Analytical Studies: Methods and References
Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) Technical Report, 2018

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Release date: December 16, 2019 Revised: July 20, 2020

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The initial publication of the IMDB Technical Report was co-authored by Rose Evra and Elena Prokopenko.

We would like to mention the special contribution of the following people: Laetitia Martin of the Diversity and Sociocultural Statistics (DSS), who wrote sections 3.3.1 to 3.3.3 of this report; Tristan Cayn, Kristen James, Caroline Li, Ian Marrs, Scott McLeish, and Eric Mongrain, members of the Administrative Data team, who produced the IMDB and contributed to the content of several sections of the report.

The IMDB is the result of a partnership between Statistics Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and the provinces. IRCC has been funding the IMDB since the beginning, and has been continuously collaborating with Statistics Canada to expand the content of the IMDB as well as contributing to the development of new analytical tools.

On the provincial side, the following departments have been part of the consortium funding the IMDB:

Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Island Investment Development Inc (Prince Edward Island)
Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (Nova Scotia)
Population Growth Division (New Brunswick)
Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (Québec)
Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (Ontario)
Manitoba Labour and Immigration
Ministry of Immigration and Career Training (Saskatchewan)
Alberta Labour
Labour Market Information Office (British Columbia)

These provincial partners were also part of consultations to redesign the IMDB and its analytical tools.

Many thanks to the following people for reviewing the report prior to its publication: Margareta Dovgal, Benoît St-Jean, Winnie Chan, Hélène Maheux, and Tiana Major (Statistics Canada); Yoko Yoshida (Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University); Michael Haan (Canada Research Chair in Migration and Ethnic Studies and the Department of Sociology of Western University); and Ian Clara (Manitoba Research Data Centre).


The Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) is a comprehensive source of data that plays a key role in the understanding of the economic behaviour of immigrants. It is the only annual Canadian dataset that allows users to study the characteristics of immigrants to Canada at the time of admission and their economic outcomes and regional (inter-provincial) mobility over a time span of more than 35 years.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) administrative records contain exhaustive information about immigrants who were admitted to Canada since 1952 and non-permanent residents who have been issued temporary resident permits since 1980. 

This report will discuss the IMDB data sources, concepts and variables, record linkage, data processing, dissemination, data evaluation and quality indicators, comparability with other immigration datasets, and the analyses possible with the IMDB.

Key words: Administrative Data, Immigration, IMDB, longitudinal data, non-permanent residents, taxfilers

Glossary of terms

Following are the description of acronyms that will be used several times in the report.

Glossary of terms
Table summary
This table displays the results of Following are the description of acronyms that will be used several times in the report.. The information is grouped by Acronym (appearing as row headers), Definition (appearing as column headers).
Acronym Definition
CPI Consumer Price Index
CRA Canada Revenue Agency
ILF Immigrant Landing File
IMDB Longitudinal Immigration Database
IRCC Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada
LAD Longitudinal Administrative Databank
LSIC Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada
NHS National Household Survey
NPR Non-permanent resident
NRF Non-permanent Resident File
NRF, Permits Non-permanent resident, Permit File
PNRF Integrated Permanent and Non-permanent Resident File
PR Permanent resident
SDLE Social Data Linkage Environment
T1FF T1 Family File

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