Laotian Canadians

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Laotian Canadians
Total population
(22,090 (2011)[1])
Regions with significant populations
 Ontario 1,000
 Quebec 900
 British Columbia 500
 Alberta 300
 Manitoba 100
 Saskatchewan 1,450
Lao, Canadian French, Canadian English[2]
Buddhism[3] Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Lao people, Asian Canadians

Laotian Canadians are Canadian citizens of Laotian origin or descent. In the 2011 Census, 22,090 people indicated Laotian ancestry.[1]

Migration history[edit]

Mass migration from Laos to Cambodia peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s, consisting of both government-sponsored and privately sponsored refugees from camps in Thailand, where they had fled due to the Laotian Civil War and the final victory of the Pathet Lao.[4] However, by the 1990s, most refugees in the camps were instead being repatriated to Laos. In total, Canada took in 12,793 Laotian refugees.[5]


Most migrants consisted of young families; there were very few elderly among them. A significant proportion were drawn from among the community of ethnic Chinese in Laos.[2]

There is a community of Laotian people in Kitchener, Ontario, where 1,530 Laotian Canadians live (0.7% of its population).[6]


Laotian migrants in Canada mostly follow Theravada Buddhism, though Mahayana Buddhists are also found among those of Chinese ethnicity.[3] There are also a small number of Christians, perhaps 500 people, most of whom converted while living in refugee camps.[7] In 1990, British Columbia had no Laotian Buddhist temple; the nearest one was a Laotian American temple in Seattle.[3] Within Canada, Laotian Buddhist temples have also been opened in Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg.[7]

See also[edit]




  • Richardson, Elizabeth (1990), "The Cambodians and Laotians", Cross-cultural caring: a handbook for health professionals, University of British Columbia Press, pp. 11–35, ISBN 978-0-7748-0343-4 
  • Van Esterik, Penny (1999), "Laotians", in Magocsi, Paul R., Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples, University of Toronto Press, pp. 902–909, ISBN 0-8020-2938-8 
  • "Ethnic origins, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data", Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada, Census 2006, Statistics Canada, retrieved 2010-01-27 

Further reading[edit]

  • Lerthirungwong-Diong, Mulai (1989), Problems of adjustment and attitudes of Indochinese refugees towards their language maintenance: a case study of the Lao community in Toronto, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Toronto, OCLC 224288222 
  • Dorais, Louis-Jacques (2000), The Cambodians, Laotians and Vietnamese in Canada, Canada's ethnic groups, 28, Canadian Historical Association, ISBN 978-0-88798-226-2 
  • Nontapattamadul, Kitipat (2000), The integration of Laotian refugees in Calgary, Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Social Work, University of Calgary, retrieved 2009-09-01