Year of arrival of person

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on February 15, 2016.


Year of arrival refers to the year in which the person first arrived in Canada to live.

Person refers to an individual and is the unit of analysis for most social statistics programs.


Year of arrival applies to immigrants and to non-permanent residents.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard is generally compatible with related international standards; however, there is not an international consensus regarding whether year of first arrival or year of most recent arrival should be used.

In the United Nations' recommendations for censuses, contained in its "Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 3", 2017, the UN recommends asking those born outside the country their year of arrival in order to calculate the time elapsed since their arrival and to classify foreign-born persons by period of arrival. It goes on to note that, "It is possible to collect information on the date of first arrival in the country or the date of the most recent arrival in the country. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. In making the choice of which information to collect, countries should be guided first and foremost by their policy needs".

The "Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2020 Censuses of Population and Housing", 2015 also suggests collecting year of arrival in order to measure the duration of residence of international migrants in the host country. It recommends collecting the year when the person most recently established usual residence in the country.


  • 'Calendar year' is expressed in single years, from the earliest year on the file to the reference year.

    Note: Single years can be collapsed to form larger categories, typically of five or ten years. February 15, 2016 to current

Additional information


Relation to previous version

  • Year of arrival of person February 15, 2016 to current

    This standard has been updated by adding an Additional information section to provide information about the standard definition of immigrant and non-permanent resident and revising the Measurement note.

  • Year of arrival of person April 18, 2011 to February 14, 2016

    This was the departmental standard from April 18, 2011 to February 14, 2016.

Date modified: