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Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...
. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being ''Canadian''. Canada is a multilingual and multicultural society home to people of groups of many different ethnic, religious, and national origins, with the majority of the population made up of
Old World The "Old World" is a term for Afro-Eurasia that originated in Europe , after Europeans became aware of the existence of the Americas. It is used to contrast the continents of Africa, Europe, and Asia, which were previously thought of by thei ...
immigrants and their descendants. Following the initial period of French and then the much larger British colonization, different waves (or peaks) of immigration and settlement of non-indigenous peoples took place over the course of nearly two centuries and continue today. Elements of Indigenous, French, British, and more recent immigrant customs, languages, and religions have combined to form the culture of Canada, and thus a Canadian identity. Canada has also been strongly influenced by its linguistic, geographic, and economic neighbour—the United States. Canadian independence from the United Kingdom grew gradually over the course of many years following the formation of the
Canadian Confederation Canadian Confederation (french: Confédération canadienne, link=no) was the process by which three British North American provinces, the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, were united into one federation called the Canada, Dom ...
in 1867.
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
in particular gave rise to a desire among Canadians to have their country recognized as a fully-fledged sovereign state with a distinct citizenship. Legislative independence was established with the passage of the Statute of Westminster 1931, the ''Canadian Citizenship Act'', 1946 took effect on January 1, 1947, and full sovereignty was achieved with the patriation of the constitution in 1982. Canada's nationality law closely mirrored that of the United Kingdom. Legislation since the mid-20th century represents Canadians' commitment to multilateralism and socioeconomic development.


Population

As of 2010, Canadians make up only 0.5% of the world's total population, having relied upon immigration for population growth and social development. Approximately 41% of current Canadians are first- or second-generation immigrants, and 20% of Canadian residents in the 2000s were not born in the country. Statistics Canada projects that, by 2031, nearly one-half of Canadians above the age of 15 will be foreign-born or have one foreign-born parent.
Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples are culturally distinct ethnic groups whose members are directly descended from the earliest known inhabitants of a particular geographic region and, to some extent, maintain the language and culture of those original people ...
, according to the 2016 Canadian census, numbered at 1,673,780 or 4.9% of the country's 35,151,728 population.


Immigration

While the first contact with Europeans and indigenous peoples in Canada had occurred a century or more before, the first group of permanent settlers were the French, who founded the
New France New France (french: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by Kingdom of France, France in North America, beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to King ...
settlements, in present-day
Quebec Quebec ( ; )According to the Government of Canada, Canadian government, ''Québec'' (with the acute accent) is the official name in Canadian French and ''Quebec'' (without the accent) is the province's official name in Canadian English is ...
and
Ontario Ontario ( ; ) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada.Ontario is located in the geographic Eastern Canada, eastern half of Canada, but it has historically and politically been considered to be part of Central Canada. Located ...
; and
Acadia Acadia (french: link=no, Acadie) was a colony of New France in northeastern North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by t ...
, in present-day
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia ( ; ; ) is one of the thirteen Provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories of Canada. It is one of the three Maritime Canada, Maritime provinces and one of the four Atlantic Canada, Atlantic provinces. Nova Scoti ...
and
New Brunswick New Brunswick (french: Nouveau-Brunswick, , locally ) is one of the thirteen Provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories of Canada. It is one of the three Maritime Canada, Maritime provinces and one of the four Atlantic Canad ...
, during the early part of the 17th century. Approximately 100 Irish-born families would settle the Saint Lawrence Valley by 1700, assimilating into the ''Canadien'' population and culture. During the 18th and 19th century; immigration westward (to the area known as Rupert's Land) was carried out by " Voyageurs"; French settlers working for the
North West Company The North West Company was a fur trading business headquartered in Montreal from 1779 to 1821. It competed with increasing success against the Hudson's Bay Company in what is present-day Western Canada and Northwestern Ontario. With great wealt ...
; and by British settlers ( English and Scottish) representing the
Hudson's Bay Company The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC; french: Compagnie de la Baie d'Hudson) is a Canadian retail business group. A fur trade, fur trading business for much of its existence, HBC now owns and operates retail stores in Canada. The company's namesake b ...
, coupled with independent entrepreneurial woodsman called coureur des bois. This arrival of newcomers led to the creation of the Métis, an ethnic group of mixed European and First Nations parentage. The British conquest of New France was preceded by a small number of
Germans , native_name_lang = de , region1 = , pop1 = 72,650,269 , region2 = , pop2 = 534,000 , region3 = , pop3 = 157,000 3,322,405 , region4 = , pop4 = ...
and Swedes who settled alongside the Scottish in Port Royal, Nova Scotia, while some Irish immigrated to the Newfoundland Colony. In the wake of the British Conquest of New France in 1760 and the
Expulsion of the Acadians The Expulsion of the Acadians, also known as the Great Upheaval, the Great Expulsion, the Great Deportation, and the Deportation of the Acadians (french: Le Grand Dérangement or ), was the Ethnic cleansing, forced removal, by the British, o ...
, many families from the British colonies in
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts Massachusetts (Massachusett language, Massachusett: ''Muhsachuweesut assachusett writing systems, məhswatʃəwiːsət ...
moved over into Nova Scotia and other colonies in Canada, where the British made farmland available to British settlers on easy terms. More settlers arrived during and after the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), also known as the Revolutionary War or American War of Independence, was a major war of the American Revolution. Widely considered as the war that secured the independence of t ...
, when approximately 60,000 United Empire Loyalists fled to British North America, a large portion of whom settled in New Brunswick. After the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was fought by the United States, United States of America and its Indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous allies against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Kingdom ...
, British (including British army regulars), Scottish, and Irish immigration was encouraged throughout Rupert's Land, Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Between 1815 and 1850, some 800,000 immigrants came to the colonies of British North America, mainly from the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean off the north-western coast of continental Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ...
as part of the Great Migration of Canada. These new arrivals included some Gaelic-speaking Highland Scots displaced by the Highland Clearances to Nova Scotia. The Great Famine of Ireland of the 1840s significantly increased the pace of Irish immigration to Prince Edward Island and the Province of Canada, with over 35,000 distressed individuals landing in
Toronto Toronto ( ; or ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,794,356 in 2021, it is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, most pop ...
in 1847 and 1848. Descendants of Francophone and Anglophone northern Europeans who arrived in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries are often referred to as Old Stock Canadians. Beginning in the late 1850s, the immigration of Chinese into the Colony of Vancouver Island and Colony of British Columbia peaked with the onset of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. The '' Chinese Immigration Act of 1885'' eventually placed a head tax on all Chinese immigrants, in hopes of discouraging Chinese immigration after completion of the
Canadian Pacific Railway The Canadian Pacific Railway (french: Chemin de fer Canadien Pacifique) , also known simply as CPR or Canadian Pacific and formerly as CP Rail (1968–1996), is a Canadian Class I railway incorporated in 1881. The railway is owned by Canadi ...
. Additionally, growing South Asian immigration into British Columbia during the early 1900sSingh, Hira, p
94Archive
.
led to the continuous journey regulation act of 1908 which indirectly halted Indian immigration to Canada, as later evidenced by the infamous 1914 ''Komagata Maru'' incident. The population of Canada has consistently risen, doubling approximately every 40 years, since the establishment of the
Canadian Confederation Canadian Confederation (french: Confédération canadienne, link=no) was the process by which three British North American provinces, the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, were united into one federation called the Canada, Dom ...
in 1867. In the mid-to-late 19th century, Canada had a policy of assisting immigrants from Europe, including an estimated 100,000 unwanted " Home Children" from Britain. Block settlement communities were established throughout Western Canada between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some were planned and others were spontaneously created by the settlers themselves. Canada was now receiving a large number of European immigrants, predominantly
Italians , flag = , flag_caption = Flag of Italy, The national flag of Italy , population = , regions = Italy 55,551,000 , region1 = Brazil , pop1 = 25–33 million , ref1 = , ...
, Germans, Scandinavians, Dutch,
Poles Poles,, ; singular masculine: ''Polak'', singular feminine: ''Polka'' or Polish people, are a West Slavs, West Slavic nation and ethnic group, who share a common History of Poland, history, Culture of Poland, culture, the Polish language and ...
, and
Ukrainians Ukrainians ( uk, Українці, Ukraintsi, ) are an East Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that disting ...
. Legislative restrictions on immigration (such as the continuous journey regulation and '' Chinese Immigration Act, 1923'') that had favoured British and other European immigrants were amended in the 1960s, opening the doors to immigrants from all parts of the world. While the 1950s had still seen high levels of immigration by Europeans, by the 1970s immigrants were increasingly Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Jamaican, and
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; French: ), officially the Republic of Haiti (); ) and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, east of Cuba and Jamaica, and ...
an. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Canada received many American
Vietnam War The Vietnam War (also known by #Names, other names) was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vi ...
draft dissenters. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, Canada's growing Pacific trade brought with it a large influx of South Asians, who tended to settle in
British Columbia British Columbia (commonly abbreviated as BC) is the westernmost Provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. It has a diverse geography, with rugged landscapes that include ...
. Immigrants of all backgrounds tend to settle in the major urban centres. The Canadian public, as well as the major political parties, are tolerant of immigrants. The majority of illegal immigrants come from the southern provinces of the People's Republic of China, with Asia as a whole,
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is a subregion of the Europe, European continent. As a largely ambiguous term, it has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic connotations. The vast majority of the region is covered by Russ ...
,
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ) ( es, El Caribe; french: la Caraïbe; ht, Karayib; nl, De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean ...
,
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area ...
, and the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233: ) is a geopolitical region commonly encompassing Arabian Peninsula, Arabia (including the Arabian Peninsula and Bahrain), Anatolia, Asia Minor (Asian part of Turkey except Hatay Pro ...
. Estimates of numbers of illegal immigrants range between 35,000 and 120,000.


Citizenship and diaspora

Canadian citizenship is typically obtained by birth in Canada or by birth or adoption abroad when at least one biological parent or adoptive parent is a Canadian citizen who was born in Canada or naturalized in Canada (and did not receive citizenship by being born outside of Canada to a Canadian citizen). It can also be granted to a permanent resident who lives in Canada for three out of four years and meets specific requirements. Canada established its own nationality law in 1946, with the enactment of the '' Canadian Citizenship Act'' which took effect on January 1, 1947. The '' Immigration and Refugee Protection Act'' was passed by the Parliament of Canada in 2001 as Bill C-11, which replaced the '' Immigration Act, 1976'' as the primary federal legislation regulating immigration. Prior to the conferring of legal status on Canadian citizenship, Canada's naturalization laws consisted of a multitude of Acts beginning with the ''Immigration Act'' of 1910. According to
Citizenship and Immigration Canada Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC; french: Immigration, Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada)Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is the applied title under the Federal Identity Program since 2015; the legal title is Departm ...
, there are three main classifications for immigrants: ''family class'' (persons closely related to Canadian residents), ''economic class'' (admitted on the basis of a point system that accounts for age, health and labour-market skills required for cost effectively inducting the immigrants into Canada's labour market) and ''refugee class'' (those seeking protection by applying to remain in the country by way of the Canadian immigration and refugee law). In 2008, there were 65,567 immigrants in the family class, 21,860 refugees, and 149,072 economic immigrants amongst the 247,243 total immigrants to the country. Canada resettles over one in 10 of the world's
refugee A refugee, conventionally speaking, is a forced displacement, displaced person who has crossed national borders and who cannot or is unwilling to return home due to well-founded fear of persecution.
s and has one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the world. As of a 2010 report by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, there were 2.8 million Canadian citizens abroad. This represents about 8% of the total Canadian population. Of those living abroad, the United States, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, China, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, and Australia have the largest Canadian diaspora. Canadians in the United States constitute the greatest single expatriate community at over 1 million in 2009, representing 35.8% of all Canadians abroad. Under current Canadian law, Canada does not restrict dual citizenship, but Passport Canada encourages its citizens to travel abroad on their Canadian passport so that they can access Canadian consular services.


Ethnic ancestry

According to the 2021 Canadian census, over 450 " ethnic or cultural origins" were self-reported by Canadians. The major panethnic origin groups in Canada are: European (), North American (), Asian (), North American Indigenous (), African (), Latin, Central and South American (),
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ) ( es, El Caribe; french: la Caraïbe; ht, Karayib; nl, De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean ...
(), Oceanian (), and Other (). Statistics Canada reports that 35.5% of the population reported multiple ethnic origins, thus the overall total is greater than 100%. The country's ten largest self-reported specific ethnic or cultural origins in 2021 were Canadian (accounting for 15.6 percent of the population), followed by English (14.7 percent), Irish (12.1 percent), Scottish (12.1 percent), French (11.0 percent), German (8.1 percent), Chinese (4.7 percent), Italian (4.3 percent), Indian (3.7 percent), and Ukrainian (3.5 percent). Of the 36.3 million people enumerated in 2021 approximately 25.4 million reported being "
white White is the lightest color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property deriving from the spectrum of light interacting with the photoreceptor cells of th ...
", representing 69.8 percent of the population. The indigenous population representing 5 percent or 1.8 million individuals, grew by 9.4 percent compared to the non-Indigenous population, which grew by 5.3 percent from 2016 to 2021. One out of every four Canadians or 26.5 percent of the population belonged to a non-White and non-Indigenous visible minority, the largest of which in 2021 were South Asian (2.6 million people; 7.1 percent), Chinese (1.7 million; 4.7 percent) and
Black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete Absorption (electromagnetic radiation), absorption of visible spectrum, visible light. It is an achromatic color, without hue, like white and grey. It is often used symbolically or fi ...
(1.5 million; 4.3 percent). Between 2011 and 2016, the visible minority population rose by 18.4 percent. In 1961, less than two percent of Canada's population (about 300,000 people) were members of visible minority groups. The 2021 Census indicated that 8.3 million people, or almost one-quarter (23.0 percent) of the population reported themselves as being or having been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada—above the 1921 Census previous record of 22.3 percent. In 2021 India, China, and the Philippines were the top three countries of origin for immigrants moving to Canada.


Culture

Canadian culture is primarily a
Western culture image:Da Vinci Vitruve Luc Viatour.jpg, Leonardo da Vinci's ''Vitruvian Man''. Based on the correlations of ideal Body proportions, human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise '' ...
, with influences by First Nations and other cultures. It is a product of its ethnicities,
languages Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means by which humans communicate, and may be conveyed through a variety of met ...
,
religions Religion is usually defined as a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, sacred site, sanctified places, prophecy, prophecie ...
,
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that stu ...
, and legal system(s). Canada has been shaped by waves of migration that have combined to form a unique blend of art, cuisine,
literature Literature is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to ...
, humour, and
music Music is generally defined as the The arts, art of arranging sound to create some combination of Musical form, form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise Musical expression, expressive content. Exact definition of music, definitions of mu ...
. Today, Canada has a diverse makeup of nationalities and constitutional protection for policies that promote
multiculturalism The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology, political philosophy, and colloquial use. In sociology and in everyday usage, it is a synonym for "Pluralism (political theory), ethnic pluralism", with the tw ...
rather than
cultural assimilation Cultural assimilation is the process in which a minority group or culture comes to resemble a society's Dominant culture, majority group or assume the values, behaviors, and beliefs of another group whether fully or partially. The different types ...
. In Quebec, cultural identity is strong, and many French-speaking commentators speak of a Quebec culture distinct from English Canadian culture. However, as a whole, Canada is a cultural mosaic: a collection of several regional, indigenous, and ethnic subcultures. Canadian government policies such as official bilingualism; publicly funded health care; higher and more progressive taxation; outlawing
capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned practice of deliberately killing a person as a punishment for an actual or supposed crime, usually following an authorized, rule-governed process to ...
; strong efforts to eliminate
poverty Poverty is the state of having few material possessions or little income. Poverty can have diverse social, economic, and political causes and effects. When evaluating poverty in ...
; strict gun control; the legalizing of same-sex marriage, pregnancy terminations, euthanasia and cannabis are social indicators of Canada's political and cultural values. American media and entertainment are popular, if not dominant, in English Canada; conversely, many Canadian cultural products and entertainers are successful in the United States and worldwide. The
Government of Canada The government of Canada (french: gouvernement du Canada) is the body responsible for the federation, federal administration of Canada. A constitutional monarchy, the Crown is the Corporation sole#The Crown, corporation sole, assuming distinct ro ...
has also influenced culture with programs, laws, and institutions. It has created Crown corporations to promote Canadian culture through media, and has also tried to protect Canadian culture by setting legal minimums on Canadian content. Canadian culture has historically been influenced by European culture and traditions, especially British and French, and by its own indigenous cultures. Most of Canada's territory was inhabited and developed later than other European colonies in the Americas, with the result that themes and symbols of pioneers, trappers, and traders were important in the early development of the Canadian identity. First Nations played a critical part in the development of European colonies in Canada, particularly for their role in assisting exploration of the continent during the
North American fur trade The North American fur trade is the Fur trade, commercial trade in furs in North America. Various Indigenous peoples of the Americas traded furs with other tribes during the pre-Columbian era. Europeans started their participation in the North Am ...
. The British conquest of New France in the mid-1700s brought a large Francophone population under British Imperial rule, creating a need for compromise and accommodation. The new British rulers left alone much of the religious, political, and social culture of the French-speaking ', guaranteeing through the '' Quebec Act'' of 1774 the right of the ''Canadiens'' to practise the Catholic faith and to use French civil law (now Quebec law). The '' Constitution Act, 1867'' was designed to meet the growing calls of Canadians for autonomy from British rule, while avoiding the overly strong decentralization that contributed to the
Civil War A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
in the United States. The compromises made by the Fathers of Confederation set Canadians on a path to bilingualism, and this in turn contributed to an acceptance of diversity. The Canadian Armed Forces and overall civilian participation in the
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
and
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
helped to foster Canadian nationalism, however, in 1917 and 1944, conscription crisis' highlighted the considerable rift along ethnic lines between Anglophones and Francophones. As a result of the First and Second World Wars, the Government of Canada became more assertive and less deferential to British authority. With the gradual loosening of political ties to the United Kingdom and the modernization of Canadian immigration policies, 20th-century immigrants with African, Caribbean and Asian nationalities have added to the Canadian identity and its culture. The multiple-origins immigration pattern continues today, with the arrival of large numbers of immigrants from non-British or non-French backgrounds. Multiculturalism in Canada was adopted as the official policy of the government during the premiership of Pierre Trudeau in the 1970s and 1980s. The Canadian government has often been described as the instigator of multicultural ideology, because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration. Multiculturalism is administered by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and reflected in the law through the '' Canadian Multiculturalism Act'' and section 27 of the ''Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms''.


Religion

Canada as a nation is religiously diverse, encompassing a wide range of groups, beliefs and customs. The preamble to the ''Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms'' references "God", and the
monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority ...
carries the title of " Defender of the Faith". However, Canada has no official religion, and support for religious pluralism ( Freedom of religion in Canada) is an important part of Canada's political culture. With the role of
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
in decline, it having once been central and integral to Canadian culture and daily life, commentators have suggested that Canada has come to enter a post-Christian period in a
secular Secularity, also the secular or secularness (from Latin ''saeculum'', "worldly" or "of a generation"), is the state of being unrelated or neutral in regards to religion. Anything that does not have an explicit reference to religion, either negativ ...
state, with
irreligion Irreligion or nonreligion is the absence or rejection of religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, et ...
on the rise. The majority of Canadians consider religion to be unimportant in their daily lives, but still believe in God. The practice of religion is now generally considered a private matter throughout society and within the state. The 2011 Canadian census reported that 67.3% of Canadians identify as being
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...
; of this number, Catholics make up the largest group, accounting for 38.7 percent of the population. The largest Protestant denomination is the United Church of Canada (accounting for 6.1% of Canadians); followed by Anglicans (5.0%), and
Baptists Baptists form a major branch of Protestantism distinguished by baptizing professing Christianity, Christian believers only (believer's baptism), and doing so by complete Immersion baptism, immersion. Baptist churches also generally subscribe ...
(1.9%). About 23.9% of Canadians declare no religious affiliation, including agnostics, atheists, humanists, and other groups. The remaining are affiliated with non-Christian religions, the largest of which is
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
(3.2%), followed by
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religions, Indian religion or ''dharma'', a religious and universal order or way of life by which followers abide. As a religion, it is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest, with over 1.2–1.35 billion ...
(1.5%), Sikhism (1.4%),
Buddhism Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religions, Indian religion or Indian philosophy#Buddhist philosophy, philosophical tradition based on Pre-sectarian Buddhism, teachings attributed to the Buddha. ...
(1.1%), and
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
(1.0%). Before the arrival of European colonists and explorers, First Nations followed a wide array of mostly animistic religions. During the colonial period, the French settled along the shores of the
Saint Lawrence River The St. Lawrence River (french: Fleuve Saint-Laurent, ) is a large river in the middle latitudes of North America. Its headwaters begin flowing from Lake Ontario in a (roughly) northeasterly direction, into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, connecting t ...
, specifically Latin Rite
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan c ...
s, including a number of
Jesuits The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviation: SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of clerics regular of pontifical right for men in the Catholic Church headquartered in Rom ...
dedicated to converting indigenous peoples; an effort that eventually proved successful. The first large
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
communities were formed in the
Maritimes The Maritimes, also called the Maritime provinces, is a list of regions of Canada#National regions, region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces and territories of Canada, provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Islan ...
after the British conquest of New France, followed by American Protestant settlers displaced by the American Revolution. The late nineteenth century saw the beginning of a substantive shift in Canadian immigration patterns. Large numbers of Irish and southern European immigrants were creating new Roman Catholic communities in English Canada. The settlement of the west brought significant
Eastern Orthodox Eastern Orthodoxy, also known as Eastern Orthodox Christianity, is one of the three main branches of Chalcedonian Christianity, alongside Catholicism and Protestantism. Like the Pentarchy of the first millennium, the mainstream (or " canonica ...
immigrants from Eastern Europe and Mormon and Pentecostal immigrants from the United States. The earliest documentation of Jewish presence in Canada occurs in the 1754 British Army records from the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War, which pitted the North American colonies of the British Empire against those of the French colonial Empire, French, each side being supported by various Native Ame ...
. In 1760, General Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst attacked and won
Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, second-most populous city in Canada and List of towns in Quebec, most populous city in the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian ...
for the British. In his regiment there were several Jews, including four among his officer corps, most notably Lieutenant Aaron Hart who is considered the father of Canadian Jewry. The Islamic, Jains,
Sikh Sikhs ( or ; pa, ਸਿੱਖ, ' ) are people who adhere to Sikhism (Sikhi), a monotheistic religion that originated in the late 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, based on the revelation of Guru Nanak. The ter ...
,
Hindu Hindus (; ) are people who religiously adhere to Hinduism.Jeffery D. Long (2007), A Vision for Hinduism, IB Tauris, , pages 35–37 Historically, the term has also been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for ...
, and
Buddhist Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religion or philosophical tradition based on teachings attributed to the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, most commonly referred to as the Buddha, was a ...
communities—although small—are as old as the nation itself. The 1871 Canadian Census ( first "Canadian" national census) indicated thirteen Muslims among the populace, while the Sikh population stood at approximately 5,000 by 1908. The first Canadian
mosque A mosque (; from ar, مَسْجِد, masjid, ; literally "place of ritual prostration"), also called masjid, is a Place of worship, place of prayer for Muslims. Mosques are usually covered buildings, but can be any place where prayers (sujud) ...
was constructed in
Edmonton Edmonton ( ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Alberta. Edmonton is situated on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, which is surrounded by Centr ...
, in 1938, when there were approximately 700 Muslims in Canada. Buddhism first arrived in Canada when Japanese immigrated during the late 19th century. The first Japanese Buddhist temple in Canada was built in
Vancouver Vancouver ( ) is a major city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the List of cities in British Columbia, most populous city in the province, the 2021 Canadian census recorded 662,248 people in the ...
in 1905. The influx of immigrants in the late 20th century, with
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an ...
n,
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea ...
, Indian and Southeast Asian customs, has contributed to the recent expansion of the Jain, Sikh, Hindu, and Buddhist communities.


Languages

A multitude of languages are used by Canadians, with English and French (the official languages) being the mother tongues of approximately 56% and 21% of Canadians, respectively. As of the 2016 Census, just over 7.3 million Canadians listed a non-official language as their mother tongue. Some of the most common non-official first languages include Chinese (1,227,680 first-language speakers), Punjabi (501,680), Spanish (458,850), Tagalog (431,385), Arabic (419,895), German (384,040), and Italian (375,645). Less than one percent of Canadians (just over 250,000 individuals) can speak an indigenous language. About half this number (129,865) reported using an indigenous language on a daily basis. Additionally, Canadians speak several sign languages; the number of speakers is unknown of the most spoken ones,
American Sign Language American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language that serves as the predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States of America and most of Anglophone Canada. ASL is a complete and organized visual language that is expres ...
(ASL) and Quebec Sign Language (LSQ), as it is of Maritime Sign Language and Plains Sign Talk. There are only 47 speakers of the Inuit sign language Inuktitut. English and French are recognized by the Constitution of Canada as official languages. All federal government laws are thus enacted in both English and French, with government services available in both languages. Two of Canada's territories give official status to indigenous languages. In
Nunavut Nunavut ( , ; iu, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ , ; ) is the largest and northernmost Provinces and territories of Canada#Territories, territory of Canada. It was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the ''Nunavut Act'' ...
, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun are official languages, alongside the national languages of English and French, and Inuktitut is a common vehicular language in territorial government. In the
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (abbreviated ''NT'' or ''NWT''; french: Territoires du Nord-Ouest, formerly ''North-Western Territory'' and ''North-West Territories'' and namely shortened as ''Northwest Territory'') is a federal provinces and territo ...
, the '' Official Languages Act'' declares that there are eleven different languages: Chipewyan,
Cree The Cree ( cr, néhinaw, script=Latn, , etc.; french: link=no, Cri) are a Indigenous peoples of the Americas, North American Indigenous people. They live primarily in Canada, where they form one of the country's largest First Nations in Canada ...
, English, French, Gwich'in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey, and Tłįchǫ. Multicultural media are widely accessible across the country and offer specialty television channels, newspapers, and other publications in many minority languages. In Canada, as elsewhere in the world of European colonies, the frontier of European exploration and settlement tended to be a linguistically diverse and fluid place, as cultures using different languages met and interacted. The need for a common means of communication between the indigenous inhabitants and new arrivals for the purposes of trade, and (in some cases) intermarriage, led to the development of Mixed languages. Languages like Michif, Chinook Jargon, and Bungi creole tended to be highly localized and were often spoken by only a small number of individuals who were frequently capable of speaking another language. Plains Sign Talk—which functioned originally as a trade language used to communicate internationally and across linguistic borders—reached across Canada, the United States, and into Mexico.


See also

* Canuck * List of Canadians * Persons of National Historic Significance * List of prime ministers of Canada


Notes


References


Bibliography

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Further reading

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External links


Canada Year Book 2010
- Statistics Canada
Canada: A People's History - Teacher Resources
- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Persons of National Historic Significance in Canada
- Parks Canada
Multicultural Canada
- Department of Canadian Heritage

- Library and Archives Canada

– Library and Archives Canada

– Library and Archives Canada {{Authority control Ethnic groups in Canada North American people Nansen Refugee Award laureates