Four years ago, Statistics Canada launched a program to track the successes, challenges and attitudes of new immigrants to Canada over a number of years. The results are in, and recent immigrants are giving the thumbs-up to their newly adopted nation.
The recently released report is from a Canadian government program that aims to better understand the immigrant experience. The initial report presents a very promising picture. Three quarters of the immigrants surveyed state that they are very happy with their new lives in Canada, while only 9 per cent are not satisfied. The most important factors mentioned by respondents in contributing to this happiness were quality of life, future prospects for their family, and Canada’s peaceful nature.
If faced with the same decision today, the group of newcomers felt strongly that they would still make the choice to come to Canada. After arrival, over 90 per cent of the immigrants participating in the study planned to settle permanently and apply for citizenship. In addition, approximately half hoped to bring more of their relatives over through family sponsorship.
Four years after arrival, over two thirds of the recent immigrants who participated in the study said that their life in Canada has already met or exceeded their expectations.
“Initially as immigrants, you are focused on settling down, doing a balancing act of trying to fit in while preserving your heritage,” states Naresh Roy Patel, a trustee of a new Indian heritage museum in Toronto. Slated to open in July, the new Swaminarayan complex, which includes a Hindu temple and a Haveli, is a signal that Indo-Canadians have established themselves in Canada and are ready and proud to share their cultural heritage with their fellow residents. “As the community has prospered and established itself [in Canada], now is the time to think of our legacy. And that’s what this is all about.”
As for other communities, the Muslim immigrant experience in Canada is showcased in a successful new television show about a Muslim community in the province of Saskatchewan. The show attracted a record number of viewers for its premiere on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It will soon be aired in France and Switzerland, and several other European and American broadcasters have expressed interest in it.
Indian, Muslim, and a multitude of other cultures are finding their place and establishing themselves in the fabric of Canadian society.