FamilySearch Wrote About Canadian Immigration

Immigration has been a part of world history since it all began. Reasons for immigration are many and oftentimes complex. War, disparity, land opportunities, educational opportunities, and hope for a better life might be a few of the most common reasons. When genealogists think of immigration and immigrants, they might focus on their immigrant ancestors of the past, but there are current-day immigrants moving into Canada and all parts of the world every day.

Canadian Immigration of the Past

Immigration is the act of coming to permanently live in a foreign country. Canadian immigrants of the past included Loyalists coming to settle after the U.S. Revolutionary War, British soldiers who had served in the War of 1812, Irish immigrants who were brought in to work on canals and railroads, and Irish Potato Famine survivors, just to name a few.

Persons born in Canada prior to 1947 were referred to as British subjects. There was no such thing as Canadian citizenship until after the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1947. When immigrants from places other than the British Commonwealth arrived, they were considered aliens and needed to become naturalized if they wanted the same rights as the British subjects. 

Canadian Immigration Today

Today, Canada is a melting pot of many types of immigrants and peoples from around the world. The census in 2021 recorded that 23% of those enumerated were immigrants or permanent citizens. Most immigrants were from India, the Philippines, and China.

Immigrants in Canada can be categorized under 1 of 3 groups. In 2021, 62% of immigrants were under the economic category, 20% were under the family sponsorship category, 15% were under the refugee category, and 3% were under the other category.

Economic immigrants are selected for their ability to help Canada’s labor force to build the economy. They might be persons who meet a certain need, own or manage a business, make large investments, or are able to create employment for others.

Immigrants sponsored by a family (also known as a family class or family reunification group) are sponsored by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of the country with whom they have a close familiar relationship. That might be a child, parent, grandparent, spouse, or other relative.

Refugee immigrants are granted permanent resident status when they are not able to return to their home country. People might be fearful of returning to their home country in situations of persecution regarding race, religion, or political views. These persons might have also been seriously affected by a war or violation of human rights.

Other immigrants are persons that do not fall into 1 of the other 3 groups, but for whatever reason, have been granted permanent resident status in Canada.

Some statistics showed that half of the recent immigrants (about 748,120 people) to Canada were admitted under the economic group.

Begin Searching Our Your Ancestors’ Immigration Stories

Do you have ancestors who immigrated to Canada? What have you learned about where they originated and how they came to live in Canada? Have you ever wondered with life was like in Canada when your ancestors lived there? Are you interested in learning more about Canadian culture? FamilySearch has a collection that provides information about your Canadian ancestors experience.

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