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Shining a spotlight on the perspectives of second-generation Canadians

March 8, 2024

Canada’s current and future population growth depends on immigration. At Century Initiative, our mandate is to support our ability to grow well through responsible planning and strategic population growth that builds sustainable and shared prosperity.  

To ensure that Canada’s ambitious immigration policies are succeeding and attracting talent in the face of global competition, we need to understand whether immigrants have the necessary conditions and supports to thrive. A major gap in our current understanding is in the experiences of second-generation Canadians — individuals born in Canada with at least one parent born outside of Canada.

Today Century Initiative releases its newest report, Perspectives of second-generation Canadians. It provides new insights into how second-generation immigrants in Canada are doing by exploring their views on such things as life satisfaction, goals and priorities, experiences in education, identity, and civic engagement.

Understanding how Canadian-born children of immigrants are faring is crucial for assessing the longer-term success of – and identifying gaps and challenges in – Canada’s immigration and integration policies.

The traditional metrics for measuring long-term outcomes (such as income, employment, and educational attainment) are important and meaningful, but they tell us little about the experience that second-generation have balancing the values and expectations of their immigrant parents with those of Canadian society more generally. 

From optimism about financial security and career opportunities to the desire to preserve ethnic and religious identities, this report takes a deeper look at how second-generation Canadians’ perspectives on life in Canada compare to those of their non-immigrant peers and their parents’ generation. 

This report summarizes the findings of a public opinion research project completed with the Environics Institute for Survey Research. This project was supported by the Toronto Metropolitan University’s Diversity Institute and the Future Skills Centre.