On average, most immigrants arrive in Canada with about $47,000 in savings, finds a new BMO study—nearly a quarter (19%) come with no savings at all, however.

And, after paying initial expenses to get settled, those who do have money are often only left with an average of $20,000 to pay daily expenses and support their families.

Read: Why new immigrants struggle to find work

What’s more, two thirds send a portion of their money back home to friends or family, with 17% doing so monthly, and 24% sending funds a few times a year.

That’s why financial professionals should help new Canadians manage their finances. Along with facing language barriers, says president of BMO InvestorLine Julie Barker-Merz, families may not be familiar with Canada’s financial system.


Why Canada?

Many people choose to immigrate to Canada because they want:

  • to ensure their personal safety (46%);
  • to live in a different country (42%);
  • to get a better jobs (38%);
  • to improve their educations (36%); and/or
  • to access better government programs (33%).

Read: Say welcome to cheap healthcare

And after moving, more than two thirds of immigrants (67%) say their standard of living has improved, with 27% saying it’s improved greatly.

In fact, “compared to other G8 countries, Canada has the highest proportion of foreign-born residents,” says Barker-Merz. “People choose Canada as a place to raise a family or start a career because of the opportunities available to newcomers.”

Read: Rich immigrants can get Canadian residency

The survey finds one-fifth of immigrants, on average, come to Canada with older relatives—22% with parents, and 20% with aunts or uncles—and that more than one-third arrive with at least one child (37%).

Breakdown of survey findings

Region Average $ amount brought to Canada Average $ amount left after move % saving for retirement % who send money back to family/friends % who moved to Canada to be safe
National 47,070 20,277 53 66 46
Quebec 36,527 7,388 46 57 37
Ontario 51,847 27,579 59 68 57
Alberta 28,784 9,800 52 64 38
B.C. 86,270 35,500 56 69 49

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