Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB)

Detailed information for 2020





Record number:


The Longitudinal Immigration Database provides detailed and reliable information on the performance and impact of immigration programs.

Data release - December 6, 2021 (First in a series of releases for this reference period.)


The Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) includes administrative immigration data for all immigrants since 1952 and non-permanent residents since 1980. Outcomes for this population are available from tax files since 1982. The IMDB provides detailed and reliable information on socioeconomic outcomes of immigrants after their admission, such as employment income and mobility. It connects short- and long-term outcomes with characteristics at admission, such as immigrant admission category, source country and knowledge of official languages. The database also provides information on pre-admission experience in Canada, such as work or study permits as well as refugee claims. It now includes data about wages and salaries, immigrant children's family outcomes, settlement and resettlement services (information available since 2013), as well as citizenship acquisition (information available since 2004).

The database is managed by Statistics Canada on behalf of a federal-provincial consortium led by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Reference period: Calendar year

Collection period: Annual. Immigration data: summarized annually. Tax data (T1 files): filed in the spring following the year of reference.T1 files for income year "y" are received from Canada Revenue Agency during year "y+2".


  • Education, training and skills
  • Immigration and ethnocultural diversity (formerly Ethnic diversity and immigration)
  • Labour market and income
  • Mobility and migration
  • Population and demography

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The Longitudinal Immigration Database includes, all immigrants admitted to Canada since 1952 and all non-permanent residents since 1980. Outcomes for this population are available from tax files since 1982.

Instrument design

This methodology does not apply to this statistical program.


This survey is a census with a longitudinal design.

This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files.

The Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) brings together immigration information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, taxation data from the Canada Revenue Agency, and the date of death from the Canadian Mortality Database.

Each year the IMDB is updated with information about the newest immigrant and non-permanent cohorts. Also, data about citizenship, settlement services and taxation are updated annually. Tax information from previous years may be added later on if individuals' data are subsequently linked.

Error detection

The immigration microdata go through a series of edits prior to linkage to ensure that there are no duplicate records and that no data mandatory for matching is missing. Logical edits, range edits and content edits are used at this stage to improve the data quality of the files. After the linkage, extreme values and missing information necessary for derivations are identified. SAS software is used for these processes.


Imputation was undertaken for immigration education variables due to higher rates of item non-response for admission years 2015 to 2018.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

A series of diagnostic tables is produced after each update to evaluate the quality of the match. These provide historical trend comparisons of counts with previous years data by key characteristics. Coverage rates are produced to assess the success of the matching process.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. As necessary, data are suppressed or rounded to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

The use of the Longitudinal Immigration Database is subject to the normal privacy and confidentiality constraints to prevent the release of personal information. Micro-records are not released to users and all aggregate statistics are subject to suppression or rounding.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

The Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) combines administrative immigration data with T1 Family Files (T1FF) and T4 supplementary file through probabilistic record linkages. Of immigrants admitted between 1980 and 2019, 85.6% were linked to at least one T1FF record. Details on data accuracy for information from the T1FF may be consulted under the T1FF entry (record number 4105). Of immigrants admitted between 1980 and 2020, 69.4% were linked to at least one T4 record from 1997 to 2020.

The immigration files go through a validation process for accuracy of code sets and comparisons with the previous year's files.

No coefficients of variation are produced for estimates as the IMDB is considered a census of all immigrants within the reference years.


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