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Canada's Best Cities To Move For Work, According To The Conference Board

The Best (And Worst) Cities In Canada To Move For Work
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Looking for a new place to live and work? Consider Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver or Waterloo.

Those cities are among the top places in Canada for migrants, the Conference Board says in a new report.

They ranked among half a dozen cities to receive an “A” grade in their ability to attract newcomers. The other two are the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill and St. John’s, Nfld.

At the other end of the spectrum, not surprisingly, are the (former) manufacturing powerhouses of central Canada.

"Attracting skilled workers is crucial to Canada's competitiveness. Cities that fail to attract new people will struggle to stay prosperous and vibrant," said Alan Arcand of the board’s Centre for Municipal Studies.

The board ranked 50 cities according to seven groups of criteria: society, health, economy, environment, education, innovation and housing.

Calgary ranked first overall, topping both the economy and innovation categories “despite weak results in education, health, and environment,” the report said.

The Conference Board noted that education and health are two areas where a city can fall behind because of rapid population growth, and that seems to be the case with Calgary.

Second-place Ottawa benefits from a highly educated government workforce, which has “helped to incubate creative ideas and to seed private-sector innovation,” the report said.

Canada’s largest city, Toronto, ranked a middling 13th in the survey and Montreal came in at an unimpressive 33rd.

Despite the recent troubles of its native BlackBerry, Waterloo “shines as one of the top cities for migrants, thanks to its well-earned reputation for innovation and education,” the report said.

Though Newfoundland is hardly considered an economic powerhouse, its oil wealth has created job opportunities which gave St. John’s its high ranking. The city also has one of the best ratios of general-practice doctors.

Though Vancouver “is appealing for its overall high quality of life,” the city earned a paltry “D” grade on housing, thanks to the high cost of real estate, which has been ranked the world’s second least affordable.

And the worst cities to move for work? That list is dominated by the rust-belt cities of central Canada. Brantford, Cambridge, Oshawa and Windsor in Ontario, as well as Trois-Rivieres in Quebec, ranked among the worst cities for migrants, the Conference Board report found.

Here is the Conference Board’s ranking of the best cities in Canada for migrants:




Richmond Hill, Ont.

St. John’s, Nfld.




Burnaby, B.C.

Coquitlam, B.C.



Kingston, Ont.

Markham, Ont.

Mississauga, Ont.

Oakville, Ont.

Quebec City



Victoria, B.C.



Burlington, Ont.

Gatineau, Que.

Guelph, Ont.

Kelowna, B.C.

Kitchener, Ont.

Laval, Que.

Levis, Que.

Longueuil, Que.

Moncton, N.B.


Richmond, B.C.

Sherbrooke, Que.

Surrey, B.C.

Thunder Bay, Ont.

Vaughan, Ont.


*These cities are “struggling to attract newcomers,” the Conference Board says.

Abbotsford, B.C.

Barrie, Ont.

Brampton, Ont.

Cambridge, ont.

Guelph, Ont.

Hamilton, Ont.

Oshawa, Ont.

Saint John, N.B.

St. Catharines, Ont.

Sudbury, Ont.

Trois-Rivieres, Que.

Windsor, Ont.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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