Immigration and Diversity Today

Where are newcomers going and how is Canada supporting them?

Highlights from 2011 Statistics Canada Census Data

  • In 2011, Canada had a foreign-born population of about 6,775,800 people. They represented 20.6% of the total population, the highest proportion among the G8 countries.


  • The vast majority (95%) of the foreign-born population lived in four provinces: Ontario (53%), British Columbia (18%), Quebec (14%) and Alberta (10%), and most lived in the nation's largest urban centres.


  • 7 out of 10 lived in the three largest census metropolitan areas: Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver.


  • Nearly 6,264,800 people identified themselves as a member of a visible minority group. They represented 19.1% of the total population. Of these visible minorities, 30.9% were born in Canada and 65.1% were born outside the country.


  • Just over 22.1 million people, two-thirds of Canada's population, reported they were affiliated with a Christian religion. Slightly over 1 million individuals identified themselves as Muslim, representing 3.2% of the nation's total population. Hindus represented 1.5%, Sikhs 1.4%, Buddhists 1.1% and Jewish 1.0%.


  • More than 7.8 million people, nearly one-quarter of the population (23.9%), had no religious affiliation.


  • a majority (74.5%) of Canada's foreign-born population was able to conduct a conversation in more than one language, compared to 36.6% of the total population.


  • The Philippines was the leading country of birth among people who immigrated to Canada between 2006 and 2011. In 2011, around 152,300 newcomers were born in the Philippines, 13.1% of all newcomers.


  • It was followed by China, from which roughly 122,100 newcomers or 10.5% arrived, and India, from which about 121,400 or 10.4% originated.


  • Completing the top 10 countries of birth were the United States, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, Iran, South Korea, Colombia and Mexico.


  • Of Canada's 6.8 million immigrants in 2011, 91.0% lived in one of Canada's 33 census metropolitan areas (CMAs), compared with 63.3% of people who were born in Canada.


  • The median age of newcomers in 2011 was 31.7 years (Canada's overall median age is ~ 40).
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ISSUE: Why are immigrants mostly going to cities? What impacts result?

1. Read page 216 and 217 in Making Connections

2. Discuss questions 1-4 with the class.

3. Help newcomers settle into their new life in Canada:


When you arrive in a new location or are planning a trip, what are some of the first things you want to know about this location? What kind of clothing do I need? Is it hot or cold? Where is the best place to eat? Is my hotel or apartment in a safe part of town? Will I be able to speak their language? To ensure a successful transition, many communities have services in place for new Canadians to help them adjust to their new location. Using the Government of Canada website, in 2-3 paragraphs (about a page - in your own words) explain how a new Canadian can have a smooth transition. Be sure to include information on key facts about Canada, health services, schooling, living, Canada's official languages and adjusting to life in Canada.

Your First Two Weeks in Canada