by Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com
LOS ANGELES – The latest figures from Statistics Canada released recently reported that the Filipino community outnumbers other visible minority groups in Winnipeg, the capital and largest city of the Canadian province of Manitoba. Visible minorities, who now make up 16.2 percent of Canada’s population, are defined as persons, other than aboriginals, who are non-Caucasian or non-white in skin color.
The growth of the number of Winnipeg residents of Philippine ancestry increased to 36,935 in 2006 from 30,155 in 2001, according to the latest census figures. This is the most dramatic local rise among visible minorities in actual numbers, if not in percentage.
Statistics Canada said last Wednesday that the country’s “visible minorities” now number more than five million for the first time largely due to an influx of Asian immigrants of late. Filipinos are among the great number of South Asians immigrating to the country.
To date, Canadians of South Asian origin, numbering 1.3 million, have become the largest minority group, surpassing Chinese Canadians who slumped to 1.2 million in the last census, the government agency said.
Canada’s total population, according to the last census in 2006, is 33 million.
Over the past century, the number of ethnic groups recorded in Canada has grown from 25 in 1901, when immigrants to Canada originated mostly from Europe, to more than 200 today, Statistics Canada said.
South Asians represented one-quarter (24.9 percent) of all visible minorities, or 4.0 percent of the total population in Canada.
Chinese accounted for 24.0 percent of the visible minority population and 3.9 percent of the total Canadian population.
The number of those identifying themselves as black, the third largest visible minority group, rose from 662,200 individuals in 2001 to an estimated 783,800. They accounted for just 15.5 percent of the visible minority population and 2.5 percent of the total population in 2006.
After the Chinese and the Blacks, the other visible minority groups include Filipinos, who represented 8.1 percent of the visible minority population, Latin Americans (6.0 percent), Arabs (5.2 percent), Southeast Asians (4.7 percent), West Asians (3.1 percent), Koreans (2.8 percent) and Japanese (1.6 percent).
One Filipino who is a part of the steady influx of immigrants from the Philippines interviewed by the Winnipeg Sun is Ryan Cruz, a 30-yearold Winnipeg Transit driver. His family recently moved to the city from Manila, and to him, it was all about opportunity.
“We were doing as good as most Filipinos back home, but we could never have really lived there comfortably,” said Cruz, who lives in The Maples with his wife Karen, son Kyle and daughter Lindsey.
“It’s a very peaceful place here. I hear about lots of crimes here every day, but it’s nothing compared to what’s going on back home,” he added, citing Philippine government corruption and other crime. “On the streets there, there are lots of robbers and snatchers.”
Between 2001 and 2006, the visible minority population increased at a pace nearly five times faster than the total population, due to immigration from non-European countries, Statistics Canada said. In 1981, 68.5 percent of all recent immigrants to Canada were born in regions other than Europe, and by 2006 this figure had grown to 83.9 percent.