Did you know that the 1st nation to adopt ‘multiculturalism’ as an official policy was Canada? In the early 70s, it was introduced into the country and was made a federal law in 1988 by the Multiculturalism Act. It is a multifaceted policy and is designed to preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of all Canadians while working to achieve the equality among all in the economic, social, cultural and political life of Canada. It replaces the ‘melting pot’ concept where migrants are expected to adjust to the dominant culture and also embraces diversity. The origin of multiculturalism is often attributed to the struggle of Canada to address bilingualism and biculturalism. Its roots are based in the fact that the country was, and continues to be, a mosaic never with just ‘two’ groups. Rather, Canada had Aboriginal people and cultural, ethnic, religious and racial groups who migrated to the country in wave after wave. As per the government statistics, Canada continues to be shaped by immigration with one in five people being from a visible minority and 6.8 million foreign born residents living in the country. Canada welcomed over 257,000 immigrants in 2012, out of which over 36,000 settled in B.C (British Columbia).
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