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Settling in Canada Edmonton PROFILE

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Edmonton is a booming capital city of over a million people in the centre of Alberta — a province with one of the richest reserves of oil and natural gas in the world.


Edmonton Facts

Edmonton website

Population: 1,159,870 (2011)

Location — Western Canada
In the centre of Alberta, gateway to the Canadian Rockies.

One of Canada’s sunniest cities; warm summers with sunshine lasting up to 17 hours per day; snowy November – March.

Edmonton is a booming capital city of over a million people in the centre of Alberta — a province with one of the richest reserves of oil and natural gas in the world.

As one of North America’s fastest growing cities, it has low unemployment and the second highest family incomes in Canada.

Edmonton is a smart city with one of North America’s best public school systems and 10 post-secondary institutions, including the University of Alberta, one of Canada’s top-funded research universities.

Edmonton Features:

  • A growing economy, expecting more than $200 billion invested in major projects over the next 10 years
  • The best employment prospects in Canada across a wide variety of industries
  • The second highest family incomes, and the lowest personal tax burden, in Canada
  • Low business costs and one of the most competitive corporate tax environments in North America
  • World class educational institutions — leaders in scientific and medical research, biotechnology, micro and nanotechnology
  • A health care system ranked as Canada’s best five years in a row
  • Over 30 festivals, including Canada’s longest-running multicultural celebration
  • North America’s largest urban park, 70 golf courses, and aspen parkland one hour away
  • The world’s largest shopping centre, with over 800 shops and 9 world-class attractions
  • A lively arts scene, including 30 theatre companies, visual arts, museums and galleries.


Edmonton Population

Edmonton began as a gathering spot for Aboriginal tribes thousands of years ago. Fur traders with the Hudson’s Bay Company arrived in 1795.

Today, Edmonton boasts over 50 international cultures and is home to 500 places of worship.

As of the 2011 National Household Survey, there were 232,195 immigrants living in Edmonton — 20.4 per cent of the total population. Of these, 21.5 per cent — 49,930 people in all — arrived between 2006 and 2011.

Countries of origin
Philippines, India, China, United Kingdom, Other places of birth in Africa, Other places of birth in Asia, Viet Nam, United States, Germany, Poland.

First languages spoken
English, French, Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino), Panjabi (Punjabi), Chinese.

No religious affiliation, Catholic, Other Christian, United Church, Muslim, Lutheran.

Countries of Origin

These are the 30 most common birthplaces of immigrants to Edmonton.

Country of Origin Total Immigrant Population
Immigrants Arriving
2006 – 2011
Philippines 26,295 10,365
India 23,830 6,965
China 17,675 3,840
United Kingdom 16,735 1,440
Other Places of Birth in Africa 13,625
Other Places of Birth in Asia 11,540
Viet Nam 10,375 755
United States 8,640 1,735
Germany 7,855 720
Poland 7,810 380
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 6,840 185
Other Places of Birth in Europe 6,265
Pakistan 5,935 1,920
Other Places of Birth in Americas 4,415
Netherlands 4,080
Lebanon 3,940 735
Italy 3,745
Ukraine 3,140 425
Korea, South 2,855
El Salvador 2,305
Fiji 2,295
Ethiopia 2,175 825
Portugal 2,160
Jamaica 1,905 265
Iran 1,840 600
Colombia 1,795 910
Chile 1,790
Russian Federation 1,780 655
Romania 1,715 0
Afghanistan 1,680 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 the region.

Mother Tongue Number (2011) % of Population (2011)
English 876,105 76.4%
French 29,445 2.6%
Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) 25,550 2.2%
Panjabi (Punjabi) 20,725 1.8%
Chinese, n.o.s.* 20,165 1.8%
German 17,565 1.5%
Spanish 15,215 1.3%
Ukrainian 14,595 1.3%
Cantonese 14,270 1.2%
Arabic 13,420 1.2%

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


These are the religions with the most adherents in Edmonton.

Religion # of Adherents (2011)
No Religious Affiliation 354,935
Catholic 298,990
Other Christian 150,300
United Church 70,720
Muslim 46,125
Lutheran 38,960
Anglican 38,620
Christian Orthodox 23,995
Baptist 22,500
Pentecostal 20,435
Sikh 20,425
Buddhist 17,570

Source: Statistics Canada (2011 National Household Survey)

Housing Information

Edmonton Housing Information

Edmonton has a good mix of ownership and rental homes and apartments. However, rents have risen over the past decade and are now as high, or higher, than those in other large Canadian cities.

Average rents
The average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in April 2013 was $897 and a two bedroom apartment was $1,077. The average monthly rent for a three bedroom apartment was $1,248.

Vacancy rate and availability
In Edmonton, the vacancy rate for one bedroom rental apartments was 1 per cent and for two bedroom apartments was 1.5 per cent. The vacancy rate of three bedroom rental apartments was not available. 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 2.2 per cent for one bedroom apartments, 2.6 per cent for two bedroom apartments, and the rate for three bedroom apartments was not available.

Home purchase prices
In Edmonton, the average house price, in 2012, was $334,318.

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 housing:

Catholic Social Services
The multilingual and culturally diverse staff will provide settlement assistance, English language assessment, educational/career planning, intercultural/cross-cultural education, opportunities to meet Canadian friends, and more. CSS also produces the Directory of ESL Programs and Services.

Centre d'accueil et d'établissement d'Edmonton
L'Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta (ACFA provinciale) provides services to Francophones.

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
Provides services in many languages.

The Millwoods Welcome Centre for Immigrants
Initiated by the Indo-Canadian Women's Association, the Centre provides settlement and employment assistance, language and educational counselling, and citizenship and English classes.
Email: info@mwci-edmonton.net

Laws for Tenants in Alberta
Gives a very thorough overview of how to rent accommodations, including legal information

Boyle Street Community Services
Housing programs assist in placing individuals and families in affordable accommodation. Services are provided in a culturally appropriate fashion.
Email: info@boylestreet.org

These organizations list homes for sale or rent:

Capital Region Housing Corporation
Subsidized housing for Canadian citizens or landed immigrants only. Over 2000 applicants on waiting list.

Northern Alberta Cooperative Housing Association
Has direct links to housing co-ops. (Cooperative houses are owned by independent non-profit groups, where tenants participate in governing properties and share capital in the housing cooperative). Some listings include homes equipped for special needs or disabled individuals

Alberta Senior Citizens Housing Association (ASCHA)
Operates on-line registry of public and private housing for seniors.


Edmonton Employment

Edmonton offers the best employment prospects in Canada across a wide variety of industries. Leading industries include oil and gas, clean energy, technology, manufacturing, production and transportation. It is also a major centre for scientific and medical research.

Edmonton has also been ranked the Best Major City in which to do business in Canada. It has no provincial sales tax, capital tax or payroll tax; low cost office space and excellent transportation links.

Several supports are available to help people find jobs or start their own businesses.

Job Search Help

These web sites list jobs in Edmonton and the surrounding area:

City of Edmonton provides job postings with the municipal civil service.

Government of Alberta Job Bank has a full listing of jobs available with the Government of Alberta. Be one of the many great people that help make Alberta the best place to live, work, and visit!

Service Canada JobBank —  The Governments of Canada provides a nation wide job bank that can be searched via province and region.

Private employment services may also be available.

Business Start-ups

These organizations offer advice and support to people starting small businesses in Edmonton.

The City of Edmonton Business Services

Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC)
Has a wealth of information on the business climate in the city and region.

Entering the Workforce

This organization helps immigrants evaluate foreign credentials

World Education Services Canada


Edmonton Education

Edmonton’s 10 post-secondary institutions offer a wide range of educational opportunities. The University of Alberta is one of Canada’s top-funded research universities. The city’s Northern Alberta Institute of Technology trains more apprentices than any other institute in Canada, and is now undergoing a $1 billion expansion to become Canada’s largest technical school.

Edmonton’s publicly-funded school system is one of the best in North America, offering a wide range of specialized schools. Check the Moving to Edmonton Section of the www.edmonton.com website for more information.

Universities and Colleges in Edmonton

Athabasca University is a fully accredited institution specializing in the delivery of distance education for undergraduate and graduate programs. This is a good option for people who need to study from home or part-time.

Grant MacEwan University offers more than 60 programs, including bachelor and applied degrees, diplomas and certificates. Students can choose from full-time, part-time or online studies.

University of Alberta is one of the largest universities in Western Canada. The site’s main page links to all faculties, research facilities, libraries, and activities.

Edmonton Colleges

Alberta College Conservatory of Music is focused entirely on music education.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a career college specializing in degrees focused on immediate employment.

Norquest College provides high quality learning opportunities to prepare graduates for careers in business, industry, services, and healthcare.

Metro Continuing Education offers a variety of academic classes for students seeking to upgrade or attain their high school diploma as well as many adult education programs in a multitude of fields of study.

Elementary and Secondary Schools (for Children and Youth)

Edmonton Public Schools

Edmonton Catholic School District

Francophone School Board

Alberta Education (information on Charter Schools)

Association of Alberta Public Charter Schools

Private schools may also be available.

Community Services

Edmonton Community Services

Edmontonians go out of their way to welcome and support new residents. And over the past six years, the City of Edmonton has taken a number of steps to help support newcomers.

In 2007 the City of Edmonton approved a City Policy on Immigration and Settlement. It also has a City Policy on Diversity and Inclusion.

The City of Edmonton is leading the Racism Free Edmonton initiative, a collaborative group of 16 Edmonton organizations that have come together to build a racism free, inclusive community that respects cultural diversity.

The City also prints a Newcomer Guide in nine languages, operates a grants program directed toward emergent immigrant communities and hosts the Citizen and New Arrival Information Centre at City Hall. More information.

Settlement Help

These organizations provide all kinds of support to immigrants:

Acces Emploi
Employment search assistance to Francophone and French speaking people in the Greater Edmonton area, including counselling and career planning, resume writing, translation and interpretation services, intensive job search workshops, English classes, and workplace training programs.

Catholic Social Services
Serves people of all faiths and cultures. The multilingual and culturally diverse staff provide English language assessment, settlement assistance, educational/career planning, intercultural/cross-cultural education, opportunities to meet Canadian friends, outreach services for youth and seniors, volunteer opportunities, and more. CSS also produces the Directory of ESL Programs and Services.

Centre d'accueil et d'établissement d'Edmonton
L'Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta (ACFA provinciale) provides services to the Francophone community in Alberta.

Changing Together: A Centre for Immigrant Women
A non-profit, charitable organization operated by and for immigrant women and refugees to overcome personal and systemic barriers that keep them from participating fully in Canadian society, including developing employment skills and work experience.

Citizen and Immigration Canada
Provides information on coming to Canada to immigrate, study, work and live. On this website you will find forms, policies and regulations, research, services, publications and visa offices.

Edmonton Immigrant Services Association
Helps with development of language skills, translation, interpretation, legal aid, income tax filing assistance, clothing and food-banks, matching of new neighbours with settled Canadians, and accessing government and non-government community services.

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
Provides programs for Newcomers to Edmonton including English Language Services, Community Services (for example family and youth programs, community development and health and wellness), and Career Development Services. Provide services in many languages.

The Newcomers Club of Edmonton
The Newcomers Club of Edmonton is for women and their families who have been in Edmonton for less than 2 years. Offers many programs including a Moms n’ Tots group that meets every Thursday morning.

Other Help

These websites provide information on public transit, child care and government support programs.

211 Edmonton
Database of all health, human services, community resources, government assistance and crisis support in the Edmonton area. Can help find:

  • basic needs (food, clothing, shelter and financial support)
  • employment resources
  • parenting support
  • counselling/support groups
  • health care
  • legal services
  • and MUCH more...

Immigrants’ Stories

Sunny and Ishpreet Lamba’s Story

Sunny and Ishpreet Lamba weren't sold on the move to Edmonton until they realized the lifestyle advantages. There was a significant increase to their salaries. They bought a house within 6 months. They're able to compete in recreational sports year-round. And they've integrated themselves into the community by volunteering at the city's festivals.

For Sunny and Ishpreet, Edmonton is an all-season city. Video at http://www.edmontonstories.ca/story/all-season-city.

Wei Wong’s Story

Wei Wong, a second generation immigrant and proud father of 3, laughs out loud as he recalls enrolling his oldest daughter, Jasmine, in Kildare Elementary School more than 20 years ago. He didn't know about the Chinese (Mandarin) Bilingual program the school offered until he accidentally ran into the principal. As they say, the rest is history — he's been involved with the Edmonton Chinese Bilingual Education Association (ECBEA) ever since.

The principal convinced the Wongs that there was no downside to enrolling Jasmine, even though she did not speak Mandarin at home. Parents today worry about that too, but Wei says, “Actually, it's a worry that shouldn't even cross their minds.” Jasmine could have easily transferred back into the regular English stream if she floundered. Of course she didn't — Jasmine's a nurse now — and neither did her younger siblings (Amber's also a nurse, and Ashton is entering his 4th year of Computing Science at the U of A). Wei's happy his kids have chosen to stay in Edmonton, and that the Bilingual program has taught them more about their heritage.

As a child, Wei spoke Toisan at home. But, like many of his generation, school and the desires of his family changed that. His parents wanted their kids to fit in and to have better opportunities. “It was kind of a dilemma, because they wanted us to excel in English," explains Wei. "We sure did, but at the expense of losing our mother tongue. I don’t think that story is unfamiliar for other immigrants.”

Living that dilemma has shaped Wei's passion for the importance of language and the crucial role it plays in life. He credits his kids for teaching him details about his heritage. The program builds more than language skill — it builds an appreciation for the culture, which naturally flows from teaching and learning a language. And learning a language always joins the past, present, and future.

“You kind of have to know where you come from. That gives you, I guess, your character," says Wei. "If this program wasn't here, I would not have been able to teach my kids any part of their culture really, myself, right? Sure you go down to Chinatown, you buy the food. But we really didn't get actively involved. But now, the ECBEA is kind of my connection to celebrating.”

Language also brings people together and creates opportunity — Bilingual program students at Edmonton's M.E. LaZerte High School felt such compassion for the victims of the 2008 Sichuan Province earthquake that they insisted on helping in some way. With the ECBEA's help, the 12 Bilingual program schools raised $96,000 last year.

And this year, the ECBEA has helped bring a group of Chengdu orphans to Edmonton. A group of 18 students between 10 and 17 years old, who lost their families in the Sichuan Province earthquake in 2008, are visiting Edmonton for 8 Days of Hope and Happiness. Each visiting student will be paired up with a Mandarin-speaking buddy around the same age.

“I hope when they come they know that somebody in this world cares about them,” Wei says. “Hopefully the kids will learn from each other...hopefully this is fun for them; it's an adventure. And they'll come here and think this is great because Edmonton has Mandarin-speaking people, so they feel a little bit at home and not just completely lost ... Maybe, if they have a good time now, they'll think about coming back for school when it's time for university, and so they'll build a kind of educational link there.

“Our kids will be ambassadors for Edmonton, and I'm sure they'll be very good ones too. And the kids coming from Chengdu will be ambassadors for their city, but also China.”



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