Canada is the second-largest country in the world in terms of land mass and offers a wide variety of industries, cultures and places to make your home. Each of Canada's 13 provinces has its specific features and needs. The question is: what is the best province in Canada to live in? One of the best ways to gain permanent residence in Canada is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
The Canada PNP allows people who intend on living in a specific province the opportunity to be almost automatically accepted into Canada's Express Entry immigration program. However, this is only available from 11 out of Canada's 13 provinces and each province has their own needs and requirements for their provincial nominee programs. This article goes through all of the different provincial programs to make sure you know which is the best province to get into via a PNP.
What is a Provincial Nominee Program?
A PNP is a system that accelerates the immigration processing of an application for permanent residence, provided the applicant gets a nomination from a specific Canadian province. To get a nomination, the applicant must be planning to live in a particular province and meet the needs of the provincial government, as well as the conditions of their province.
All provincial nominee programs generally fall under two types. The first is the Skilled Worker PNP. These generally require a legitimate job offer from a local employer with work experience gained within the province or territory, and have some sort of adaptive or familial ties to someone living in the province.
The other type is the more specific Business Immigration Program. This program is for immigrants moving to Canada with the intent of either making a significant investment in, or entering a joint venture with a local business. Either that, or if they plan on starting a new business in their chosen province.
The vast majority of PNP programs fall under the Skilled Worker PNP but different provinces require different skill levels and different occupations.
How does the Canada PNP work?
The primary way international immigrants apply for permanent residence in Canada is via the Express Entry program. This program scores all international applicants based on factors like their age, occupation, skill level and marital status, and places all of the scores into an Express Entry pool.
Every two weeks there is an Express Entry draw in which the applicants with the highest scores in the Express Entry pool are presented with Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence. The scoring system is called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Each applicant's score is out of 1,200 points.
Almost all Express Entry candidates look to find out how to increase CRS score. A provincial nomination automatically adds up to 600 points to your CRS score on top of your current score, essentially giving you a score high enough to get an ITA at the next Express Entry draw. Therefore, getting a provincial nomination can make the difference between getting and not getting permanent residence in Canada.
How to apply for a Canada PNP?
There are three primary ways to apply for PNP.
The first is to apply directly to a province or territory. This requires you to submit a paper application via mail or courier. Since it relies on the postal or courier system, this process takes up to 19 months to complete.
The other process is the Express Entry-linked process. This requires you to create an Expression of Interest (EOI) when you create your online Express Entry profile. This shows your interest in moving to a specific province or territory.
This method allows your chosen province to select your Express Entry profile directly from the draw pool. Provided you have the required skills and experience, and in turn, the province will send you your nomination.
Alternatively, you can apply through a Provincial Nominee Express Entry system. All of the Canadian provinces that offer Provincial Nominations have a specific express entry stream along with a list of occupations in demand. This process is much faster and usually takes around 6 to 8 months.
If you're unsure of which program is the best for you, click the button below to speak to a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) who can help you with every step of your immigration process.
Which Is The Best Province In Canada For A PNP?
Out of the 13 Canadian provinces, only Nunavut and Quebec don't have PNPs. If you're looking to move to Canada using a provincial nomination, choosing where to live in Canada can often be based on how likely you are to get a provincial nomination. Each province has different nomination programs, with specific requirements based on the demands of the province.
Manitoba is very open to providing a home for international students. There are three primary pathways to gaining a provincial nomination in Manitoba.
Career Employment Pathway
This program is designed for students looking for long-term employment in Manitoba. The best way to get a nomination from Manitoba is to be working in one of the in-demand occupations in Manitoba. You can find a breakdown of Manitoba's in-demand occupations here.
Graduate Internship Pathway
This route puts students doing their master's or doctorate training in Manitoba on the fast track pathway, during their internship training. The candidates would have to be understood as adding value to Manitoba's innovation and economy, and should have completed internships at a minimum of two well-renowned organizations in Manitoba: Acceleration and Elevate. These organizations offer paid internships to highly educated students.
International Student Entrepreneur Pilot
This program is designed to give international students, who have completed their studies in Manitoba, the opportunity to start their own business in Manitoba rather than pursue employment. You must own at least 51% of the business you plan on starting to be eligible for this pilot.
Bordering the United States, Saskatchewan has four primary PNPs.
International Skilled worker Category
This category specifically caters to international candidates under three streams
- Employment offer
- For candidates who have a job offer in a skilled occupation in Saskatchewan.
- Occupation in demand
- For candidates without a job offer but are highly skilled in an in-demand occupation in Saskatchewan.
- Saskatchewan Express Entry
- those who plan on living and working in Saskatchewan, have already entered the Express Entry pool and meet all of the requirements to live in Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan Work Experience Category
This is for candidates who are currently living and working in Saskatchewan with a valid work permit. This caters primarily to health, hospitality and trucking jobs, but also caters to students and other skilled workers.
This category is specifically for those planning on starting a new business in Saskatchewan.
Farm Owner and Operator Category
This is for candidates who plan on buying and running a farm in Saskatchewan.
New Brunswick is one of Canada's four Atlantic Provinces. As a result, it falls under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, an immigration program that looks to give permanent residence to skilled foreign workers who can fill a gap in the labour market in the province. They generally require a job offer from a designated employer, and must be in an occupation the employer can prove they couldn't fill within the local job market.
Outside of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP), New Brunswick has its own Express Entry Stream, Skilled Workers' Stream and Entrepreneurial stream.
- New Brunswick Express Entry Stream
- This system is for those who have applied to the Express Entry program and submitted an EOI to live in New Brunswick.
- New Brunswick Skilled Workers Stream
- This is for candidates who already live in New Brunswick, have a full-time job offer and have sufficient skills, education and work experience to add to New Brunswick's economy.
- New Brunswick Entrepreneurial Stream
- For experienced business people looking to start or own a business within the province.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Another one of Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador shares many PNP categories with New Brunswick. It falls under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot but also branches out to the Skilled Worker stream, Express Entry Stream and Entrepreneur Stream.
On top of this, it also has an International Graduate Category and an International Graduate Entrepreneur Category. These operate in the same way as Manitoba's Graduate Internship Pathway and International Student Entrepreneur Pilot, giving a nomination to students who have graduated from a Canadian tertiary institution, and who are looking to either work or start a business in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Prince Edward Island
Like Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island is part of Atlantic Canada and falls under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP). Like the other Atlantic Provinces, Prince Edwards Island has its own Express Entry, Skilled Workers, International Graduate and Entrepreneurship streams.
Outside of these, Prince Edward Island also has the Prince Edward Island Critical Workers Stream and the Skilled Workers Outside Canada Stream.
The Critical Workers Stream is employer-driven, allowing local employers to hire foreign nationals for labour jobs that they're unable to fill from the local market.
The Skilled Workers Outside Canada Stream could make Prince Edward Island the best province in Canada to get a nomination. It allows for local employers to hire foreign workers if their vacancies can't be filled locally. You need a valid job offer to apply.
As the final of the Canadian Atlantic Provinces, Nova Scotia has the most PNP categories. Like the other Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotia has an entrepreneur, International Graduate, International Graduate Entrepreneur, and Skilled Worker Streams.
Nova Scotia has two Express Entry Streams.
- Nova Scotia Demand Express Entry
- Giving skilled workers with either a job offer in Nova Scotia or Sufficient Experience in an in-demand occupation permanent residence.
- Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry
- This is for candidates with at least one year of skilled work experience in Nova Scotia.
On top of this, the Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities Stream exclusively picks candidates from the national express entry pool - if their skills fill the needs of the Nova Scotia job market.
Nova Scotia also has a stream specifically for Physicians called the Physicians Stream. On top of all of these, Nova Scotia also has its Occupations In-Demand Stream, which is the Nova Scotian equivalent of Prince Edward Island's Critical Workers Stream.
If you're thinking of where to live in Canada and have an affinity for natural beauty, the Northwest territories could be your place. The Northwest territories have four primary PNP streams. Like the Atlantic Provinces, there is an Express Entry, Skilled Workers and Entrepreneur Streams (although it's referred to as a Business stream in the Northwest Territories).
It also has what's called the Entry-Level/Semi-Skilled Occupation Stream which operates in the same way as Nova Scotia's Occupations In-Demand Stream, or Prince Edward Island's Critical Workers Stream.
Next to the Northwest Territories, is the Yukon, perfect for those who like large, unspoiled wilderness.
Like the provinces before, the Yukon has Express Entry, Skilled Worker, Entrepreneur (called the Business Nominee Program) and Entry Level (referred to as the Critical Impact Worker Program) nomination categories. On top of this, the Yukon also has the Yukon Community Pilot, which is a program that allows candidates to work multiple jobs to make the requirements to gain permanent residence.
British Columbia (BC)
When looking at where to live in Canada, BC is always high on people's list as it has one of Canada's biggest cities - Vancouver. BC has four primary PNP categories. Like the other Canadian Provinces, BC has an Express Entry and Entrepreneur Stream as well as a program called the BC Skills Immigration Stream for Entry-level and semi-skilled jobs. However, BC also has the BC Tech Pilot which specifically targets candidates that work in tech. This program seeks out foreign students and workers that can add greatly to BC's tech industry.
Alberta is one of Canada's most densely populated provinces, host to the cities of Edmonton and Calgary. With the most PNPs, it can be argued that Alberta is a great place to get a PNP as their categories cover so many types of people. The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) categories are as follows:
While it does have many similar streams to other Canadian Provinces, Alberta's Nomination Program covers a far greater variety of industries and needs. For more information on the AINP, have a look at this article.
How often do Provincial Nominee Draws Take Place?
Generally speaking, they take place every two weeks but to be more certain, you should consult the website of the specific province you're looking to move to.
Can I apply for PNP in Multiple Provinces?
Yes, but if you get a nomination from multiple provinces, you're only allowed to use one to boost your CRS score. Whichever province you choose, you do have to live there to maintain your nomination.
If my application for PNP gets rejected, can I apply again?
Yes, unless the authority you've applied to specifically states you cannot. If that is the case, you are still allowed to apply again provided you include the information that you didn't include before.
What is the Cost of Living in Canada?
Here's a full breakdown of all the factors that make up the Cost of living in Canada.
Time To Get Your Nomination
Now you know what every province has to offer to help you find the best province for you to get your provincial nomination. Canada is hugely open to immigrants and, as can be seen, has a multitude of ways to gain permanent residence and visas. If you're unsure which program will give you your best chance to immigrate to Canada, click the button below to talk to an RCIC and get started on your Canadian journey.