On December 18, 2000, the United Nations General Assembly declared the first International Migrants Day, highlighting the contributions made by migrants as well as the challenges they face on their journey.
Migration is defined as the movement of individuals from a community, region or country to another with the purpose of staying temporarily or settling permanently. The movement of people throughout history has been motivated by safety, better economic conditions, employment, business opportunities and education. In 2022, the number of migrants globally reached 281 million and each year approximately 300, 000 immigrants come to Canada, where approximately 95 per cent of Canadian families immigrated to Canada at one point in time. Currently, most immigrants enter Canada in one of three ways: the economic program, family reunification or asylum seeking. Data for Canadian emigration, Canadians leaving Canada to settle elsewhere, is not easily tracked and therefore not always accurate.
Migrants in Canada face a unique set of challenges as individuals, such as emotional, financial and physical hardships. Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. It is up to our policies and services to help mitigate the challenges they face so they may develop resiliency, become contributing members of society and enrich our communities by sharing their culture. Canada also benefits from immigration through economic growth, a sufficient labour force and innovative thinking. As we look ahead, immigration will play a crucial role in meeting the future health needs of Canada’s aging population.