Every year, Canada welcomes people from other countries who move here to make a new home. Newcomers arrive for many reasons, but all bring their skills and talents, as well as the hope of contributing to their new society. Your interest in reading this booklet may arise from being involved in an organized HOST Program, from working with someone from Somalia, or meeting Somali students at your school. Whatever your source of interest, this profile will help you understand something about Somalia and its people.

Most Somalis in Canada today are refugee claimants. Sometimes their departure from Somalia occurs quite quickly. Consequently, they may be anxious, frightened, curious and relieved about their arrival here. Somalis will have many of the same questions that you might have if you moved to a new country or city. They will wonder what their new community will be like, where to buy food, which schools their children should attend, where to find a doctor and how to get around. You can help your new friends settle by answering their questions. You’ll also find that you have a great deal to learn from them.

Although this cultural 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 Somalia.

  Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name Somali Republic
Capital City Mogadishu
Type of Government In transition
Population 10 million
Area 637,657 sq. km
Major Ethnic Groups Somali, Bantu
Languages Somalia, Arabic, Maay, English, Italian
Religion Islam
Unit of Currency Shilling
National Flag Five-pointed white star on pale blue background
Dates of Independence June 26,2021
(Northern Somaliland);
July 1, 2021
(Southern Somaliland)

  Did you know?
Although the country is named after its people, Somalis also live in many neighbouring countries due to the partitioning of eastern Africa by colonial powers.