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Settling in Canada City of Saint John PROFILE

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The Saint John Community is situated on the world-renowned Bay of Fundy, just 110 km from the US border. This strategic location on Canada’s Atlantic seaboard provides ready access to major markets in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, and the northeastern United States

Saint John

Saint John Facts

Population: 127,760 (2011)

Location – Atlantic Canada
In south-central New Brunswick, 90 minutes from the US border.

Temperate. Four distinct seasons, warm summers, cool winters, some fog and rain.

The Saint John Community is situated on the world-renowned Bay of Fundy, just 110 km from the US border. This strategic location on Canada’s Atlantic seaboard provides ready access to major markets in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, and the northeastern United States.

Saint John’s strong and growing economy provides opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, and job seekers. Residents of the area enjoy an exceptional quality of life with excellent education, health services, recreational and cultural opportunities.

Saint John features:

  • Twice named Canada’s Best City For Business (Globe & Mail Report On Business)
  • Top 15 Cities For Business in Canada (Canadian Business)
  • 2010 Cultural Capital of Canada (Heritage Canada)
  • Named Canada’s Most Affordable City four years in a row
  • Excellent road, shipping and air links
  • In the heart of “Stonehammer,” UNESCO’s first designated Geopark in North America
  • First class business support through award-winning Enterprise Saint John


Saint John

Saint John is Canada’s oldest incorporated City. It was founded by Loyalists from the 13 Colonies (now the United States) in the 1780s. By the mid 1800s, they were joined by Irish immigrants, and in later decades, by European Jews, Lebanese, Italian and Chinese immigrants.

In the 1970s, Saint John became home to refugees from Vietnam, South America and the former Yugoslavia. In recent years, Saint John has experienced resurgence in its newcomer population with people from all over the world, and growing Chinese, Korean, and Iranian communities.

As of the 2011 National Household Survey, there were 5,365 immigrants living in Saint John – 4.3 per cent of the total population. Of these, 24.0 per cent – 1,290 people in all – arrived between 2006 and 2011.

Countries of origin
United Kingdom, United States, Korea, South, China, Other places of birth in Asia, Other places of birth in Americas, Germany, India, Netherlands, Philippines.

First languages spoken
English, French, Korean, Chinese, Arabic.

Catholic, No religious affiliation, Anglican, Baptist, United Church, Other Christian.

Countries of origin

These are the most common birthplaces of immigrants to Saint John.

Country of Origin Total Immigrant Population (2011) Immigrants Arriving 2006 – 2011
United Kingdom 1,345 150
United States 955 90
Korea, South 435
China 340 210
Other places of birth in Asia 265
Other places of birth in Americas 215
Germany 195 0
India 190 45
Netherlands 145
Philippines 135 55
Other places of birth in Europe 100
Ukraine 85 40
Other places of birth in Africa 85
Viet Nam 75 30
Colombia 65 0
Mexico 60 30
Lebanon 50 30
Italy 45
Portugal 45
Iran 45 0
France 40 0
Ireland, Republic of 40
Poland 35 0
Romania 35 0
Other places of birth 35
Trinidad and Tobago 30
Croatia 30
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 30 0
Hungary 25
Egypt 20 0

‡ Statistics Canada did not publish data for some countries of origin for recent immigrants.
Source: Statistics Canada (2011 National Household Survey)

First languages

These are the top ten “first languages” – the mother tongue spoken by people who live in this city.

Mother Tongue Number (2011) % of Population (2011)
English 116,885 92.6%
French 6,125 4.9%
Korean 610 0.5%
Chinese, n.o.s.* 445 0.4%
Arabic 415 0.3%
Spanish 335 0.3%
German 225 0.2%
Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) 170 0.1%
Dutch 160 0.1%
Persian (Farsi) 140 0.1%

*  Not otherwise specified.
Source: Statistics Canada (2011 Census of Canada)


These are the religions with the most adherents in the Saint John region.

Religion # of Adherents (2011)
Catholic 46,975
No religious affiliation 22,930
Anglican 16,940
Baptist 12,085
United Church 10,550
Other Christian 9,590
Pentecostal 2,550
Presbyterian 1,355
Muslim 735
Other religions 430
Christian Orthodox 240
Hindu 190

Source: Statistics Canada (2011 National Household Survey)

Housing Information

Saint John

The Saint John region offers a wide variety of urban, suburban and rural homes, many within a 20-minute drive to the City Centre.

In Saint John, growth in new home construction and resale markets surpasses the national average, with home prices 10 – 30 per cent lower than other Canadian cities. Social housing is also available for those with limited incomes through the New Brunswick Family and Community Services – Housing Services and local organizations.

Receive a personalized Cost of Living Assessment within two business days.

Average rents
The average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in April 2013 was $586 and a two bedroom apartment was $703. The average monthly rent for a three bedroom apartment was $750.

Vacancy rate and availability
In Saint John, the vacancy rate for one bedroom rental apartments was 10.2 per cent and for two bedroom apartments was 10.4 per cent. The vacancy rate of three bedroom rental apartments was 10.9 per cent. This was the proportion of rental apartments that are vacant and ready for move-in in April 2013.

The proportion, in April 2013, of apartments that are vacant or for which the present occupant has given notice to move-out was 11.5 per cent for one bedroom apartments, 10.9 per cent for two bedroom apartments, and 11.1 per cent for three bedroom apartments.

Home purchase prices
In Saint John, the average house price, in 2012, was $168,048.

For more up-to-date information, see CMHC's Housing Market Information website, and the Canadian Housing Observer.

Housing help

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation – Housing information for Newcomers

These agencies can help you find a home:

Government of New Brunswick Social Development - Housing
Rental programs, renovations and repairs, home ownership loans.

The Human Development Council
Lists all housing-related services in Saint John.


Like many small North American cities, Saint John is transforming its economic base into a diverse, knowledge-based economy. A wide array of leading edge and international companies offers a wealth of career options.

There is strong industry demand throughout the region for highly skilled employees, particularly in Energy and Advanced Manufacturing; Healthcare; Information and Communication Technology; and Tourism.

New Brunswick actively seeks qualified immigrants who will fill labour market shortages, or create employment and business opportunities here. See the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program for details.

Job search help

HRSDC Job Bank

These sites offer job counselling and assistance:

Department of Post Secondary Education and Training

Service Canada

Saint John Multicultural and Newcomers Centre

Private employment services may also be available

Business start-ups

These organizations offer advice and support to people starting small businesses in Saint John:

Enterprise Saint John
A not-for-profit agency formed to create the environment for prosperity in the Saint John Community.

St. John Board of Trade
The Province of New Brunswick, in partnership with the St. John Board of Trade offers a Business Immigrant Mentorship Program giving immigrant entrepreneurs in the Saint John community the opportunity to meet with, learn from and engage in dialogue with established local business people.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
A federal government department that gives information on programs and funding to start small and medium-sized businesses.

Business New Brunswick
Provides services to expand existing businesses.

Canada New Brunswick Business Service Centre
Provides information and referral services.

Business Development Bank of Canada
Offers financial, investment and consulting services to Canadian small businesses, with a particular focus on the technology and export sectors.

Saint John Community Loan Fund
Provides business loans, back to work loans, and loans to secure housing.

Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC)
Assists in the creation of small businesses and in the expansion and modernization of existing businesses by providing financial and technical services to entrepreneurs.

Entering the workforce

This organization helps immigrants evaluate foreign credentials:

World Education Services Canada


Saint John

In the Saint John community, children and adults alike can get the skills they need to succeed in an ever-changing, technologically advanced world.

Saint John’s universities and colleges rank among Canada’s best for academic excellence and student satisfaction. There are also strong partnerships between post-secondary institutions, regional organizations, businesses and local schools.

The community is also home to post-secondary institutions and professional training centres that provide a variety of adult learning opportunities.

Saint John’s three public school districts offer a variety of public schools for children, and the region is home to several private schools. Saint John has schools for children and youth in an English and a French system. Both are publicly funded and free of charge. Both school systems also offer special education programs for children with disabilities.

Universities and colleges in Saint John

University of New Brunswick Saint John Campus
Founded in 1785, UNB offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 60 disciplines and continuing education in a variety of fields. The university brings a diverse group of students together with their nationally recognized professors to learn in small classes and labs.

New Brunswick Community College – Saint John
Job training through full- and part-time offerings, apprenticeship training, continuing education and customized contract training. Over 4,000 students, some from the international community.

Saint John College (UNBSJ)
This preparatory college welcomes international students preparing to take university courses taught in English.

Elementary and secondary schools (for children and youth)

Anglophone School District South

Francophone school District South

Private schools may also be available

Community Services

Saint John

Saint John is a community built by, and home to, people from all nations and cultures.

The people of Saint John are known for their friendliness and helpfulness. Saint John also has a plan to help immigrants succeed, championed by the government, the Saint John Multicultural Newcomers Resource Centre, Enterprise Saint John, settlement services, the local Board of Trade, the university and college, and many others.

The Saint John Multicultural and Newcomers Resource Centre Inc. (SJMNRC) is a non-profit organization that provides an integrated approach to services for newcomers, including one-on-one employment-related counselling, and referral and placement services to immigrants.

Language training

These organizations offer English language training

YMCA-YWCA. Saint John Settlement Services

University of New Brunswick Saint John
Saint John College

Read Saint John
E-mail : readsj@nbnet.nb.ca

Settlement help

These organizations provide support services to immigrants:
YM-YWCA Settlement Services

Immigrant and Refugees Support Centre

Enterprise Saint John

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
This site provides information on coming to Canada to immigrate, study, work and live and contains forms, policies and regulations, research, publications, services and information on visa offices.

Community services

The Human Development Council
Lists all local community services and programs.

Newcomer Services and Programs

Cultural organizations

Early childhood services

Other cultural organizations

New Brunswick Social Development Department

One immigrant’s story

Li Song moved from Hunan Province in China to Saint John in 2002 to study English. Since then she's made the city her home and it's become her job to help other newcomers feel comfortable.

First impressions
Li still remembers the cold and snowy January day her flight touched down at the Saint John airport. An international student on a study abroad program, Li travelled alone and was greeted by a University of New Brunswick Saint John (UNBSJ) representative at the airport. The university made her feel welcome and set her up with a caring homestay family in Quispamsis. Li quickly experienced first-hand the warmth and hospitality the Saint John region is famous for.

Positive changes
In the early days of Li’s Saint John life, authentic Chinese vegetables such as bok choy couldn’t easily be found. “That’s different now. Supermarkets in the area stock many more international foods,” she said. Li believes the little details, such as access to international foods and cultural activities, help newcomers feel more comfortable and more likely to settle and stay in the city. Today, there are also several support services for newcomers to Saint  John.

Li’s advice to newcomers
Li is active in the community and is always seeking positive ways to explore her passions. She places volunteering high on her list of ways to integrate into the community. “As a volunteer, you explore other cultures, you help others, and sometimes you even find your own hidden talents,” Li said. “There are many volunteer opportunities in Saint John and it’s a great way to get to know new people and to network.” As Newcomer & Volunteer Engagement Officer at The Saint John Multicultural & Newcomers Resource Centre, it’s Li’s job to help newcomers and local community volunteers connect.

Calling Saint John home
Li reflected on the moment she decided to stay in Saint John. “It was the friendly people,” she said. “That is a major reason why I wanted to stay.” Li feels many other newcomers to Saint John would say the same thing. China is her home, but Li considers Saint John her second home. “No matter where I go, I always tell people that Saint  John is my home,” she said. She would love to stay in Saint John, move her parents here and have a family.





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