Canada celebrates its 153th birthday today on a holiday known as “Canada Day.”
Throughout Canada’s history, immigrants have joined the country’s founding Indigenous peoples to help build a great country.
To celebrate Canada Day, CIC News has put together the following list for you to discover 10 fun immigration facts about Canada:
1. July 1 commemorates the joining of Canada’s three original provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada, which is now Ontario and Quebec, into one nation in 1867. Today, Canada has ten provinces and three territories. Canada Day marks almost exactly the middle of the year. July 1 is the 182nd day and there are 183 days left to the year.
2. The Constitution Act,1867 outlines immigration as an area of shared responsibility between Canada’s federal government, and the provinces and territories. This was because Canada’s original provinces had experience recruiting immigrants from Europe prior to 1867, and immigration was seen as vital to the economic development and security of the provinces upon Canada’s founding.
3. Quebec became Canada’s first province to launch a dedicated immigration ministry in 1968. At the time, Quebec recognized the importance of welcoming more immigrants to maintain its Francophone character and political influence within Canada. Thirty years later, Manitoba became the first province to sign a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) agreement with the federal government, in 1998. Today, 12 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories operate their own immigrant selection program to help grow their economies. Collectively, Canada offers over 80 immigration programs for skilled workers.
4. In 1967, Canada became the first country in the world to introduce a points system for economic class immigrants. Canada introduced the points system to help it assess immigration candidates objectively based on human capital characteristics such as their age, education, language skills, occupations, and work experience. This model has since been adopted by other countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Canada continues to use this model; for example, Express Entry uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to score and rank immigration candidates.
5. Canada has a population of 38 million people. Almost 22 per cent of the Canadian population were immigrants the last time a census was conducted, back in 2016. Each year, Canada welcomes immigrants from around 200 different countries.
6. Canada’s flag became the country’s official flag on February 15, 1965. The flag on the Peace Tower of Parliament in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, is changed every day and given to citizens for free. However, the Canadian government’s website has a warning: there is a waiting period of more than 100 years!
7. Canadian citizens did not have legal status until the Canadian Citizenship Act took effect on January 1, 1947. Prior to this date, anyone born or naturalized in Canada was a British subject. Among its features, the Act defined who was a Canadian citizen, and how Canadian citizenship could be obtained or lost. Today, most immigrants become citizens. In fact, over 85 per cent of immigrants obtain Canadian citizenship, which is one of the highest rates in the world.
8. Canada has over 500 immigrant-serving organizations across the country. The purpose of these organizations is to provide free supports to help immigrants integrate into Canada’s economy and society. These organizations provide English and French language classes, job training, mentorship, and many other forms of assistance. You can find organizations close to you by visiting the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
9. Canada has a museum of immigration. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This site was chosen because Pier 21 welcomed almost one million new immigrants to Canada between 1928 and 1971.
10. Since 1867, Canada has welcomed over 19.5 million immigrants. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Canada remains committed to high levels of immigration. Prior to the start of the pandemic, Canada was planning to welcome more than one million new immigrants over the next three years.
Happy Canada Day!
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