I’ve been waiting for these results for literally two years. Today (May 8, 2013) Statistics Canada released a lot of data from the 2011 Census. While the media (rightfully so) is commenting on the lower completion rate of the census because the government stopped making it mandatory (stupid), the fact is, there is still lots of information that tells us how much our country is changing.
Because I just gave a presentation here in Calgary just a couple hours ago, this afternoon, I was holed up in the lounge at the Calgary airport, going over the data, calling Stats Canada several times (they are very friendly and very helpful) and even getting work done by my PowerPoint guy in Toronto, Dave Paradi. While not exhaustive at all (because I have a 6 a.m. flight to catch in the morning), here are some interesting findings:
• One in five Canadians is an immigrant. We lead the pack of the G7 countries at 20.6%, with Germany being the closest at only 13% and then the Americans at 12.9%. Australia on the other hand has 26.8% of their population as foreign born.
• Is it any wonder that people look so different than my grandparents when they immigrated to Canada? 85.5% of immigrants in the 10 years leading up to 2011 did not come from Europe. That’s a big shift from years ago.
• Muslims continue to be the fastest growing religious group. While relatively small in numbers (just over 1 million), they make up 3.21% of our population, which is significant when they were only 1.9% of our population in 2001. Stats Canada estimates that by 2031, half of all the non-Christians will be Muslim.
• We can certainly focus on the religious group, but get this: 24% of Canadians said they have “no religious affiliation” in 2011. Some people might think of Alberta as a “bible belt” (I hope that’s not insensitive) but 31.5% of their citizens said they fall into the same category. That’s up from an already high of 23% just 10 years ago.
• But get this…in my home province of B.C. 44% of people said they had “no religious affiliation”. That is a hair’s breadth away from the 44.6% of B.C. residents who said they are Christian. When we talk about religious accommodation, we are going to have to come to grips with a tonne of people who will be asking for their own accommodations…away from religion.
• When it comes to Aboriginal Canadians, they are still far and away the only population group that is growing. While the Canadian population grew by almost 11% between 2001 and 2011, the Aboriginal population grew by (get this) 88%. If this isn’t a good reason to get moving on improving the lives of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Canadians, I don’t what will be. And while the median age of Aboriginal Canadians was 28 years, the non-Aboriginal was 41 years…a 13 year age gap, meaning this continues to be a young population looking to break away from despair and tragedy (for many).
We need lots of people to come to our country and make up for our low birth rate and our aging population. I want someone paying for my expensive health care needs (and I’m sure they will be) when I’m old and gray(er). The sooner we make new Canadians and Aboriginals feel welcomed (and pay them the same wages as other Canadians) the better off we’ll be. I don’t have to be a cheerleader for multiculturalism to know that this is a reality, with very little room for debate. But I think we’re up for the challenge.
Good night. If I'm lucky, I'll sleep on the plane.
Today's skill testing question: On this day (May 8) in 1945, a big celebration took place in many parts of the world. This event certainly lead to the creation of the United Nations & it's declaration of Human Rights. The first person who can tell me the exact name of this day will win a copy of my book, Managing Human Rights at Work: 101 practical tips to prevent human rights disasters.
This blog: http://www.humanrightseachday.com/
My website: http://www.stephenhammond.ca
My Podcast: Type in “HumanRightsaDay” to the iTunes store and listen to each day's event from my book, Steps in the Rights Direction, or just click here.
My Twitter: http://twitter.com/Rightstoday (each day has historical human rights info)
Stephen Hammond, B.A., LL.B., CSP, is a lawyer-turned professional speaker. He’s written two books, Managing Human Rights at Work: 101 practical tips to prevent human rights disasters and Steps in the Rights Direction: 365 human rights celebrations and tragedies that inspired Canada and the world. Managing Human Rights at Work can be purchased on his website www.StephenHammond.ca
copyright - Stephen Hammond -Embracing the Changing Face of Canada