November 2, 2023

A Brief History of Filipino Immigration to Canada

Canada is a land of diverse cultures, and the Filipino community has played a significant role in shaping its vibrant tapestry. The history of Filipino immigration to Canada is one of resilience, determination, and cultural exchange. From early settlements to becoming the largest Southeast Asian community, the Filipino diaspora has left an indelible mark on Canadian society. This blog takes you on a captivating journey through time, exploring the milestones and challenges faced by Filipino immigrants in their pursuit of the Canadian dream.


Early Roots and Beginnings

Filipinos have had a presence in Canada dating back to the late 19th century. As early as the 1890s, a small community had already taken root in British Columbia. However, it wasn't until the early 20th century that Filipino migration to Canada gained momentum. During this period, many Filipinos entered the country from the United States.


The 1960s - A Turning Point

The 1960s marked a significant turning point in Filipino immigration to Canada. In 1965, a substantial number of Filipino migrants arrived, nearly doubling the immigration rate from the previous two decades. This surge was a result of Canada's changing immigration policy, which focused on addressing its labor needs.


The 1970s - Challenges and Opportunities

The 1970s brought both challenges and opportunities for Filipino immigrants. Overpopulation, economic difficulties, and political unrest in the Philippines prompted massive emigration. Additionally, the declaration of martial law in 1972 further encouraged people to seek better prospects abroad, including Canada. By the mid-1970s, Filipino immigrants were arriving in increasing numbers, searching for economic stability and better futures for their families.


Contributions and Cultural Impact

Filipino Canadians have made invaluable contributions to Canada's social, cultural, and economic landscape. Notably, they excel in various professions, including health, manufacturing, sales, teaching, and service industries. The 1972 Canada-wide survey revealed that around 85 percent of Filipino immigrants held at least a bachelor's degree, showcasing their dedication to education and personal growth.


Family Reunification and Changing Immigration Programs

Once settled in Canada, many Filipino immigrants utilized the family reunification program to bring over their loved ones. This program allowed immigrants' parents and children to join them in Canada, fostering close-knit Filipino communities across the country.

In response to Canada's evolving labor needs, the Live-in Caregiver Program was introduced in the 1980s. This initiative provided a pathway for over 30,000 Filipinos to immigrate to Canada between 1982 and 1991, further enhancing their presence in various industries.


The Rise of Independent Immigrants

Filipinos have consistently ranked first in the "independent immigrants" category since 1992. This category comprises immigrants selected based on their skills and ability to contribute significantly to Canadian society and the economy. The 2011 National Household Survey reaffirmed this trend, with the Philippines being the most common country of origin for immigrants arriving in Canada between 2011 and 2016.


Geographic Distribution

According to the 2016 Census, there were approximately 837,130 people of Filipino origin in Canada. The majority of Filipino Canadians resided in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. Metropolitan areas like Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Montreal were home to large Filipino communities, fostering a sense of unity and belonging.


Social, Cultural, and Religious Life

Filipino Canadians have seamlessly integrated into Canadian society while preserving their rich cultural heritage. More than 1,000 Filipino associations thrive across Canada, fostering community engagement and celebrating Filipino traditions through festivals and events.


Religion, particularly Roman Catholicism, plays a crucial role in the lives of Filipino Canadians, offering a strong sense of community and identity. Religious holidays are celebrated with fervor, featuring native songs, dances, and traditional foods.


Canadian Relations with the Philippines

Canada and the Philippines share a history of close and friendly ties. Working together in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), both countries promote democratic development, good governance, and human rights protection. Bilateral trade between the two nations is substantial, further solidifying their economic partnership.


Migrate to Canada with Pelican Migration Consultants

The history of Filipino immigration to Canada is a testament to the enduring spirit of these immigrants who sought better opportunities and futures for their families. Their contributions to Canada's society, economy, and culture have been profound, enriching the nation's diverse fabric.

Aspiring to migrate to Canada is an exciting prospect, and Pelican Migration Consultants can be your trusted partner on this journey. Whether you seek permanent residency, a study visa, or an express entry opportunity, our expert immigration consultants in Dubai will guide you every step of the way.

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