Canada Day 2019: A welcome celebration of diversity

July 3rd, 2019

As they do every year, Canadians got their red and white on and celebrated Canada Day on July 1. But this year’s celebrations felt a little different, perhaps, like it was more possible – and more important — than ever to celebrate the nation’s diversity and Canada’s welcoming reputation. 

In contrast with many other jurisdictions, Canada successfully manages a largely fair, orderly, and successful system for recruiting and integrating newcomers. This reality dovetails with a Canadian public that is largely supportive of immigration as a source of cultural, demographic, and economic strength. While there is healthy debate regarding the best way to recruit and retain immigrants, a majority of Canadians continue to believe that immigration is not only good but necessary.

The recent milestone victory of the Toronto Raptors in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Championship – the first ever for a Canadian team — reflects much of what is best about Canada as a country that unites people from a multiplicity of origins with a commonality of identity, purpose, and pride. The vast majority of the Raptors team comes from somewhere else originally, as does a majority the population of Toronto itself.  Nav Bhatia, the Raptor’s leading ‘superfan’, is a Canadian-by-choice from India, whilst the team’s president, Masai Ujiri, was born in England and raised in Nigeria.

In an age where many countries are attempting to directly or indirectly reduce immigration, Canada is increasing immigration targets, recognizing the necessity of immigration to its future. The anticipated number of new permanent residents this year is 330,800 and is slated to rise to 341,000 in 2020 and 350,000 for 2021. Together, these figures total more than one million newcomers.

Just as the countries and backgrounds from which people come to Canada are varied, equally wide-ranging are Canada’s immigration programs. Its various Economic class streams allow persons with the education and skills Canada needs to come. Leading this class is the new Express Entry system for processing applications for the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class. Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) recognize the diverse makeups and needs of Canada’s different provinces and allow them to select and nominate persons for Canadian permanent residency. Canada’s Family Class allows current Canadians to reunite with loved ones while its refugee and humanitarian programs continue Canada’s long tradition of opening its doors to individuals facing danger, persecution and mistreatment.

Imperfect as it may be, Canada is a country that desires — and is desired by — individuals around the world seeking to make a better life and contribute to its flourishing. With a healthy democracy, strong and diversified economy, and respect for the dignity of every person, Canada and Canadians – whether by birth or by choice – have much for which to be grateful, and to celebrate.

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