Montreal's Vital Signs 2010
Language, neighbourhood, work, and marriage are just several aspects involved in integrating into a welcoming society. Encompassing every aspect of life is a daunting challenge to say the least, which is not likely to lessen in the years to come.
  • In the last twenty-five years (1981-2006), the population of Greater Montreal grew by 27% while the number of immigrants increased by 64%. 1
  • Greater Montreal had 12% of Canadaís immigrant population in 2006, occupying 3rd place among Canadian cities, behind Vancouver (13.4%) and Toronto (37.5%). But the island ranked 4th in respect to the proportion of immigrants within the population (20.6%), exceeded by Calgary (23.6%), Vancouver (39.6%) and Toronto (45.7%). 1
Proportion of Immigrants in the Population
CME, 2006
Source†: Statistics Canada 1
  • More than three-quarters (77.6%) of immigrants admitted between 1998 and 2007 and still located in Quebec in January 2009 live in the metropolitan area. The island of Montreal welcomed two out of three new immigrants, making it the major centre of attraction (64.3%), followed by the Laval region (7.1%) and the urban area of Longueuil (6.2%). 2
  • Among 236,975 immigrant arrivals who settled in Montreal, Laval and Longueuil between 1998 and 2007, more than half (57.5%) were classed as economic immigrants, 24.4% were admitted under the family reunification category, and 16.9% were refugees. In comparison to three years ago, the number of economic immigrants has increased (+6%), while the number of immigrants from the same family (-4%) and refugees (-2%) declined. 3
Breakdown of Immigrants
Between the Island and the remaining CMA, 2006
Source: Statistics Canada 4
  • The island is home to half of the population of Greater Montreal, and to three-quarters of the immigrant population. In 2006, certain groups were less concentrated than others, such as immigrants from Greece (61%), France (65%), and Libya (67%). On the other hand, Philippine immigrants were concentrated mainly on the island (89%), especially those who arrived since 2001 (94%). Among recent immigrants, those who had a tendency to take up residence off the island came from Columbia (34%) and Romania (27%). 4,5
Breakdown of Recent Immigrants (2001-2006)
Between the Island and the remaining CMA, 2006
Source: Statistics Canada 5
  • Between 2001 and 2006, adults [24 to 44 years of age] of parents born in Canada were more likely to leave the central municipality (18%) than were immigrants, which was the opposite case in Toronto (11%). Among those who moved off the island of Montreal, the municipality of Laval was clearly more popular among immigrants (41%) than it was among residents whose parents were born in Canada (16%). 6
  • Lavalís immigrant population is fairly privileged, partly due to the fact that they were part of a migratory wave in the 1980s from southern Europe, and for them, the exodus to the suburbs represented a way to successfully integrate. But throughout Canada, the economic situation of recent immigrants was less favourable than that of their predecessors. We must wait and see if these new Montreal arrivals will take less easily to the suburbs, and in fact, there is a definite slowdown in the spread of urban immigration. 7
  • Immigrants are less isolated in Montreal than they are in Toronto and Vancouver; in 2001, an average of 31% of Montrealís residential population were immigrants, compared to 50% in Toronto and 42.5% in Vancouver. In other words, on average, seven out of ten people in the immediate environment are not immigrants. On the residential front, immigrants are more exposed to members of the Montreal community, more so than in Toronto or Vancouver. The situation is the same for visible minorities, who are less isolated in Montreal, compared to Toronto and Vancouver. 8
  • In 2006, Greater Montreal housed 4.4% of mixed-race* couples, which puts the city in 8th place out of 33 metropolitan regions in Canada. Toronto (7.1%) and Vancouver (8.5%) share the lead. 9
    *If only one member of a couple belongs to a visible minority group, or if both spouses or partners belong
    to different visible minority groups.
  • In 2006, in Greater Montreal, approximately one immigrant in three spoke French at home, one in five spoke English, and one in two spoke a third language. 10
  • In 2006, the proportion of people whose mother tongue wasnít English or French was 21.8% in Greater Montreal and 32.6% on the island. 10
  • In 2006, in Greater Montreal, approximately half of immigrants who spoke a third language worked in both languages, while a similar number worked entirely in French (16%) or entirely in English (17%). 11
  • In 2006, in comparison to people born in Canada, the unemployment rate for recent immigrants was 1.9 times greater in Canada, 3 times greater in Quebec, and 3.5 times greater in the region. Nowhere has the difference decreased in the last five years. 12
  • In 2017, it is estimated that 21.7% of the population of Greater Montreal will be born outside Canada, a significantly lower proportion that what is forecast for Toronto (49.1%) and for Vancouver (44.5%). 13
  • The population of visible minorities in Greater Montreal could more than double, from 604,000 in 2006 to a little more than 1.5 million in 2031, while the rest of the population experiences more modest growth of approximately 10%. Those of Arab origin should show the largest increase, practically tripling their strength. Already in 2006, Montreal was home to the largest Arab community in Canada. 14
Proportion of Visible Minorities
CMA, 2006 and 2031
Source†: Statistics Canada 14
  • In twenty years, Greater Montreal will likely have as many Arabs (7.5%) as blacks (7.8%), the two best represented groups, which account for half of all visible minorities. In Toronto and Vancouver, it is the Chinese (12.4% and 23.2% respectively) and South Asians (23.8% and 13.7% respectively) that will comprise the majority, while they account for only 4% and 3.5% of the Montreal population. 14
Maison d’Haïti
© Maison d’Haïti

dotLa Maison díHaÔti is a non-profit organization created in 1972. Its areas of activity include: social integration, education, and welcoming low-income immigrant families who have difficulty assimilating into the community. The organizationís mission is to improve living conditions for Haitians living in Quebec, as well as for other immigrants who face similar situations.

Since the earthquake last January, in addition to its regular activities, La Maison díHaÔti has become a Help Centre for those in distress within the Haitian community. The Centre also implemented a series of post-crisis activities to help integrate families, such as art therapy workshops, to encourage mourning and to start the healing process.

1 La population immigrante dans la région métropolitaine de Montréal, par Farah Fouron, Division des affaires économiques et institutionnelles, Ville de Montréal, 2010, 7 p.

2 Immigrants admis de 1998 à 2007 et présents au Québec en janvier 2009 selon la région de résidence, par période d'immigration, Institut de la Statistique du Québec

3 Présence au Québec en 2009 des immigrants admis de 1998 à 2007, Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles du Québec, 2009, 32 p.
  Présence au Québec en 2006 des immigrants admis de 1995 à 2004, Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles du Québec, 2006, 44 p.

4 La répartition spatiale des immigrants dans la RMR de Montréal, par Farah Fouron, Division des affaires économiques et institutionnelles, Ville de Montréal, 2010, 14 p.

5 La répartition spatiale des immigrants récents dans la RMR de Montréal, par Farah Fouron, Division des affaires économiques et institutionnelles, Ville de Montréal, 2010, 14 p.

6 Migration from central and surrounding municipalities in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, by Martin Turcotte and Mireille Vézina, Statistics Canada

7 La problématique de la main-d’œuvre immigrante dans la région de Laval : portrait et questions par Annick Germain, Jaël Mongeau et Yvon Martineau avec la collaboration de Dominique Agossou et Philippe Apparicio, document réalisé pour la Direction régionale de Laval d’Emploi-Québec, INRS Urbanisation, Culture et Société, Montréal, 2005, 64 p.

8 Retour sur les notions de ségrégation et de ghetto ethniques et examen des cas de Montréal, Toronto et Vancouver, par Philippe Apparicio et Anne-Marie Séguin, rapport de recherche réalisé pour la Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles, Institut national de la recherche scientifique – Urbanisation, Culture et Société, 2008, 56 p.

9 Percentage of couples in mixed unions by census metropolitan area, 2006, Statistics Canada

10 Rapport sur l’évolution de la situation linguistique au Québec, 2002-2007, Office québécois de la langue française, Montréal, 2008, 191 p.

11 L’intégration linguistique des immigrants au Québec, par Michel Pagé avec la collaboration de Patricia Lamarre, Étude IRPP, Nº 3, 2010, 44 p.

12 Census data, Statistics Canada

13 L’intégration des immigrés sur le marché du travail à Montréal. Politiques et enjeux, par Marie-Thérèse Chicha et Éric Charest, Étude IRPP, Vol 14, Nº 2, 2008, 62 p.

14 Ethnocultural diversity within census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Statistics Canada