Vancouver Ethiopian Blog

Ethiopian life in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Visible Minorities in Canada

Canada is a great country to live in. It is blessed with natural resources. It is one of the few countries that allows other nations to come and live in its land. Canada has given me the opportunity to learn not only about Canada, but also about all the other cultures who have settled here. I am proud to call Canada my home and father land, and Ethiopia as my mother land.

One of the things I like about the English language is that, it is rich in vocabulary and any thing could be given a name and/or labelled. However, out of all the labels, there is one phrase I detest very much – it is the phrase, “visible minority“. This phrase has bothered me very much for many years.

What is Visible Minority?
Statistics Canada takes its definition of a “visible minority” from the federal Employment Equity Act, which is “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”

I understand the fact that the phrase, “visible minority” is not a racist phrase. Yes, as an African living in Canada, that makes me a minority. But, do I have to be labelled as “visible minority”?

Statistics Canada is projecting that in 2031 (in 21 years), three major cities in Canada will not have ‘visible minorities” as it is defined today. Statistics Canada says that by 2031 up to 14.4 million people in Canada could be a “visible minority” – with so-called minorities becoming the majority in two major cities.

The population of Canada has been growing mainly due to “visible minorities”. I believe that the major contributions to the growth of the “visible minorities” population in Canada were:

  • Immigration
  • Refugee claims
  • High birth rates mostly among immigrants, and
  • Younger median ages among visible minorities

In 1981 there were about one million Canadians (5% of Canada’s population at that time) identified themselves as visible minorities. In 2006, there were 5.3 million of us. The projection for 2031 is 14.4 million.

So, will the name “visible minority” be eliminated from Canada’s vocabulary in 2031? I sincerely hope so. As the upward growth trend continues, Canadians will have to start thinking about races in a different way – not just “visible minorities” as compared to the Caucasian population.

So, in 2030’s, our children will be living in a different environment than the one we have lived. But, does this mean that there will be big changes coming to the major cities in Canada? Absolutely, not! Everything will remain the same – decisions will be made by the majority, shall I say, “visible majorities”.

I personally don’t expect the fundamental demographic change in Canada’s complexion to be reflected in the workplace, or in government agencies and offices. So, in the year, say 2040, in terms of powers and who’s in charge of the countries affairs, I think we might not see anything different from today’s demographics.

Which “Visible Minority” Group is Growing Faster?
The largest “visible minority” group is projected to be South Asians, which include people from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Statistics Canada projects that the South Asian population could double in 2031 to 4.1 million from roughly 1.3 million in 2006. In the Greater Toronto Area, there were 718,000 South Asians according to the 2006 census.

South Asians would make up 28 per cent of Canada’s visible minority population in 2031, up from 25 per cent in 2006, according to the projection.

The second largest “visible minority” group is projected to be the Chinese, but while both the Chinese and the South Indian groups will see large increases, the rate at which the Chinese population grows will be lower, Statistics Canada said.

The Chinese population, while also projected to double, could be 21 per cent of the population in 2031, down slightly from 24 per cent in 2006.

Foreign Born
The percentage of foreign-born people (including minorities and majorities) in Canada is projected to grow about four times faster than the rest of the population between now and 2031. That would mean the total proportion of foreign-born people would account for between 25 and 28 per cent of Canada’s population, or up to 12.5 million people.

Where in Canada’s Cities?
By 2031, most “visible minorities” – 71 per cent – are projected to live in three major Canadian cities, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

The largest proportion by far is projected to live in Toronto, where Statistics Canada projects white people would be a “visible minority” by 2031. The agency says 63 per cent of the population could be a non-white visible minority in two decades, up from 43 per cent counted in the 2006 census.

In Vancouver, the population of “visible minorities” is projected to reach 59 per cent, up from 42 per cent in 2006.

By 2031, one-quarter of Toronto’s population will be South Asians and one-quarter of Vancouverites will identify themselves as Chinese, Statistics Canada projects.

In Montreal, “visible minority” groups would represent 31 per cent of the population, with the increase in that area driven by blacks and Arabs.

Future Plan
If you happen to reside in one of these three major metropolitan cities of Canada, what is your plan for the pending demographic changes? These changes are expected in only 21 years from now. So, are you getting your children ready? Some of the ways to prepare your children for these changes will be by:

  • Sending them to Chinese language classes
  • Sending them to Hindi and/or Panjabi language classes
  • Making sure that your children (and yourself as a parent) are exposed to as many cultures as possible

People should not be referred as black, white, yellow, brown, Indian, Arabs, etc. Instead, Africans, Ethiopians, Caucasians, Chinese, Japanese, South Asians, Aboriginals, Middle Eastern.

If people get labeled as “visible minorities”, then it becomes a game of “us” verses “them”. Mind you putting people in one basket just because they happen to be whites or non-whites. It just does not make sense for a Boer South African or a camel herding Lebanese, a Romanian farmer, an Albanian shopkeeper or a nomadic Moroccan to be in the same basket (with absolutely no western culture or language ability) as an educated Western CEO. Go figure!

I hope that one day, may be in 2031 or later, we cease to be referred as “visible minorities” and see everyone as people. This might be a wishful thinking, but you never know!

My next blog entry will be on Thursday April 15, 2010.
Mullkam Samint!

April 8, 2010 - Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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