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IMDB (Longitudinal Immigration Database)


The Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) combines linked administrative immigration and tax data files. It is a comprehensive source of data on the socio-economic outcomes of the immigrant tax filer population in Canada.

The database is managed by Statistics Canada on behalf of a federal-provincial consortium led by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The IMDB provides detailed and reliable information on the labour market behaviour of different categories of immigrants over a period that is long enough to assess the impact of characteristics at admission, such as education and knowledge of French or English. The database also provides information on pre-admission work or study experience in Canada, provincial mobility and family composition. The benefits of analysis using the IMDB included:

 Support for evidence based policy making;

  • Increase the use of administrative data sources for research, thereby reducing the cost of data collection and the burden on respondents for surveys;
  • Allow inferential statistical analysis on the confidential microdata and analytical work complex in nature or not suitable for other forms of data access.


The Data

Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB)


The IMDB includes, all immigrants admitted to Canada since 1980, all non-permanent resident permits since 1980 and tax files since 1982 for linked immigrants.

The data are combined from administrative files through exact matching record linkage techniques. The IMDB brings together immigration from IRCC, taxation data from the Canada Revenue Agency (Annual Income Estimates for Census Families and Individuals –T1 Family files), and the date of death from Statistics Canada’s Amalgamated Mortality Database (AMDB). Each year the IMDB is updated with new immigrant cohorts, their non-permanent resident information, and new taxation data. Individuals admitted in previous years may be added later on if they subsequently linked to a tax record.

 Researchers unfamiliar with administrative data are cautioned that the IMDB requires the manipulation of multiple large data files via linkages.  Consequently, many researchers have found it takes some time to become familiar with the IMDB and to be able to operationalize it in their research.


Additional record linkages

The linking of records from additional data sources can be a useful and cost-efficient technique in the design, production, analysis and evaluation of statistical data. Please note that in accordance with the Statistics Canada Directive on Microdata Linkage, the IMDB has been linked to the following dataset available to researchers in the RDC:

Publications using this survey

Kaida, L., Hou F., and Stick M. (2020).  The long-term economic outcomes of refugee private sponsorship / Résultats économiques à long terme des réfugiés parrainés par le secteur privé. Ottawa, ON: Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series / Direction des études analytiques : documents de re. Abstract
Akbar, M., and Preston V. (2019).  Social characteristics of international students in Ontario and Quebec. Toronto, ON: Building Migrant Resilience in Cities-Immigration et résilience en milieu urbain (BMRC-IRMU). Abstract
Ramos, H., and Bennet M. (2019).  Do Immigrants who land in Atlantic Canada with family stay?. Halifax, NS: Pathways to Prosperity: Canada (P2P). Abstract