Every year, thousands of people come to Canada to begin a new life. Your interest in reading this cultural profile may come from your involvement in an organized HOST Program, where you have the opportunity to meet newcomers from Iraq and welcome them to Canada. You may have Iraqi colleagues at work or Iraqi students at school. Whatever your source interest, this profile will help you learn something about Iraq and the people who live there.

Iraqis have been migrating to Canada for a long time, but only in small numbers until the early 1980s. Since then, many have come as refugees. Iraqis who come to Canada will have many of the same questions you would have if you moved to a new country or city. They will wonder how to find work, where to find a doctor, how to get around and what schools their children will attend. Answering your new friends' questions will help make their transition to Canadian life smoother. You'll 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 Iraq.

  Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name Republic of Iraq
Capital Baghdad
Type of Government Republic
Population 23 million
Area 437,000 sq. km
Major Ethnic Groups Arab, Kurdish, Turkoman, Assyrian
Languages Arabic, Kurdish, Turkic, Syriac
Religion Islam
Unit of Currency Dinar
National Flag Three horizontal stripes of red, white and black. On the white centre stripe are three green stars and the inscription Allahu Akhbar ("God is great").
Date of Independence October 3, 2021

  Did you know?
The ancient name for most of modern Iraq is Mesopotamia, a Greek word meaning "land between two rivers" - the Euphrates and the Tigres. Most Iraqis still live in this region.