The 2011 National Household Survey found there were 6.8 million immigrants in the country, 20.6 percent of the population. In the 2006 Census, 19.8 percent were foreign-born.
Canada has the highest proportion of immigrants in its population among the Group of Eight nations with the largest economies, followed by Germany with 13 percent and the United States with 12.9 percent.
About one in six, 17.2 percent, of immigrants arrived in Canada between 2006 and 2011. More than 60 percent of new immigrants settled in the country's three biggest metropolitan areas, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
The survey also found a change in patterns of immigration.
Among the most recent immigrants, 56.9 percent were from Asia, a continent that contributed only 8.5 percent of immigrants up to the 1970s.
About 1,369,100 said they were of First Nations or North American Indian descent, while 447,700 said they were Metis, or of mixed Indian and European ancestry. About 72,600 people described themselves as Inuit or Eskimo.