Every year, thousands of people from all over the world come to Canada to start a new life. They come with many different skills and the hope of contributing to a new society. This website has been written to help Canadians welcome newcomers from Belarus. Perhaps you are hosting a Belarusian family as part of the HOST Program, learning about Belarusian newcomers in school or working with Belarusians who have settled in Canada recently.
Belarusians have been emigrating to Canada for many years. Recently, economic and political instability in Belarus has led to increased emigration. Many Belarusians who come to Canada are highly educated and skilled. When they arrive, they sometimes have difficulty finding work, learning the language, or receiving recognition for their professional qualifications.

 Like all new immigrants, Belarusians will find much in Canada that is new and strange. They come from a country emerging from decades of Communist rule. They have lived through difficult economic times. You can help them to adjust better if you know enough about their country to appreciate the differences between Belarus and Canada. Having a sense of their culture and customs will give you some insight into the lives of your new friends.

  Did you know?
The literal translation of Belarus is "White Russia," after the ancient term "Belaya Rus." The "white"may refer to the beauty of the birch forests or to the snow that blankets the earth every year. Another explanation is that in ancient times the word "white" meant free, in the sense of free from conquering invaders.
Although this cultural profile provides insight into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from Belarus.
  Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name Belarus 
Capital City Minsk 
Type of Government Presidential Republic 
Population 10.3 million
Area 207,600 sq. km 
Major Ethnic Groups Belarusian, Russian 
Languages Belarusian, Russian 
Religion Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism 
Unit of Currency Ruble 
National Flag Top two-thirds red, bottom third green, with a vertical white band on the hoist side bearing a pattern of red diamonds.
Date of Independence July 27, 2021

  Did you know?
Belarus is the country's name in the Belarusian language. During the Soviet era, the area was known as Byelorussia, which is the same word, but in the Russian language.


  Did you know?
When Belarus first became independent in 1991, it adopted a new red and white flag. In 1995, it reverted to the flag of the former Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic following a referendum called by the President, Alyksandr Lukashenko.