International Conference of Institutes and Libraries for Chinese Overseas Studies (WCILCOS) (5th : 2012)

Multi-stream flows reshape Chinese communities in Canada : a human capital perspective Zhang, Kenny


The Canadian census (2006) reported that over 1.3 million people in Canada self-identify their ethnic origin to be Chinese. This makes the Chinese community the eighth largest in Canada in terms of ethnic origin, and the largest of Asian origin. China has become the top source country of immigrants to Canada since 1998, and the Chinese communities in Canada continue to increase. The turn of the 21st century also witnessed growing multi-stream flows of people from China to Canada. Therefore, the image of Chinese Canadians today is vastly different than it was in the last two centuries when Chinese immigrants were stereotyped as railway coolies, laundrymen and waitress. The importance of Chinese communities in Canada has been underestimated for a long time. As a country of immigrants, Canada has been accustomed to looking at immigrants from an economic perspective. Chinese immigrants, like all immigrants, have traditionally been seen as suppliers of needed manpower. This paper will discuss how the multi-stream flows of people from China to Canada have changed the Chinese communities in Canada in various ways. It will also emphasize on the importance of understanding that Chinese communities not as a distinctive group, but as part of Canada’s multicultural society.

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