The first report of the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) released on May 8, 2013, reveals that immigration inflow over the past two decades has changed Canadian population landscape.
According to Statistics Canada’s Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada document that presents the results of the NHS on immigration and ethnocultural diversity, Ontario has the largest share of people born outside the country with around 3,611,400 immigrants or 53.3% lived.
Immigrants, especially recent arrivals, were much more likely to live in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas (CMAs) than people born in Canada. The CMA of Toronto had the largest share of foreign-born of Canada’s urban centres, 37.4% of all foreign-born in Canada. Of all immigrants in Ontario, 7 out of 10 lived in Toronto.
The survey also suggests that there is an increasing number of immigrants from non-European countries. Asia (including the Middle East) remains Canada’s largest source of immigrants between 2006 and 2011. There is also an increase in the share of immigration from Africa, Caribbean, Central and South America. Visible minorities accounted for 78.0% of the immigrants who arrived between 2006 and 2011. In Ontario over one-quarter (25.9%) of population belonged to a visible minority, the largest number of visible minorities lived in 2011.
How does this recent demographic change affect the performing arts industry in Ontario? We asked charles c. smith, Project Lead of Cultural Pluralism in Performing Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO). Charles says: “As our communities continue to grow in their diversity, we have before us a great opportunity to share the cultural wealth they bring with that of the First Peoples in Canada and those who have settled over the past centuries. This has the potential to make us the envy of the world in the performing arts - showing cultural traditions made contemporary from all corners of the globe to communities and audiences eager to learn and share about the cultural values and artistic expressions of all peoples who call Canada home.”
This shift in immigration patterns poses new challenges and opportunities for the performing arts organizations. As highlighted in the recently released by CAPACOA’s The Value of Presenting Study, the performing arts have the proven capacity to engender a wide range of benefits for the community and society at large. How can the performing arts professionals use this knowledge to welcome new Canadians in order to foster socially cohesive, diverse communities? What changes needed in programming and outreach activities to effectively engage increasingly diverse Ontario communities?