Though the numbers have been slipping in recent years, China consistently has been among the top three sources of immigrants to Canada.
But that also means it's a prime source of illegal immigrants who, if they're discovered, are supposed to be deported home.
But the Toronto Sun reports there's a huge backlog of Chinese citizens awaiting removal from Canada because their own government won't provide the necessary travel documents. The figure totals about 3,000 people.
"The People's Republic of China is notorious for not issuing travel documents," one top Canadian border official told the Sun. "A vast majority of Chinese waiting to be removed from Canada require documents."
The unnamed official from Canada Border Services Agency told the paper that the stalled deportees included failed refugee claimants, criminals and fugitives wanted back home for economic crimes.
The official said they're not in custody and are being allowed to work in Canada.
Getting the necessary travel documents from Beijing can take years, the official told the Sun.
The Sun said that China in the past has requested a list of names of deportees so they can be checked for criminal records. But Canada has refused to release the names, fearing it would open their families to harassment.
Border services spends close to $100 million a year on detaining and removing illegal immigrants from Canada, according to a 2010 evaluation study by the agency.
It deported 13,249 people in fiscal 2008-09, the study said, the vast majority failed refugee claimants.
About a half-dozen so-called economic criminals have been deported to China in recent years, including the notorious Lai Changxing, whose removal was stalled partly because of Canadian fears he would be executed.
Lai arrived in Canada in 1999, fleeing a Chinese investigation into his multi-billion-dollar smuggling operation in Xiamen, a port on China'a south coast. Lai reputedly had many top local officials in his pocket but an anti-corruption crackdown started his empire crumbling.
Living in Vancouver under loose and luxurious house arrest, Lai spent more than a decade fighting deportation. Canada and China have no extradition agreement and Lai claimed refugee status.
The proceedings dragged on despite assurances from Chinese authorities that Lai wouldn't be executed (even though some of his associates died mysteriously in prison). It became a sore point in relations between Canada and China.
But Lai eventually exhausted his legal options and was sent home in 2011. He received a life sentence earlier this year.