Asian Canadians

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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 · Hinduism · Sikhism · Judaism · Non-religious · Other
Related ethnic groups
Asian Americans · British Asian · Asian Australians · Asian New Zealanders · Asian people

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, Indo-Caribbean Canadians); Southeast Asian Canadian (e.g. Laotian Canadians, Cambodian Canadians, Filipino Canadians, Vietnamese Canadians); or West Asian Canadians (e.g. Iranian Canadians, Iraqi Canadians, Lebanese Canadians).[2]


Chinese labourers working on the Canadian Pacific Railway, 1884
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 In 1947, the act was repealed.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[edit]


  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 the Wayback Machine, 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[edit]