The territory served by Centraide of Greater Montreal is home to 83% (711,000) of all immigrants in Quebec.
Of these, 560,000 live in Montreal, 74,000 in Laval and 77,000 on the South Shore. Among the immigrants living in Montreal, one quarter, or about 140,000, arrived in Canada recently (between 2001 and 2006).
Greater Montreal: A profile
- Immigrants account for 31% of the population on Montreal Island, 20% in Laval and 10% on the South Shore.
- Visible minorities account for 25% of the population on Montreal Island, 14% in Laval and 8% on the South Shore—the Black community is the largest visible minority group.
- Immigrant families account for 49% of families with children on Montreal Island, 20% in Laval and 11% in the Montérégie.
- 46% of women who gave birth on Montreal Island between 2000 and 2002 were born outside Canada.
Waves of immigration
- For decades, Greater Montreal has been welcoming immigrants who bring important contributions to Quebec society.
- Irish Griffintown, the former Black neighbourhood around Windsor Station and Chinatown illustrate the realities of 19th century immigration.
- Boulevard Saint-Laurent illustrates the large immigration waves of the 20th century: Jewish, Portuguese, Greek and Italian.
- Today fewer immigrants come from Western Europe. New immigrants come largely from Arab nations of the Middle East and North Africa, South-East Asia, the West Indies and Central America.
- Park Extension is the Montreal neighbourhood with the largest proportion (62%) of immigrants, and they belong to a variety of ethno-cultural groups.
- Today there are over 120 cultural communities living on Montreal Island.
Hardship and difficulties that immigrants can face
- The challenge of learning a new language.
- Difficulty obtaining recognition for academic credentials and work experience: immigrants take 14 years to fully integrate the job market and 21 years to reach parity with their Canadian-born counterparts.
- Lack of a job or precarious working conditions, and the resulting financial insecurity: the unemployment rate among immigrants is almost double that among native Canadian, regardless of age and at most levels of schooling.
- Poverty: between 1980 and 2000 in Greater Montreal, the proportion of new immigrants living under the low income cut-off jumped from 29% to 41%.
- Problems with access to housing, discrimination and cultural adaptation.
- Distress associated with isolation and the loss of a social network.
- Difficulties associated with man-woman or parent-child relations.
How can you support the integration of immigrants?
- Having access to community support and public services
- Finding decent and affordable housing
- Developing French language skills in order to be able to communicate and work
- Quickly finding a decent first job in line with one’s skills
- Being able exercise one’s citizenship
- Developing support networks
- Becoming involved in the schooling of one’s children
- Support housing and job search
- Provide coaching in administrative steps
- Promote intercultural pairing
- Offer professional mentoring
- Offer day-care for the children of parents attending French language courses
- Develop activities to facilitate integration into Quebec culture
- Break the isolation and support the integration of women
- Encourage fathers to become involved with their children
- Encourage parents to become involved in their children’s school
- Encourage participation in neighbourhood life
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