Canada’s history is one of successive waves of people arriving on its shores, each having to find their place among those who preceded them. In the early 21st century, perhaps Canada’s most defining characteristic is the broad diversity of cultures and peoples; this is widely seen elsewhere as a success story, and at home a source of pride for many. But what does it mean to be a citizen of a country that is increasingly populated by people arriving from so many other countries around the world?
In partnership with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the Maytree Foundation, CBC News, and with the support of RBC, the Environics Institute conducted a groundbreaking national survey of Canadians on citizenship issues. This research provides a definitive picture of how ordinary Canadians view citizenship today (e.g., what it means to be a "good citizen"), and how their concept of citizenship shapes their understanding of their rights, responsibilities, loyalties, and identities.
The research yielded important insights around three themes:
1. How Canadians define what it means to be a “good citizen.”
2. How comfortable are Canadians with the state of citizenship in this country?
3. How do the views of native-born and foreign-born Canadians compare?
The research was publicly released in February 15, 2012 through extensive coverage on the CBC.
The project is now launching a second phase that builds on a key finding from the research – that citizenship comes through actions not a legal status. Canadians across the country will be invited to tell their own story about what it is they do that makes them feel like a citizen of this country. Stay tuned for further details.
For more information, contact Keith Neuman.
Keywords: citizenship, immigration, multiculturalism, Canadian symbols/identity, government policy, civic engagement, political engagement