Every year, Canada welcomes people who move here to begin a new life. The Chinese have been immigrating to Canada since the 19th century, although for many years Canadian laws discriminated against them. Cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal have large Chinatowns. Recent political events such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest and the return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997 have also increased Chinese immigration to Canada.
You may be reading this profile because you are a volunteer in an organized HOST program. You may have Chinese colleagues at your workplace, or Chinese students at your school. Whatever your source of interest, this profile will help you learn something about China and the people who live there. The profile concentrates mostly on the history and culture of the Han people, the largest ethnic group in China and the people most often found in Canada. However, another 67 million people belong to China's 55 ethnic minorities.
Chinese people coming to Canada will have many of the same questions you would if you moved to a new city or country. They will wonder how to find work, what schools their children will attend and what their new community is like. You can help your new friends settle by answering their questions. You will also find that you have much to learn from them.
Although this profile provides insights into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from China.