10 Fast Facts About Caribbean Immigrants In Canada

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Revellers at the Caribana, Toronto Caribbean Carnival Parade, Lakeshore Boulevard. Credit: Krzysztof Dydynski
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Caribbean nationals at the Caribana, Toronto Caribbean Carnival Parade, Lakeshore Boulevard. (Photo: Krzysztof Dydynski)

By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, TORONTO, Canada, Mon. April 25, 2016: Starting May 2, 2016, Statistics Canada will begin sending census letters and packages to all Canadian households, including Caribbean nationals or West Indians who call the country home, to ensure there is an accurate count of the population. Canadians and residents of Canada will be allowed to completed their census questionnaire online or on paper. While the 2016 count may return a different data set, here are 10 facts about Caribbean Canadians based on the 2011 census:

1: Canadians of Caribbean origin belong to one of the largest non-European ethnic groups in Canada.

2: Caribbean nationals presence in Canada dates back to 1796 when a group of 556 Jamaicans arrived in Canada after an unsuccessful British attempt to enslave them in Jamaica. Between 1800 and 1920 a small number of Jamaicans and Barbadians immigrated as laborers to work in the Cape Breton and Sydney mines but immigration from the Caribbean to Canada really began in the 1960s, and by 1973 accounted for almost 13 per cent of all immigration to Canada.

3: According to data from the 2011 National Household Survey, the majority of the Caribbean population living in Canada were born outside the country and are largely concentrated in Ontario and Quebec. The vast majority of Canadians of Caribbean origin live in either Toronto or Montreal.

4:  They are put at an estimated  half a million or almost 2% of the total population of Canada.

5: The largest group of Canadians of Caribbean origin is Jamaicans. Of all those who reported they had Caribbean origins in 2001, 42% said they were Jamaican, while 16% were Haitian, 12% said they were West Indian, 10% were Guyanese, 10% came from Trinidad and Tobago and 5% were from Barbados.

6: The Caribbean community in Canada is relatively young. Children under the age of 15 make up some 27% of all those who reported Caribbean origin, compared with 19% of the overall population. At the same time, 17% of people of Caribbean origin were between the ages of 15 and 24, versus 13% of the overall population. The large majority of Canadians of Caribbean origin report they belong to a Christian religious group. Women make up the majority of Canadians of Caribbean origin with some 54% o compared with 51% of the overall population.

7: Canadians of Caribbean origin are generally less likely than other adults to be married but are less likely than other adults to live alone.. On the other hand, Canadians of Caribbean origin are much more likely than the rest of the population to be lone parents.

8: To the east of Toronto in Durham Region, the largest group of immigrants (besides those from the UK) come from Jamaica. Although the Eglinton West neighborhood in Toronto has come to be known as Little Jamaica (along with additional West Indies influence from Barbadian, Guyanese and Trinidadian residents), towns like Pickering, Ajax and Oshawa in Durham Region feature vibrant Jamaican communities that maintain strong bonds with their cultural heritage.

9: Haitian immigration to Quebec has skyrocketed in the past 10 years, particularly after the devastating 2010 earthquake which sent thousands of Haitians to search for new homes outside of their native land. Haitians are put at 13.9 percent of the total black population in Canada.

10: According to the Ethnic Diversity Survey, a majority of Canadians of Caribbean origin have a strong sense of belonging to Canada and are also involved in Canadian society. At the same time, though, many Canadians of Caribbean descent report they have experienced discrimination based on their ethnicity, race, religion, language or accent in the past five years, or since they arrived in Canada while many felt it was based on their race or skin color.