This Saturday, July 1, 2017, marks Canada's 150th birthday. There are so many reasons to celebrate our beautiful country! As an immigration lawyer, I am reflecting on the milestones and trends that have been formative for Canada over the years.
Canada is a country of immigrants. According to Statistics Canada's report 150 years of immigration in Canada, more than 17 million immigrants have come to Canada since Confederation in 1867. Early immigrants to Canada came primarily from Europe but since the 1960s, the diversity of Canada has increased with more immigrants coming to Canada from Asia.
Over the past 150 years, Canada has changed dramatically. Our population increased tenfold and spread across the Canadian continent. We have also experience vast legal and social changes. Imagine how in 1917, women could not yet vote in Canada and men could also be excluded from voting on the basis of race. Fast-forward to 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted to guarantee equal treatment and protection against discrimination for everyone.
Now, Canada is not perfect and being an immigrant is not easy. But people consistently come to Canada in search of a better future for themselves and their family. I hope that Canada's next 150 years will bring increased prosperity, diversity and inclusion for both new and established Canadians.
Happy birthday, Canada...and many more!