Celebrating newcomers with Welcoming Week in Canada
From September 8-17, Canada is celebrating #WelcomingWeek2023 to encourage Canadians to welcome newcomers and help them settle in their new home.
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says welcoming week is an annual event that presents an opportunity to recognize and celebrate newcomers and help everyone feel like they belong in their community, regardless of where they come from.
According to the data from census 2021, there are approximately 8.3 million immigrants in Canada, making up almost a quarter of the total population. Statistics Canada predicts that the immigrant population will continue to rise to 34% of the population by 2041.
IRCC says that the more welcome newcomers feel, the more successfully they will integrate and contribute to their communities.
Welcoming Week is part of IRCC’s #ImmigrationMatters campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of immigration in Canada. It encourages everyone to get involved and offers several suggestions on how Canadians can help.
IRCC says one of the unique ways to get involved in Welcoming Week is to contact an organization that provides settlement services and get matched with a newcomer.
From there, you can assist the newcomer in navigating day-to-day life in their new community. It also encourages Canadians, as well as recent newcomers, to share meals or attend cultural events together. Connecting with a newcomer can also be as simple as engaging in conversation to help improve English or French language skills.
A sense of belonging
A recent study by Statistics Canada shows that immigrants tend to have a better sense of belonging in Canada than those who are Canadian-born. This is especially true for those who settle in Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
A stronger sense of belonging means a newcomer will be more active in their community, make more connections and ultimately choose to stay in Canada and contribute to the economy.
The study attributes a sense of belonging to a newcomer’s feelings about Canada’s multicultural policies, their feelings about Canada’s unique Charter of Rights and Freedoms and their belief that Canada’s national symbols are important aspects of Canadian identity.
Immigration in Canada
Immigration Minister Marc Miller highlighted the benefits of immigration in a recent statement.
“Being a welcoming country brings significant benefits,” he said. “Our economic growth has been driven by immigration, and it is a major part of our economic plan to address our aging population. Whether driving innovation across numerous industries, filling labour market gaps or creating jobs, immigrants play an essential role in the cultural and economic fabric of Canada.”
Immigration accounts for almost 100% of Canada's labour force growth and roughly 75% of Canada's population growth. Further, most newcomers to Canada immigrate through economic class immigration programs, meaning they are skilled workers.
Canada relies on immigration to keep the economy strong. Statistics Canada data shows that in the third quarter of 2022, businesses majority-owned by immigrants accounted for 24.4% of all private sector businesses.
In 2022, Canada welcomed over 437,000 new immigrants. The immigration levels plan aims to admit 465,000 newcomers by the end of 2023, rising to over 500,000 new permanent residents admitted each year by the end of 2025.