Immigration is in the process of dramatically altering the ethnic, linguistic, and cultural personality of larger Canadian cities. An aging population and low birth rates will heighten the importance of immigration and internal migration. While Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are experiencing this trend to the greatest extent, we know that immigration and diversity is an important issue impacting London today and increasingly in the future.
Some of London's immigrants have been living in Canada for many years, and some have arrived more recently. According to the 2011 Census, London was home to 69,175 immigrants, making up one fifth (20.5%) of London's total population (336,680). Numbers of immigrants in London increased by 31% from 1981 to 2001, with most of the growth occurring between 1986 and 1996. Our proportion of immigrants in London has generally remained consistent over the past 20 years.
In London, we need to ensure that fiscal planning is culturally-sensitive and supports integration of diversity throughout London. This strategy of inclusion should work to eliminate ghettoization, isolation, discrimination and labelling in our community.
The City Seniors' Centres are working diligently to remove barriers and encourage residents of all cultures to embrace each other's differences and participate together in all recreational activities. We have been working diligently to identify our programming gaps and will be including additional programs to celebrate various cultures.