By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |
New research suggests immigrants will bring more religion; religious tolerance remains key
Increases to immigration levels in Canada means more religiousness in Canada, too, according to a new Angus Reid poll.
The research, in partnership with religious think tank Cardus, found that almost four in 10 immigrants to Canada are “religiously committed.” In other words, they are largely certain in their beliefs, and most likely to attend religious services, pray and read a sacred text regularly. That’s almost double the proportion of the general Canadian population.
Another 21 per cent of immigrants are “privately faithful,” identifying with a religious tradition, but infrequently reading sacred texts or attending religious services. Less than a third of immigrants are “spiritually uncertain” while just 11 per cent reject religion altogether.
“Newcomers to Canada enrich this country, in part, by bringing a faith commitment with them,” says Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett, director of the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute. “That means faith and religion are an inseparable and growing part of Canada’s diversity — one that requires a deeper understanding of each other’s beliefs beyond a superficial acknowledgment of holidays or traditions.”
Freedom of religion in Canada
Freedom of religion is a tenet of the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedom, but religious devotion has been seeing some decline in the Canadian population overall over the past several years; a 2015 Angus Reid study showed that some one-in-four Canadians say they are not “into religion,” increasing significantly from one in 25 in the 1971 Census of Canada.
Despite this decline, “religious tolerance” remains one of the top markers of Canada’s multiculturalism values. In fact, a recent Environics Focus Canada survey, when asked what values immigrants should adopt, those born in Canada and those born elsewhere give the same top answers: respect for Canada’s history and culture comes first, followed by knowledge of English or French, tolerance of other people and religions and respect for the law.
Former Top 25 Canadian Immigrant, Dr. Jagessar Das, an ardent interfaith proponent, previously told the Canadian Immigrant: “It doesn’t matter which religion one belongs to, as long as one learns acceptance of difference.”