Canadian multiculturalism isn’t just a beautiful idea, it’s the law! It was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy in 1971.
The Government of Canada puts it well (albeit dryly):
“All Canadians are guaranteed equality before the law and equality of opportunity regardless of their origins. Canada’s laws and policies recognise Canada’s diversity by race, cultural heritage, ethnicity, religion, ancestry and place of origin and guarantee to all men and women complete freedom of conscience, of thought, belief, opinion expression, association and peaceful assembly. All of these rights, our freedom and our dignity, are guaranteed through our Canadian citizenship, our Canadian Constitution, and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Like in many other countries, immigrants to Canada tend to settle in the same neighbourhoods as their former countrymen and women. As a recent immigrant, I can completely understand this! There’s so much newness when you immigrate, it’s nice to have a few things that aren’t completely foreign around you. Unlike elsewhere in the world, however, immigrants to Canada actively take part in their new society. This tends to lead immigrants to Canada to achieve high levels of economic success, education and social integration. That also means that Canadians of all stripes tend to see immigration as a positive thing. Yay multiculturalism!
Canadians live by a set of values and beliefs which are open to a wide variety of cultural expressions and do not demand strict integration. What is asked of from immigrants is the same as is asked of all Canadians: respect for Canadian laws and institutions, acceptance of other cultures and participation in society.
It’s not much of a surprise, then, that immigrants to Canada tend to adopt “traditional” Canadian attitudes with their own cultural spin. My favourite example of this is Hockey Night in Canada that is broadcast not only in Canada’s official languages of French and English but also in Punjabi!
I’m not saying that the system is perfect. Like any rule, there is always an exception. But I think it’s a great example of how welcoming people from a wide variety of backgrounds can make a society even better.
Curious what else I think is great about the Canada? Check out my full list of Advantage: Canada posts.