Ontario Census Metropolitan Areas

Ontario Census Metropolitan AreasRoland is an achieved merchant from Gabon. However, he recently decided to immigrate to Canada. According to his immigration consultant, he could immigrate to Ontario as an entrepreneur. Nonetheless, Roland has heard you could lose points if you pick a populated Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in Ontario. Consequently, he wonders what CMA is and how he could locate different CMAs in Ontario.

Ontario is the most populated province in Canada. In fact, about 38% of Canadians live in Ontario. Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is an Ontarian city. However, the capital of Ontario, Toronto, is significantly larger than Ottawa. About one-sixth of Canadians live in the Greater Toronto Area. Also, you may like to know, Ontario generates about 40% of the Gross Domestic Product of Canada. No wonder many people want to immigrate to this province.

Immigration to Canada as an Entrepreneur

If you are a business person or a successful senior manager, you could immigrate to Ontario as an entrepreneur. Of course, you need to meet the criteria. To begin with, you need to express your interest in doing business and living in Ontario. Thus, you enter your information via an online application. Upon submitting the Expression of Interest (EOI), you receive some points. The higher your score, the higher your chances of immigrating to the province! As part of the EOI application, you need to choose the location of your intended business.

What is an Ontario Census Metropolitan Area?

Statistics Canada identifies a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), a geographical location that has a population of more than 100,000 people. Of course, this area has a core and may consist of one or more municipalities. Here are some examples from Ontario:

  • Chatham-Kent in southwestern Ontario has a population of 102,000 or so. The core city of this area is Chatham. However, there are many surrounding significant areas, such as Wallaceburg, Blenheim, and Tilbury. Since the total population is more than 100,000, then Chatham-Kent is a CMA.
  • Northumberland county in the south of Ontario consists of seven municipalities. However, their population is less than 90,000 collectively. Consequently, Northumberland county is not a CMA.

Census Metropolitan Area EOI points for immigration

If you are applying for OINP-EN or rather the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream, then you need to consider the points you could gain or lose because of your target area. The following table shows the points based on the location of your future business in Ontario.

Business Location Category EOI Points
Toronto CMA with a population of 6,000,000 A 0
CMA with more than 175,000 in population A 0
CMA between 100,000 and 175,000 in population B 5
Non-CMA location or rather an area that has a population of less than 100,000 C 10


The total EOI points are 200. Thus, the difference in choosing a non-CMA location compared to a large urban area could account for 5% of the full potential points.

Toronto Census Metropolitan Area

Toronto CMA or the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has a population of about 6,000,000. If you target this area, losing the CMA points is the least of your problems. In fact, you will lose EOI points on many fronts. The following table shows Toronto CMA cities.

Toronto Mississauga Halton Hills
Brampton Aurora Markham
Georgina Vaughan Whitchurch-Stouffville
Richmond Hill New Tecumseth Oakville
Bradford West Gwillimbury Ajax Orangeville

Source: OINP-EN application guide.

Category A – Highly populated Census Metropolitan Areas

The following areas fall under Category A. Of course, you won’t receive any points if your intended business is in these areas.

CMA Category A Population**
Toronto (GTA) 5,928,040
Ottawa-Gatineau* 1,323,783
Hamilton 747,545
Kitchener – Cambridge – Waterloo 523,894
London 494,069
St. Catherines – Niagara 406,074
Oshawa 379,848
Windsor 329,144
Barrie 197,059

Source: OINP-EN application guide.

* You may only choose Ottawa as your destination as Gatineau is in Quebec.

** The population is based on the 2016 Census and could change at any point in time.

Category B – Moderately populated Census Metropolitan Areas

If your intended business operates in any of the following CMAs, you could receive 5 EOI points.

CMA Category B Population*
Greater Sudbury 164,689
Kingston 161,175
Guelph 151,984
Brantford 134,203
Peterborough 121,721
Thunder Bay 121,621
Belleville 103,472
Chatham-Kent 102,042

Source: OINP-EN application guide.

* The population is based on the 2016 Census and could change at any point in time.

Category C – Non-CMA destinations

If you choose a non-CMA destination such as the Northumberland county, you may receive 10 EOI points.

OINP Entrepreneur points calculator

We have designed a proprietary calculator that helps you estimate your EOI score. The following image takes to the calculator page.

OINP-EN EOI Calculator

Of course, the destination city is just one criterion among many that will affect your EOI points. If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review the form for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada


This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not give legal advice. Do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. We cannot be held responsible for the content of these articles. If you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. If you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment. All the characters in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Any resemblance in names, dates, and places (whether individuals, regions or countries) is coincidental.

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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