In the early post-World War II period, most migrants from Indonesia to Canada were Indo people of mixed Dutch and pribumi ancestry. Many did not come directly from Indonesia, but rather went to the Netherlands and then re-migrated due to racial prejudice they faced there. Community members believe that perhaps 3,000 live in the Ontario area. These migrants tend to be fluent in Dutch, and may also speak Indonesian, or more commonly Indonesian-based trade languages. However, Indonesians of Chinese descent formed the main group in the stream of migration which began in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They have come to comprise an estimated 80% of Canada's population of Indonesian background. Most do not speak any variety of Chinese.
More than half of Indonesian Canadians are believed to be Christians, with roughly equal numbers of Catholics and Protestants. In contrast, although Islam is Indonesia's majority religion, Muslims are estimated to make up only about 10% of Indonesian Canadians. An Indonesian Catholic congregation, the Ummat Katholik Indonesia, has been meeting in the Toronto area since 1979; it was first headed by a Dutch priest who had previously lived in Indonesia, and later by a Javanese theology student from the University of Toronto. An inter-demoninational Protestant fellowship, the Indonesian Christian Fellowship, also emerged in Toronto in the 1980s.
The first Indonesian community organisations in Canada, the Indonesian-Canadian Association and the Canadian-Indonesian Society, were founded in 1969 in Toronto and Vancouver, respectively. Indonesian consuls' wives also set up branches of Dharma Wanita, a women's group, in various cities. A credit union, Indoka (Indonesian Credit Union) was established in the early 1970s. A group of Muslim and Christian women formed Sanggar Budaya (Culture Workshop), a dance and music group, a few years later. There is also an Indonesian Catholic Organisation comprising mainly ethnic Chinese, as well as INCASEC (Indonesian Canadian Senior Citizens).