for their situation.

By choosing to settle in the bigger or more popular cities, newcomers may be missing out on lucrative opportunities or career growth in smaller cities.

Let’s consider, for example, a new immigrant with years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He receives his permanent residency and decides to settle in Toronto with his family because everyone always talks about Toronto.

There are very few jobs for someone with his skillset in Toronto and he may settle for a minimum wage job to make ends meet. The cost of living is also higher in Toronto which will impact his family’s quality of life. If he uses GeoMatch, the tool will likely point him towards Alberta where he will have much better career opportunities and enjoy a higher standard of living.

According to Isabelle Dubois, a spokesperson from IRCC, newcomers who choose their settlement location in Canada based on the “…GeoMatch recommendation would be more likely to find a well-paying job after they arrived.”

Once the tool is fully functional and readily available, it could be a gamechanger for newcomers and Canada.

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