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Immigration Matters in Vancouver: A Backgrounder

Over the past several decades, Vancouver has gone through enormous changes. During the years between welcoming the world during Expo ’86 and hosting the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Vancouver evolved into a world‐class city that is consistently ranked as one of the most desirable places to live. What makes Vancouver stand out is the presence of diverse communities and people. Diversity colours the landscape, enriches the texture of everyday life and strengthens the city’s position in an increasingly globalized world.

Today, Vancouver is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in Canada. Immigrants contribute to all facets of social, cultural and economic life in the city. They bring with them skills, talents and ambitions in hopes of making better lives for themselves and their families.

However, research suggests there is an ongoing and troubling gap between immigrants’ hopes and dreams and their actual experiences living in the city. Recent reports indicate that many newcomers do not have broad social networks, often experience loneliness and lack a sense of belonging. Newcomers also have more difficulty finding jobs that recognize their educational or work credentials compared to Canadian‐born residents.

As Vancouver grows, we need to ensure that the city continues to be a welcoming and inclusive place for all. As a first step towards understanding these issues and challenges, this backgrounder explores how well immigrants are faring in making ends meet, accessing the support and services they need in the settlement process, and in participating in their new communities and neighbourhoods. 

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