WebCite Statistics Canada Greater Toronto Area

Indian Canadians
Canadiens d'origine indienne (French)
भारतीय कनाडाई
Indian ancestry in Canada.png
Indian ancestry in Canada (2016)
Total population
4.0% of the Canadian population (2016)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Related ethnic groups

Indian Canadians are Canadians with ancestry from India. The term Indo-Canadians or East Indian is sometimes used to avoid confusion with the First Nations of Canada. Statistics Canada specifically uses the term Asian Indian to refer to Indian Canadians. Categorically, Indian Canadians comprise a subgroup of South Asian Canadians which is a further subgroup of Asian Canadians. According to Statistics Canada, Indian Canadians are one of the fastest growing communities in Canada, making up the second largest non-European group after Chinese Canadians.[2]

Canada contains the world's eighth largest Indian diaspora. The largest group of Indian Canadians are of Punjabi origin, accounting for around 50 percent of the Indo-Canadian population.[3] The highest concentrations of Indian Canadians are found in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, followed by growing communities in Alberta and Quebec as well, with the majority of them being foreign-born.[2]


Punjabi Sikhs in Vancouver, 1908
Indians at CPR station in Vancouver, circa 1914
Komagata Maru Incident, 1914

The Indo-Canadian community started around the late 19th century. The pioneers were men, mostly Punjabi Sikhs with some Punjabi Hindus and Punjabi Muslims; many were veterans of the British Army. In 1897 a contingent of Sikh soldiers participated in the parade to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in London, England. On their subsequent journey home, they visited the western coast of Canada, primarily British Columbia which at the time was very sparsely populated and the Canadian government wanted to settle in order to prevent a takeover of the territory by the United States.

Upon retiring from the army, some of these men found their pensions to be inadequate. Some of them also found their land and estates back home in India were utilized by money lenders. They decided to try their fortunes in the countries they had visited. They joined an Indian diaspora, which included people from Burma through Malaysia, the East Indies, the Philippines and China. They were able to get work in the police force and some were employed as night-watchmen by British firms. Others started small businesses of their own. These were modest beginnings but they had bigger ideas.

Punjabi Sikhs, who had seen Canada, recommended the New World to their fellow countrymen who were in a position to venture out and seek new fortunes. They were guaranteed jobs by agents of big Canadian companies like the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Hudson's Bay Company. Overcoming their initial reluctance to go to these countries due to the treatment of Asians by the white population, many young men chose to go, having been assured that they would not meet the same fate. Since India was under British Crown Rule, they were British subjects and Canada was a part of the British Empire. Queen Victoria had proclaimed in 1858 that throughout the empire the people of India that they would enjoy "equal privileges with white people without discrimination of colour, creed or race."[4]

Initial settlement

However, upon arrival to British Columbia, the first Indian immigrants faced widespread racism by the local white Canadians. Most of the white Canadians feared workers who would work for less pay, and that an influx of more immigrants would threaten their jobs. As a result, there were a series of race riots that targeted the Indian immigrants, who were beat up by mobs of angry white Canadians, though often met with retaliation.[5] These mobs not only targeted Indians, but also other Asian groups such as the Chinese immigrants working on the railroad at the time, and Black Canadians. From the social pressure most decided to return to India, while a few stayed behind. To support the white Canadian population on the west coast of Canada, who did not want Indians to immigrate to Canada, the Canadian government prevented Indian men from bringing their wives and children until 1919, which was another considerable factor in their decision to leave Canada.[5]

The restrictions by the Canadian government increased on Indians, as policies were put in place in 1907 to prevent Indians who had the right to vote from voting in future general elections.[5] Furthermore, government quotas were established to cap the number of Indians allowed to immigrate to Canada in the early 20th century. This was part of a policy adopted by Canada to ensure that the country retained its primarily European demographic, and was similar to American and Australian immigration policies at the time. These quotas only allowed fewer than 100 people from India a year until 1957, when it was marginally increased (to 300 people a year). In comparison to the quotas established for Indians, Christian people from Europe immigrated freely without quotas in large numbers during that time to Canada, numbering in the tens of thousands yearly.[5]

In 1906 and 1907 there was a spike in migration from the Indian sub-continent into British Columbia. Most of the migrants were Punjabi Sikhs, though there were large numbers of Punjabi Hindus and Muslims. An estimated 4,700 arrived, at around the same time as a rise in Chinese and Japanese immigration. The federal government curtailed the migration, and over the next seven years fewer than 125 South Asians were permitted to land in British Columbia. Those who had arrived were often single men and many returned to South Asia. Others sought opportunities south of the border in the USA. It is estimated that the number of South Asians in British Columbia fell to less than 2000 by 1914.[6]

In 1914, the Komagata Maru, a steam liner carrying 376 passengers from Punjab, India (all were British subjects) arrived in Vancouver. Most of the passengers were not allowed to land in Canada and were returned to India. When the Kamagata Maru returned to Calcutta (now Kolkata). Viewing this as evidence that Indians were not treated as equals under the British Empire, they staged a peaceful protest upon returning to India. British forces saw this as a threat to their authority, and opened fire on the protestors, killing many. This was one of the most notorious incidents in the history of exclusion laws in Canada designed to keep out immigrants of Asian origin.[citation needed]

Recent settlement

Policies changed rapidly during the second half of the 20th century.

The Canadian government re-enfranchised the Indo-Canadian community with the right to vote in 1947.[5]

When British-occupied India was partitioned into India and Pakistan (East and West) upon independence in 1947, thousands of people were moved across the new borders. Research in Canada suggests that many of the early Goans to emigrate to Canada were those who were born and lived in Karachi, Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). At the time Goa was under Portuguese rule and faced an uncertain future. Another group of people that arrived in Canada at this time were the Anglo-Indians, people of mixed European and Indian ancestry.

In 1967 all immigration quotas based on specific ethnic groups were scrapped in Canada.[5] The social view in Canada towards people of other ethnic backgrounds was more open, and Canada was facing declining immigration from European countries, since these European countries had booming postwar economies, and thus more people decided to remain in their home countries. Canada introduced an immigration policy that was based on a point system, with each applicant being assessed on their trade skills and the need for these skills in Canada. This allowed many more Indians to immigrate in large numbers and a trickle of Goans (who were English-speaking and Catholic) started to arrive after the African Great Lakes countries imposed Africanization policies.[7] In the 1970s, thousands of immigrants came yearly and mainly settled in Vancouver and Toronto.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, tens of thousands of immigrants continued to move from India into Canada. According to Statistics Canada, since the late 1990s, roughly 25,000–30,000 Indians arrive each year (which is now the second-most populous cultural group immigrating to Canada each year, behind Chinese immigrants who are the largest group). The settlement pattern in the last two decades is still mainly focused around Vancouver, but other cities such as Calgary, Edmonton, and Montreal have also become desirable due to growing economic prospects in these cities.

India became the highest source country of immigration to Canada in 2017. The number of arrivals as permanent residents increased from 30,915 in 2012 to 85,585 in 2019, representing 25 percent of the total immigration to Canada. Additionally, India is also the top source country for international students in Canada, rising from 48,765 in 2015 to 219,855 in 2019.[8] The majority are from Punjab, with large numbers also from Delhi, Gujarat, and Southern India.

Indians from other countries

In addition to tracing their origin directly to the Indian subcontinent, many Indian Canadians who arrive in Canada come from other parts of the world, as part of the global Indian diaspora.

Number of Indians immigrating from different regions of the world (source)
Region Total Responses
Immigrant population 474,530
United States 2,410
Central and South America 40,475
Caribbean and Bermuda 24,295
Europe 12,390
**United Kingdom 11,200
**Other European 1,190
Africa 45,530
Asia 332,150
**West Central Asia and the Middle East 6,965
**Eastern Asia 720
**Southeast Asia 4,260
**South Asia 320,200
Oceania and other 17,280
Non-permanent residents 9,950

Indians from Africa

Due to political turmoil and prejudice, many Indians residing in the African Great Lakes nations, such as Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola left the region for Canada and other Western countries. A majority of Indo-Canadians from Southeast Africa are Ismaili Muslims, with significant numbers of Hindus mostly from South Africa.

Deepak Obhrai was the first Indo-African Canadian to become a member of parliament in Canada as well as the first Hindu to be appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, he was originally from Tanzania. He received the Pride of India award from the Indo-American Friends Group of Washington DC and Indo-American Business Chamber in a dinner ceremony held on Capitol Hill for his effort in strengthening ties between Canada and India.[9]

M.G. Vassanji, an award-winning novelist who writes on the plight of Indians in the region, is a naturalized Canadian of Indian descent who migrated from the Great Lakes.

The writer Ladis Da Silva (1920–1994) was a Zanzibar-born Canadian of Goan descent who wrote The Americanization of Goans.[10][page needed] He emigrated in 1968 from Kenya and was a prolific writer and social reformer, working with First Nations, Inuit and Senior Citizens in the Greater Toronto Area.[11]

Indians have also moved to Canada from Southern African nations such as Zambia, Malawi and South Africa for similar reasons. Examples of successful Indo-Canadians from this migratory stream are Suhana Meharchand and Nirmala Naidoo, television newscasters of Indian descent from South Africa, who currently work for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Indira Naidoo-Harris is another Canadian broadcaster who is of Indian descent from South Africa.

Two of the most high-profile Indo-Africans are CNN's Zain Verjee and Ali Velshi. Verjee was educated in Canada while Velshi's father Murad Velshi who immigrated from South Africa was the first MPP of Indian descent to sit in the Ontario legislature.

The most notable story of Indo-African immigration to Canada is set in the 1970s, when in 1972 50,000 Indian Ugandans were forced out of Uganda by the dictator Idi Amin, and were not permitted to return to India by the Indian government. Although on the brink of facing torture and imprisonment on a massive scale, the Aga Khan IV, leader of the Nizari Ismaili Community, specially negotiated his followers' safe departure from Uganda in exchange for all their belongings. He also negotiated their guaranteed asylum in Canada with Prime Minister and close friend Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

A notable descendant of Ugandan Indian settlement in Canada is Irshad Manji, an acclaimed advocate for secularism and reform in Islam. The community of Goans is also mainly from the African Great Lakes.

Indians from the Caribbean

Indo-Caribbean people or Caribbean Indians are Caribbean people with roots in India.

The Indo-Caribbean community has developed a unique cultural blend of both Indian, Western and "Creolised Caribbean" culture due to a long period of isolation from India, amongst other reasons. Some Indo-Caribbean Canadians associate themselves with the Indo-Canadian community. However, most associate with the Indo-Caribbean community or the Wider Caribbean community or with both. Most mainly live within the Greater Toronto Area or Southern Ontario.

Indians from the UK and the US

Some Indians have immigrated from the United Kingdom and the United States due to both economic and family reasons. Indians move for economic prospects to Canada's economy and job market and have been performing well against many European and some American states. Lastly, individuals have decided to settle in Canada in order to reunite their family who may have settled in both the United States and the UK and not in Canada.

Indians from the Middle East

Many Indians have been moving from countries in the Middle East to North America.

Most Indian immigrants from the Middle East are Indian businessmen and professionals that worked in the Middle Eastern countries like the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. A key priority for these immigrants is educational opportunities for their children post-schooling. Many of these students have stayed back after graduation and started their families there.

Canadian cricketer Nikhil Dutta was born in Kuwait to Indian Bengali parents, but grew up in Canada. He represents Canada national cricket team in ODIs and T20Is.

Indians from Oceania

Indians have long been settled in certain parts of Oceania, mainly on some islands in Fiji, where they comprise approximately 40% of Fiji's population. Since Fiji's independence, increased hostility between the Melanesian Fijian population and the Indo-Fijian population has led to several significant confrontations politically. Notably since the two coups d'état of 1987 many Indo-Fijians are moving from Fiji to US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand due to political instability and ethnic conflict. A majority of the Indo-Fijian immigrants have settled in British Columbia and Alberta, with a significant population in the Greater Toronto Area as well, most of whom are Hindus, with a significant portion of Muslims. Other religions that are practised are Christianity and Sikhism. The Indo-Fijian population in Canada is not as diverse religiously as the general Indo-Canadian community. Indo-Fijians have established cultural centres and organisations in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto. The biggest Indo-Fijian cultural centre in Canada is the Fiji Sanatan Society of Alberta in Edmonton, built in 1984 by some of the first Indo-Fijian immigrants in Edmonton, it is officially a Hindu temple, but also hosts many community events.


Population settlement

The Indian Canadian population according to the Census 2016 in the 10 Canadian Provinces and 3 territories:[12]

Province Indian %
 Ontario 774,495 5.8%
 British Columbia 309,315 6.7%
 Alberta 174,505 4.3%
 Québec 51,650 0.6%
 Manitoba 34,470 2.7%
 Saskatchewan 18,695 1.7%
 Nova Scotia 6,255 0.6%
 New Brunswick 2,145 0.2%
 Newfoundland and Labrador 1,820 0.3%
 Yukon 320 0.9%
 Prince Edward Island 615 0.4%
 Northwest Territories 360 0.8%
 Nunavut 65 0.1%
Canada Canada 1,374,710 4.0%

Cities with large Indian Canadian populations:[12]

City Province Indian Percentage
Toronto Ontario 643,370 10.4%
Vancouver British Columbia 243,135 10.0%
Montréal Quebec 48,485 1.2%
Calgary Alberta 90,625 6.5%
Edmonton Alberta 72,245 5.5%
Abbotsford British Columbia 33,340 18.9%
Winnipeg Manitoba 30,800 4.0%
Ottawa Ontario 28,945 2.2%
Hamilton Ontario 23,390 3.1%
Kitchener Ontario 19,295 3.7%

As of 2016, the Indo-Canadian population numbers 1.37 million.


Toronto has the largest Indian Canadian population in Canada. Almost 51% of the entire Indian Canadian community resides in the Greater Toronto Area. Most Indian Canadians in the Toronto area live in Brampton, Markham, Scarborough, Etobicoke, and Mississauga. Indian Canadians, particularly, Punjabi Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus, have a particularly strong presence in Brampton, where they represent about a third of the population (Most live in the northeastern and Eastern portion of the city). The area is middle and upper middle class, home ownership is very high. The Indian Canadians in this region are mostly of Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi, Malayali and Goan origin. When compared to the Indian Canadian community of Greater Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area is home to a much more diverse community of Indians – both linguistically and religiously. Canadian carrier Air Canada operates flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport back to India.

Indian Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area have an average household income of $86,425, which is higher than the Canadian average of $79,102 but lower than the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area's average of $95,326. Indian Canadian students are also well-represented in Toronto-area universities; despite Indo-Canadians making up 10% of the Toronto area's population, students of Indian origin make up over 35% of Ryerson University, 30% of York University, and 20% of the University of Toronto's student bodies, respectively.[13]

Canada's largest Hindu temple, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Toronto, as well as Canada's largest Sikh gurdwara, the Ontario Khalsa Darbar, are both located in the Greater Toronto Area. Both have been built by Canada's Indian community.

Greater Vancouver

Vancouver is home to the second largest Indian Canadian population in Canada, with just over 20% of the entire Indian Canadian community residing in the Lower Mainland.[14][15] The highest density concentrations of Indian Canadians are found in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, Abbotsford and Delta. Recently, more Indians have been moving to other areas outside of Greater Vancouver. The city of Surrey has nearly 170,000 South Asians,[16] comprising 32% of the city's population.[17] The Punjabi Market neighbourhood of South Vancouver also has a particularly high concentration of Indian residents, shops and restaurants.[18]

A large majority of Indian Canadians within Vancouver are of Punjabi Sikh origin.[19] However, there are also populations with other ethnic backgrounds including Indo-Fijians, Gujarati, Sindhi, Tamil, Bengali, and Goans.[20]


Indian Canadian religious profile (2001) (Source)
Religion Total responses Single responses Multiple Responses
Total 713,330 581,665 131,665
Sikhism 239,225 217,805 21,425
Hinduism 192,680 174,455 18,225
Islam 124,650 101,015 23,635
Christianity 117,430 65,485 51,945
Eastern religions 5,875 4,785 1,090
Buddhism 11,435 870 560
Jainism 1,291 803 600
Judaism 655 160 500
Other religions 655 540 120
No religious affiliation 30,725 16,555 14,175

Indian Canadians are from very diverse religious backgrounds compared to many other ethnic groups, which is due in part to India's multi-religious population.[21] Amongst the Indian Canadian population however, the religious views are more evenly divided. In 2001, Sikhs represented 35%, Hindus 28%, Muslims 17% and Christians 16%(7% Protestant/Evangelical, 9% Catholic).[22] Relatively few people of Indian origin have no religious affiliation. In 2001, just 4% said they had no religious affiliation, compared with 17% of the Canadian population.[23]

Hindu Places of Worship

There are approximately 500,000 Hindus in Canada[24] which has resulted in over 180 Hindu temples across Canada with almost 100 in the Greater Toronto Area alone.[25] Early in history when Hindus first arrived, the temples were more liberal and catered to all Hindus from different communities. In the past few decades, with the number of Hindu Canadians increasing, Hindu temples have now been established to cater to the needs of specific communities who speak different languages. There are temples for Punjabis, Gujaratis, Tamils, Bengalis, Sindhis, Trinidadians, Guyanese etc.

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Toronto is located in Etobicoke, and it was built by Toronto's Gujarati Hindu community.

Within Toronto, the largest Hindu temple in Canada is located on Claireville Drive, which is called the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Toronto. The entire Mandir is 32,000 sq ft (3,000 m2) and hosts numerous events on the Hindu religious calendar.

The Hindu Heritage Centre is located in Mississauga.

The Hindu Heritage Centre is another very large temple and perhaps the second biggest temple at 25,000 sq ft (2,300 m2) serving the Hindu community of Brampton and Mississauga. The Hindu Heritage Centre is a very liberal Sanatan temple which caters to the need of all different types of Hindus. Its devotees come from North and South India, as well as Pakistan, Nepal, and the West Indies. The centre is also focused on preserving Hindu culture by teaching a variety of different classes.

Sikh Places of Worship

One of the oldest and biggest Gurdwaras in Canada.

There are close to 470,000 Sikhs[24] which has resulted over 175 Sikh societies/gurdwaras in Canada. A very notable gurdwara in Canada is the Ontario Khalsa Darbar located in Mississauga.

Largest Sikh population is in Brampton Ontario and Surrey British Columbia

Indian Muslim Places of Worship

There are also many Islamic societies and mosques throughout Canada, which have been established and supported by Non-Indian and Indian Muslims alike.

Many Indian Muslims along with Muslims of other nationalities worship at one of the largest mosques in Canada, the ISNA Centre, located in Mississauga. The facility contains a mosque, high school, community centre, banquet hall and funeral service available for all Muslim Canadians.

The Ismailis have the first Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre set up in Burnaby, British Columbia. This high-profile building is the second in the world, with other locations in London, Lisbon, and Dubai. A second such building is being built in Toronto.

Indian Christian Places of Worship

Indian Christians tend to attend churches based on their state of origin and their particular traditions including the Church of North India, Church of South India, Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Malankara Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and Indian Pentecostal Church.

The majority of people of Goan origin in Canada are Roman Catholics who share the same parish churches as other Catholic Canadians, however, they often celebrate the feast of St Francis Xavier, who is the Patron Saint of the Indies, and whose body lies in Goa.[26]


A young Indo-Canadian woman performing Bhangra dancing.
An Indo-Canadian girl performing a Gujarati folk dance in Downtown Calgary.

Indo-Canadian culture is closely linked to each specific Indian group's religious, regional, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds. For instance, Northern Indian cultural practices and languages differ from those of Southern Indians, and the Hindu community's cultural practices differ from those of the Jain, Sikh, Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities due to differences in ethnicity, regional affiliation, religion and/or language. Such cultural aspects have been preserved fairly well due to Canada's open policy of multiculturalism, as opposed to a policy of assimilation practised by the United States.

The cultures and languages of various Indian communities have been able to thrive in part due to the freedom of these communities to establish structures and institutions for religious worship, social interaction, and cultural practices. In particular, Punjabi culture and language have been reinforced in Canada through radio and television.

Alternatively, Indo-Canadian culture has developed its own identity compared to other non-resident Indians and from people in India. It is not uncommon to find youth uninterested with traditional Indian cultural elements and events, instead of identifying with mainstream North American cultural mores. However such individuals exist in a minority and there are many youth that maintain a balance between western and eastern cultural values, and occasionally fusing the two to produce a new product, such as the new generation of Bhangra incorporating hip-hop based rhythm. For instance, Sikh youth often mix in traditional Bhangra, which uses Punjabi instruments with hip hop beats as well as including rap with Black music entertainers. Notable entertainers include Raghav and Jazzy B.


Indian languages spoken at home in Canada (source)
Language Total: Language spoken at home Only speaks Mostly speaks Equally speaks Regularly speaks
Punjabi* 280,540 132,380 71,660 29,220 47,280
Hindi 165,890 114,175 116,075 19,090 26,550
Urdu* 89,365 30,760 27,840 12,200 18,565
Tamil* 97,345 45,865 29,745 9,455 12,280
Gujarati 60,105 18,310 16,830 7,175 17,790
Malayalam 6,570 1,155 1,810 505 3,100
Bengali* 29,705 12,840 9,615 2,780 4,470
* Note that these languages are also spoken in Canada by immigrants from other South Asian countries such as: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Indian Canadians speak a variety of languages, reflecting the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Indian subcontinent. The most widely spoken South Asian language in Canada is Punjabi, which is spoken by the people from Punjab State and Chandigarh in India and by the people from Punjab Province or Islamabad Capital Territory in Pakistan. In Canada, Punjabi is a language mainly spoken by South Asian Canadians with ties to the state of Punjab in Northern India.

The next most widely spoken language by South Asians is Tamil. These individuals hail from the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India, however, speakers in Canada of the Tamil language come from both India and Sri Lanka.

Hindi, as India's most spoken language, is now the language primarily used by new Indian immigrants, especially ones with ties to Northern India and Central India. As an official language used by the Government of India and by almost half of India's population, Hindi plays a key role as a lingua franca between Indian Canadians who don't necessarily feel comfortable to speak in English.

Urdu is primarily spoken by Muslim South Asians from Northern India and Pakistan. However, individuals of Indian descent from Africa and the Caribbean may also speak it as well.

Gujarati is spoken by people from the Indian state of Gujarat. Gujarati Hindus and Ismaili Muslims from the African Great Lakes who subsequently migrated to Canada speak Gujarati. Zoroastrians from the western part of India who form a small percentage of the population in Canada, also speak Gujarati.

Bengali is spoken by individuals from the state of West Bengal, as well as by the people of Bangladesh, and thus it is not exclusively spoken by Indians in Canada, but also by Bangladeshis.

There are also a large number of Malayalam language-speakers, who hail from the state of Kerala in Southern India.

There is also a community of Goans from the African Great Lakes. However, only a few members of this community speak their original language Konkani.

Marathi is spoken by 12578 people in Canada who have their roots from the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Telugu is spoken by 15,655 people in Canada who primarily hail from the Indian states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.


A group of Punjabi Indo-Canadians attending a Punjabi wedding reception

Marriage is an important cultural element amongst many Indo-Canadians, due to their Indian heritage and religious background.[27] Arranged marriage, which is still widely practised in India, is no longer widely practised among Canadian-born or naturalized Indians. However, marriages are sometimes still arranged by parents within their specific caste or Indian ethnic community. Since it may be difficult to find someone of the same Indian ethnic background with the desired characteristics, some Indo-Canadians now opt to use matrimonial services, including online services, in order to find a marriage partner. Marriage practices amongst Indo-Canadians are not as liberal as those of their Indian counterparts, with caste sometimes considered, but dowries almost non-existent.[27][citation needed]

In 2012 Mandeep Kaur, the author of the PhD thesis Canadian-Punjabi Philanthropy and its Impact on Punjab: A Sociological Study, wrote that compared to other ethnic groups, Indo-Canadians engage in more arranged marriages within ethnic communities and castes and engage in less dating; this is because these Indo-Canadian communities wish to preserve their cultural practices.[28]


There are numerous radio programs that represent Indo-Canadian culture. One notable program is Geetmala Radio, hosted by Darshan and Arvinder Sahota (also longtime television hosts of Indo-Canadian program, Eye on Asia).

A number of Canadian television networks broadcast programming that features Indo-Canadian culture. One prominent multicultural/multireligious channel, Vision TV, presents a nonstop marathon of Indo-Canadian shows on Saturdays. These television shows often highlight Indo-Canadian events in Canada, and also show events from India involving Indians who reside there. In addition, other networks such as Omni Television, CityTV, and local community access channels also present local Indo-Canadian content, and Indian content from India.[citation needed]

In recent years,[when?] there has been an establishment of Indian television networks from India on Canadian television. Shan Chandrasehkhar, an established Indo-Canadian who pioneered one of the first Indo-Canadian television shows in Canada, made a deal with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to allow Indian television networks based in India to send a direct feed to Canada. In doing so, he branded these channels under his own company known as the Asian Television Network. Since 1997, Indo-Canadians can subscribe to channels from India via purchasing TV channel packages from their local satellite/cable companies. Indo-Canadians view such networks as Zee TV, B4U, Sony Entertainment Television, and Aaj Tak to name a few. Goan communities are connected by a number of city-based websites that inform the community of local activities such as dances, religious services, and village feasts, that serve to connect the community to its rural origins in Goa.[29]

Radio stations in the Greater Toronto Area with Indo Canadian content include CJSA-FM broadcasting on 101.3FM. Another station is CINA broadcasting on AM 1650.

Major newspapers include Canindia News in Toronto & Montreal, The Asian Star and The Punjabi Star in Vancouver.

As of 2012, there are many Punjabi newspapers, most of which are published in Vancouver and Toronto. As of that year, 50 of them are weekly, two are daily, and others are monthly.[28]

By 2012, partly due to coverage of Air India Flight 182, coverage of Punjabi issues in The Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, and other mainstream Canadian newspapers had increased.[28]

Film and Television


Elizabeth Kamala Nayar, author of The Sikh Diaspora in Vancouver: Three Generations Amid Tradition, Modernity, and Multiculturalism, defined "Indo-Canadians" as persons born in Canada of Indian subcontinent origins.[30] Kavita A. Sharma, author of The Ongoing Journey: Indian Migration to Canada, wrote that she used "Indo-Canadians" to only refer to those of origins from India who have Canadian citizenship. Otherwise she uses "Indo-Canadian" in an interchangeable manner with "South Asians" and "East Indians".[31] Priya S. Mani, the author of "Methodological Dilemmas Experienced in Researching Indo-Canadian Young Adults’ Decision-Making Process to Study the Sciences," defined "Indo-Canadian" as being children of persons who immigrated from South Asia to Canada.[32]

As of 2004, "Indo-Canadian" is a term used in mainstream circles of people in Canada. The term originated as a part of the Canadian government's multicultural policies and ideologies in the 1980s.[30] Statistics Canada does not use "Indo-Canadian" as an official category for people.[33] Nayar, in The Sikh Diaspora in Vancouver, wrote that "many Canadian-born South Asians dislike the term because it differentiates them from other Canadians."[30]

In Canada "South Asian" refers to persons with ancestry throughout South Asia, while "East Indian" means someone with origins specifically from India.[34] Both terms are used by Statistics Canada.[35] As of 2001 about half of foreign-born persons claiming an "East Indian" ancestry originated from India, while others originated from Bangladesh, East Africa, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.[36]

Widyarini Sumartojo, the author of the PhD thesis "My kind of Brown": Indo-Canadian youth identity and belonging in Greater Vancouver, which explores brown identity, wrote that "While "South Asian" thus refers to a broader group of people, it is often used somewhat interchangeably with "East Indian" and "Indo-Canadian.""[35] Despite the diversity in ethnic groups and places of origin among South Asians, previously the term "South Asian" had been used to be synonymous with "Indian."[37] The Canadian Encyclopedia stated that the same population has been "referred to as South Asians, Indo-Canadians or East Indians".[38] Martha L. Henderson, author of Geographical Identities of Ethnic America: Race, Space, and Place, argued that "The term "South Asian" is meaningful as a defining boundary only in interactions between South Asians and mainstream Canadians."[37] The Canadian Encyclopedia wrote that "People referred to as "South Asian" view the term in the way that those from European countries might view the label "European.""[38] Henderson added that because of the conflation of "South Asian" and "Indian," "It is very difficult to isolate the history of Asian Indians in Canada from that of other South Asians".[37]

In 1962[who?] "Pakistani" and "Ceylonese" (Sri Lankan) were made into separate ethnic categories, while prior to that year people with those origins were counted as being "East Indian".[39]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b "Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity Highlight Tables". June 10, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Statistics Canada. "The East Indian Community in Canada". Archived from the original on October 15, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census, Canada". Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  4. ^ Singh, Khushwant (February 26 – March 12, 1961). "The Ghadr Rebellion". Illustrated Weekly of India: Feb 26 – Mar 12. Archived from the original on March 24, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "SOME SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS IN SIKH-CANADIAN HISTORY" (Archive). ExplorAsian. Retrieved on November 10, 2014.
  6. ^ Pg. 79. White Canada Forever. By W. Peter Ward. 2002. McGill, Quebec, Canada. ISBN 978-07735-2322-7
  7. ^ Pg. 107. The Americanization of Goans. By Ladis DaSilva. 1976. Toronto. Ontario. Canada.
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