The growing number of immigrants coming to Canada and the important role newcomers will play in the workforce and economy in the near future has generated a lot of discussion. There are many misperceptions about who the newcomers are in our communities and where the growth is coming from. Statistics tell us a little about who is coming to Campbell River and Vancouver Island and about how the population dynamic is changing.
Vancouver Island (VI) is growing, and the population projections over the next 20 years indicate that immigration will account for a significant portion of this growth:
2006 population of VI was 744,686
Predicted 2031 population of VI is over 960,000
The top source countries for immigrants to VI are: USA, China, UK, India, Philippines
In Campbell River, one in 10 residents are foreign-born, and this number is on the rise
English speaking skills is a barrier for only the minority of newcomers as 79 per cent of immigrants to VI arrived with official English language ability (above Provincial average).
The skills and education of immigrants to Canada are remarkably high: 50 per cent of immigrants came to VI with a university degree. Comparatively, 28 per cent of Vancouver Islanders between the ages of 25 and 64 have a university degree. In 2008, 87 per cent of immigrants to BC were of the higher skilled classes of managerial, professional or skilled and technical levels.*
Less than a half of one percent were of the Labour class in the same year*
Evidence at a national level indicates that income levels and job security tend to be lower for newcomers than for the Canadian-born population despite the greater rates of education among immigrants.
In Campbell River, however, the employment income levels for 2005 were similar for the immigrant population as for the total population In Campbell River in 2006, immigrants were less likely to experience low income than the total population.
The cultural profile of Campbell River involves more than immigrant growth. There is also notable growth in the aboriginal population.
The aboriginal population of the region increased by 38 per cent between 2001 and 2006 and reached a total of 3,655 people. (Non-aboriginal growth rate is eight per cent in BC). 3,655
The Aboriginal population profile is younger than that of non-aboriginal: School District 72 has an 18 per cent aboriginal student population.
As diversity in Campbell River continues to increase, the importance of diversity education and inclusion grows. Unfortunately, racism and discrimination still exist in our community, affecting many different people. However, a recent survey of immigrants to Campbell River illustrates that our community is welcoming and friendly.
90% of respondents expressed that Campbell River is a completely or mostly welcoming community and most commented that people are friendly and helpful.
90% of respondents chose Campbell River for either employment or to join family here.
Opportunities to embrace and celebrate diversity in our community include the annual Walk Away from Racism, diversity training, cultural events and many other celebrations, hosted by multiple groups, one of which is the Campbell River Multicultural and Immigrant Services Association (MISA). MISA also engages youth with its Youth 4 Diversity or Y4D program, where youth are involved in community education and events, and discuss and promote awareness of diversity-related issues.
Statistics were provided from BC Stats or Stats Canada unless otherwise noted.
* Provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada Contact:
Rachel Blaney, Executive Director CR Multicultural & Immigrant Services Association
Kris Calver is a project coordinator for the Campbell River Multicultural & Immigrant Services Association (MISA) in Campbell River. She is working on a community engagement project called the Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces Project. Much of the project involves collaboration and community education development to encourage diversity and both attract and retain newcomers to our community. The project is supported by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.