Manitoba, Winnipeg receiving higher share of newcomers: Statistics Canada

October 25, 2017

By CTV News |

New census data is revealing how the ethnic and cultural makeup of Manitoba is changing.

Prairie cities, like Winnipeg, are receiving a higher share of Canada’s newcomers.

Winta Berhane came to Winnipeg three years ago from east African nation of Eritrea. Adjusting to the cold climate and learning English hasn’t been easy, but overall she’s happy here, a place where she hopes to make her running dreams a reality.

“I want to be a professional athlete, because I was a professional athlete before,” Berhane said.

Results from the 2016 census show the share of Canada’s recent immigrants living in the prairie provinces has more than doubled.

In Alberta the share of immigrants grew from 6.9 per cent in 2011 to 17.1 per cent 2016. In Saskatchewan, from 1 per cent to 4 per cent, and Manitoba from 1.8 per cent to 5.2 per cent.

The share of immigrants has almost doubled in some prairie cities, including Winnipeg. Winnipeg makes up 2.2 per cent of Canada’s total population, but has 4.3 per cent of all recent immigrants.

The Winnipeg School Division says this growing newcomer population creates challenges for students who want to communicate with teachers and their peers.

It has eight language, academic and literacy classes. They introduce students to Canadian culture and customs, like Halloween, and bring students’ English skills up to speed. Two were added this year.

“Typically the students do pick it up and can communicate within the first year,” said Eric Sagenes. who works as an English additional language consultant with the division.

Statistics Canada said for the first time immigrants born in Africa ranked ahead of people coming from Europe.

“I’m not surprised, said Rita Chahal with the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, known as Welcome Place. “Political unrest, socio-economic conditions, environmental conditions in Africa and Middle East, those are some of the reasons people might be making other choices,” she said.

In Winnipeg, people born in Nigeria are now the fourth largest recent immigrant group at 4.6 per cent, China 5.5 per cent, and India 18.1 per cent. The Philippines ranks first with 37.4 per cent of recent immigrants to Winnipeg hailing from there.

Immigrants in Canada

As of 2016, immigrants make up close to 22 per cent of the population in Canada, and more than one out of five Canadians is foreign born.

Between 2011 and 2016, more than 1.2 million new immigrants settled in Canada.

The majority, just over 60 per cent, was admitted under the economic category, and close to 27 per cent under the family category. The rest were admitted as refugees.

Statistics Canada said visible minorities make up one quarter of the population in Winnipeg. 52,000 immigrants settled in the city within the last five years.

It said if trends continue, visible minorities could make up one third of Canada’s total population by 2036.

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