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, Tai-Kadai, Hmong, Canadian French, Canadian English[2]
Theravada Buddhism,[3] Mahayana Buddhism, Laotian folk religion, Christianity and Islam
Related ethnic groups
Lao people, Isan people, Shan people, Thai People and Asian Canadians.

Laotian Canadians are Canadian citizens of Laotian origin or descent. In the 2011 Census, 22,090 people indicated Laotian ancestry.[1] Most Lao people are Billingual, due to the fact that they were once under the protectorat of France (See French protectorate of Laos.

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 Laotian 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, Quebec, Toronto, Ontario, and Winnipeg, Manitoba.[7] There is also a handful of newly converted Laotians to Islam, mostly in Montreal.

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