Immigration and Racism in Canada


The internal relationships between Canadians are hard to be estimated as normal. In this respect, the people of Canada are different in their ethnic belonging. The situation proves that it is really inconvenient today to consider some people, as genuine Canadians and the rest, as aliens. The process of alienation in Canada stands on the flows of racism and cultural conflicts. Thus, an observer needs to take a look at the reasons and effects of the immigration and emergence of racism.

The role of a citizen living in a country governed by the rule of law is to follow the prescriptions of this very law. However, in social relationships, people deny the prospects of living in harmony, despite multinational and multicultural diversity. The waves of oppression are impacting newcomers and immigrants with other than European identity. It is a danger for modern Canada. Moreover, the wrong policies of the Canadian government along with local governments need plenty of amendments in order to decrease the situation.

Racism is harmful to young countries, as Canada and the United States. It is a “bomb” that can blow up at any time. No one knows when the hardest times will come. However, it is clear that the start was initiated some few decades ago. Hence, there are several research questions that need to be discussed carefully. The first one concerns reasons for the emergence of racism through the immigration policy provided in the country. The second one relates to gender peculiarities that are fixed in the racial coloring of Canada. It is vital also to work out the situation as of the current policy provided in the state government of the country. Racism in Canada is a result of enormous flows of immigration in the country. However, this global problem pays special attention in multinational countries where crossroads of cultural, religious and ethnic features collide.


Canada is many-faceted in its social, economical, cultural and political shape. It comprises a huge number of nationalities that are constantly growing during the last 70 years. It is a way of reformation that was adopted once by the Canadian government. Such a process speeds up the density of such main cities as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. In fact, the territory of Canada is known to be separated between two major lingual groups, namely: Anglophone and Francophone residents. In the example of Toronto and Vancouver, it is seen that immigration policy presupposes an option for migration from different parts of the world. However, in the case of Quebec province, only representatives from French-speaking countries are allowed to immigrate (Petrovic 43). In such a variety of political courses of Canada, the population grows without distinct marks of purity within Canadian people. In other words, it is really hard to evaluate and point out a group of people in the country that has all attributes of being real Canadians. Such criticism is proved in terms of recent researches and observations in Canada in terms of the racial problem in it.

According to one of the previous studies, Canada has even been awarded the Nansen prize for its hostility to immigrants and refugees (Rees 1). In this respect, it is about time to realize that immigration was needful for such a great and huge territorially country as Canada. Furthermore, the research shows that ordinary citizens living here since the French and Indian War were always for racial preferences (Rees 1). It indicates features for having an area that should be populated in order to bring prosperity to the country. However, in post-war time, namely in the 1960s, the internal burst of negative emotions toward immigration began growing. It is no surprise that intensive immigration to Canada provoked racial conflicts. On the other hand, the intentional need of the government to employ people was concerned with making immigration available for everyone in the rest of the world.

Thus, the question of race is striking at the moment. Since the first real conflicts were fixed in the history of Canada, people are struggling for their human rights. It is a paradox when looking at what is happening in Canada. In fact, it reminds of pre-historic fights of human beings for territories. How could one of the most civilized countries let this problem in? How far do the outcomes go? In terms of such terrible formulation of dudgeon, one should be aware of different readings indicating the real state of affairs in the country.

The territorial division of different immigration patterns is varied. An observer should be in the course of historical and social features characterizing the area. “The fact that different cities have different migration patterns suggests that local social and economic environments can have an impact on these movements” (Peters 60). These trends in migration patterns evaluate Canada, as having different reasons for the emergence of immigration struggle in a highly diversified character. The idea is that Native Canadians are considered to be Indians, as it is in the United States. Urban settlement and self-government went around the process of state formation. Since the time of English and French colonization, Aboriginal people have been oppressed distinctly. It is seen through different researches that show points on Aboriginal segregation in Canada (Peters 60).

The role of identity in Canada is of great significance. This is why one may imagine someone’s superiority in terms of a descending scale starting from the European belonging on the top. Such inequality concerned with physical attributes seems to be supported in the politics of race. Hence, one example says about racialized policy of the Canadian government in the post-war baby booming period. It happened in the case of Caribbean nurses. The required qualifications for them were quite higher in comparison to white nurses (Calliste 85). This outrageous feature deepened the struggle on the basis of race. Thus, gender discrimination took place in Canada and is continuing until now. The author of the article is stimulated to admit that since that time such “differential immigration policy reinforced black nurses’ subordination within a racialized and gendered nursing labor force” (Calliste 85). The next point on the whole discussion should then evaluate current reasons for racism.

At this stage, Canada encounters two main social problems counteracting the vortex of human conflicts. These are the language and the migration ones. It is well-known that in Canada more than 60% of people are speaking English and over 20% are French-speaking residents (Petrovic 23). Two languages are declared as national. However, the contradictions between major and minor parts of the society usually go around an assumption of the hegemony of English culture. Being the country of different settlements, Canada can fully be called an analog of the US “melting pot”. It also designates inside the country several huge Diasporas and some smaller ones (mainly refugees and representatives from small countries). Some among the biggest Diasporas are Ukrainian, Chinese and, perhaps, Pakistani. Diasporic identities provide the “national culture” of Canada. It also constitutes that it is different nationalities that made Canada peculiar among other countries. Over the course of time, citizens of Canada seem to have mixed their traditional ways of living in the whole concept of what it is like to be a Canadian (Samuel 97). These parameters are helpful to realize the background of the Canadian nation. It is about time to lay more emphasis on the racial issues apparent in Canada.

Conservative trends in the politics of Canada are predominant in the country. Hence, Progressive Conservatives tend to make more restrictions in the case with religious and gender aspects, as being quite inappropriate for Canadian development (Farney 1). On the other hand, language policies in Canada provide outrage within the population, because of the foreign-born people sharing neither English nor French languages. This problem provokes the majority of the population to get involved in intolerance and infighting. Social grounds of humane seem to have been trite at the moment. The current growth of hatred and aggression within the population of Canada can be proved through qualitative studies about the problem. In accordance with different censuses, it is indicated that “nearly 20% of the Canadian population was reported to be foreign-born” (Recento and Cervatiuc 21). This fact provoked the depolarization of the social process in terms of tolerance and equality.

At this point the emergence of xenophobia took place. It turned out to be that the one’s duration of living in the country determines an option to be a native. For instance, if an immigrant is a newcomer and does not live at least 5 years in Canada, he is automatically considered as an outsider. Having adopted the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Act, the Canadian government did not even make a simple effort by providing facilities for the ethnic minorities (Segal et al 96). It is legislatively normal for Canadians that the principle of equality of status and freedom from discrimination as per languages priorities is taken for granted (Segal et al 96). However, the government should pay close attention to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in terms of the adaptation and security of such people from harmful impacts of society. The law should serve in this case, as the main regulatory body.

Though the federal government and local subsidiaries are working over the instruments to decrease the problem of racism, it seems to be stable inside the country. In turn, such a feature of the society results in the deepening of conflicts that result in turmoil that results in destabilization of the economy that results in poverty. In fact, if one looks at the problem inside out, it becomes obvious that there are points on racialization and feminization of poverty. Maria A. Wallis has deepened in the issue of racism in Canada. Thus, her research showed that 74% of Canadians (the vast majority) take racism for granted, as an attribute of the multinational country (Wallis and Kwok 300). The question is that people recognize the problem, as being natural. However, needless to say, the government and higher regulatory instances should provide reforms on improving this social “danger”.

As it comes out to be in the society, principles of the wild within individuals hurt the delicate half of humanity, meaning women, first of all. In this respect feminism took place in Canada, as a means to protect women of all nations residing in Canada from racial and gender discrimination coming from men. Thus, it turned out to be that in Canada, as in the United States, feminist organizations pursue several objectives in social and political life, such as:

  1. To engage in electoral politics;
  2. To adopt partisan, cross-partisan, or appartisan stances vis-a-vis political parties (Krook and Childs 49).

Of course, such effects in social life yield to the explanation of the versatility in tastes and considerations among women in Canada. Racism and gender discrimination became the problems that were about to be worked out practically. There are enough studies providing the theoretical background for this aim. Canadians should be aware of the danger that is quite near. It is racism through immigration. Moreover, one should grab attention to facts of personal participation in the process of anti-racial movement in the society.

The federal government of Canada provided an investment of $56 million against racial discrimination and misunderstandings grounded on this among citizens (Willis and Kwok 300). In turn, the results are almost unnoticeable. New waves of racial discrimination are felt in Toronto, Vancouver and in other major cities. It is also shown on the example of the novel by Dionne Brand What We All Long For. The plot of the novel was adapted to the realities of urban life in Toronto. It discusses the unequal attitude of the police toward immigrants from such regions as South-East Asia and Northern Africa. Different researches proved the idea that policing in Canada is full of bigotries. As might be seen, this is the point to be resolved primordially. If bodies of power are devoured by prejudices, then there is no talking about constructive changes.

It is vital to admit that Canada possesses a special form of racism that is marked as “systematic racism” (Willis and Kwok 16). The researchers are apt to think that institutional racism is inevitable for Canada. It is all around. Furthermore, it embeds into all spheres of human activities in Canada. Thus, historical background serves, as the main reason for stating essence of racism in the country. As getting involved into different institutions throughout Canada, racism can decrease solely due to effective and somehow intensive measures pointed out in acts and amendments to the law on citizenship in Canada. The outrage of so-called “permanent” citizens of Canada is concerned with four sources of newcomers to the country in the new millennium. These are China, India, the Philippines and Pakistan (Segal et al 98). This is the point for discussion. Once an individual enters the borders of Canada but with another color of skin, the oppression of the white majority grows significantly.

It is absurd when analyzing the prerequisites of democracy in developed Western countries. The features of racism are constant and are still not resolved. It is especially ridiculous when the government of, for instance, the United States, cries worldwide about the necessity of democracy while having internal racial and gender struggles.

While they are no longer forcibly locked away, the beliefs which sustained segregation and assimilation (“breed out to White”) survive and are as integral to Australia’s democracy as racism to democracy in Canada and the United States” (Vickers and Prempeh 78).

Thus, there is a background to think of the feigned nature of democracy in Canada, until the racial and intercultural struggle is diminished. On the other hand, bodies of power should look after the way in which anti-racial process is going on at the moment. Fixing such patterns up would definitely help officials to work out a design for reducing such issue in the Canadian society. The politics of race in Canada leave much to be desired. This fact goes without saying while constituting the nationwide cases of biased attitudes between individuals representing different layers of power and identity as well. This problem touches upon all categories of population: from children up to adults in age. Racism is all-pervading in Canada. One study notes on this dangerous feature of the society on the example of little Canadian girls.

Thus, the study on school life within immigrant girls points out that aggression is the only way to be free from being blamed or hurt. It is also a manifestation of how things go around in places where education and sufficient behavior should be taken to children, meaning schools. It is admitted that “in schools, recent immigrants are called FOBs, an acronym for “fresh off the boat” (Jackson 18). Girls are helpless to contradict the cruel majority of other girls. As a result, it influences their education and state of their psyches. Assimilation seems to be the only or optimal way for such immigrant girls. However, one should think over whether it is a great solution. Just becoming a part of intolerant-to-different-races movement would not be a way out initially. It is an impulse to behave in a wrong way. There should be more effective instruments to slow down racial conflicts in schools. Whatsoever way to be used, it should be under the control of state power and adults, as being responsible for their offspring. The demarche for freedom from discrimination seems to be important in terms of constant demographic change of the Canadian society. The government is to set priorities in this case on how to succeed efficiently.


To conclude, racism in Canada is a result of enormous flows of immigration in the country and a lack of reforms in this direction. People need to bear it in mind that the problem is nationwide for huge Canada. As it came out to be, it touches upon all spheres of peoples’ activities in the country. Moreover, it takes place in the government. The politics of race are quite inefficient in the country. That is why there are grounds to state on the prevalent discrimination in it.

The discussion provided in the paper showed that ethnical entities in Canada are far from being fully secured. The “enemy” is in peoples’ minds. It is reinforced due to the rhetoric of those who oppose countrywide policy of migration to Canada. The vast majority of controversies come from the predominant white part of the Canadian society. Besides, another reason for the flows of racism is in its bilingual characterization. On this basis people are struggling in Canada since the very creation of the nation on the whole. In turn it affected on the Aboriginal groups of residents in Canada. One more movement caused by the discrimination in race and gender was that of feminism. All in all, the discussion in the paper showed a lot of points on racism and immigration politics to be elaborated at the moment.

Works cited

Calliste, Agnes. ‘Women of Exceptional Merit: Immigration of Caribbean Nurses to Canada’ Canadian Journal of Women & Ladies 85 (1993): 85-97.

Farney, James. Social Conservatives and the Boundary of Politics in Canada and the United States. Doctoral dissertation on Political Science. University of Toronto Press (2010). Web.

Jackson, Margaret. ‘Race, Gender and Aggression: The Perceptions of Girls About the Violence in Their Lives.’ Humanitas (2003).

Krook, Mona and Childs, Sarah. Women, Gender, and Politics: A Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press US, 2010.

Peters, Evelyn J. Canada: The State of the Federation.2003. Reconfiguring Aboriginal-State Relations.London: Institute of Intergovernmental Relations.

Petrovic, John E. International Perspectives on Bilingual Education: Policy, Practice, and Controversy. Cape Canaveral, FL: IAP, 2009.

Rees, Tim. ‘Immigration and Racism.’ Currents 4(1), (1987): 1.

Samuel, Lina. ‘Mating, Dating and Marriage: Intergenerational Cultural Retention and the Construction of Diasporic Identities among South Asian Immigrants in Canada.’ Journal of Intercultural Studies 31(1), (2010): 95 – 110.

Segal, Uma A., Elliott, Doreen and Mayadas, Nazneen S. Immigration Worldwide: Policies, Practices, and Trends. Oxford: Oxford University Press US, 2010.

Vickers, Jill and Prempeh, Edward Osei Kwadwo. The politics of race: Canada, Australia, the United States. Toronto, Canada: Dundurn Press Ltd., 2002.

Wallis, Maria A. and Kwok, Siu-Ming. Daily Struggles: The Deepening Racialization and Feminization of Poverty in Canada. Toronto, Canada: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2008.