Filipino Canadians

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Filipino Canadians
Filipino Canadian population by province.svg
Filipino Canadians as percent of population by province/territory
Total population
2.25% of the Canadian population (2016)
Regions with significant populations
Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Surrey, most other urban areas
 Ontario337,760 (2.5%)
 Alberta175,130 (4.3%)
 British Columbia158,215 (3.4%)
 Manitoba83,530 (6.5%)
 Quebec37,910 (0.4%)
 Saskatchewan33,630 (3.0%)
English (Canadian, Philippine), Canadian French, Tagalog (Filipino), Visayan languages, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Spanish and other languages of the Philippines
Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Iglesia ni Cristo
Minority: Islam and Irreligion
Related ethnic groups
Filipino Americans

Filipino Canadians (French: Canadiens philippins; Filipino: Pilipinong Kanadyense) are Canadians of Filipino descent. Filipino Canadians are the fourth largest subgroup of the overseas Filipinos and one of the fastest-growing groups in Canada.

Only a small population of Filipinos lived in Canada until the late 20th century. As of the 2016 Canadian Census, 851,410 people of Filipino descent lived in Canada, mostly in urbanized areas. Filipino-Canadians are the third-largest Asian Canadian group in the nation after the Indian and Chinese communities. They are also the largest group from Southeast Asia in the country. Between the 2011 Census and the 2016 Census, the Filipino community in Canada grew from 702,200 to 820,100, a growth of about 7%, compared to the rest of Canada, which grew by 5% during the same time period.

Early Filipinos in British Columbia[edit]

Filipino Canadians is located in Pacific Ocean
Manila and Vancouver on opposite sides of the Pacific

Filipino migration to North America began with Philippine-made ships crossing the Pacific Ocean during the Manila galleon trade. As early as 1565, the Spanish began sending vessels northeast from the Philippines, riding the Kuroshio Current in a sweeping circular route across the northern part of the Pacific. Boarded on these ships, Filipino servants, stowaways, and mariners landed in parts of the west coast of North America, from what is now Mexico to as far north as Alaska. By late 1700s, "Manila men"[2] were recruited in naval operations, aboard the ship San Carlos el Filipino sent to support the short-lived Spanish settlement of Santa Cruz de Nuca and Fort San Miguel, Nootka Island, off the coast of Vancouver.[3]

Canada's earliest documented Filipinos coincided with North America's first wave of Asian immigration in the 1800s. At least nine male sailors, born in Manila, aged twenty-four to forty-two, appeared on the 1881 Census of British Columbia. Living on a vessel in New Westminster, they were recorded ethno-racially as "Malay" [a loose term to describe Austronesian people] and listed as "Mahomitan" [an archaic term for Muslim].[4]

A small Filipino community resided in Bowen Island, British Columbia in the 1880s.[5] They probably engaged in both fishing and farming. It included Fernando Toreenya, a fisherman who came to Canada from the Philippines in 1886 at the age of 20 years old with his wife Mary. They lived at ‘Bowen Island Bay’ (probably Deep Bay or Snug Cove) and had three other Filipino boarders living with them, William Matilde, Antoni Bentorre and Ricardo Castro. Others included Ben Flores, who were "beachcombers and fishermen"[6] and were settled on a barge in Snug Cove; Basinto Pasento, who called his home Pasento Ranch and died in February 1904, John Delmond, and Jose Garcia. Several others worked as loggers, millhand, mine laborers, and longshoremen intermarrying with Indigenous peoples and other Pacific Islanders. By the turn of the century, there was a significant number of Filipinos, who were naturalized as Canadians or were U.S. Nationals in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia.

History of Filipinos in Canada[edit]

Larger number of Filipinos migrated to Canada in 1930. In 1950, 10 Filipinos were recorded in Manitoba. The first-generation Filipino-Canadians were mainly women who worked as nurses and teachers and in the health sector. These first Filipinos came from the United States to renew their visas after they had expired in the hope of returning to the US. Most of them returned, but some stayed in Canada.

From 1946 to 1964, the total number of Filipinos in Canada was 770. In the 1960s, Canada recruited more professionals, mostly from the United States, with some coming directly from the Philippines. Most of the nurses, technicians, office workers and doctors arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In the late 1960s, more Filipinos came to Winnipeg to work in the garment industry.

During the 1970s, most Filipinos came directly from the Philippines to Winnipeg to work in clerical, sales and manufacturing fields. In the late 1970s, more Filipinos came to join their relatives who worked in Canada under the family reunification program. More and more Filipinos decided to settle in Ontario, particularly in Toronto, where jobs were prospering.

In the 1980s, Canada saw an influx of Filipino contract workers, many who found work as live-in caregivers. Many of the contract workers later became landed immigrants under the Live-In Caregiver Program.

During the 1990s, more Filipinos came as families and independents instead of being sponsored by family or being recruited as contract workers.

From 1990 onward, there has been a steady flow of Filipinos entering Canada, with about 10,000 to 20,000 coming in every year. In December 2008, the Philippines passed China as Canada's leading source of immigrants.[7]


Greater Toronto Area[edit]

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which includes the city of Toronto, and the regional municipalities of Durham, Halton, Peel, and York, is home to the largest Filipino community in Canada with a third of all Filipino Canadians calling the GTA home. As of the 2016 Census, there were 282,385 people of Filipino descent living in the GTA making them the fourth largest visible minority group behind the Indian, Chinese, and Black communities. The number of Filipino Canadians in the GTA grew from 252,120 in 2011 to 282,385 in 2016 representing a growth of 12% in 5 years.

Tagalog is the fifth most spoken language, other than English or French, to be spoken in the GTA, and is also one of the fastest-growing languages in the region.[8] Other Philippine languages, such as Ilocano, and Cebuano, also have a sizable number of speakers throughout the region.

A huge percentage of the Filipino diaspora in GTA are working professionals. Several Filipino-owned business have also sprouted all over the metropolitan area. In 2017, Seafood City, a Filipino owned supermarket chain in the United States, opened its first Canadian location in Mississauga. Other Filipino establishments like Jollibee, CrispyTown, Grill City, Philippine National Bank, among others, have also established roots in GTA.

Filipinos from the GTA have made significant contributions to the Canadian political landscape. Notable Toronto residents include Tobias Enverga the first Canadian of Filipino descent to be elected in the City of Toronto and to be appointed to the Senate of Canada, Brampton City Councillor Rowena Santos, Town of Ajax Ward 3 Councillor Lisa Bower, and TCDSB trustee Garry Tanuan.

Population distribution[edit]

Filipinos are generally well spread out throughout the GTA, with a few areas of concentration. In the city of Toronto, the former municipalities of Scarborough and North York are popular destinations for new Filipino immigrants, and naturalized Filipino Canadians alike. According to the 2016 Census, Tagalog is the most common non-English mother tongue language, in the following neighbourhoods:[9]

  1. Clanton Park (11.2%)
  2. Briar Hill-Belgravia (10.4%)
  3. Englemount-Lawrence (10.1%)
  4. Ionview (9.4%)
  5. Kennedy Park (8.2%)
  6. North St. James Town (8.1%)
  7. Forest Hill North (6.9%)
  8. Wexford-Maryvale (6.8%)
  9. Humewood-Cedarvale (6.0%)
  10. West Hill (4.7%)
  11. Bedford Park-Nortown (4.2%)
  12. Guildwood (2.2%)
  13. Forest Hill South (2.0%)

Other Philippine languages also ranked among the most common non-English mother tongue languages. Ilocano ranked in the top 10 non-English mother tongue languages in 3 neighbourhoods (Briar Hill-Belgravia, Englemount-Lawrence, Clanton Park). Cebuano also ranked in the top 10 languages for the Briar Hill-Belgravia neighbourhood.

Outside of the city of Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton in Peel Region, Markham and Vaughan in York Region, Ajax and Pickering in Durham Region, and Milton in Halton Region have large percentages of Filipino residents.

As of the 2016 Canadian Census:

City of Toronto

  • Total - 162,600 (6.0% of total population)

Durham Region

  • Total – 16,270 (2.5%)

Halton Region

  • Total – 12,225 (2.2%)

Peel Region

  • Total – 62,460 (4.5%)

York Region

  • Total – 28,830 (2.6%)

Metro Vancouver[edit]

Vancouver is home to the second largest Filipino community in Canada with nearly 134,000 Filipinos residing there. Filipinos in Vancouver make up the third-largest Asian-Canadian and visible minority group behind the Chinese and South Asians. Most of British Columbia's 159,000 Filipinos reside in the Greater Vancouver Area where the jobs are concentrated. About one in five Filipinos in Canada call Metro Vancouver home.

Filipinos, along many other Asian-Canadians, contribute to the city's economy greatly. Many of the Filipinos in Vancouver work in the health and finance industry, with also a significant percentage that work in service, manufacturing, and real estate. Several others are business owners, with some bringing in well known franchise chains like Pepper Lunch and Chatime to the city. Qoola, a local frozen yogurt chain with over 20 locations, is also founded by a Manila-born businessman. Big restaurant names like Max's of Manila, and soon, Jollibee, have also set their presence in the city.

In addition, Vancouver is home to the only branch of Goldilocks Bakeshop in Canada. Ayala Land, the Philippines' leading Real Estate developer company, recently completed a mix-use residential development with local real estate developer company, Rize, in Vancouver's Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.


Winnipeg is home to 77,305 Filipinos, making them the third largest Filipino community in Canada by total population, however the largest by percentage (8.7%).[10] The Filipino community in Winnipeg is the largest visible minority group in Winnipeg ahead of the Chinese-Canadians and Indo-Canadians (but excluding aboriginal Canadians, who are not counted as a "visible minority" by Statistics Canada). Winnipeg is home to the oldest Filipino community in Canada with Filipino immigration to Winnipeg beginning before 1950. Winnipeg was home to the largest Filipino community before the 1980s. About 1 out of 10 Filipinos in Canada call Winnipeg home. There is also Filipino community center called The Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM) providing social and service to the Filipino community and also holds events such as Folklorama. There are also Filipino newspapers such as The Pilipino Express News Magazine, The Filipino Journal, and Ang Peryodiko. There is also a radio station, CKJS, which broadcasts Filipino related news, music, lifestyle and much more.

Winnipeg's Filipino population is largely concentrated in the West End and North End areas of the city. The neighborhood around Sargent Avenue and Arlington Street is 45% Filipino,[11] and the neighbourhood around Sargent Avenue and Wall Street is 47% Filipino.[12][13]

Filipinos in Winnipeg contribute greatly to the local economy. Jollibee, a well known global Filipino fast food chain, has its first 2 Canadian locations established in this city.

Greater Calgary[edit]

Calgary is home to over 75,000 Filipinos making them the fourth largest Filipino community in Canada. Filipinos started coming in droves in Calgary in the early '80s and '90s. Outside of Calgary, some smaller communities are experiencing an influx of Filipino immigrants to fill job vacancies. These new immigrants and their children work to integrate and flourish in Canada.[14]

Edmonton Capital Region[edit]

According to the 2016 National Census, 64,275 Filipinos live and work in the Edmonton Capital Region. Various Filipino associations celebrate the culture and take part in large metropolitan events such as the Edmonton Heritage Festival. In 2002, the Filipino community presented its home nation as the "Featured Country" during Capital Ex (formerly Klondike Days). Edmonton is also the home of the Philippine Cultural Society, the Philippine Choral Society, and the Karilagan Dance Society.[15]

Radio station CKER-FM also broadcasts community programming to Filipinos in Edmonton.

Greater Montreal[edit]

The sixth largest Filipino community in Canada, Montreal is home to nearly 36,000 Filipinos. Filipinos in Montreal are concentrated in the Cote-des-Neiges area and around Decarie Expressway, both areas have many Filipino establishments and professional offices. The Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs is an advocacy group for Filipino Canadians active in and around the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is the oldest such association in Quebec.[16]

National Capital Region[edit]

The National Capital Region made up of the cities of Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec is home to the seventh largest Filipino community in Canada with over 14,000 Filipinos residing in Canada's capital. Ottawa is also the home of the Philippine Embassy and ambassador to Canada.

Southwestern Ontario[edit]

Southwestern Ontario is home to over 15,000 Filipinos. Most of them live in the cities of Cambridge, Guelph, Kitchener, London and Windsor. Southwestern Ontario is home to a successful and thriving Filipino community.


The city of Hamilton situated on the western shore of Lake Ontario is home to almost 12,000 Filipinos. Hamilton is home to the first Filipino community centre and school in Canada both opening in the early 80s and late 70s, respectively.

Niagara Region[edit]

The Niagara region on the south shore of Lake Ontario is home to over 4,000 Filipinos. They form a tight knit community concentrated in the cities of St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. Niagara-on-the-lake is home to a very successful community and the only town to have had a Filipino mayor in Canada, Arturo Viola.

Northern Canada[edit]

The northern territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut have a Filipino community of almost 3,000 despite an extremely cold climate. The Filipino community has grown steadily from 735 in 2001. Filipinos in the Northwest Territories make the largest visible minority group there with a population of 1,410. Filipinos in the Yukon Territory are the second-largest minority group to the Chinese with a community of 1,310 living there. Nunavut has a growing Filipino population of 245. The territories received about 50 Filipinos on average a year from 2001 to 2006.


Most Filipinos who immigrate to Canada settle in the large urban areas where there are more jobs and a vibrant community life. These areas include: Metro Vancouver, Greater Calgary, Edmonton Capital Region, City of Winnipeg, the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Montreal. According to Statistics Canada seeing the current trend, by 2031, the Filipino Canadian population is projected to reach between 1.9 and 2.1 million. Much of this growth will be bolstered by high immigration rates, assuming immigration to the United States remains as restricted as it has been. Notably, Canada now has a Filipino population more than twice as large percentage-wise as that of the United States, the Philippines' former colonial master, it is also somewhat more dispersed, as the majority of Filipino Americans are found in the far western United States.

Number of Philippine nationals granted permanent residence in Canada by year[17]
Year Number of Philippine nationals admitted Total number of permanent residents admitted Proportion of permanent residents admitted
2002 11,011 229,048 4.8%
2003 11,987 221,349 5.4%
2004 13,303 235,823 5.6%
2005 17,525 262,242 6.7%
2006 17,718 251,640 7%
2007 19,067 236,753 8.1%
2008 23,727 247,246 9.6%
2009 27,277 252,174 10.8%
2010 36,580 280,691 13%
2011 34,991 248,748 14.1%
2012 34,314 257,895 13.3%
2013 29,539 258,953 11.4%
2014 40,032 260,282 15.4%
2015 50,846 271,847 18.7%

2011 Canadian census[edit]


2006 Canadian census[edit]

By City[edit]

  • Toronto – 102,555
  • Winnipeg – 36,820
  • Mississauga (Toronto CMA) – 30,705
  • Vancouver – 28,605
  • Calgary – 24,915
  • Edmonton – 18,245
  • Montreal – 17,100
  • Surrey (Vancouver CMA) – 16,555
  • Brampton (Toronto CMA) – 11,980
  • Markham (Toronto CMA) – 7,370
  • Ottawa – 7,115
  • Vaughan (Toronto CMA) – 5,360
  • Hamilton – 4,040
  • Windsor – 2,630
  • London – 1,790

By Census Metropolitan Area[18][19][20][21][22][23][edit]

  • Toronto CMA – 171,980
  • Vancouver CMA – 78,890
  • Winnipeg CMA – 36,935
  • Calgary CMA – 25,565
  • Montreal CMA – 23,510
  • Edmonton CMA – 19,625
  • Ottawa – Gatineau CMA – 7,330
  • Hamilton CMA – 4,880
  • Windsor CMA – 3,145
  • Victoria CMA – 2,760
  • Oshawa CMA – 2,155
  • St. Catharines – Niagara CMA – 2,130
  • London CMA – 1,990
  • Guelph CMA – 1,965
  • Saskatoon CMA – 1,915
  • Kitchener CMA – 1,850
  • Regina CMA – 1,230

By Province/Territory[edit]

Province Filipino 2001 % 2001 Filipino 2011 % 2011 Filipino 2016 % 2016
Flag of Ontario.svg Ontario 156,515 1.4% 295,700 2.3% 311,670 2.4%
Flag of British Columbia.svg British Columbia 64,005 1.7% 135,990 3.1% 145,030 3.2%
Flag of Alberta.svg Alberta 33,940 1.2% 113,205 3.2% 166,195 4.2%
Flag of Manitoba.svg Manitoba 30,490 2.8% 61,270 5.2% 79,820 6.4%
Flag of Quebec.svg Quebec 18,550 0.2% 34,140 0.4% 34,910 0.4%
Flag of Saskatchewan.svg Saskatchewan 3,030 0.3% 16,705 1.6% 32,340 3.0%
Flag of Nova Scotia.svg Nova Scotia 655 0.1% 2,110 0.2% 3,400 0.4%
Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador.svg Newfoundland and Labrador 265 0.1% 1,395 0.3% 1,385 0.3%
Flag of New Brunswick.svg New Brunswick 355 0.1% 1,155 0.2% 1,975 0.3%
Flag of the Northwest Territories.svg Northwest Territories 470 1.3% 975 2.4% 1,300 3.2%
Flag of Yukon.svg Yukon 235 0.8% 735 2.2% 1,190 3.4%
Flag of Nunavut.svg Nunavut 35 0.1% 140 0.4% 230 0.6%
Flag of Prince Edward Island.svg Prince Edward Island 35 0.0% 95 0.1% 670 0.5%
Flag of Canada.svg Canada 308,575 1.0% 662,600 2.0% 780,125 2.3%

The majority of Filipino-Canadians are women who make up about 65% of the population.

By Gender[edit]

  • Male – 175,640
  • Female – 235,055

List of Canadian census subdivisions with Filipino populations higher than the national average[edit]

Source: Canada 2011 Census[24]
National average: 1.9%


British Columbia[edit]


Northwest Territories[edit]





Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Immigrant population in Canada, 2016 Census of Population, Statistics Canada, 2017-10-25, retrieved 2017-11-03
  2. ^ Welch, Michael Patrick. "NOLA Filipino History Stretches for Centuries". New Orleans & Me. New Orleans: WWNO. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  3. ^ Fred Cordova "Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans, a Pictorial Essay/1763-circa-1963"
  4. ^ Marshall, Allison (2018). Bayanihan and Belonging: Filipinos and Religion in Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 59. ISBN 9781487517526.
  5. ^ "Historiana Volume 10 Number 2" (PDF). 9 June 2001. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  6. ^ Howard, Irene (1973). "Bowen Island, 1872-1972". Bowen Island, B.C.: Bowen Island Historians. p. 36.
  7. ^ "Philippines takes over China as number one source of Canadian immigrants". Canadian Visa Bureau. 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  8. ^ "Move over Mandarin, Tagalog and Farsi are the fastest growing languages in Toronto". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  9. ^ Toronto, City of (2017-11-14). "Neighbourhood Profiles". City of Toronto. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  10. ^ a b [1]Population by selected ethnic origins, by province and territory
  11. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (8 May 2013). "2011 National Household Survey Profile - Census tract".
  12. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (8 May 2013). "2011 National Household Survey Profile - Census tract".
  13. ^ Petz, Sarah. Filipinos find a home in Winnipeg as family ties drive immigration in Manitoba, National Post, May 29, 2014.
  14. ^ Tweedie, Gregory; Dressler, Anja; Schmidt, Cora-Leah (12 November 2018). "Supporting Reconnecting Immigrant Families with English Language Learners in Rural Schools: An Exploratory Study of Filipino Arrivals to Alberta".
  15. ^ Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. "Heritage Community Foundation profile". Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  16. ^ Marlene Birao Schachter Archived March 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-12-30. Retrieved 2013-01-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), Facts and figures 2011 — Immigration overview: Permanent and temporary residents — Permanent residents
  18. ^ "Visible minority population, by census metropolitan areas (2006 Census)". 2009-11-06. Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  19. ^ "Visible minority population, by census metropolitan areas (2006 Census)". 2009-11-06. Archived from the original on 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  20. ^ "Visible minority population, by census metropolitan areas (2006 Census)". 2009-11-06. Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  21. ^ "Visible minority population, by census metropolitan areas (2006 Census)". 2009-11-06. Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  22. ^ "Visible minority population, by census metropolitan areas (2006 Census)". 2009-11-06. Archived from the original on 2011-01-15. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  23. ^ "Visible minority population, by census metropolitan areas (2006 Census)". 2009-11-06. Archived from the original on 2011-09-25. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  24. ^ [2], National Household Survey (NHS) Profile, 2011

Further reading[edit]

  • Glenda Lynna Ann Tibe Bonifacio (2014). Pinay on the Prairies: Filipino Women and Transnational Identities. University of British Columbia Press.
  • Anita Beltran Chen (1998). From Sunbelt to Snowbelt: Filipinos in Canada. Canadian Ethnic Studies Association, University of Calgary.
  • Roland Sintos Coloma; Bonnie McElhinny; Ethel Tungohan; John Paul Catungal; Lisa M. Davidson (2012). Filipinos in Canada: Disturbing Invisibility. University of Toronto Press.
  • Ruben Cusipag; Maria Corazon Buenafe (1993). Portrait of Filipino Canadians in Ontario: 1960-1990. Kalayaan Media Limited.
  • Gemma Dalayoan; Leah Enverga-Magsino; Leonnie Bailon (2005). The First Filipino Immigrants in Manitoba (1959-1975). Department of Culture, Heritage, and Citizenship, Government of Manitoba.
  • Eleanor Laquian (1973). A Study of Filipino Immigrants to Canada, 1962-1972. United Council of Filipino Associations in Canada.
  • Angela Reyes; Adrienne Lo; Bonnie McElhinny; Valerie Damasco; Shirley Yeung; Angela F. De Ocampo; Monina Febria; Christianne Collantes; Jose Salonga (2008). ""Talk about Luck" Coherence, Contingency, Character, and Class in the Life Stories of Filipino Canadians in Toronto". Beyond Yellow English : Toward a Linguistic Anthropology of Asian Pacific America. Oxford University Press. pp. 93–110. ISBN 978-0-19-971670-8.

External links[edit]