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The Syrian community in Canada

History of the presence of the Syrian community in Canada

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, immigration to Canada from Syria mainly occurred in two periods. The first period was from 1885 to 1908. At that time, the majority of the immigrants were Christians from Lebanon. The migration of Christians was motivated in the first place by fear of the Christian Druze conflict, which ended in 1860. It was also motivated by the desire to immigrate to Canada at the time to avoid military conscription in the Syrian army, as well as the poor economic situation that the Syrians were suffering from. Many of them had planned to work in Canada for a few years to earn money and then return home. At the end of World War I, the Syrian immigration to Canada came to an end. Due to restrictive legislation on Canadian immigration, Syrians can no longer enter Canada.

As for the second period, it dates back to the year 1945 AD to the present day. After World War II, legislative restrictions began to become less stringent, leading to new waves of immigration, especially from Syria. In 1967, Canadian immigration laws established a points system under which all eligible persons, regardless of their country of origin, could apply to come to Canada. 

According to facts and figures dating back to 2012, during the period from 1980 to 2012, the Syrian community in Canada consisted of 30,948 permanent residents in Syria. 66 percent of them are economic migrants, 23 percent are family migrants and 9 percent are refugees.

The Syrian community

The social and cultural characteristics of the Syrian community in Canada 

According to statistics dealing with the Syrian community in Canada, the mother tongue of more than half (51%) of Syrians in Canada is not one of the two official languages in Canada. And 31% speak an informal language most of the time at home. More than nine out of ten Syrians (97%) can have a conversation in at least one of the two official languages: 48% speak English, 10% speak French and 39% speak English and French.

Regarding the religion of the Syrian community in Canada, the great majority are Christians (57%) [Roman Catholics (30%), Orthodox Christians (12%) and Protestants (5%)] and 10% reported their Christian orientation without specifying a specific affiliation. Nearly a third of them are Muslims (31%) and 10% do not follow any religious affiliation.

The largest proportion (44%) of the Syrian community in Canada lives in Quebec, followed by Ontario (39%). The cities with the highest proportions are, respectively, Montreal (40%), Toronto (20%), Ottawa Gatineau (8%) and London (3%).

Just over half of the population of the Syrian community in Canada are immigrants (53%), 45% are non-immigrants and 2% have no permanent residency status. 

About 48% of the Syrian community in Canada have a university degree, compared to 28% of all Canadians. The percentage of women of Syrian origin who have a university degree (45%) is lower than men of the same origin (50%), but higher than women in Canada (30%).

The participation rate in the workforce of people from the Syrian community is 80%, compared to 86% of Canada's total population. The labor force participation rate for women (72%) is lower than for men (89%) and for all women in Canada (82%).

The employment rate for the Syrian community in the country is estimated at 73%, compared to 81% for the general Canadian population. Also, the employment rate for women is (64%), which is lower than for men (82%). As for the unemployment rate in the Syrian community in Canada, it is estimated at (9.1%), which makes it higher than the unemployment rate for the Canadian population as a whole (6.2%). The unemployment rate for women is estimated at (11%), and it is higher than for men (7.5%).

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