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The Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) is no longer in operation. This website documents FOCAL's activities and accomplishments throughout its existence. Thank you for your interest in the work of FOCAL.

Mapping Migration from the Americas

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Labour flows from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to Canada are on the rise. In 2010, Canada attracted more than 182,000 temporary foreign workers —a significant increase over the past 10 years— in both skilled and low-skilled occupations. While many of these workers have traditionally come from countries such as Jamaica and Mexico, an increased number of workers are arriving from Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala.

map_sample_2b_smallInteractive, Web-Based Maps

The Mapping Migration initiative uses Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to bring together previously unconnected databases of migration information that were for the most part unavailable to the public. This is the first time that data on the temporary workforce coming to Canada from the LAC region is displayed along with its spatial distribution across Canada and in sending countries. Migration and other data can be projected onto the same map, providing context while allowing users to visualize possible relationships and patterns within the datasets.

A Tool for Change: Applications for Research and Policy

Map Functions
• Layer datasets to correlate and cross different variables
• Zoom in and out on regions and cities in Canada and on selected sending countries
• Export screenshots of the maps for use in other documents
• Conduct queries for refined searches, sorting and displaying results by variable
• Access reports, analysis and links on information pertaining to migration and development in Canada and the LAC region

The maps feature a variety of tools and functions that can help support research and analysis. Datasets can be layered and crossed for an at-a-glance illustration of the connections between the distribution of temporary foreign workers in Canada and information such as country of origin, sex, age, education and occupation, where available. Users can also explore the maps by zooming in for detail or by panning across maps to visualize geographical differences. For in-depth analysis, users can perform refined searches and sort results using the query function.

The maps can be used in publications, presentations and educational materials, if properly referenced. The website also features a section with country reports, links to information pertaining to migration programs, and additional information on the different thematic areas linked to migration and development, such as remittances and health.

The maps can be used by a variety of users in their efforts to better grasp the relationship between migration and development. The combination of geographical, statistical and quantitative information can help policymakers and migration experts develop new policy options to address issues related to temporary labour migration that impact Canada and LAC countries. Likewise, academics and students can use the maps to conduct studies of the influence of migration flows on development in the LAC region. Civil society organizations can use this tool to access valuable information that can inform dialogue initiatives on migration and development, and work with policymakers to improve temporary foreign worker programs.

The maps will increase the capacity of experts and researchers in the LAC region and Canada to:
• Analyze movements of temporary workers and uncover trends between the LAC region and Canada;
• Identify important emerging issues for the LAC and Canadian migration agendas;
• Deepen the understanding of circular labour movements from the LAC region to Canada and their associated development impacts;
• Assist policy-makers in identifying alternatives for the design of effective migration policies and programs in LAC and Canada.

The maps are an evolving tool and can easily be enriched with new data. You can help update the maps, or contribute new datasets or documents by contacting the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC).


Mapping Migration Concept Paper


A View of the Hemisphere



Explore the link between governance and development.