10 Interesting Facts about Cultural Diversity in Canada
May 21 was established as World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development by a 2002 act of the United Nations. By encouraging groups around the world to take action to support diversity, the day also seeks to combat polarization and stereotypes by increasing cooperation among people from different cultures.
While the United States is colloquially known as "The Melting Pot," its northern neighbor, Canada is actually one of the most diverse countries in the Western Hemisphere.
From the Inuit people of Nunavut to French speakers throughout Quebec, Canadians have learned to learn from each other while living side by side to make life work. Canadians' appetite for diversity shows itself in many ways, from an increasing appetite for ethnic cuisine to governmental legislation that has been passed over the years.
Here are some noteworthy facts about various aspects of diverse life in the "Great White North":
1. Canada is the first country in the world to enact an official multiculturalism policy
As wave after wave of immigrants came to its shores (and airports), Canada became the first country in the world to pass and adopt an official policy on multiculturalism. With the 1988 passage of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, federal monies began to be distributed to various ethnic groups across the country for the preservation of culture. It also has an official policy on multiculturalism in public broadcasting. One of the conditions of legislation is that 60% of programming must be of an ethnic nature to be granted an ethnic broadcasting license.
2. All provinces have enacted their own multiculturalism policies
Alberta, for example, passed the Alberta Cultural Heritage Act in 1984 with further enhancements to the policy hitting the books in 1990. Through that, multiculturalism is recognized in Alberta as a fundamental principle and that all residents should appreciate diverse racial and cultural composition. In Ontario, its Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration is charged with promoting engagement, social inclusion and recognition. Quebec focuses on a policy of "interculturalism" that seeks to encourage diversity within a framework that establishes French as the province's public language. As such, some English language signage is banned and immigrant children must attend French language schools.
3. There is an annual diversity competition for employers in Canada
Another example of Canada's innovative approach to diversity is the Best Diversity Employers competition. Each year since 2008, the competition (held by Mediacorp) recognizes diversity initiatives for employees from five groups: women, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal peoples, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered/Transsexual (LGBT) peoples.
4. In 2011, Canada's National Household Survey (NHS) estimated that more than 200 languages were spoken across the country
Canadian government statistics that languages in the country change and evolve based on waves of immigrants. Just 23.8% of those who immigrated in 2011 reported that their mother tongue was English, while 3.4% said French was their native language. However, French was reported as the first language of 18.6% of those people immigrating to Quebec.
5. One out of every five people a visible minority
The 2011 NHS survey reported a nearly 3% growth in people identifying themselves as a visible minority. Out of all visible minority groups, South Asians, Chinese, and Blacks accounted for 61.3% of people. South Asian was the largest group with a total of 1,567,400 individuals. Overall, nearly all (95.2%) of visible minorities lived in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta. Future projections show that as much as 32% of Canada's entire population will be a visible minority by the year 2031. Additionally, Canada has 633 distinct Indian bands that reside on more than 2,000 reserves across the country.
6. More than 200 ethnic origins were reported across Canada
In fact, 13 different ethnic origins were reported to have passed the 1 million person mark in the 2011 NHS survey. Additionally, 42.1% of the population reported more than one ethnic origin. Outside of Canadian, the most common ethnic majorities were reported as English (6,509,500 people), French (5,065,700 people), Scottish (4,715,000 people), and German (3,203,000 people). Others above 1 million include Italian, Chinese, Ukrainian, East Indian, Dutch, Polish, and First Nations (North American Indian). Inuits comprised 72,600 of respondents.
7. Toronto, Canada's largest city, hails itself as one of the most multicultural cities in the world
Among the 2.79 million Torontonians, 140 different languages and dialects are spoken, and over 30% of residents speak a language other than English or French. Other languages spoken across the city include Chinese, Italian, Punjabi, Urdu and Gujarati. Nearly half (47%) of city residents reported themselves as being a visible minority in 2001, a figure that is expected to continue rapid growth well into the future. South Asian was the largest visible minority, comprising 12 percent of the population.
8. Out of all G8 countries, Canada has the highest population of foreign-born residents
In 2011, the country reportedly had more than 6,700,000 inhabitants who were foreign-born. An estimated 1.2 million of those arrived between 2006 and 2011, mostly coming from Asia and the Middle East. By comparison, the United States had 12.9% of its residents report as foreign-born at its 2010 census.
9. One-third of the Canadian population is not Christian
Though two-thirds of residents identify with a Christian religion, the country's non-Christian population continues to grow as new waves of immigrants arrive. There were an estimated 1,000,000 Muslims in Canada as of 2011, which translates to just over 3% of the total population. In fact, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists accounted for 33% of all immigrants who came to the country between 2001 and 2011. There are also a wide variety of Christian denominations. Quebec had the largest share of Roman Catholics (45%), which is also the largest religious group in Canada.
10. Canadians have an increasing appetite for foods from around the world
Poutine isn't exactly the first food a Canadian thinks of when at a restaurant. A study by marketing firm The NPD Group found that 70% of Canadians would order an ethnic-influenced menu more often if it was available. The top five favorite styles of cuisine, according to the study, were Italian, Thai, Greek, Chinese and Japanese. Statistics also showed that women share more of an appetite for different cuisines than men.
It's often said that variety is the spice of life--a fact that particularly holds true when it comes to perspectives. Everyone came of age under different circumstances and brings a unique viewpoint to daily life. Sharing those experiences with others makes life more exciting, and enjoyable, for everyone.
You know what to do best in this World Day for Cultural Diversity? Throw a costume potluck party and invite your friends from different country. Ask them to dress in their national outfit and as well bring one of their favorite dish from their country!. Check out walmart and costco to get your supply party. For your costume check out eBay to get some unique costume.