The International Metropolis Project was founded in 1996 as a network of experts and practitioners from academic institutions and governmental, international, and non-governmental organizations with an interest in international migration and its effects on societies. Citizenship and Immigration Canada launched the project in 1996 with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and their partnership along with that of a number of other federal and provincial agencies supported a research program carried out by five Metropolis Centres of Excellence which were themselves partnerships of 20 Canadian universities.
Outside of Canada, academic, governmental, and international organizations supported policy-research activities highlighted by an annual conference designed to transfer the best empirical knowledge of international migration and integration to those with responsibility for policy and operations in these fields.
In 2012, through an agreement between Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Carleton University, the Secretariat of the International Metropolis Project was transferred to the university.
Over the years, the Project grew into the largest cross-sectoral global network of stakeholders in the field of migration, integration / inclusion, and diversity, with collaborators in more than 70 countries and new initiatives such as Metropolis Asia-Pacific
and Metropolis North America
in 2009, Metropolis Europe
, and is growing in Africa and the Middle East
In 2021, the logo was updated to highlight the unique 'international' attribute of the organization, while also maintaining continuity with the past through the incorporation of the bridge and distinctive 'M'.