Indian population in Canada Indian population in Canada

Why is there an Unusually High Indian Population in Canada?

The Indian population in Canada, mostly Sikhs from Punjab, strived to settle in Canada in the early 20th century. In the 1990s, thousands of India immigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto, Vancouver, Ontario, and British Columbia. Shreds of evidence show that Indo Canadians will continue to grow in years to come.

Though India has gone through various revolutions, it decided to compete with Canada, the US, the UK, and the West. But now, India has been one of the wonders of the 21st century from an economic point of view.

India experiences immigration and emigration because the forces of change lead many people to leave India as foreign businesses have come across.

History of Indian Settlement

Canada and India were British subjects and a part of the British Empire. For many years, India had been under British control and had served as the precious ornament for the Eastern portion of the British Empire in numerous ways. In 1858, Queen Victoria had declared that the people of India would enjoy equal liberty with white people throughout the Empire without discrimination based on color, creed, or race.

The Indian Canadian community appeared to form around the late 19th century, pioneered by men of different religious backgrounds, mostly Punjabi Sikhs (primarily from farming backgrounds), Punjabi Hindus, and Punjabi Muslims.

Indian immigrants were guaranteed jobs by representatives of large Canadian companies such as the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Hudson’s Bay Company. This persuaded other family members of the Indo-Canadian to come to the ‘New World’ of Canada.

Canadian Government

canadian government
Image by Brigitte from Pixabay

In the early 20th century, there were Government quotas to decide the number of Indians allowed to immigrate to Canada. These quotas only permitted less than 100 people from India until 1957, and then it was slightly increased (to 300 people a year).

In collation to the quotas established for Indians, Christians from Europe immigrated freely without restrictions in large numbers (approximately 10,00 people a year) during that time to Canada.
This Canadian policy made sure that the country maintained its primarily European demography. And it was similar to American and Australian immigration policies.

Recent Settlement

In comparison to initial settlement, Canadian policies changed rapidly during the second half of the 20th century because until the late 1950s, fundamentally, all South Asians lived in British Columbia. However, when professional immigrants approached Canada in large numbers, they began to settle across the country.

During the late 20th and the early 21st century, India ranked as the third-highest reference country of immigration to Canada. According to Statistics Canada data, around 25,000–30,000 Indians immigrate to Canada each year.

India became the highest source country of immigration to Canada by 2017 because yearly indefinite residents increased from 30,915 in 2012 to 85,585 in 2019, representing 25% of total immigration to Canada.

Additionally, India became the top source country for international students in Canada as it rose from 48,765 in 2015 to 219,855 in 2019. Most new immigrants from India continue to come from Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, and Southern India.


The term Indo-Canadian is used to prevent confusion with the indigenous people of Canada. The Indians in Canada make up the second-largest group of the non-European countries after Chinese Canadians and the tenth-largest ethnic group.

What percentage of Canada is Indian? Canada’s Indian community put together a population equivalent to that of the capital city, Ottawa. People of Indian origin in Canada constitute 3.8% of the entire population of the country.

Indians in Canada are growing substantially faster than the general population. As per the statistics recorded from 1996 to 2001, the number of Indian origins increased by 30%, while the total population grew by only 4%.

The Majority Of Indian Population In Canada Is Foreign Born

A considerable majority of Indians in Canada were born outside the country. The 2001 statistics show that over 67% of Canadians of East Indian origin were born outside of the nation, and only 18% were born in Canada. That year, almost half of all foreign-born Canadians of East Indian origin were from India, while few were from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and East Africa.

Who Contributes More To The Indian Population In Canada, Men or Women?

In distinction to the overall population, men make up a slight majority of Canadians of East Indian origin. According to statistics of 2001, 50.2% of the Indian population in Canada, compared with just 49.1% of the overall population, were male.

However, women make up the majority of seniors of East Indian origin. In obedience to 2001 statistics, 52% of people aged 65 and over of East Indian origin were women, and women made up 56% of seniors in the overall population of Canada.

Young Indian Population In Canada

Young population in Canada
Image by Gustavo Rezende from Pixabay

The Indian population in Canada is somewhat of young adults of the overall population. In relevance to 2001 statistics, 23% of the Indian population in Canada consisted of children under 15 years, compared with just 19% of the entire population. At the same time, 16% of the Indian population in Canada, collated with 13% of the total population, were aged 15 to 24.

Similarly, 33% of the Indian immigrants were in their chief working years between the ages of 25 and 44, in contrast with 31% of the Canadian population. In contradiction, people over 45 years of East Indian origin are less likely than the overall population.

In line with 2001 statistics, only 7% of the entire Indian Canadian community were aged 65 or over, compared to 12% of other Canadians. At the same time, out of 24% of the total population, 21% of Canadians (between 45 to 64 years of age) of Indian descent were in the pre-retirement years.

Do You Know That Sikhs and Hindus Make Up the Indian Population in Canada?

How many Punjabis are in Canada? As per 2001 statistics, 34% were Sikh, 17% were Muslim, 9% were Catholic, and 7% belonged to another Christian grouping, while 27% of the undivided population of Canada were Hindu. Therefore, the majority of people who have migrated from India are either Sikh or Hindu. 

And, in 2001, 4% of people of East Indian origin reported they had no religious affiliation compared with 17% of the Canadian population.

Most Of The Indian Population In Canada Can Converse In Official Languages

Most Indo-Canadians can communicate in more than one official language and have a mother tongue other than English and French. After going through the 2001 statistics, 61% of Indian immigrants had their mother tongue as a non-official language.

As reported by 2001 statistics, 85% of the Indian population in Canada could converse in English, 8% knew English and French, while about 1% could talk in French. In distinction, only 7% of the Indian immigrants could not converse in either English or French.

A substantial division of Indian immigrants speaks a language other than English or French at home. As stated by 2001 statistics, 41% of the Indian population in Canada spoke only a non-official language at home, while another 7% spoke another language in combination with either English or French at home.

And, almost all employed Canadians of East Indian origin speak an official language while working in a company with other employees. But as per 2001 statistics, only 4% of all the employed people in the East Indian community spoke a language other than English or French while working, while another 2% regularly used a non-official language in combination with English or French.

Educational Qualification Of Indian Population In Canada

Canadians of East Indian origin on comparing with the rest of the population, are likely to have a university degree, post-graduate degree, degrees in highly technical fields (mathematics, physics, computer science, engineering, or applied science diplomas).

Men of East Indian origin are somewhere more qualified than women. For instance, in 2001, 29% of men of East Indian origin had a university degree, compared to 23% of women.

Younger immigrants of East Indian origin are also more likely to be attending school than other young Canadians. Based on statistics maintained in 2001, 64% of immigrants aged 15 to 24 of East Indian origin were found to be enrolled in a full-time educational program. And amidst young people in the East Indian community, males and females are equally likely to attend full-time school.

Income of Canadians of Indian Origin

One in every five Canadians of Indian Origin have incomes that fall in Statistics Canada’s Low-income cut-offs. Out of the overall Indian population of Canada, women have lower remuneration than their male equivalents. In 2000, the average salary for adult Indo-Canadian women was under $21,000, whereas the average earning for men of Indian descent was over $33,000.

Senior Canadians of Indian origin aged 65 and above also have relatively lower incomes, and in 2000 it was just under $21,000.

Relationship Status of Indo-Canadian Population

The Indo-Canadian population is more suitable to be married than others. In contrast, fewer people of Indian nationals living in Canada exist in a common-law relationship.

The frequency of lone parents is probably less in the entire Indian Canadian community than in the rest of the population, and most of them are women.

Canadian adults of Indian origin are believably less than other adults to live alone. Unlikely, seniors of Indian nationals are more likely than other seniors to live with members of their extended family.

Indian Immigrants

Indian immigration has been a segment of life in Canada for over a century but was demolished after World War II because they encountered racial discrimination in Canada as immigrants. Initially, Indian immigrants were reluctant to reside. And, they did not enjoy many rights as enjoyed by European immigrants.

The majority of immigrants of East Indian origin arrived in Canada comparatively recently. As per the statistics, 45% of ethnic East Indian immigrants living in Canada in 2001 had arrived in the past few decades, while 23% had arrived in Canada between 1981 and 1990. And a similar percentage came in the 1970s. Unlikely, just 7% had arrived between 1961 and 1970, while less than 1% had arrived before 1961.

The Indian population of Canada can be divided into two categories, Non-Resident Indians (NRI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO).

How many Indians are in Canada? According to the 2016 statistics, almost 670,000 Indian immigrants settled in Canada as permanent residents, and more than 200,000 additional Indians have acquired this status. And today, around 220,000 Indian internal students are studying in Canada.

Registered Indian Population In Canada From 2000 to 2019

Registered Indians in Canada are all first nations people who are officially recognized Indians by the Canadian government. Between 2000 and 2019, registered Indians increased from 670 thousand to over one million in Canada. And, in 2019, 1,008,955 registered Indians were living in Canada. Look at the statistics of the number of registered Indians in Canada from 2000 to 2019.

Registered Indian status sustains benefits and rights such as access to the reservation, self-governance within them, federal and provincial taxes exemption to people living on reserve, and postsecondary education financial help. However, these benefits are not accessible to non-Registered Indians immigrants living in Canada.

Best Immigration Destinations for Indians In Canada

First-generation Indians and Canadians of Indian descent reside in various Canadian provinces, but some are more popular. Here is the list of best whereabouts in the Canadian cities for the Indian population looking to settle in Canada.

1. Toronto

Toronto is the economic hub and the immigrant-friendly Canadian city because more than half of the Indian immigrants reside in Toronto. Toronto is home to several top schools and universities and top basketball teams.

Toronto embraces a wide variety of Indian cultures, and it allows Indian immigrants to closely fit their own linguistic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Therefore, one cannot feel homesick while living in Toronto. Read about the top 5 reasons for the high Gujarati population in Toronto.

The Indian population resides in Toronto, but other subcultural communities have also considered it their hometown. For instance, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan, the nation’s largest Hindu Temple, and the Ontario Khalsa Darbar, the largest Sikh gurdwara, are Toronto. It also has some of the largest and most significant Indian sculptures.

Today’s Indian population in Canada is concentrated in Toronto’s Etobicoke and Scarborough areas and the outskirts of Mississauga, Markham, and Brampton.

2. The GTA (Excluding Toronto)

Image by Tom Glod from Pixabay

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is the heartland of Canada. It is a major hub for new Indian immigrants because it offers manufacturing jobs of all types and a favourable cost of living to immigrants. In 2016, Indians contributed for 27% of the total new-lasting residents in this area.

Indian communities have lived in cities like Mississauga, Markham, and Brampton for more than four decades. For instance, 123,000 Indians settled in Brampton as of 2016, especially temporary workers and international students, because Brampton is a domain with many colleges.

On the other hand, Mississauga has the highest number of Indian immigrant communities in Canada because, according to the 2016 census, almost 55,000 Indian immigrants were living in Mississauga.

3. Vancouver

Vancouver is British Columbia’s largest city with breathtaking natural beauty, and it is an active participant in the film and visual effects industries. Vancouver offers a temperate climate to its inhabitants. It is a hub of ample employment opportunities in engineering, construction, health sciences, and financial services.

Vancouver is the second-largest dwelling place for people who are Punjabis and Hindu immigrants from India. Individuals with other ethnic backgrounds, like Gujarati, Sindhi, Tamil, Bengali, and Goans. However, festivals, temples, immense-scale communal celebrations of different Indian traditions and cultures exist in British Columbia.

It is believed that some of the first Indian immigrants came into the country through Vancouver, and the relationship between the city and new arrivals from India remains strong. At present, there are more than 125,000 Indian citizens permanently residing in Vancouver and its surrounding areas.

The highest density concentrations of Indians can be found in Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, Abbotsford, and Delta. Recently, more Indian immigrants have been moving to other areas outside of Greater Vancouver.

Surrey city has approximately 170,000 South Asians, in contrast to 32% of the city’s population. The Punjabi market neighborhood of South Vancouver also has an exceptionally high concentration of Indian residents, shops, and restaurants.

Interestingly, Jagmeet Singh, the son of an Indian immigrant, is the first person with Indian heritage to lead a major Canadian political party and an MP in the Greater Vancouver Area.

4. Calgary

Image by Jude Joshua from Pixabay

Around or more than 5% of the entire Indian population of Canada resides in the city of Calgary because it has been the center of the most precious tech industry and oil refinement industry. Indians working in various sectors of Calgary have helped it recover from the 2008 Recession which, hit most parts of the world.

Calgary has approximately 50,000 Indians with thousands of temporary workers and students, making it the third-largest city for Indian newcomers after the GTA and Vancouver. The population of Calgary is 1.3 million, making it the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Canada.

Calgary has a cheaper cost of living as compared to Toronto and Vancouver. But it is more expensive than Montreal, the Atlantic cities, and Winnipeg. Calgary is home to Muslims and a significant proportion of Sikhs, and Hindus, despite the tension between the Muslim community and Indian Sikhs living in others parts of the world.

According to a Bloomberg report, out of 10 world’s most livable cities, Canada is on position 3, whereas Calgary is on position 4. Calgary is almost in the middle of all the Canadian cities.

5. Edmonton

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Edmonton is the big city on the continent of North America, with an average daily temperature of around -11.7 degrees Celsius in January. Nevertheless, Edmonton is also Canada’s sunniest city which embraces festivals and community events throughout the year.

The city has approximately 10,000 Indian citizens as it is an oil hub and has enormous opportunities in construction, engineering, and related industries.

It is noteworthy that Wayne Gretsky, who is the hockey legend, lives in Edmonton. He has also played and won multiple Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers.

Comprehensive Ranking System (CSR)

The IRCC (Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada) or Canadian government only invites skilled applicants into the country, and the selection process relies on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). It helps to evaluate an applicant’s profiles in Federal Express Entry System.

To know how high CRS is enough for Express Entry in 2021, we first consider looking at Canada’s immigration targets. There are many advantages in scoring in CRS above 400. Firstly, you’ll be eligible to receive Notification Of Interest (NOI) by the province of Ontario, and secondly, federal draws will depend upon this level of CRS score.

Economic immigrants classes include immigration through Express Entry pathways and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). The number of PNPs is one of the chief indicators of a successful migration to Canada.

In the year 2017, Canada had an aim to accept 160,000 new permanent residents through economic classes of immigration. Then in the year 2018, this number escalated to 172,000 new permanent residents.

The demand for management professionals in Canada is increasing with each passing day, so the country will hire and take in such professionals. It is a good opportunity for interested candidates around the world. 

The Footnote

Nonetheless, Canada has plenty more to offer to its one of the growing communities. Predominantly immigrants are from first-generation families from India who are born in the United States. They migrate to Canadian cities like Toronto, Ontario, or British Columbia to study in prestigious universities, work in renowned companies, or connect with their families.

According to a survey in 2002, considerable Canadians of Indian descent feel a sturdy sense of belongingness in Canada and their ethnic or cultural group.

The entire Indian Canadian community acts as active participants in Canadian society. For example, those eligible to vote, participate in federal elections, and contribute to organizations such as sports teams or churches.

At the same time, though, about half of Indo Canadians have experienced some form of discrimination based on their ethnicity, race, religion, language, and skin color in the past five years or since they arrived in Canada.

The Indian population in Canada is all set to endure in the coming years because this country gives a feeling of closeness to immigrants towards the diverse ethnic backgrounds existing in the country.

Last Updated on by Sanjana


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