Asian Canadians

Asian Canadians are Canadians who can trace their ancestry back to the continent of Asia or Asian people. Canadians with Asian ancestry comprise the largest and fastest growing visible minority group in Canada, with roughly 17.7% of the Canadian population. Most Asian Canadians are concentrated in the urban areas of Southern Ontario, the Greater Vancouver area, Calgary, and other large Canadian cities.

Asian Canadians considered visible minorities may be classified as East Asian Canadian (e.g. Chinese Canadians, Korean Canadians, Japanese Canadians); South Asian Canadians (e.g. Bangladeshi Canadians, Indian Canadians, Pakistani Canadians, Sri Lankan Canadians); Southeast Asian Canadian (e.g. Filipino Canadians, Vietnamese Canadians); or West Asian Canadians (e.g. Iranian Canadians, Iraqi Canadians, Lebanese Canadians).[2]

Asian Canadians
Total population
17.7% of the Canadian population (2016)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Southern Ontario · Lower Mainland British Columbia · Most urban areas
Canadian English · Canadian French · Asian languages
Christianity · Buddhism and other East Asian religions · Islam · Judaism · Hinduism · Sikhism · Non-religious · Other
Related ethnic groups
Asian Americans · British Asian · Asian Australians · Asian New Zealanders · Asian people


Chinese at work on C.P.R. (Canadian Pacific Railway) in Mountains, 1884
Chinese labourers working on the Canadian Pacific Railway, 1884
Streetcars passing at the 400 Block of Granville Street, Vancouver, in 1908
Indians in Vancouver, 1908

During the 19th century, many Chinese arrived to take part in the British Columbia gold rushes and later for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Chinese who came from Guangdong Province helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Fraser Canyon. Many Japanese people arrived in the 1890s and became fishermen and merchants in British Columbia. Similarly in the late 1890s, Indian immigrants first arrived in Canada and settled in Vancouver. Most hailed from Punjab Province.[3]

In 1923, the federal government passed the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, which banned all Chinese immigration, and led to immigration restrictions for all East Asians. In 1947, the act was repealed.

During and after the Vietnam War, a large wave of Vietnamese refugees began arriving in Canada. The Canadian Parliament created the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in 1985 to better address issues surrounding Canada-Asia relations, including trade, citizenship and immigration. When Hong Kong reverted to mainland Chinese rule, people emigrated and found new homes in Canada.

In recent decades, a large number of people have come to Canada from India and other South Asian countries. As of 2016, South Asians make up nearly 17 percent of the Greater Toronto Area's population, and are projected to make up 24 percent of the region's population by 2031.[4]

Today, Asian Canadians form a significant minority within the population, and over 6 million ethnic Asians call Canada their home. Often referred by the Canadian media as "model minorities", Asian Canadians are among the educated and socioeconomically affluent groups in Canada. Asian Canadian students, in particular those of East Asian or South Asian background, make up the majority of students at several Canadian universities.


The Canadian population who reported full or partial Asian ethnic origin, including West Central Asian and Middle Eastern, according to the 2016 census:[5]

Province or territory Asian origins %
 Ontario 3,100,455 23.4%
 British Columbia 1,312,445 28.8%
 Alberta 756,335 19.0%
 Québec 563,150 7.1%
 Manitoba 178,650 14.4%
 Saskatchewan 99,125 9.3%
 Nova Scotia 42,495 4.7%
 New Brunswick 19,410 2.7%
 Newfoundland and Labrador 10,090 2.0%
 Prince Edward Island 6,485 4.6%
 Northwest Territories 3,125 7.6%
 Yukon 2,855 8.1%
 Nunavut 615 1.7%
 Canada 6,095,235 17.7%
Population of Asian Canadian Groups, 2016 Census[5]
Ethnic Origins Population
Chinese Canadians 1,769,195
Indian Canadians 1,374,715
Filipino Canadians 851,410
Vietnamese Canadians 240,615
Lebanese Canadians 219,555
Pakistani Canadians 215,560
Iranian Canadians 210,405
Korean Canadians 198,210
Sri Lankan Canadians 152,595
Japanese Canadians 121,485
Punjabi Canadians 118,395
Arab Canadians
(not otherwise specified)
Afghan Canadians 83,995
Syrian Canadians 77,045
South Asian Canadians
(not included elsewhere)
Iraqi Canadians 70,920
Turkish Canadians 63,995
Armenian Canadians 63,810
Tamil Canadians 48,670
Bangladeshi Canadian 45,940
Palestinian Canadians 44,820
Cambodian Canadians 38,495
Taiwanese Canadians 36,515 (94,000[6]–173,000[7])
Israeli Canadians 28,735
West Central Asian and Middle Eastern
(not included elsewhere)
Laotian Canadians 24,575
Bengali Canadians 22,900
Other Asian origins
(not included elsewhere)
Indonesian Canadians 21,395
Thai Canadians 19,010
Nepali Canadians 17,140
Malaysian Canadians 16,920
Kurdish Canadians 16,315
Jordanian Canadians 14,250
Assyrian Canadians 13,830
Burmese Canadians 9,330
Gujarati Canadians 8,350
Tibetan Canadians 8,040
Mongolian Canadians 7,475
Sinhalese Canadians 7,285
Saudi Arabian Canadians 6,810
Yemeni Canadians 6,645
East and Southeast Asian
(not included elsewhere)
Azerbaijani Canadians 6,425
Goan Canadians 6,070
Tatar Canadians 4,825
Pashtun Canadians 4,810
Georgian Canadians 4,775
Karen Canadians 4,515
Uzbek Canadians 3,920
Bhutanese Canadians 3,600
Kazakh Canadians 3,330
Kashmiri Canadians 3,115
Tajik Canadians 2,905
Singaporean Canadians 2,845
Kuwaiti Canadians 2,240
Uighur Canadians 1,555
Hazara Canadians 1,520
Kyrgyz Canadians 1,055
Turkmen Canadians 1,040
Hmong Canadians 805

See also


  1. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census Canada [Country]". Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  2. ^ "Classification of visible minority". Statistics Canada. June 15, 2009. Archived from the original on July 18, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  3. ^ Walton-Roberts and Hiebert, Immigration, Entrepreneurship, and the Family Archived 2014-10-18 at WebCite, p. 124.
  4. ^ Gee, Marcus (July 4, 2011). "South Asian immigrants are transforming Toronto". The Globe and Mail.
  5. ^ a b "Data Tables, 2016 Census". Statistics Canada. February 14, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  6. ^ "Overseas Chinese Affairs Council - Taiwan (ROC)". Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  7. ^ Overseas Chinese Affairs Council - Taiwan (ROC) (PDF), OCA Council

External links

Bangladeshi Canadians

Bangladeshi Canadians are Canadian citizens of Bangladeshi descent or a Bangladesh-born permanent resident who resides in Canada.

Canadian diaspora

The Canadian diaspora is the group of Canadians living outside the borders of Canada. As of a 2010 report by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and The Canadian Expat Association, there were 2.8 million Canadian citizens abroad (plus an unknown number of former citizens and descendents of citizens). For comparison, that is a larger population than six of the ten Canadian provinces. More than 9% of all Canadian citizens live outside of Canada. That compares to 1.7% of Americans, 2.6% of Chinese citizens, 3.3% of French citizens, 4.3% of Australians, 9% of British citizens, and 21.9% of New Zealanders.In past decades, most Canadians leaving the country have moved to the United States. In the 1980s, Los Angeles had the fourth largest Canadian population of any city in North America, with New York close behind. Other countries and cities have emerged as major sites of Canadian settlement, notably Hong Kong, London, Beirut, Sydney, Paris, and Dubai. The population in New York experienced continued growth in the 2000s, doubling between 2000 and 2008 to 21,000, representing the eighth largest foreign-born group in the Borough of Manhattan.Many Canadians in the United States are there without legal permission; a 2008 report by the Urban Institute estimated that "65,000 and 75,000 undocumented Canadians currently live in the United States".The largest Canadian populations abroad by country are:

Citizens born in Canada make up about 58% of the diaspora, the other 42% being people born outside Canada who became naturalized as Canadian citizens and then moved out again, often back to their country of origin, or sometimes to a third country. Native-born Canadians had an exit rate of about 1.33% over ten years from 1996 to 2006, compared to 4.5% for naturalized Canadians. Most Canadians in the United States are native-born, while most Canadians in Hong Kong are naturalized Canadians who were born in Hong Kong.For native-born Canadians, the United States is the primary destination, and the emigration rate varies substantially by ethnicity. It is especially high among Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and South Asian Canadians, indicating that the English-speaking and well-educated children of immigrants are often highly mobile. French Canadians have the highest rate of return to Canada at 29%. Among naturalized Canadians, exit rates vary by country of origin, being highest among Canadians from typically highly developed countries (Hong Kong, United States, Taiwan, France). Exit rates among Canada's two largest immigrant populations, Mainland Chinese and Indians, were very low during 1996 to 2006 but have risen.

British Columbians are particularly likely to go overseas, more than twice as likely as an Ontarian, and five times more likely as a Quebecer, according to a 2007 survey by The Vancouver Sun. Many of these are Hong Kong returnees; the so-called "astronauts" or "yacht people" who moved to Vancouver from Hong Kong in the 1980s and 90s, but later returned. However, two-thirds of Canadians overseas (in 2007) were Canadian-born, outnumbering returning immigrants.

Chinese Canadians

Chinese Canadians are Canadians of full or partial Chinese ancestry which includes Canadian-born Chinese. They comprise a subgroup of East Asian Canadians which is a further subgroup of Asian Canadians. Demographic research tends to include immigrants from Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau as well as overseas Chinese who have immigrated from South East Asia and South America into the broadly defined Chinese Canadian category. StatsCan refers to Taiwanese Canadians as a separate group apart from Chinese Canadians.Canadians of Chinese descent make up about five percent of the Canadian population, or about 1.76 million people as of 2016. The Chinese Canadian community is the largest ethnic group of Asian Canadians, consisting approximately 40% of the Asian Canadian population. Most Canadians of Chinese descent are concentrated within the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

Cunningham v Homma

Cunningham v Homma, is a decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council that upheld a British Columbia law that prohibited Japanese Canadians and Chinese Canadians from voting.The case originated with an attempt by Tomekichi Homma, a Japanese immigrant and naturalized Canadian, to register to vote in 1900. The registrar of voters, Thomas Cunningham, rejected Homma's application. Homma took the British Columbia government to court over the issue.

Homma was successful at the County Court and the Supreme Court of British Columbia However, the case ultimately made its way to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which at that time was the highest court in the Canadian legal system. In Cunningham v Homma, the Privy Council ruled against Homma. The court determined that while the federal government had exclusive jurisdiction over the naturalization of citizens, the provinces had the right to legislate who could vote in provincial and municipal elections. There was no inherent right to vote for naturalized citizens. Provinces and their municipalities could determine who could vote, which meant they could bar any naturalized ethic group they chose. Parks Canada has designated this case as being of National Historical Significance.Asian Canadians would not garner the right to vote until 1949, four years after Homma died. In recognition of his contribution to the democratic system, in December 2017 the Government of Canada, through Parks Canada, dedicated a plaque in his honour at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby.

Indian community of London

British Indians form the largest ethno-national group in London with a population of around 542,857 or 6.6% of the population. The majority are concentrated in West London, home to London's Hindu community, though populations can be found throughout London.


Kerrisdale is a neighbourhood in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Kerrisdale is a neighbourhood located in Vancouver's west side. It features a mix of newer houses and older bungalows as well as various low and mid-rise rental and condo apartment buildings in its northern section. The neighbourhood is an ethnic mix of Caucasian and Asian Canadians. It features a shopping district running generally along West 41st Avenue between Larch and Maple Streets and West Boulevard between 37th and 49th Avenues. Although the city officially defines Kerrisdale as being south of 41st Ave (north of 41st is called Arbutus Ridge), the majority of the area's residents consider the area's boundaries to be West 33rd Avenue to the north, Granville Street to the east, West 57th Avenue to the south, and Blenheim Street to the west. The northern part of Marpole is also generally thought of as part of Kerrisdale, thus some refer to the area as Kerrisdale-Marpole. The southwestern part of Kerrisdale is known as Southlands, due to its location in relation to the city. Southlands is known for its horse stables and rural feel and is located on the floodplain of the North Arm of the Fraser River.

Laotian Canadians

Laotian Canadians are Canadian citizens of Laotian origin or descent. In the 2016 Census, 24,580 people indicated Laotian ancestry. Most Lao people are Billingual because they were once under the protectorat of France (See French protectorate of Laos.)

List of Asian-Canadian first ministers

There have been three first ministers of a Canadian government of Asian descent. Of these, all three served premiers of a province; no person of Asian descent has ever served as Prime Minister of Canada.Asian-Canadians have been eligible to become first ministers since they gained the right to vote, beginning in 1947. The three Asian-Canadians who have held this office are Joe Ghiz and Robert Ghiz of Prince Edward Island and Ujjal Dosanjh of British Columbia. Dosanjh earned their position through a party leadership race within their political party while it was in government, while Joe and Robert Ghiz won the title by defeating an incumbent premier in a general election. No two Asian-Canadian first ministers have ever served concurrently.

Seven Asian-Canadians have served as the leader of a political party with representation in the legislature.

List of Canadians of Asian ancestry

This is a list of Canadians of Asian ancestry. Asian Canadians comprise the largest visible minority in Canada, at 11% of the Canadian population.

Malaysian Canadians

Malaysian Canadians are Canadian citizens who are of Malaysian descent. The 2016 Canada Census recorded 16,920 people self-identifying as Malaysian Canadian or of at least some Malaysian descent, but only 1 820 of these self-identified as solely Malaysian Canadian. Earlier Canada 2001 Census recorded 20,420 first-generation Malaysian Canadians, 8,660 of whom resided in Ontario.

Malvern, Toronto

Malvern is a neighbourhood in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with a population of 44,315. It is located in the northeast corner of the city.

There are over 60 different cultures represented in Malvern, with the most dominant ethnic groups being Caribbean Canadians (mostly Jamaican, Trinidadian, and Guyanese) and South Asian Canadians (mostly Sri Lankan Tamil, Indian and Pakistani). The neighbourhood has the highest concentration of young people in Canada.

Mongolian Canadians

Mongolian Canadians are Canadian citizens who are descended from migrants from Mongolia. According to the 2011 Census by Statistics Canada, there were 5,355 Canadians who claimed full or partial Mongolian ancestry.


Ricepaper was the only Canadian literary magazine with a focus on Asian-Canadian arts and culture, but has recently become an online ezine. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, it is published quarterly and features articles, literature, poetry, artwork and photography written by or written about writers and artists of primarily Pacific Asian and mixed Asian descent. It was in circulation between 1995 and 2016.

South Asian Americans

South Asian Americans are often considered to include people who themselves or their ancestors migrated from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Following is the list of South Asian diasporas living in the USA arranged according to their 2017 population estimated by United States Census Bureau.

Indian Americans (4,402,362)

Indo-Caribbean Americans (232,817)

Indo-Fijian Americans (30,890)

Pakistani Americans (544,640)

Bangladeshi Americans (185,622)

Nepalese Americans (182,385)

Sri Lankan Americans (52,448)

Bhutanese Americans (26,845)

Maldivian American

South Asian Canadians

South Asian Canadians are Canadians who were either born in or can trace their ancestry to South Asia, which includes nations such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives. The term South Asian Canadian is a subgroup of Asian Canadian and, according to Statistics Canada, can further be divided by nationality, such as Indo-Canadian, Bangladeshi Canadian and Pakistani Canadian. South Asians are the second largest pan-ethnic group in Canada after European-Canadians.

As of 2016, 1,963,330 Canadians had South Asian geographical origins, constituting 5.6% of the Canadian population and 32% of Canada's Asian Canadian population. This makes them the largest visible minority group in Canada comprising 25.6% of the visible minority population, followed by East Asian and Black Canadians respectively. The largest communities from South Asia are found in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Metropolitan areas with large communities from South Asia include Toronto (995,125), Vancouver (291,005), Calgary (122,515), Montréal (90,815) and Edmonton (91,595).67% percent of South Asian-Canadians in Canada live in Metro Vancouver and Greater Toronto as of 2016; together they make up nearly 30% of the combined populations of the cities.

South Asian Canadians in Greater Vancouver

South Asian Canadians in Metro Vancouver form the third-largest ethnic group in the region, comprising 291,005 or 12% of the total population. Sizable South Asian communities exist within the city of Vancouver along with the adjoining city of Surrey, which houses one of the world's largest South Asian enclaves.Most South Asian-Canadians in Greater Vancouver and cities adjacent to it are Punjabi Sikhs. This differs from the overall composition of South Asians in Canada; the 2007 data from Stats Can states "Canadians of South Asian origin are almost equally divided among the Sikh, Hindu and Muslim faith groups"67% percent of South Asian-Canadians in Canada live in the Toronto and Vancouver areas as of 2016, together making up nearly 30% of the combined populations of the cities.Canadian-raised Punjabi Sikhs living in the Vancouver area, which comprises the western half of the Lower Mainland region, perceive "Punjabi" and "Sikh" as being the same thing, and therefore they use the two words interchangeably. Hugh Johnston, the author of "The Development of the Punjabi Community in Vancouver since 1961," wrote that "Sikhs are exclusively Punjabi".

South Asian Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area

As of 2006 there were 684,000 South Asian Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area, making them the largest visible minority group there. As of 2011 Toronto is the destination of over half of the immigrants coming from India to Canada, and India is the single largest source of immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area. As of 2016, there were 995,125 South Asian Canadians in the GTA.

Springdale, Brampton

Springdale is a suburban middle-class unincorporated community of Brampton, Ontario, Canada covering 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) with several schools, shopping centres, retirement homes, a fitness centre, a community recreation centre, and a hospital.

Springdale is home to one of the largest communities of South Asian Canadians in the country, who make up the majority of its population.

Tibetan Canadians

Although Tibetan Canadians, or Canadians of Tibetan ancestry, comprise a small portion of Asian Canadians, Canada holds one of the largest concentrations of Tibetans outside Asia. Tibetans began immigrating to Canada as early as the early 1970s.

Overseas Asians and Asian diasporas
By origin
By residence
Canadians of Asian descent by area of origin
Central Asia
East Asia
Southeast Asia
South Asia
West Asia
Canadian people
and society
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