Indian Population In Canada:10 Important Must Know Facts

Indian immigrants migrated to Canada for different reasons over the last few decades. These include study, business, family, high profile, job opportunities and more.

Indian population is very high in every part of provinces like Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Toronto and the Northwestern territories. The Indo-Canadian community is the community of those people who have Indian origin but now reside in Canada.

History of Indian Immigration to Canada

The first Indian immigrants were mostly Sikhs. The first Indian Canadian community was started in the late 19th century. Since then, most of the Punjabi Sikhs, Punjabi Muslims, and some veterans from the British Army settled in Vancouver in 1904.

Most immigrants were from farming backgrounds and faced difficulty settling in Canada. 

In 1858, Queen Victoria finally proclaimed that the British Empire and the Indian population would also enjoy equal privilege at that time, without being discriminated against based on their colour, creed and race.

When Queen Victoria gave her diamond Jubilee in London, Sikh soldiers participated in the grand parade to celebrate her success, joy and happiness. At that time, the Government of Canada urgently needed an army – and retained the services of many soldiers from the Indian community.

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Most Indian immigrants were then posted to important posts; some were successful entrepreneurs. They started earning some wages from several small jobs. 

Unfortunately, after a few years, a new rule was brought up.  Due to this, the Indian population in Canada had a specific quota, but the Christian population did not have such quotas, and they were free to immigrate then.

However, the restriction was upheld in the mid-’60s, and the Indian Candian population multiplied 20 times. Since then, people from all parts of India have started immigrating to Canada, which is still continuing today. 

Indo-Canadian Population In Canada

Indian Canadians, or the Indo-Canadian population, are the Canadians with their ancestors belonging to India. These words, the Indo-Canadian or the East Indian population in Canada, are also sometimes used to address the Indian population in Canada to cancel the confusion among the Indigenous origin peoples of Canada.

Indian-origin Canadians sometimes also comprise a subgroup of South Asian Canadians, further divided into the subgroup of Asian Canadians. According to Statistics Canada, the Indian population of the Indian Canadian is one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada.

Today, many new Indians who come to Canada work in the tech industry. 

The South Asian population mostly migrate to Canada due the education or job. This is because Canada provides excellent facilities and a dedicated system for international students. 

Some of the Indian immigrating peoples are now permanent residents in Canada.

Canada has some of the higher numbers of non-resident Indians today. In the year 2021, around 100,000 Indians became permanent residents of Canada. 

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Canada is a country that has the eighth-largest Indian population in Canada. You will find more Indian-origin Canadians in Ontario, the greater Toronto area, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, with the majority considered foreign-born.

You will also find many temples and gurdwara in cities like Nova Scotia and Vancouver.

Where did Other Indo-Canadians come from?

The majority of the Asian population in Canada is of Indian origin. This started in 1897. Then, Canada had only an Indian population of around 100 people of Punjab origin. The first major and important wave of south Asian immigrants, almost everyone, arrived in Vancouver in the year 1903.

These south Asian populations had heard mainly from the British Indian troops in Hong Kong, who mainly travelled through Canada before celebrating the event of the coronation of Edward.

On their arrival to BC, immigrants faced widespread racism from the Canadian population in Canada. And at that time, according to Canadian statistics, most Canadian provinces thought South Asian workers had to work more hours for less pay. They were also threatened with their jobs, which led to race riots

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In 1902, many settlers arrived in British Columbia, searching for some work at the then-popular Columbia River Lumber Company. These early Punjabi Sikh populations in Canada built the first ever Gurdwara in (NA), also called North America, in 1905. The Gurudwara, however, was later destroyed in the year 1926.

The 2nd Gurdwara was built in 1908 in Kitsilano. That Gurudwara aimed to serve the growing communities of Punjabi Sikhs who worked in sawmills then.

The country’s oldest working gurdwara in Canada is the Guru Sikh Temple, located in Abbotsford, British Columbia. This Gurdwara was built in the year 1911. In 2022, this place of worship was made a national historic site in Canada.

The next Gurdwara was built in Canada and was established at Fraser Mills in 1919.

Due to high wages, migrants temporarily had their Indians residing in Indian states and migrated to Canada hoping for employment. In the year between 1906 to 1907, more migration took place between the Indian subcontinent to British Columbia. Around 4,700 Indians arrived. More Chinese, along with Japanese, arrived. This rapid and fast increase in many immigrants – almost around 5,209 by the last of 1908. Then, over 125 south Asians were allowed to land on the land of BC in the next few years.

According to the Canada and Canadian census statistics, this year was the most immigration in Canadian provinces.

Indian Population In Canada From Other Countries

Indo-Canadians in Canada come from different Indian states and other countries as well. Here are some of the top places people of Indian origin come from when they migrate to Canada.

Indians From Africa

Many Indians residing in Africa in countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Angola left Africa and migrated to Canada and other Western countries. Most Indo-Canadians who migrated from southeast Africa are Islamic Muslims or Gujarati Indians.

Deepak Obhrai was the first person of India- African Canadian to become part of the parliament in Canada. He was also the first Hindu appointed to the queen’s privy council for Canada.

Indians From Caribbean

Indo-Caribbean is the people who have Indian origin or roots in India. They have a cultural blend of both Indians and the Caribbean. The Indo- Caribbean Indians are mostly settled in Toronto or Calgary. These Indians in Canada associate themselves with both India and the Caribbean.

Indians From US And UK

These registered Indians in Canada migrated through the United Kingdom and the United States due to some issues like family reasons as well as economic issues. 

Indians From The Middle East

Most registered Indians from the Middle East are Indian businessmen and professionals; they usually work in middle eastern countries, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The priority of Indians from the Middle East is education and their children’s post-schooling.


Indians have the full right to celebrate their festivals and cultural events in Canada. The country supports everyone’s traditional values and culture. 

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Languages like Punjabi, Hindi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam and Bengali are spoken in Canada by the Indian population.

Indian Population In Canada This Decade

Most of the Indian population resides in Toronto and Calgary. Here are some statistics that will help us understand how integral is Indian population in Canada. These statistics will also help to differentiate how many Indian services contribute to Canada’s economy.

As per the Ministry of External Affairs, there are around 3.2 crores of Non-Resident Indians, which are residing outside of India.

In 2018 According to the Ministry of foreign affairs, almost 1,689,055 registered Indians resided in Canada.

Indo-Canadian Population In Canada Today

According to the Canadian census in the year 2016, South Asians constitute around 1,924,653 in numbers, which is almost 5.60% of the overall  Canadian population. And according to the Canadian census in 2016, there were almost 1,374,710 Indians in Canada, which was almost 4% of the Canadian population.

In Ontario, almost 774,495 registered Indians are there. If we talk about British Columbia, there are almost 309,315 registered Indians; now, let’s talk about Alberta, where around 174,505 registered Indians are present.

Quebec has 51,650 registered Indians, yet, on the other hand, Manitoba has 51,650 registered Indians.

Religion Of Indian Population In Canada

According to the statistics, Canada has the most diverse religious backgrounds. Which mainly have Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs, along with Hindus. According to the statistics, there are 35% of Sikhs in Canada. Statistics also tell that there are 28% of Hindus in Canada.

If we talk about Muslims and Christians, then according to the statistics, there are 17% of Muslims and 16% of Christians.

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Language Of Indian Population In Canada

Statistics say that around 543,495 population in Canada are Punjabi-speaking. Statistics also say that Canada has 243,090 people who speak Urdu and 157,125 peoples who speak Tamil.

Cities In Which Indian Immigrants Move to

There are many cities in which Indians and other immigrants are shifted. But mainly there are 5 cities in which these people shift. Those cities are Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, The GTA, and Edmonton. Let’s discuss the reason in detail.

10.1 Toronto

Toronto is the main attraction for immigrants. Toronto is multicultural because many people from different countries have shifted here. There are many reasons students shift here, like many colleges and universities.

Toronto is also Canada’s economic engine and is another reason people shift to this city.

10.2 Greater Vancouver

The first Indian immigrants came to India to visit Vancouver City and settled there. Now there are more than 125,000 Indian citizens settled here. This city is famous for the film industry. It offers many employment opportunities in the film industry, the visual effect industry, and the fields related to the film industry.

Besides the film industry, this city has well-developed health care, financial services, engineering, and construction industry.

10.3 Calgary

Calgary is a metropolitan city in Canada. Many immigrants from India come here and settle here. The first reason is the employment facilities that it provides in the field of engineering and construction.

The other main reason is it is less expensive than other metropolitan cities in Canada. So, it comes to the top of the list of Indian immigrants.

10.4 The GTA

GTA stands for Greater Toronto Area. It is the heartland of Canada city. GTA has many tech companies which offer job opportunities and internship programs for freshers and experienced workers. This is the main reason for the shifting of immigrants to this city.

10.5 Edmonton

Edmonton is a big city in Canada. It is very famous for the Fringe festival celebrated here. This city is an oil hub. Many people who want to build their carrier in the oil industry stay here. Many companies offer internship and job opportunities for college students and freshers.

Final Note

The Indo-Canadians, non-resident Indians, Indians in Canada or the permanent residents, northwestern territories, and lower mainland are mostly settled in the greater Toronto area and Calgary. As Canada continues to welcome more immigrants each year, the Indo-Canadian population keeps increasing. 


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