Instructor-Dr. Samia Tawwab
Asian immigrants, the largest minority group in Canada, play as a very important role in Canada’s multicultural policy. The circumstance in Canada is different than other countries since it receives so many Asian immigrants in proportion. They contribute to this country in so many different fields and become more indispensable in a long term standing. For instance, those Chinese restaurants fill out every corner of the street is one of the visible symbols bring with the Multiculturalism in Canada. Thanks to the increase in Asian immigrants and the embracing culture of diversity, Canada is able to avoid the aging population crisis that most developed countries are facing. Asian immigrants have also served as both cultural and political ambassadors between Canada and Asia Pacific countries in the past decades. The influence of the growth in Asian population in Canada is the most profound in population, economy, culture, and policies.
Immigration into Canada has greatly alleviated the pressure of the aging population. The seniors outnumbering children is an alarming sign of population in all developed countries. This happened in Canada for the first time in 2016 (Ibbitson, 2017). Despite the aging population, Canada is still maintaining a population growth of 5 percent in the past years (2011-2017). Such growth is largely owning to the open immigration policy of Canada in the past decades that saved the Canadian population from further aging and declining. As the largest group of immigrants, the Asian immigrants contribute the most to the increasing population. Since most immigrants entering Canada at a relatively young age (Lindsay, 2007), they are able to reverse the population stagnation by bringing more cultural diversity in Canada along with the traditional Asian values of the importance of the family. By 2017, around 1 out of 7 Canadians are of Asian descent (APFC, 2019). Immigrants have become a substantial part of the overall Canadian population, as well as the major driving force of growth.
The growth in Asian minority contributes greatly to the Canadian economy. People are the main driving force of production and the economy in general. Firstly, the growing population helps reduce the economic stress caused by the shortage of labor. As the baby boomers began retiring from the workforce, there left a huge gap to be filled in different sectors. The addition of the immigrant population makes up for this gap, serving as the future labor force. In 2004, it was estimated by the Conference Board of Canada that minority populations in Canada contributed to the total economy growth by at least 0.3% (CBC, 2019). Meanwhile, the wage inequality between different ethnic groups may be preventing ethnic minorities from contributing even more to the growth. In 2015, Canada signed the Free Trade Agreement with an Asian country, Korea, for the first time (APFC, 2019). This marks a new era of the deepening relations of economic bond with the Asian partners. In this process, Asian immigrant populations in Canada has served as the bridge contributing to mutual understanding.
Immigrants have brought diverse cultures into Canada. Canada has a long history of multiculturalism since the colonial times. The unification of one country with the division of different language zones shows the tradition of embracing cultural difference. Asian immigrants have contributed to the consolidation of many immigration policies in the past decades. For instance, the Canadian government enacted new policies focusing on the cultural integration of immigrants, including the objectives of social justice, civic participation, and identity (Brosseau & Dewing, 2018). 27 June was announced in 2002 to be the Canadian Multiculturalism Day, which was another important move. By 2018, Canada has made 149 sister city arrangements within the Asia Pacific region. These arrangements include 77 cities in Japan, 44 in China, 13 in South Korea, etc. (APFC, 2019). It can be seen that East Asia has the highest number of sister cities for Canada. Such interactions are not only in the political and economic levels, but also on the cultural exchange between sister cities. In addition to promoting the Canadian values, fostering friendships has also enabled the Canadians to be more open about Asian culture.
In response to the large trends of immigration, Canada has shown one of the highest acceptance among developed countries. According to an international ranking in the acceptance of diversity, Canada obtained over 80 marks in the ranking, becoming one of the most culturally embracing countries in the world (CBC, 2019). According to the Year Book 2011 of Canada, around 30% of the Canadian population belong to a minority population. However, there are still some areas needing improvement. As mentioned above, there exists a wage gap between immigrants and native Canadians, mainly because the economic sectors and organizations fail to recognize the credit or working experience gained overseas (CBC, 2019). Elimination of this bias will motivate more capable immigrants to play an active part in future economic growth. In addition, despite the strong notion of equality and diversity in the mainstream values, Canadian communities and organizations seem to lack the motivation to actually implement the policies promoting diversity.
In conclusion, Asian immigrants have greatly influenced Canada in terms of population, economy, culture, and policies. Filling the gap of the baby boomers, Asian immigrants are bringing the new values of family and children into Canada, reversing the trending of population decline. Meanwhile, they also contribute actively in economic activities. Asian immigrants have diversified the local market with new types of business and investments, making substantial contribution to the overall economic growth. Immigrants have also served as the bridge for Canada to foster trade relationships with Asian countries. Due to the large immigrant population, Canada is ranking the top in acceptance of diversity, becoming one of the most-culturally embracing and open-minded countries in the world. Meanwhile, improvements in the commitment of organization to diversity is still needed. These may include efforts to build more inclusive environments for employees of foreign origins, eliminating the wage gaps based on ethnic backgrounds, or establishing community-based support programs to help immigrants integrate into the mainstream society.