Cambodian Canadians

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Cambodian Canadians
Total population
(0.1% of Canada's population)
Regions with significant populations
Quebec, Ontario, Alberta
Khmer, Quebec French, Cambodian French, Canadian English
Theravada Buddhism, Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Cambodians, Cambodian Americans

Cambodian Canadians, also known as Khmer Canadians, are Canadians of Cambodian ethnic origin or ancestry. According to the 2016 national census, there were 38,490 Canadian Cambodians,[1] making them one of the smallest minority groups of Asian ancestry in the country.

Aside from Khmer, Canadian French and English, many Cambodian Canadians also speak Standard French, due to France's colonization and historical influence on Cambodia, when French was designated as an official language. Theravada Buddhism and Roman Catholicism are the two major religions among Cambodian Canadians.


During the Khmer Rouge genocide of 1975-1979, Cambodians of many ethnic backgrounds escaped to refugee camps in the neighboring countries of Thailand and Vietnam. Due to the mass number of refugees, many Cambodians migrated to Canada, USA, France and Australia. In 1981, there were 13,000 Cambodian-Canadian Refugees,[2] with most of the population settling into major cities such as Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Quebec City. The Jane and Finch neighbourhood of Toronto has a notably large Cambodian population, in which they make up about 4% of the community.[3] By 2016, the number of Cambodians in Canada had risen to 38,490.[1]


Cambodians are formally known as Theravada Buddhists, but follow a mix of a cultural adaptation of Buddhism and ancient religious views and principles. Ever since Cambodia was under French colonization, the number of Christian followers among Cambodian populations has also increased, leading to several Cambodian-Christian establishments throughout Ontario. Buddhist followers however pray throughout the year, with the celebration of Khmer New Year lasting three days centered around the 13th of April.

The religious festival of Pchum Ben, also known as Ancestor's Day, is the remembrance of the deceased. On this day is when Cambodians pay their respects to deceased relatives and ancestors. On Ancestor's day, people would offer food to the monks, who would then give their blessings to the people and their ancestors. The significance of food to this festival correlates with the belief that the ghosts of their ancestors will receive it.


In 1979, members of the Cambodian-Canadian community established the CCAO (Cambodian-Canadian Association of Ontario), alongside other notable community organizations such as the Khmer Buddhist Group.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity Highlight Tables".
  2. ^ "Cambodia Migration and Refugees - Flags, Maps, Economy, History, Climate, Natural Resources, Current Issues, International Agreements, Population, Social Statistics, Political System".
  3. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "2011 National Household Survey Profile - Census tract".