LIVING IN CANADA : FOUNDED ON CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Canada is often refereed to as a cultural mosaic; built by a society that respects and celebrates the cultures of many countries from around the world. In 2006, Statistics Canada, the official Canadian agency that records population data, recorded that 6,186,950 foreign-born people now live in Canada. Immigration accounted for virtually one in five, or nearly 20 % of the total Canadian population, the highest proportion in 75 years.
The number of new immigrants choosing to make Canada their home is continuing to increase. Between 2001 and 2006, Canada's foreign-born population increased by 13.6%. This growth rate, in new Canadian Immigration, is four times higher than the native Canadian growth or birth rate of 3.3%. The census estimated that 1,110,000 immigrants came to Canada between January 1, 2001 and May 16, 2006.
|Provinces & Territories - Immigrant Population Data 2006|
|Geographic Name||Total Pop.||Non Immigrant Pop.||Immigrant Pop.|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||500,610||490,855||8,385|
|Prince Edward Island||134,205||129,150||4,785|
* Includes immigrants who landed in Canada prior to Census Day, May 16, 2006.
According to recent Canadian immigration information, Canada has 34 ethnic groups with at least one hundred thousand members each and we remain one of the countries with the highest per capita immigration rate in the world; driven by economic, family reunification, and humanitarian reasons. Canadian Immigrants are particularly attracted to the major urban areas of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
The new census data also suggested that Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver metropolitan areas were home to 68.9% of the recent new Canadian immigrants in 2006 although this trend is beginning to change as more and more recent immigrants are choosing to settle in smaller communities across Canada. Fully 16.6% of new Canadian immigrants settled in smaller communities such as Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton and London. In 2001, by comparison, only 14.3% of new immigrants lived in these communities.
Immigration to Canada made up the vast majority of the 1.6 million new Canadians between 2001 and 2006, giving the country the highest population growth rate among G8 countries. Canada's population now stands at 31,612,897, with a growth rate of 5.4 per cent during that five-year period. That's up from the four per cent growth rate in the previous census period between 1996 and 2001.
Government: Immigrating to a Just Society
Canada is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen of England acting as the monarchy figure head and a centralized federal government that is supported by strong and autonomous provincial and territorial democratic leadership.
Canada's constitution governs the legal framework of the country and consists of written text and unwritten traditions and conventions.
The position of Prime Minister, Canada's head of government, belongs to the current leader of the political party that can obtain the confidence of a plurality in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister exercises vast political power, especially in the appointment of other officials within the government and civil service. Michaëlle Jean has served as Governor General since September 25, 2005, and Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, has been Prime Minister since February 6, 2006.
It may be helpful for new Immigrants to Canada to know that the federal parliament is made up of the Queen and two houses: an elected House of Commons and an appointed Senate. Canada's four major political parties are the Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party (NDP), and the Bloc Québécois. The current government is formed by the Conservative Party of Canada. While the Green Party of Canada and other smaller parties do not have current representation in Parliament, the list of historical parties with elected representation is substantial.
A satellite composite image of Canada. Boreal forests prevail throughout the country, ice is prominent in the Arctic and through the Coast Mountains and Saint Elias Mountains, and the relatively flat Prairies facilitate agriculture. The Great Lakes feed the St. Lawrence River (in the southeast) where lowlands host much of Canada's population
Geography and Climate Considerations Affect Canadian Immigration Distribution
Canada occupies most of the northern portion of North America, sharing land borders with the contiguous United States to the south and with the US state of Alaska to the northwest, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean.
New Immigrants to Canada can expect wide open spaces as the population density of 3.5 people per square kilometre (9.1/mi²) is among the lowest in the world. The most densely populated part of the country is the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor, where most new immigrants to Canada settle, and along the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River in the southeast. To the north of this region is the broad Canadian Shield, an area of rock scoured clean by the last ice age, thinly soiled, rich in minerals, and dotted with lakes and rivers-Canada by far has more lakes than any other country in the world and has a large amount of the world's freshwater.
Canadian Immigrants can expect average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada to vary depending on their location. Coastal British Columbia is an exception and enjoys a temperate climate with a mild and rainy winter South Central Ontario and parts of southern Quebec can be temperate as well. The east coast, climate is generally temperate, with occasional heat waves in summer and coastal storms in both spring and fall.
Canadian Immigration: Helping Build our Economy
Canada is one of the world's wealthiest nations with a high per capita income, a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Group of Eight (G8). Immigrants to Canada will be happy to learn that Canada is a free market economy with slightly more government intervention than the United States, but much less than most European nations. For the past decade, the Canadian economy has been growing rapidly with the help of Canadian immigration, low unemployment and significant annual trade surpluses with the United States. Today Canada closely resembles the U.S. in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards. While as of October 2006, Canada's national unemployment rate of 6.3% is among its lowest in 30 years, provincial unemployment rates vary from a low of 3.6% in Alberta to a high of 14.6% in Newfoundland and Labrador.
In the past century, ever increasing numbers of immigrants to Canada coupled with the growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. As with other first world nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three quarters of Canadians. However, Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of the primary sector, with the logging and oil industries being two of Canada's most important.
Canada is one of the few developed nations that is a net exporter of energy. Canada has vast deposits of natural gas on the east coast and large oil and gas resources centred in Alberta, and also present in neighbouring British Columbia and Saskatchewan, which can represent a significant opportunity for skilled workers wishing to immigrate to Canada.
Canada is one of the world's most important suppliers of agricultural products, with the Canadian Prairies being one of the key suppliers of wheat and other grains. Canada is the world's largest producer of zinc and uranium and a world leader in many other natural resources such as gold, nickel, aluminum, and lead; many, if not most, towns in the northern part of the country, where agriculture is difficult, exist because of a nearby mine or source of timber. Skilled workers, immigrating to Canada have also helped Canada develop a sizeable manufacturing sector, centred in southern Ontario, with the automobile industry remaining especially important. Southern Quebec, also boasts a strong manufacturing sector that includes a great number of aeronautics and space industries.
How Immigration is Helping Canada Grow
The 2006 national census recorded 31,612,897 people which was a rise of 5.4% since 2001. Population growth is largely accomplished through immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth. About three-quarters of Canada's population live within 160 kilometres (100 mi) of the U.S. border.
Education: A Right of Canadian Citizenship
In Canada, the provinces and territories are responsible for education; thus Canada has no national department of education. Immigrants to Canada will be happy to learn that each of the thirteen education systems are similar while reflecting their own regional history, culture and geography. The mandatory school age varies across Canada but generally ranges between the ages of 5-7 to 16-18, contributing to an adult literacy rate that is 99%. Postsecondary education is the responsibility of the provincial and territorial governments that provide most of their funding; the federal government provides additional funding through research grants. In 2002, 43% of Canadians aged between 25 and 64 had post-secondary education; for those aged 25 to 34 the postsecondary attainment reaches 51%.
|Canada's International Rankings|
|A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy Magazine||Globalization Index 2005||6 of 111|
|IMD International||World Competitiveness Yearbook 2005||5 of 60|
|The Economist||The World in 2005 - Worldwide quality-of-life index, 2005||14 of 111|
|Yale University/Columbia University||Environmental Sustainability Index, 2005||6 of 146|
|Reporters Without Borders World-wide||Press Freedom Index 2006||16 of 168|
|Transparency International||Corruption Perceptions Index 2005||14 of 159|
|Heritage Foundation/The Wall Street Journal||Index of Economic Freedom, 2007||10 of 161|
|Canada was ranked number one country by the United Nations' Human Development Index 10 times out of 16 between 1980 and 2004.|